Cinderella The Musical / Morning Musume : 4 of 5

I was pretty impressed by Morning Musume's previous collaboration with the famous Takarazuka Revue, the musical production of Princess Knight, so I was really interested in this latest production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic production. I bought the official DVD release, but never got around to watching it until Hello!Fansubs released their incredible subbed version, and now I can't believe I waited so long! I seriously didn't expect to enjoy Cinderella so much, but in my opinion, it was simply fantastic! The only reason I'm not giving this a five star review has to do only with the original musical itself, since there are some scenes and songs that are just kind of boring and tend to make the story drag (especially in the first act). However, most of the music is just wonderful, filled with romantic waltz melodies that had my heart soaring, and they are sung so beautifully by Takahashi Ai as Cinderella and Niigaki Risa as the Prince! Their performances are truly incredible - I think their voices and acting ability are far beyond what the average Jpop idol could accomplish. Ai-chan looks as elegant as ever, and Risa is completely convincing playing a male role (her deeper "male" voice is great). The sets are pretty impressive (especially the ballroom staircase), and the other members of Morning Musume do a fine job in their smaller parts (thank goodness they gave Koharu a subdued role so she couldn't spaz out and ruin the show). I have to admit that I totally broke down when Cinderella and the Prince finally get together - they just turned this scene into a romance powerhouse! I really hope Morning Musume continues to make musicals, but it's going to be difficult to top Cinderella.

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