Review: A cute S.F. fairy tale 

"Oh My Godmother" — it’s a San Francisco treat!

The timing, Gay Pride weekend, couldn’t have been more appropriate for the San Francisco premiere of a new musical based on the Cinderella tale; only this time, "Cinder" isn’t Ella, he’s Albert, and his fairy godmother is a fella who runs a clothes shop in what’s got to be the Castro.

The clever show, written, directed and staged by Ron Lytle, already found success in 2005 and again in 2007 in productions presented by Altarena Playhouse in Alameda.

This new production, onstage at Zeum Theater in The City, features some actors enthusiastically reprising their roles: Godmother, Stepmother and the nasty stepsisters.

The bouncy, sassy tone is set from the opening number, "San Francisco: Home Sweet Home to Me" (lyrics touch on the seedy Tenderloin and the lack of parking around town), to the rousing closer, "Old Fashioned Commitment Ceremony."

Unlike in many new musicals, the songs are catchy, many memorable enough to survive beyond the confines of this show.

All of the characters get their moment in the spotlight: Godmother (Scott Phillips) sets the stage with the "Once Upon a Time" prologue; Albert (Brandon Finch) shares his troubles about his heartless step-family in "CinderAlbert."

Albert’s friend Payne (Tomas Theriot, deliciously reminiscent of Jack in "Will & Grace") struts his stuff in "Look at the Way," while Albert’s would-be paramour Prince (Kyle Payne) wonders about his sexuality in "Who Am I?"

Prince’s flamboyant gay parents Oscar (Steve Yates) and Truman (John Erreca) reveal their devotion in "I Must Be in Love," while the evil stepsisters Esther Hazy (Lisa Otterstetter) and Esta Lieber (Julia Etzel) lament their bad romantic fortune in the Cole Porter-esque tune, "Somebody for Everybody."

Jennifer Tice is the Cruella-like Stepmother whose big number — the title rhymes with "rich" — describes her character. Despite the seemingly adult themes of the show, that one word is about the most risqué element of what might even be called a family-oriented, community-minded production. "Oh My Godmother" isn’t cutting-edge; boasting a big heart, soul and spirit, its community theater roots are evident.

IF YOU GO

Oh My Godmother

Where: Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard Street), S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays; closes July 26

Tickets:$25 to $35

Contact: (800) 383-3006 or www.ohmygodmother.com

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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