Cinderella at the Aronoff Center

Cinderella ShoeThis week I had the opportunity to take my little princess to see Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati.  She was beyond ecstatic.

She has been to many theater productions, but this one was her favorite.  I love that she always has questions about the show.  Questions about the theatrical aspect, not just the plot…are those microphones they are wearing?  Are those puppets?  How did that throne move by itself?  Are there wheels under it?

But, the one question I could not answer…

How did the Fairy Godmother change her rags into that white dress???  Right before our eyes.

I do not know.

This production of Cinderella is a little different. It is entertaining for both adults and kids.  There is humor, dragon slaying, singing and dancing, as well as a sub plot of forbidden romance.  Ella, called Cinderella by her stepmother, lives in the forest with her horrid stepmother and stepsisters.  She does all of the cooking, cleaning and other dirty work of the typical Cinderella. Prince Topher, soon to be King, is trying to figure out how to be king and how to properly rule the land.  Of course, there is a Ball, a lost slipper and a huge search for the owner of the shoe.  But, there are lots of funny twists on the traditional story  that you will surely love. You may even grow to love, or tolerate, the stepsisters.

From the creators of Oklahoma! and The King and I,  Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella is the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical TourCinderella0052rwith a contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the most loved moments —the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists! Audiences are invited to rediscover some of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s most beloved songs, including “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago,” in this hilarious and romantic Broadway experience for anyone who’s ever had a wish, a dream… or a really great pair of shoes.

Back to that dress…

As I mentioned, when the Fairy Godmother wove a spell that turned Ella’s dirty brown rags into a gorgeous white fluffy dream dress, I had no idea how she did it.  There was no smoke or hidden panels.  Ella spun around a few times and BAM, she was wearing that beautiful dress and tiara.  And her hair was in a sweet up do.  It was phenomenal.

TourCinderella0138rThen, just when I thought I was watching close enough, the Fairy Godmother did it again right before Ella goes to the royal banquet, in a lovely gold gown.  Again…no idea how that happened.  But, it was awesome.

If you’d like to see Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, you can find more information on the show and order tickets HERE.   The show plays thru January 18th at the Cincinnati Aronoff Center.

Disclaimer: I was provided tickets to the event.  All opinions are my own.

Dirty Dancing at the Cincinnati Aronoff Center

Dirty Dancing at the Cincinnati Aronoff Center

Dirty Dancing 2There is always one movie that you remember for the rest of your life.  One movie that you watched over and over, hung up the posters all over your room and recited every other line.  For me, that movie was Dirty Dancing.  I loved it!  I had the soundtrack and the VHS tape (yes…VHS).  My friends and I watched it at every sleep over.  When I heard that the musical was coming to the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, I was beyond thrilled.  I was a little worried that I may be disappointed, but I was not!

The live show is very true to the movie, with a couple of extra moments.  The scenes are projected on stage in the background to give the feeling of being at Kellerman’s, the swanky resort that Baby and her family visit that summer in 1963.  At first, I thought this may be a little distracting, but overall, it was a great way to bring the movie to the stage.  The actors playing Baby (Jillian Mueller) and Johnny Castle (Samuel Pergande) did a great job and I loved watching the first dance scene between the two, at the dancers’ clubhouse.  I remember the awkward moment between Baby and Johnny in that first scene and cracked up watching Mueller spin around like a dizzy school girl after Johnny twirled her and left her on the dance floor.Dirty Dancing 1

It is very hard to bring a movie to the stage.  You have to wonder…how will they do that last dance scene?  How will they show both the stage, the band and the audience?  How will they show Baby and Johnny practicing lifts in a lake? There is a lot of action to capture in Dirty Dancing.  But, they do it!  I loved how the band is actually on the stage, above the other actors. And, if you go, you can see for yourself how they portray the lake scene.

A few moments were added to the stage performance that were not in the movie.  There is very little singing in the movie Dirty Dancing, but Jennlee Shallow (Elizabeth) and  Doug Carpenter (Johnny’s cousin Billy)  gave stand out performances in the stage version when they belted out a couple of phenomenal songs. While the stage version stays very close to the movie, the romance between this couple was added to accompany the story line of ‘forbidden’ love…whether that be between perceived classes or race.

Here are more details about the show:

Dirty Dancing—The ClaDirty Dancing 3ssic Story on Stage is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance, and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life. ” London’s Sunday Express says “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!”


 It’s the summer of 1963, and 17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is on vacation in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents. Mesmerized by the racy dance moves and pounding rhythms she discovers in the resort’s staff quarters, Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle, the resort’s sexy dance instructor. Passions ignite and Baby’s life changes forever when she is thrown in to the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady, both on-stage and off.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage will play the Aronoff Center from September 23 – October 5: Tuesday – Thursday at 7:30PM, Friday at 8:00PM, Saturday at 2:00PM and 8:00PM and Sunday at 1:00PM and 6:30PM. Tickets for Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stagestart at $29. They are available at the Aronoff Center Box Office downtown at 650 Walnut Street, online at or by phone at 513.621.ARTS. For groups of 10 or more, contact the group sales department at 513.369.4363. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. For more information, please visit

Get your tickets today!

Photo Credits: Matthew Murphey, provided by Broadway in Cincinnati

Disclaimer:  I received complimentary tickets for this performance.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own…and I loved this show!!

EVITA at the Cincinnati Aronoff Center

Evita Balcony portraitLast night, my husband and I had our delayed Valentine’s celebration.

First, we had dinner at KungFood Chu’s Amerasia in Covington.  Both of us enjoy small, local, quiet restaurants.  Not so much because we can gaze lovingly into one another’s eyes and hold hands across the table, but because it’s date night and we love to enjoy the quiet of no children!  If you can’t have an actual date night, Amerasia is fine for kids also.  We were there on a week night at 6:30 and there was a mix of patrons, but it was still a relaxing atmosphere…probably because our kids weren’t there!  You can read more about KungFood Chu’s Amerasia HERE in a post by Katie at Family Friendly Cincinnati.  I had pad thai and a handcrafted beer.  The portions were nice sized and delicious.

Where did we go next for date night?

We went to opening night of EVITA at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati!

It was spectacular.

This musical takes place in 1934-1952 and is based on the true story of Eva Peron, who grew up very poor in Argentina, works her way to Buenos Aires and eventually marries General Juan Peron, becoming the wife to the President.  I was mistaken when I thought she was loved by all people, all the time.  As I saw a steady stream of gentlemen friends parade through her bedroom, I realized, wow, she was quite popular…and not in a good way!  When she first started dating General Peron, Argentina sees Eva as his ‘lady of the moment’ and does not like her.  Eventually, she wins over most of Argentina.  The people look up to her because she is very glamorous, gave generously to the poor and was a model representative when visiting other nations.

Caroline Bowman as Eva “Evita” Peron was amazing.  She used her beautiful, yet powerful, voice to tell the story of Evita and express her Evita Cast Dancingemotions.  One of my favorite numbers was “Buenos Aires”, during which Eva sings of her desire to go to the big city and then finally arrives in the town.  The crazy and bustling atmosphere of Buenos Aires is portrayed perfectly by the cast, as is the sensuality of the city.  I loved listening to Bowman sing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the balcony to her people, wearing a glamorous, white, full length gown and jewels.   Bowman seems to never tire and portrays the First Lady of Argentina with just the right amounts of sass and confidence, with a hint of manipulation.

Josh Young as Che also had never ending energy and a strong voice.  It amazed me that he sounded just as powerful at the end of the show as he did in the beginning…after singing in so many numbers.  He did a fantastic job expressing his distaste for Evita, but at the same time seemed to admire her.

Here’s what Broadway in Cincinnati has to say about Evita:

Evita and Che dancingTim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award®-winning musical returns at last! Eva Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world — while her greed, outsized ambition and fragile health made her one of the most tragic. EVITA tells Eva’s passionate and unforgettable true story, and features some of theater’s most beautiful songs, including “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “High Flying, Adored.”

EVITA is playing now through March 2nd at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati.  Be sure to check out show times and more details at Broadway in Cincinnati.  Both my husband and I give EVITA two thumbs up.

Disclaimer:  I was given two complementary tickets to the opening night of EVITA in exchange for promotion and review.  All opinions are my own.

All photo credit goes to Richard Termine.


Aronoff Center Cincinnati: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

Tonight we are kicking off Thanksgiving break at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center to see Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical  I loved the animated version when I was a kid, and also enjoyed the film version as an adult. The whole family is thrilled to see this beloved classic on stage at the Aronoff Center tonight. 

Tonight’s show features one of my favorite Grinch songs…”You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.”  I was just singing this to the kids the other day.  Don’t worry, their ears have stopped bleeding.  Another favorite song from the original animated special is “Welcome Christmas.” 

Tonight, Max the dog narrates the show as the Grinch tries to ruin Christmas for all of those cute little citizens of Whoville. 

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is at the Aronoff  November 27th thru December 1st, so check your schedule and get your tickets now!  You can get tickets here or you can call the Aronoff Center at (513) 621-ARTS.

Disclaimer:  My family was provided free tickets for tonight’s show.  Rest assured all opinions are my own.


Buddy Valastro: The Cake Boss and The Family Celebrations Tour in Cincinnati

Buddy Valastro: The Cake Boss
The Family Celebrations Tour
Last year, Buddy Valastro visited the Kroger store right down the street from me.  This year, he is coming to the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati. I love watching the creations he and his family come up with on the show, and cannot wait to see him in person. I missed him the first time around, but will be sure to catch him this time!
Would you like to see Buddy Valastro live at the Aronoff Center?  It’s sure to be an awesome show!  This is a one night only performance on Monday November 18th at 7:30pm and I have a discount for you!
Here is more information about the show:

“Join America’s favorite baker, Buddy Valastro, Monday, Nov 18th at 7:30 PM, for an all new show of cakes, stories, and fun. In this live, interactive event, TLC’s Cake Boss will share stories from his highly popular TV shows (Cake Boss, Next Great Baker), his family at Carlo’s Bakery, will answer audience questions, and most importantly, will give lots of live cake & cupcake decorating demonstrations, sharing tips and techniques in a high-energy experience for the whole family!”

Readers of I’m Living The Good Life receive $5 off on tickets.  Just click here and use code ‘BUDDY’.
Hope to see you there!

Disclaimer:  I received 2 tickets to see Buddy Valastro: Cake Boss and The Family Celebrations Tour in exchange for this post.  All opinions are my own.