Ugly is not a life sentence. Nearly every inch of the human body can be tweaked, sucked and tightened, and there’s nothing quite like a makeover scene to remind us of this. Whether it’s Elphaba in “Wicked,” Tai Frasier in “Clueless” or now Cinderella in legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest offering “Bad Cinderella,” it seems any modest maiden can evolve into belle of the ball. The production transferred to Broadway from London’s West End where it was simply titled “Cinderella,” but no name-change nor amount of glitz can conceal the reductive tropes in Webber’s prosaic new musical.
“Bad Cinderella” keeps its titular protagonist (Linedy Genao) in France, specifically Belleville. The town is named after its attractive residents. Or maybe, its attractive residents live up to the town’s name. Either way, “beauty is [their] duty.” Vanity is the law, upheld by the Queen (a delightfully self-righteous Grace McLean), but Cinderella wants no part of the prettiness proclamation.