Think Cinderella, only the setting is 1975, the glass slipper is a white go-go boot, and the fairy godmother is a soul sister. This musical, with book and lyrics by Lori Marshall and director Joseph Leo Bwarie, and music by Rachel Lawrence, is creative, kid-friendly fare that includes plenty of retro references that will give parents a chuckle or two. Though the songs and much of the dialogue are unremarkable, it's the cast, in particular Melissa Strom and Christine Lakin, that makes this 75-minute production fun for all ages.
Soul Sister (Regan Carrington) narrates the revised fairy tale. In this version, teenage Cindy (Lakin) is a budding photographer who lives with her stepsister Eleanor (Strom), while her father is off taking photos of the war in Vietnam. Eleanor, who enjoys her Magic 8-Ball and making art from macaroni and glue, forces Cindy to do all of the household chores. Eleanor's boyfriend is Buddy (Chris Prinzo), a track star who also tap-dances. His best bud is the school's newspaper editor, Tommy Royal, aka Royal-T, (Jaron Lowenstein), who is trying to find out which student is the mystery shutterbug sending in fantastic photos. There is, of course, a Disco Ball, which Cindy attends in a disguise created by her magical Soul Sister.
Strom, with her snooty sneers and model sashay, squeezes every ounce of humor out of her lines, delivering them with an obnoxious attitude that makes us love to hate her. Lakin is equally adept as the clumsy girl no one notices and as the chic dancing queen of the ball. Carrington's easygoing style creates a natural rapport with children, which is key to keeping them interested. There aren't any weak singers in the cast. And, as dancers, they easily handle Bwarie's choreography, which includes a funny rendition of the Hustle. Children won't get the references to Tab and mood rings, but adults will enjoy the walk down memory lane, complete with the wild costume designs by Lou Carranza.
Marshall, Bwarie, and Lawrence are veterans of original children's material, and this simple, effective production is proof that they know how to make it work.
"Cindy and the Disco Ball," presented by and at the Falcon Theatre, 4252 Riverside Dr., Burbank. Sat. 1 & 3 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. Feb. 19-May 8. $10-12. (818) 955-8101.