Are you ready for a Hip Hop spin on the Cinderella fairy tale?

09 Cinderella The Remix at IStage through May 25

Fairy Godmother “Hoperah” (yes like Oprah) visits Chinchilla (center) and Cinderella (right) in Cinderella:The Remix at Imagination Stage

In the 80’s who would have thought that Hip Hop Theatre would exist and transform the treasured fairy tale of Cinderella into a feminist leaning, 16+ bar spittin’ urban story about a girl trying to break into the male dominated world of DJing.

Well it’s here: Hip Hop Theatre and the production of Cinderella:The Remix.  It’s a children’s play that teaches a valuable lesson on girl power, people power and by its very existence Hip Hop power to change the world.

Written and directed by DMV’s Psalmayene 24, Cinderella: The Remix is the story of a young girl living in the basement of her step-mama’s house, mixing beats and dreaming of becoming a DJ. But in Hip-Hop Hollywood, girls are not allowed to DJ and “fronting” – using pretense to impress – is a crime. When the super-famous J Prince announces auditions for his Jam, Cinderella disguises herself as a boy to get the gig. With some help from her Fairy Godmother Hoperah (yes as in Oprah), Cinderella DJs the Jam (at least until midnight). Will she ever be allowed to spin as her true self? Or will Cinderella be convicted of fronting and sentenced to solitary confinement with only the music of Kenny G on a never ending loop for company?

Cinderella:The Remix Writer/Director Psalm & Lead Actress Paige Hernandez pose with WHUR's Nikki Strong (center)

Cinderella:The Remix Writer/Director Psalm & Lead Actress Paige Hernandez pose with WHUR’s Nikki Strong (center)

I recently saw the world premier of Cinderella:The Remix and had the opportunity to sit down with both the Writer/Directer Psalmayene 24 aka Psalm and lead Actress/Choreographer DMV’s own Paige Hernandez. We explored some of the underlying themes in the play like – do girls in the real Hip Hop world have to “front” – be something they are not – in order to advance their careers?  How does the re-imagining of this fairy tale expand notions of girl power and help carve out space for this underrepresented group in current Hip Hop culture?  Also what is Hip Hop Theatre verses “regular” theatre…and how does this “Remix” differ from the original story- including “Chinchilla” as Cinderella’s side kick, a stepbrother instead of 2 stepsisters, and no glass slipper or romantic ending. To borrow from one of the play’s own songs, is Cinderella:The Remix SupaFreshCrazyHotFlyBeautiful? Well, you may have to see it for yourself to know for sure, but in the meantime listen to the interview this Thurs 12:30p ET on SiriusXM ch 141 “The Scene” to judge.  You can also take a sneak peak of the production below. It runs at Imagination Stage in Bethesda until May 25th.

Nikki Strong

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Her energy is infectious! "Edutainment" is her specialty. When Nikki Strong is on, you know you will get caught up in what's going down (and learn something new too)! From Soft Rock to Hip-Hop, Gospel to World music, Nikki's 15+ year radio career involves working in various capacities and formats. Currently Nikki serves as Producer of the Hang Suite on Saturday nights and the go-to Talent whenever anyone takes vacation time or needs a fun host for a remote event. She also host the news and entertainment show "The Scene" on SiriusXM 141 H.U.R. voices Thursdays at 12:30p. Engaging and informative, this Harlem native loves to have a good time with great music! One of her most fulfilling gigs was giving birth to the "Neo-Soul" channel, The Flow, at XM Satellite Radio where she worked as Music Director. She also served as Music Director and Air Talent for the World Music station XM100 WorldZone and then went on to help build an international Hip Hop music station for WorldSpace Satellite Radio. These last two positions, in particular, enabled Nikki to experience first hand how impactful African American culture, especially Soul, Hip Hop and Jazz have been on music from all over the world. Off air, Nikki loves the theater arts and also works as an actress/dancer/singer and voice over artist. She also teaches dance to youth in the DMV area. Occasionally you may catch her substitute teaching a Ballet, Modern or Jazz class for adults at several of the local dance studios, or flexing her acting chops on stage at one of DC's great theatres. Nikki is proud that DC has been her home for over 10 years. She is excited and honored to be a member of the WHUR family and its rich legacy.

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