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?
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.