DISNEY LIVE! MICKEY’S ROCKIN’ ROAD SHOW
Saturday, January 19
WIN Entertainment Centre
When it comes to princess fantasies, Cinderella takes the cake for having it all. From humble beginnings as a servant to her wicked stepmother and stepsisters, she manages to bag the boy, a fairy godmother, a crown and a pretty fantastic pair of heels.
Whether or not you think the perfect princess is a good role model, it's hard to deny many little girls' dream of a similar ending after watching the Disney classic.
Except for the woman playing her in the current Disney tour.
Meredith Baldwin, now 29, says while she liked the character well enough growing up, her favourite princesses had a little more edge.
"I know a lot of girls dream of being Cinderella, but I was not one of them. My favourites were Jasmine from Aladdin and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I liked them because they didn't need a man to rescue them and they stood up for themselves and spoke their minds," she says.
But she understands the appeal of one of the franchise's original royals and has fun bringing her to life.
"It's such a quintessential story that you find your Prince Charming and have a fairy godmother that comes and takes care of you and, of course, you get the ballgown, the glass slippers - it's so many fantasy ideas rolled into one."
Baldwin is taking on the part of Cinderella in Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show, which has been touring the world for three years. Rather than a simple retelling, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy hit the road to find performers for a talent show. They see Cinderella singing in her sisters' shoe shop, play around with Tigger from Winnie the Pooh and start a hoedown with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, enlisting all for the talent quest.
Baldwin has been with the show since July and says the best thing about her role is seeing the reaction of the kids when she comes on stage in her glass slippers and ballgown.
To prepare, the California-born performer watched Cinderella for the first time since she was a child.
"I actually cried ... It's very heart-warming. I watched how she carries herself, how she walks, dances and, of course, how she talks to people."
But the fact everyone in the audience has also seen the film can make it a challenge to portray the well-loved character.
"So many people think of Cinderella as the quintessential princess, so it's also the hardest part being Cinderella, because everybody knows how she should look and how she should act, and they know the story."
Growing up only 15 minutes from Disneyland California and working as an entertainer at several of the theme parks around the world has made Baldwin very aware of how large a part Disney characters can play in a child's life as they grow up.
"I know how much it has touched my life and it is a pleasure to bring these characters to other people."