MARK KENNEDY, AP Drama Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The actress playing Cinderella on tour has something much more precious than a pair of sparkly slippers waiting backstage. She’s got a bouncing baby boy.
Paige Faure, a Broadway veteran and current star of “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” is the new mom to Hank, a happy 20-month old who has joined her on the road for the next several months.
“It takes a lot of balance and a lot of coffee,” Faure said last week from the tour’s kickoff in Providence, Rhode Island. “It’s definitely hard but very rewarding.”
The tour is now in Florida and plans stops in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Iowa and South Carolina.
Little Hank can count both his parents as Broadway stars. Faure’s husband is Adam Monley, who plays the Bishop of Digne and understudies Javert in Broadway’s “Les Miserables.” The couple squeeze in time with Hank whenever possible.
“It’s really an incredible time for both of us right now,” Faure said. “He’s still so small and basically made of rubber at this age. He’s able to roll with anything.”
Faure, who was raised in Atlanta, had small parts in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Bullets Over Broadway” and was in national tours of “Aida,” ”Little Women,” ”Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “A Chorus Line.”
Her history with Cinderella is long, starting in 8th grade when she played the Fairy Godmother. “I know both sides of the show now. I have a very deep understanding,” she joked.
For the Broadway reboot, she initially played Cinderella for Josh Rhodes when he was auditioning to choreograph the show. After he was chosen, Faure was to be Laura Osnes’ understudy on Broadway. Then she found out during workshops that she was pregnant.
“His due date was opening night,” she said.
Faure returned to “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” for a three-month stint as Cinderella on Broadway before leading the tour, making the role her own at last.
“It’s been really fun to rediscover it and find different layers that I didn’t have before. It’s kind of funny to think that Broadway prepared me for the tour,” she said.
The traditional fairy tale was given a sly and witty makeover by Douglas Carter Beane, who updated the story to make Cinderella — rechristened Ella here — a stronger young woman, but kept the songs by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, which include “In My Own Little Corner” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”
“Very immediately it seemed to be to be about empowerment and about finding who you are, social justice and standing up for what you believe in,” Faure said. “It’s important that we tour with this show. I think it’s a message people need to hear.”