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'Plexiglass Slipper' a fractured fairy tale

The less said about The Plexiglass Slipper, the better. The musical based on the Cinderella story, now playing at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, is a flop, except for a terrific set and costumes by Eduardo Sicangco.

It's especially disappointing because the previous effort by Scott Warrender (music) and Jim Luigs (book and lyrics), Das Barbecu, a country-western spoof of Wagner's Ring cycle, had been such a delight.

But the pair seem to be going through the motions this time around, with songs drearily derivative of other musicals (a little Into the Woods here, some Les Miserables there, etc.).

Nor do they come up with anything new on the fairy tale, which is tedious in the staging by Danny Scheie. Typically lame are the Stepsisters, played in drag by Joshua Rowan and Jaime Tintor, who have a running joke on passing wind.

The concept gets off to a rickety start with the opening scene at the Fairy Godmothers' union hall and goes downhill.

It might have helped if the cast included some competent singers, but alas, this was not to be. Only Kris Danford as Cinderella and her Prince, Ned Noyes, acquit themselves passably well.

Top billed is Wanda Richert as the Queen. In 1980, Richert played the ingenue in 42nd Street on Broadway, and she has a tap dance number here that adds nothing to the show.

The one consolation is Sicangco's flashy design, but as they say, you can't leave the theater humming the scenery.

The Plexiglass Slipper runs in rotating repertory through Jan. 4. $18-$53. (941) 351-8000 or toll-free 1-800-361-8388; www.asolo.org.

AIDS Benefit: The St. Petersburg Men's Chorus sings Seasons of Love in its debut at tonight's World AIDS Day benefit at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. Betty, the band that performs the theme song of TV's The L Word, headlines the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. $15. Proceeds go to AIDS Partnership Inc. Bring an unwrapped gift for an afflicted child.

Rescheduled Recital : Pianist Leonidas Lipovetsky's recital of Mozart sonatas scheduled for tonight has been moved to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church, 3501 San Jose St., Tampa. $10.

John Fleming can be reached at (727) 893-8716 or fleming@sptimes.com.

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