Corny but cute, Cindy Eller an interpretation of the Cinderella story set in modern-day New York City succeeds on the strength of the acting, by a cast that includes Melanie Mayron, Jennifer Grey, Sylvia Miles, and Pearl Bailey.
Kyra Sedgwick stars as the beautiful Cindy Eller, a 15-year-old from Maine. After her mother dies, Cindy moves to New York to live with her father (played by Stephen Keep), her stepmother (Mayron), and her stepsisters (Grey and Kelly Wolf). The siblings, of course, dislike Cindy and make fun of her. Grey and Wolf, whose characters are given to garish makeup and bizarre fashions, make the stepsisters deliciously wicked. They’re desperate to win the attention of handsome Gregory Prince III (hey, we said it was corny). We first see him, dressed in white (the only color he ever wears), riding his horse (white again!) through a park. An eccentric street person, delightfully portrayed by Bailey, acts as fairy godmother by arranging for Prince (Grant Show) to meet Cindy and helping her prepare for the fancy ball she attends at his house. The biggest surprise here is that the director, Lee Grant, could take a fairy tale everyone knows, give it a contemporary twist, and come up with a production this appealing. B+