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Cinderella

Cover to original cast recording

Music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

A television musical with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, adapted from the fairy tale 'Cendrillon, ou la Petite Pantoufle de Vair', by Charles Perrault; music by Richard Rodgers. Presented by the CBS-TV Network, 31 March, 1957 with Julie Andrews (Cinderella), Jon Cypher (the Prince), Howard Lindsay (the King), Dorothy Stickney (the Queen) and Edith Adams (Godmother). Opened at the Coliseum, London, 18 December, 1958 with Yana, Bruce Trent, Jimmy Edwards, Enid Lowe, Betty Marsden and Tommy Steele. Remade for television by the CBSTV Network, 22 February, 1965 with Lesley Anne Warren, Stuart Damon, Waiter Pidgeon and Celeste Holm.

Synopsis

Originally presented as a television extravaganza, this famous fairy tale has been re-fashioned and set to music by two great masters of the musical. The characters are given greater depth plus a more human quality, and it is only through Cinderella's innocent faith in a miracle that allows her wish to go to the ball to come true. Musical highlights include "In My Own Little Corner", "A Lovely Night", "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" and "Impossible".

Story

Act I "THE PRINCE IS GIVING A BALL", the herald announces in the city square, and all the female population is agog. Among them are Joy and Portia (not referred to as the Ugly Sisters, though their temperaments make them well suited to the title), their Mother, and their stepsister Cinderella, who is laden with all the parcels they are taking home from a shopping expedition. Once home, they bully and order Cinderella about, and she does all the jobs uncomplainingly until at last they go up to bed and she can sit quietly in her favourite chair by the fire (IN MY OWN LITTLE CORNER).

The King and Queen are arguing about the ball which she has ordered for the Prince's 21st birthday, and she is giving him a hard time. The Chef and Steward recite the colossal amount of food that will be needed for the dinner (YOUR MAJESTIES). The King asks his son the Prince whether he is happy and gets an affirmative answer, but the Prince is not looking forward much to all the would-be-Princesses who will be at the ball. His father persuades him to pretend to his mother that he is looking forward to it and the Queen, who has overheard their little plot, is touched and reminds her husband that she loves him (BOYS AND GIRLS LIKE YOU AND ME).

Cinderella sees her overdressed stepmother and stepsisters off to the ball: she daydreams in her little corner, but her Godmother comes by and listens impatiently to Cinderella's fantasies about a pumpkin coach, plus all the trimmings, that would take her to the ball. It's IMPOSSIBLE, sings Godmother, but when Cinderella's wishing-power becomes irresistible, she gives in and the great transformation takes place by magic. We know that Godmother has all that magic talent, because she entered the house through the window and made several interesting things appear with a wave of the hand, so of course she can, and does, provide all the traditional equipage in which Cinderella goes off to the ball.

Act II Cinderella arrives at 11.30. The ball is a bit flat, the Prince is bored with a succession of girls which the footmen present to him and dance with (including Joy and Portia, after their mother has bribed the footmen), but everyone stops when the radiant Cinderella makes her entrance. The Prince dances with her and they instantly fall in love (Ten Minutes Ago). Joy and Portia see them arm-in-arm and are furious (Stepsister's Lament), though naturally they do not recognise their stepsister. In the ballroom, the Grand Waltz is played and danced with much more animation. The Prince declares his love for Cinderella (Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?), but their tender scene is interrupted by the clock chiming midnight and her frightened escape from the palace, leaving her glass slipper as she goes.

Act III The next morning, Cinderella is serving breakfast to her mother, Joy and Portia. Having heard their reports of the ball, she pretends to imagine what it might he like going there (When You're Driving Through the Moonlight), arriving and entering the ball and dancing with the Prince (A Lovely Night). The others are carried away by her graphic description and sing their own wacky version of A Lovely Night.

The Prince is determined to find the owner of the slipper, despite his mother's serious warning that a girl he only met for a few minutes may not be the one he should spend the rest of his life with. The Herald tries many feet in the city square and searches the houses, but Cinderella is not in her house at all, so after her stepmother and stepsisters have each tried in vain to make the slipper fit them, their frantic efforts to keep the Herald away were actually not needed. Cinderella is in the Palace garden and is found by the Prince, who is dejected at the lack of success in the quest and throws the slipper away. Happily the Godmother (hidden in the bushes) catches it and replaces it on the bench next to the Prince, just as he remembers he should try it on Cinderella. Of course it fits and our show ends with a resplendent wedding, in which the Godmother reminds us that "impossible things are happening every day".

Musical Numbers

Act I

  1. "Overture" (instrumental)
  2. "The Prince Is Giving a Ball" (Herald and Chorus)
  3. "Cinderella March" (instrumental)
  4. "In My Own Little Corner" (Cinderella)
  5. "The Prince Is Giving a Ball" (Reprise) (Chorus)
  6. "Your Majesties" (Royal Dressing Room Scene) (King, Queen, Chef, Steward)
  7. "In My Own Little Corner" (Reprise) (Cinderella)
  8. "Impossible; It's Possible" (Cinderella and Fairy Godmother)

Act II

  1. "Gavotte" (instrumental)
  2. "Ten Minutes Ago I Saw You" (Prince and Cinderella)
  3. "Stepsisters' Lament" (Stepsisters)
  4. "Waltz for a Ball" (instrumental and Chorus)
  5. "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" (Prince and Cinderella)
  6. "Never In a Thousand Years" (eventually omitted from the production)

Act III

  1. "When You're Driving Through the Moonlight" (Cinderella, Stepmother, Stepsisters)
  2. "A Lovely Night" (Cinderella, Stepmother, Stepsisters)
  3. "The Search" (instrumental)
  4. "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" (reprise) (Prince)
  5. "Wedding" (instrumental)
  6. "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" (reprise) (Chorus)

Cast

4 men, 6 women, chorus

CINDERELLA

A very meek and obedient Cinderella, with never a moment's complaining, but an enormous talent for wishing hard for 'impossible things to happen'.

STEPMOTHER

Just as we should expect, but with occasional flashes of understanding, until she remembers the main purpose of her life - to marry off her horrible daughters.

JOY

A sourpuss with little intelligence.

PORTIA

A goofy girl with a fatuous laugh and no intelligence whatsoever.

GODMOTHER

A most original creation: extremely pragmatic and no-nonsense, she is capable of being swept away by Cinderella's wishing-power, and is always there at the right moment.

THE KING

A hard-up grouch who at least has the grace to wish his son as happy in marriage as he is.

THE QUEEN

Quite serious and domineering, but affectionate to her fuddy-duddy husband.

THE PRINCE

Everybody's ideal Prince Charming.

HERALD, CHEF, STEWARD, COACHMAN, FOOTMAN, GUARDS, MINISTER, BALL GUESTS, TOWNSPEOPLE and CHILDREN

Instrumentation;

2 flutes (2nd db. piccolo), oboe, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, 3 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 percussion, harp, piano db. celeste, strings


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