Entertainment :: Music

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella -- Original Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday Jun 4, 2013
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Over fifty years after Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein created "Cinderella" for CBS television to broadcast starring Julie Andrews, their take on that most famous of rags-to-riches stories has finally been adapted for the Broadway stage. Billed as "Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella," the score for this family-friendly tale is now available in all digital formats from Ghostlight Records.

Any one old enough to explain what they are watching on a TV screen knows the basic story: the poor girl stuck living with her cruel stepmother and two stepsisters receives that opportunistic visit from her fairy godmother, who hooks her up with the quality duds (and befitting transportation) necessary to acclimate herself to the area prince, who just happens to be throwing a ball to help him scope out the local ladies for a wife.

The free ride, however, comes with (the always unexplained) terms: the magic only lasts until midnight, when all the frills expire. The prince finds the girl’s glass slipper (which, for some reason, doesn’t change back with the other items), searches the kingdom for its owner, who has stolen his heart, and when he finds her, they live happily ever after.

Rodgers and Hammerstein gave Andrews their traditionally high standard of material (pre-"Sound of Music") for their "live" televised musical, including "In My Own Little Corner" and "A Lovely Night." Fast forward to the present day, and Laura Osnes ("Grease," "Anything Goes") is perfectly cast as "Ella."

Osnes’ voice is well-suited for the classic ingĂ©nue in the Great White Way debut of R&H’s heroine, as are the Tony Award-winning tandem of Victoria Clark ("Light in the Piazza") as Marie, Ella’s fairy godmother, and Harriet Harris ("Thoroughly Modern Millie") as "Madame," the 21st century, politically correct, not-so-evil, stepmother.

Santino Fontana is the princely eye-candy known as "Topher," who is apparently more comfortable solving the violent conflicts of the world (dragons, gargoyles, etc.), than deciding on his bride-to-be, until he sees her with the glass slipper on her foot.

Douglas Carter Beane was hired to expand the show to a more traditional Broadway length, and fortunately relied on the interpolation of several deleted songs from other Rodgers and Hammerstein pieces ("Me, Who Am I?" "Now Is The Time" and a nice solo for Marie featured in the 1997 Whitney Houston adaptation, "There’s Music In You") to fill out the script.

"Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella," is a no-brainer for the family looking for a break from the debate of whether a Broadway show has questionable material in it, and this new recording offers the equivalent mental respite.

"Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Original Broadway Cast Recording)"
Richard Rodgers / Oscar Hammerstein II / Laura Osnes
CD and digital formats
Ghostlight Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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