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Cinderella Forum


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Tony Winner
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Never seen it. Before auditions for my school's Cinderella production, everybody else was watching it constantly, but I didn't have to...my singing teacher scored me a copy of the Julie Andrews TV special! (Not that it helped much).

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Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:36 pm
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Heh, we're doing Cinderella at the Ogunquit Playhouse and Paulo is our Prince. I have to say he's pretty good! I haven't seen the film though, but I know we've taken some of what was in the film and added it to our production.

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Thu Aug 24, 2006 7:32 am
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The best version is with Lesley Ann Warren. I hated the Brandy one.


Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:10 pm
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Post Cinderella
When I first saw the 1997 television production of Cinderella, I had heard very little about it. At that time, I knew very little about the two previous incarnations - with Julie Andrews in 1957 and Lesley Ann Warren in 1965. In fact, I had seen only clips of the former, while I had been somewhat unimpressed by the latter when I had taken the soundtrack album out of the library. Seeing this newer version, with Brandy Norman, brought the material to life with me and has, over the past decade, given me great pleasure each time I have revisited it.

I find Brandy very compelling in the central role. Yes, she has a contemporary edge to her voice, the appropriateness of which has been debated with fervour on musical theatre boards over the years. But, like everything else in this version, singing in a traditional musical theatre style is by no means a hard and fast rule to be followed. And Brandy delivers where is counts - she creates a character in whom you can believe and for whom you really root.

She is supported by some very able performers. Paolo Montalban is a handsome prince with a pleasant singing voice, and gives his duets Norwood (the exuberant "Ten Minutes Ago" and the remarkably perceptive "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?")with an immediacy that really reflects the sudden journey from strangers to lovers that is a trademark of the Cinderella story. The stepfamily - with Broadway diva Bernadette Peters as the Stepmother and Veanne Cox and Natalie Desselle as the stepsisters - manage their comic supporting roles well, with Peters delivering a knockout "Falling in Love With Love", a classic Rodgers and Hart song added to the score for this adaptation. The trio are also superb when that combine with Brandy in the recollection of the ball in "When You're Driving Through the Moonlight" (sadly cut down here) and "A Lovely Night".

There are only two performances that don't really work well in the telefilm. Whitney Housten, as the Godmother, is just in a completely different film that is all about Whitney Housten. Although delivering a pop-vocal in a similar style to Brandy, Housten's performance grates against the score where Brandy's remains bound by the given circumstances of her character. Jason Alexander, in an attempt to characterise a characterless role, falls back on the trick of an accent to do the job for him and then forces the humour, and particularly the physical comedy, to such an extent that he isn't particularly funny.

The direction, by Robert Iscove, keeps things moving along swiftly but is by no means masterful, particularly when one considers the moments that don't quite work - the aforementioned physical comedy from Alexander, for example. The choreography, by Rob Marshall, is a highlight of telefilm and the musical staging and choreography is wonderfully executed - particularly in the ballroom sequence.

Robert L. Freedman's adaptation of Oscar Hammerstein's teleplay (as well as the other adaptations thereof) conceives some fine moments, particularly in the ballroom scene where the dialogue between Cinderella and the Prince is far less sticky while remaining blatantly sentimental. It does miss others, however: for instance, the arc of the Queen's character seems to miss a few beats between her original appearance and the reprise of "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?".

The score remains fairly intact. The biggest adaptation to the existing score is the combination of the shameless establishing exposition number "The Prince is Giving a Ball" and the pretty pointless, one-joke, lame duck of a list song, "Your Majesties". This works really well, particularly because the revised number now incorporates (however fleetingly) Cinderella and the stepfamily, making it somewhat more deserving of it's "stage time".

Of the three additions to the score, "The Sweetest Sounds" probably works the best and forms the basis of a scene that gives the teleplay a lovely symmetry. "Falling In Love With Love" is nothing but a showcase for Bernadette Peters, excused as a number that helps to create sympathy for the Stepmother. But it's never really explored, nor is the need to create sympathy for a character that has a couple of moments where she says some truly detestable things to her stepdaughter. The final addition, for the Godmother, is "There's Music In You" is really just a moment where Housten's pop vocals clash horrendously with the song and its regal orchestral arrangement. This probably would have worked better being sung by a "Hollywood chorus" as the wedding took place onscreen.

Overall, I still enjoy this version of Cinderella when I pop it into the DVD player. It's a modest entertainment as most made for TV musicals are. But it has magic. And great songs. And the world always needs more of both.

Later days
David

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Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:41 am
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The only part of the movie that I really enjoyed was "The Stepsisters' Lament."

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Sun Apr 15, 2007 3:39 pm
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I liked the movie - sure, it's not perfect, but Bernadette is fantastic and I really liked Brandy. I'm not keen on Paolo Montalban though - for some reason he didn't click for me.

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Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:51 pm
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I absolutely loved all their socks! Hehe.
I did like it, it wasn't the best version ever, but I wouldn't call it bad. It was just a typically cutesy TV musical IMO. Not bad but not deserving an award.

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Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:07 pm
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how in hell dfoes a white king and a black queen have a hispanic son???!

sorry the whole version was miscast except Garber and the step sisters.

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Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:11 pm
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Salome wrote:
how in hell dfoes a white king and a black queen have a hispanic son???!

I actually liked that they cast it so (for lack of a better word) internationally. I mean, I know it's not 'real' but I loved how that didn't matter to them. Races shouldn't matter.

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Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:16 pm
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races shouldnt matter in some cases..but its absurd to have a hispanic son of a white man and black woman. if at least one parent was hispanic it would make sense..its totally stupid the way they cast it. colorblind casting only goes so far.

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Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:18 pm
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I disagree. Musicals aren't real life (Especially not Cinderella :lol: ) and for me and most of my friends it's just not something you think about for more than a second.
Now I don't want this to turn into some big debate, so let's agree to disagree, shall we?

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Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:11 pm
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Well if you insist. but it was still moronic!

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