Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, a television adaptation of the classic fairy tale, first aired in 1957. But until this year, the songwriting duo’s take on the story of the glass slipper has never been on Broadway. Douglas Carter Beane wrote a new book for the musical that updates and fleshes out the characters for a thoroughly modern take on the tale.
So why did it take so long for this adaptation to hit the stage? Music supervisor David Chase tells Soundcheck host John Schaefer that after the wild success of the original broadcast -- seen by over 100 million people -- it was talked about having a Broadway version. "They went down that path a little bit," Chase explains, but ultimately the project was derailed when the producers went to other things.
Osnes, on the new adaptation’s modern portrayal of Cinderella:
I would say that our Cinderella, in our version, is known for her kindness and generosity and her charity. She cares about everyone else before herself. Yet she still is a dreamer and she longs to be in a better situation than she is right now with her step family, who doesn’t care for her. She’s a little more independent, and she has big dreams and she goes for them. She’s not quite as meek and mild as other Cinderella.
Fontana, on playing a prince with problems of his own:
The Prince is actually in a very similar situation to Cinderella. He’s also an orphan. His parents had both passed away when he was a child, he went off to school, and now he’s just returned from school and he’s supposed to be becoming king very, very soon. So he has these huge high stakes and he’s scared to death about that and also doesn’t know who he’s supposed to be.
Chase, on Cinderella’s making use of discarded Rodgers and Hammerstein tunes, or “trunk songs:”
What’s brilliant about the writing of Rodgers and Hammerstein is they always came first from a character perspective. One of the reasons why they rarely had trunk songs is that they really did their homework and figured out where songs should be and what they need to accomplish…. Those songs are all there the way that we know them, the way that we remember them, fulfilling all those same character functions.