In February 2020, Opera Australia and the Gordon Frost Organisation announced plans to co-produce Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, having previously staged the legendary duo’s musicals The King And I and South Pacific. At that point venues, dates and casting were still to be announced. Then COVID happened.

Today, they announced that the fairytale musical will open at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in November 2021. It will be the first time that the show has been staged professionally in Australia. The Australian premiere is being supported by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes in the original Broadway cast of Cinderella. Photograph © Carol Rosegg

The news about Cinderella follows hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that OA is joining forces with the Really Useful Group to stage Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera at the Sydney Opera House in September.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella (also known simply as Cinderella) was written for television. Featuring songs including In My Own Little Corner, Impossible; It’s Possible, Ten Minutes Ago and Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?, it debuted in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance. More than 100 million viewers saw the broadcast, more people than any other program in the history of television at the time.

Cinderella was re-made for television in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren in the title role. A further television remake followed in 1997 with Brandy as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Bernadette Peters as the Stepmother, Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen and Jason Alexander as Lionel.

The stage version made its long-awaited Broadway debut in January 2013, featuring a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and extra songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon. Directed by Mark Brokaw, reviews for the lavish production were mixed. Ben Brantley in The New York Times called it “a glittery patchwork of a show” that “wants to be reassuringly old-fashioned and refreshingly irreverent, sentimental and snarky, sincere and ironic, all at once”, while USA Today described it as “a scrumptious trifle that, for all its hokey moments, will charm theatregoers of all ages”.

The musical ran on Broadway for two years and received nine Tony Award nominations, winning one for Best Costume Design.

“Rodgers & Hammerstein have written some of the most beautiful scores in musical theatre including The Sound of Music, Carousel and Oklahoma, and we’re thrilled to continue our association with this lush and romantic new production,” said John Frost and Lyndon Terracini, producers of the forthcoming Australian production.

“Featuring incredible orchestrations, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love from the classic story, you’ll be transported back to your childhood and also be delighted by the contemporary twists. Auditions are coming up, and we can’t wait to find our Cinderella, Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming, Stepmother and all the other characters for this hilarious and romantic tale.”

Cinderella will play at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in November. Tickets will go on sale on 30 April with pre-sales from 26 April. A waitlist is available now

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