Opera Australia and John Frost have announced that they are collaborating again to stage Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Cinderella, having previously staged the legendary duo’s musicals The King And I and South Pacific. It will be the first time that the show has been staged professionally in Australia.
Cinderella is the only musical that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote for television, creating it as a vehicle for Julie Andrews. It aired on CBS on March 31, 1957 and was viewed by more than 100 million people. It was subsequently remade for television in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren in the title role, with Ginger Rogers and Walter Pidgeon as the King and Queen, and again 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.
Santino Fontana and Laura Osnes as the Prince and Cinderella in the 2013 Broadway production. Photograph © Carol Rosegg
The musical has been adapted for the stage in various iterations, including a pantomime version in London’s West End and a New York Opera production that closely followed the original television version. Opera Australia and John Frost will be presenting the 2013 Broadway production, directed by Mark Brokaw, which featured a new book by Douglas Carter Beane. The score includes the best-known songs from the original version, among them, In My Own Little Corner, Impossible/It’s Possible and Ten Minutes Ago, as well as four others from the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalogue including Now is the Time, a rousing number calling for social change which was cut from South Pacific.
Beane added messages about self-esteem and self-empowerment to his new book. He replaced the King and Queen with other characters, while his Cinderella was “no positive damsel waiting for a rescuing knight,” as Ben Brantley put it in his review for The New York Times. “She takes charge of her destiny, so much so that she doesn’t lose that glass slipper; she hands it to the prince.”
The lush production features the story’s iconic elements including the pumpkin and the glass slipper, plenty of dazzling costumes, and some stunning on-stage transformations.
Reviews were mixed. Brantley 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”.
Details of the Australian production including dates, venues and casting will be announced at a later date.
A wait list for tickets is available at the show’s website