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Cinderella (1997 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Cind 1997.jpg
Cover of the film's DVD release, featuring Houston and Brandy in costume as their respective characters.
Based on Cendrillon
by Charles Perrault
Cinderella by Oscar Hammerstein II
Written by Robert L. Freedman
Directed by Robert Iscove
Starring Whitney Houston
Jason Alexander
Whoopi Goldberg
Bernadette Peters
Veanne Cox
Natalie Desselle
Victor Garber
Paolo Montalban
Theme music composer Richard Rodgers
Oscar Hammerstein II
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Producer(s) Whitney Houston
Debra Martin Chase
Craig Zadan
Neil Meron
Robyn Crawford
David R. Ginsburg
Running time 88 min
Production company(s) Walt Disney Television
BrownHouse Productions
Storyline Entertainment
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Budget $12 million
Original network ABC
Original release November 2, 1997

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella[1] (also known as simply Cinderella)[2][3][4] is a 1997 American musical fantasy television film[5] produced by Walt Disney Television, directed by Robert Iscove and written by Robert L. Freedman. Based on the French fairy tale by Charles Perrault, the film is the second remake and third version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's television musical, which originally aired in 1957. The film tells the story of a young woman who is mistreated by her stepfamily until her fairy godmother encourages and enables her to attend the kingdom's ball, where she meets and ultimately falls in love with the prince.[6] Adapted from Oscar Hammerstein II's book, Freedman modernized the script in order to appeal to more contemporary audiences by updating its main characters and themes, while remaining faithful to the original material. Co-produced by Whitney Houston, who also appears as Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, the film stars Brandy in the titular role and features a racially diverse cast that consists of Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, Veanne Cox, Natalie Desselle, Victor Garber and Paolo Montalban.

Following the success of the 1993 television adaptation of the stage musical Gypsy (1959), Houston approached Gypsy's producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron about producing and starring in a remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella for CBS. However, development on the project was continuously delayed, during which time the network ultimately became disinterested. By the time the film was greenlit by Disney and ABC several years later, Houston felt that she had since outgrown the role of Cinderella and offered it to Brandy in favor of playing the character's Fairy Godmother instead. The decision to use a color-blind approach to casting the film's characters originated among the producers as a means of reflecting the ways in which society had evolved by the 1990s, with Brandy becoming the first black actress to portray Cinderella on screen. Among the most significant changes made to the musical, several songs from other Rodgers and Hammerstein productions were interpolated into the film to augment its original score, including new musical material for Peters, Brandy, Montalban and Houston's characters. With a production budget of $12 million, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella ranks among the most expensive films ever made for television.

Heavily promoted to re-launch the anthology series The Wonderful World of Disney, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella premiered on ABC on November 2, 1997 to generally lukewarm reviews from entertainment critics. While most reviewers praised the film's costumes, set and supporting cast, particularly the performances of Peters, Alexander, Goldberg and Montalban, television critics were divided over Brandy and Houston's acting, as well as Disney's more feminist approach to the title character. Cinderella was a large ratings success, airing to 60 million viewers and establishing itself as the most-watched television musical in decades. The telecast remained the most-watched program of the entire week, earning ABC its highest Sunday-night ratings in 10 years. This version earned an Emmy Award and an Art Directors Guild Award.


Cinderella's Fairy Godmother (Whitney Houston) explains that nothing is impossible in this magical kingdom. In the village, Cinderella (Brandy) struggles under the weight of the purchases of her ill-tempered Stepmother (Bernadette Peters) and her spiteful stepsisters Minerva (Natalie Desselle-Reid) and Calliope (Veanne Cox). Cinderella's imagination wanders ("The Sweetest Sounds"). Disguised as a peasant, Prince Christopher (Paolo Montalban) is also strolling through the marketplace. The two meet when the Prince rushes over to help Cinderella after she is nearly run over by the royal carriage. They begin to talk and realize they are both dissatisfied with their sheltered lives. She is charmed by his sincere, direct nature, while he is drawn to her naïve honesty and purity. Their conversation is cut off when Cinderella's Stepmother scolds her for talking to a stranger. The Prince reluctantly leaves, but tells Cinderella that he hopes to see her again.

Back at the palace, the Prince tries to explain his sense of isolation to his loyal valet Lionel (Jason Alexander), who frantically upbraids him for his clandestine venture into the village. He learns that his mother Queen Constantina (Whoopi Goldberg) is making preparations for a ball where he is to select a suitable bride from all the eligible maidens in the kingdom. The Prince wishes to fall in love the old-fashioned way; his father King Maximilian (Victor Garber) seems to understand, but the Queen will not listen, and dispatches Lionel to proclaim that "The Prince is Giving a Ball." Meanwhile, the Stepmother is determined to see one of her graceless, obnoxious and self-indulgent daughters chosen as the Prince's bride at the ball; she begins to plan their big night. Cinderella wonders if she, too, might go to the Prince's ball. Finding the idea humorous, Stepmother reminds Cinderella of her lowly station and warns against dreams of joy, success, and splendor. Disappointed, Cinderella dreams of a world away from her cold and loveless life ("In My Own Little Corner").

While the preparations for the ball are underway, the Prince confronts his parents, who refuse to cancel it. Using his diplomatic skills, Lionel creates a compromise between the Prince and his parents: the Prince will go to the ball, but if he doesn't meet a suitable bride that night then he gets to seek his true love in his own way. At the same time, Stepmother drills Minerva and Calliope on how to ensnare the Prince and warns them to hide their flaws at all costs. As Cinderella questions the meaning of love and romance, Stepmother reminds the girls that going to the ball has nothing to do with finding love and everything to do with getting a husband by any means necessary ("Falling in Love With Love"). On the big night, Stepmother, Minerva and Calliope depart for the palace in their garish gowns and leave a teary-eyed Cinderella home alone.

In response to Cinderella's tearful wish to go to the ball, the beautiful Fairy Godmother appears and encourages Cinderella to start living her dreams ("Impossible"). She transforms a pumpkin into a gilded carriage, rats into a coachman and footmen, mice into regal horses, and Cinderella's simple clothes into a gorgeous blue gown with a bejeweled tiara and glass slippers. The Fairy Godmother cautions Cinderella that magic spells have time limits, and she must leave the palace before the stroke of midnight. Cinderella finally begins to believe "It's Possible" for her dreams to come true.

At the ball, Lionel dutifully delivers eligible maidens to the Prince on the dance floor, and Stepmother fiendishly schemes behind the scenes on behalf of her daughters. The Prince is unimpressed by Minerva, who breaks out in an itchy rash, and Calliope, who snorts uncontrollably at everything the Prince says. Suddenly, Cinderella appears at the top of the staircase, and the Prince has eyes only for her. Soon they are waltzing together ("Ten Minutes Ago"), and the "Stepsisters Lament" over their bad luck. The King and Queen are intrigued by this mysterious princess. Embarrassed by their questions about her background, Cinderella escapes to the garden in tears, where Fairy Godmother magically appears for moral support. The Prince follows Cinderella into the garden and the pair wonders if their newfound love is real ("Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"). Just as they share their first kiss, the tower clock begins to strike midnight. Cinderella flees before her gown changes back into rags, leaving behind on the palace steps a single clue to her identity: a sparkling glass slipper. The Prince tries to follow her but gets held up by the crowd at the ball.

Stepmother and the Stepsisters return home telling exaggerated stories about their glorious adventures with the Prince. They speak in envious tones of a mysterious "Princess Something-or-other" who, they concede, also captured the Prince's attention. When Cinderella "imagines" how an evening at the ball would be "A Lovely Night", Stepmother recognizes her as the mystery princess. She coldly reminds Cinderella that she is common-born and should stop dreaming about a life that she will never have. In the face of such cruelty, a devastated Cinderella prays to her late father for the strength to find a happier life. Her Fairy Godmother reappears and advises her to share her feelings with the Prince.

Meanwhile, Lionel and the heartbroken Prince seek the maiden who lost the glass slipper, but none of the eligible female feet in the kingdom measure up. The Prince and Lionel finally arrive at the Stepmother's cottage. The Stepsisters and even Stepmother try to fit their feet into the delicate slipper, but to no avail. As the dispirited Prince prepares to leave, he finds Cinderella attempting to run away, only to have her baggage trampled by the royal coach. He recognizes her from their first meeting in the market and, knowing that he has finally found his true love, places the slipper on her foot: it fits.

Cinderella and the Prince marry under the approving eye of King Maximilian and Queen Constantina, as the gates of the palace slam shut on Cinderella's stepfamily; left outside as the Prince and his new Princess start their lives together. The Fairy Godmother blesses the royal couple with the message that "There's Music in You", as they are cheered by their joyful subjects.


Order of credits adapted from Variety magazine and the British Film Institute:[2][7]


Several songs were added to this version. "The Sweetest Sounds" from Rodgers' No Strings, was added, sung by Cinderella and the Prince. "There's Music in You," written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for the 1953 film Main Street to Broadway, was sung as the finale by the Fairy Godmother.[9][10]


Origins and development

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was the third screen version of the musical.[14][15] Rodgers and Hammerstein originally wrote Cinderella as a musical for television starring Julie Andrews, which aired in 1957 to 107 million viewers.[16] The telecast was later remade in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren,[17][18] which featured significant modifications from the original.[19] This adaptation aired annually on CBS from 1965 to 1972.[20] The idea to remake Cinderella for television a second time originated as early as 1992, at which time producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron first approached the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization about obtaining the rights to the material.[20] Further development was inspired by the success of CBS' television adaptation of the stage musical Gypsy (1993) starring Bette Midler,[21][22] which is credited with reviving interest in the television musical genre,[22] and Zadan and Meron had also produced.[23] The day after Gypsy's original broadcast, Houston's agent Nicole David contacted the producers to ask if they were interested in developing any similar musical projects starring her client,[11][24][25] to whom they suggested Cinderella with Houston playing the title role as it was originally intended to be a star vehicle for the singer.[13][17] CBS had originally intended to complete and air the film before the end of the 1994-1995 television season.[22] However, the project was continuously delayed; CBS grew disinterested in favor of other titles by 1996,[24] while Houston herself, who had already been committed to other film and music projects,[11][25] eventually aged to the point at which she no longer felt suitable for the role of Cinderella.[13] Houston explained that by the time she became a wife and mother herself, she was not "quite feeling like Cinderella", believing that portraying the signature innocence associated with the character would have required significant "reaching" for her as an actress.[8] Had Houston accepted the role, she would have become the first black actress to portray Cinderella.[22]

In addition to serving as an executive producer on the film, singer and actress Whitney Houston originally intended to play the role of Cinderella herself. However, feeling that she had outgrown the part by the time the film was greenlit, she opted to play the character's Fairy Godmother instead.
In addition to serving as an executive producer on the film, singer and actress Whitney Houston originally intended to play the role of Cinderella herself. However, feeling that she had outgrown the part by the time the film was greenlit, she opted to play the character's Fairy Godmother instead.

Disney was interested in using the project to relaunch The Wonderful World of Disney in 1997, a long-time variety program which had been dormant before.[26] After leaving CBC and relocating their production company Storyline Entertainment to Disney Studios, Zadan and Meron re-introduced the project to Houston.[13] Agreeing that role of Cinderella requires a certain "naivete ... that's just not there when you're 30-something",[11] they suggested that she play Cinderella's Fairy Godmother instead,[13] a role Houston accepted because it was a "less demanding" and required less time and effort to film.[27] For the lead role of Cinderella, Houston personally recommend her close friend, then 18-year-old singer Brandy,[13] in her first major film role;[28] she had been starring in the sitcom Moesha at the time.[25][29] Houston felt that Brandy possessed "the energy, the verve, the eyes, the wonder" to play the role convincingly, admitting that their relationship as godmother and goddaughter "comes off really well on-screen because it starts from real life."[8] Brandy, who identified "Cinderella" as her favorite childhood fairy tale,[25] became the first person of color to portray Cinderella,[11][30] with both Brandy and Houston becoming the first African-American actresses to play their respective roles in any screen adaptation of the fairy tale.[1][31]

Brandy likened being hand-picked for the role by someone whom she considers to be her mentor to a real-life fairy tale,[32] feeling that being cast simply "made sense" at the time because she ad already had both a singing and acting career, in addition to relating to the character of Cinderella "in so many ways."[33] The fact that the character is typically depicted as white did not discourage her from accepting the role or pursuing her dreams during her childhood.[34] Having grown up like most watching mainly Caucasian actresses portray Cinderella, Houston felt that 1997 was "a good time" to finally have a woman of color cast as the titular character, claiming the choice to use a multi-cultural cast "was a joint decision" among the producers.[35] Executive producer Debra Martin Chase, Houston's producing partner, explained that she and Houston had grown up watching and adoring Warren's portrayal of Cinderella but eventually "realized we never saw a person of color playing Cinderella", explaining, "To have a black Cinderella with a pretty face and braids is just something. I know it was important for Whitney to leave this legacy for her daughter."[31] Chase hoped that the film's reflection of a changing society "will touch every child and the child in every adult".[25] One Disney executive suggested that a white actor be cast as Cinderella, suggesting singer-songwriter Jewel, but the producers refused.[36]

Robert Iscove was enlisted as director,[20] with Chris Montan and Mike Moder co-producing alongside Zadan and Meron;[11] Houston was retained as an executive producer, alongside Chase.[13] The film was co-produced by Walt Disney Telefilms, Storyline Entertainment and Houston's own production company BrownHouse Productions,[20] becoming the latter's first project and Houston's debut as an executive producer.[8][25] The film has a total of five executive producers.[7] According to Zadan and Meron, Houston remained heavily involved in all of the film's production aspects despite being relegated to a supporting role, retaining approval over all creative elements, particularly the film's multiracial cast,[35] the first time the story was adapted for a multi-ethnic cast.[8] Zadan agreed that the film had been conceived as "multi-ethnic from the very beginning",[13] with the producers hoping that this would contribute to the film's "universal appeal" and interest children of all ethnicities.[11] Mary Rodgers and James Hammerstein, relatives of the original composers, also approved this casting decision, with Mary maintaining that the production remains "true to the original" despite contemporary modifications to its cast and score,[35] and James describing the film as "a total scrambled gene pool" and "one of the nicest fantasies one can imagine.''[13] James also believes Hammerstein would have approved of the color-blind casting, claiming he would have asked why the process took as long as it did.[20]


To complete the film's cast, the producers recruited performers from various facets of the entertainment industry, spanning Broadway, television, film and music.[37] Casting the Stepmother proved to be particularly difficult for the filmmakers, since the mostly white actresses they were interested in for the part felt uneasy about the prospect of acting cruel towards a black Cinderella; Bette Midler was among the several actresses who declined.[36] Bernadette Peters was ultimately cast as Cinderella's stepmother, her second major villainous role after having appeared in the original Broadway cast of the stage musical Into the Woods (1986) as the Witch.[38] Jason Alexander was cast as the prince's valet Lionel, an entirely new character created for the remake.[17] Alexander agreed to accept the role despite being paid significantly less than his salary for a single episode of the sitcom Seinfeld because, in addition to hoping to gain Zadan and Meron's favor for the title role in a potential upcoming film adaptation of the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, he hoped that Cinderella's success would positively impact the future of television musicals.[13] Describing the project as both "a big responsibility" and opportunity, Alexander acknowledged that Cinderella's failure to garner high ratings could potentially threaten the future of musical films altogether.[13] Furthermore, Alexander insisted that his character be noticeably different from Seinfeld's George Costanza, despite Freedman originally writing several jokes that alluded to Alexander's most famous character, prompting him to re-write several of the actor's scenes accordingly.[36] Whoopi Goldberg accepted the role of Queen Constantina because Cinderella reminded her of a time during which television specials were "major event[s] in a kid's life" before the introduction of VHS and home video made such projects re-watchable at virtually any given time, and hoped that the film would "get people in the habit of seeing it" and "become part of the fabric of our lives again."[39] Goldberg found that the film's colorful cast reflects "who we are", describing it as "more normal" than either an all-black or all-white cast.[8] Peters, Alexander and Goldberg had each won Tony Awards for their respective work on Broadway.[40]

Victor Garber, who was cast as King Maximillian, also enjoyed the film's multicultural cast, describing the fact that his character is has an Asian son with an African-American queen as "extraordinary".[41] The actor concluded "There's no reason why this can't be the norm."[8] Garber had just completed filming Titanic (1997), which he jokingly referred to on the set of Cinderella as a film about "a big water tank in Mexico."[36] Despite already being an established actor at the time, Garber's casting in the film helped introduce him to a younger audience.[28] Casting the prince took significantly longer, with Chase likening the process to searching for the individual whose foot fits Cinderella's glass slipper.[14] Auditions were held in both Los Angeles and New York. Several well-known actors auditioned for the role, including Wayne Brady. Antonio Sabato, Jr., Marc Anthony and Taye Diggs, the latter of whom was highly anticipated due to his starring role in the musical Rent at the time.[14] The last actor to audition for the production,[36] Paolo Montalban was ultimately cast as Prince Christopher in his film acting debut;[28] Montalban was an understudy in Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical The King and I at the time.[36] Despite being late for the final day of auditions, Montalban impressed the producers with his singing voice.[36] Company alumna Veanne Cox and television actress Natalie Deselle, respectively, were cast as Cinderella's wicked stepsisters.[11] Due to the well-known cast, tabloids often fabricated stories of the cast engaging in physical confrontations, particularly among Brandy, Houston and Goldberg, which turned out to be false.[39]

This version of Cinderella was the first live-action fairy featuring color-blind casting to be broadcast on television.[42] The diversity of the cast prompted some members of the media to dub the film "rainbow 'Cinderella'",[21][43][44] featuring one of the most diverse ensemble casts to appear on television at the time.[45] Laurie Winer of the Los Angeles Times summarized, "Their casting is not just rainbow, it's over the rainbow--the black queen (Goldberg) and white king (Victor Garber), for instance, produce a prince played by Filipino Paolo Montalban. For her part, Cinderella withstands the company of a white stepsister (Veanne Cox) and a black one (Natalie Desselle), both, apparently, birth daughters of the mother played by Bernadette Peters."[39] A writer for Newsweek believed that Brandy's Cinderella falling in love with a non-black prince reflects "a growing loss of faith in black men by many black women", explaining, "Just as Brandy's Cinderella falls in love with a prince of another color, so have black women begun to date and marry interracially in record numbers."[34] The Sistahs' Rules author Denene Millner was less receptive towards the fact that Brandy's Cinderella falls in love with a non-black prince, arguing, "When my stepson who's 5 looks at that production, I want him to know he can be somebody's Prince Charming."[34]

Writing and themes

The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization allowed the filmmakers an unusual amount of freedom to alter both the musical's script and score, among these changes making Cinderella a more active heroine and creating an entirely new main character.[39] Instead of making the characters themselves more modern, Zadan opted to "contemporize the qualities of the characters" instead.[13] In a conscious decision to update the fairy tale for a more modern generation, screenwriter Robert L. Freedman sought to deconstruct the messages young girls and boys might interpret from previous versions of the fairy tale, explaining, "We didn't want the message to be 'just wait to be rescued",[46] altering the original story to "reflect current ideas about what we should be teaching children."[39] Houston believed strongly in the story's positive messages about "that nothing is impossible and dreams do come true, encouraging the filmmakers creative team wanted to imbue their version of Cinderella "with a 90s sensibility but to remain faithful to the spirit of the original."[37] Although his teleplay retains the "cockeyed optimism" of the original upon which it is based, its characters are imbued with "post-modern models of Oprah-fied in-touchness", according to The New York Times journalist Todd S. Purdum.[13] This theme applies to both Cinderella and the prince; while Cinderella pines for independence from her unkind stepfamily and actively disagrees with her stepmother's opinions about a woman's role in marriage, the prince protests the idea of being married to someone his parents choose on his behalf.[46] Houston found the most impressive part of the remake to be "the lessons youngsters can learn about dreams and self-image".[8]

According to Ray Richmond of Variety, Freedman's teleplay is faster in pace and contains more dialogue than previous versions.[7] Despite being more similar to the original musical than the 1965 remake in style and structure, the script's "values and tone" have been updated, quickly earning approval from the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization.[20] The New York Daily News journalist Denene Millner observed that although the remake is "not all that different from the original", its version of Cinderella is more outspoken, the prince is more interested in finding someone he can talk to as opposed to simply "another pretty face", as well as "a hip fairy godmother who preaches self-empowerment" as a result of its "'90s flair".[31] The remake reflected a changing society,[30] containing themes discussing self-reliance and love.[47]According to George Rodosthenous, author of The Disney Musical on Stage and Screen: Critical Approaches from 'Snow White' to 'Frozen', "traces of sexism" were removed from the script in favor of creating "a prince for a new era" while maintaining its "fundamental storyline".[48] Freedman granted the prince "a democratic impulse" that drives him to spend time among the citizens of his country in the hopes of better understanding them.[39] Cinderella and the prince are also shown meeting and developing an interest in each other prior to the ball,[46] lessening the "love at first sight" element at the behest of the producers, by having Cinderella and the prince meet and talk to each other first,[39] an idea that would be reused in subsequent adaptations of the story.[46] Cinderella has a conversation with the prince in which she explains that a woman should always be treated "like a person. With kindness and respect", which some critics identified as the studio's attempt to make the film slightly more feminist.[34][47] Lastly, Cinderella was given a more empowering motive in that her Fairy Godmother introduces her to the fact that she had the power to better her own situation her entire life, she "just didn't know it" yet.[39] Meanwhile, Houston's interpretation of the Fairy Godmother was adapted into more of a "fierce",[24] "worldly-wise older sister" to Cinderella, as opposed to the "regal maternal figure" that had been portrayed in previous adaptations of the story.[13] Houston described her character as "sassy, honest and very direct ... all the things that you'd like a godmother to be."[8] According to Entertainment Weekly contributor Mary Sollosi, none of the script's dialogue requires that any of its cast or characters be white.[49] The Los Angeles Times critic Howard Rosenberg wrote that the prince's inability to recognize that some of the women trying on the glass slipper in his search for Cinderella are white as part of "what makes this "Cinderella" at once a rainbow and color-blind, a fat social message squeezed into a dainty, glass slipper of a fable."[50] To earn Houston's final approval of the script, Meron and Zadan enlisted several Broadway actors to perform a read-through for Houston, namely La Chanze, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Theresa Meritt.[36]


Freedman's teleplay was 11 minutes longer than previous versions, offering several opportunities for new songs, some of which the producers felt were necessary.[48] Disney asked the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization to be as open about changes to the score as they had been about the script and cast.[20] Music producers Chris Montan and Arif Mardin were interested in combining "Broadway legit with Hollywood pop",[20] re-arranging the musical's original orchestration in favor of a more contemporary sound.[51] updating its rhythm and beats.[25] According to Chase, the songs sound as though they had been written yesterday.[25] Mountain, who oversees most of the music for Disney's animated projects, had been interested in crossing over into live-action for several years, and identified Cinderella as one of the first opportunities in which they were able to do so.[11] The musicians were not interested in modernizing the material entirely in the vein of The Wiz, opting to simply "freshen" the original orchestration instead by incorporating rhythm, contemporary keyboards and instruments, similar to the way in which the studio approaches its Broadway-influenced animated musicals.[11] Although filmmakers are usually hesitant to interpolate songs from other sources into adaptations of Rodgers and Hammerstein works, Ted Capin, President and Executive Director of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization,[18] challenged the producers of Cinderella to conceive "compelling reasons" via which they can incorporate new material into the remake,[52] allowing the filmmakers "the freedom they needed" on the condition that the additions remain consistent with the rest of the project.[20] Three songs not featured in previous versions of the musical were added to augment the film's score, each of which was borrowed from a different Rodgers and Hammerstein work,[5][17][21][35] which are considered to be the most dramatic of the changes made to the musical.[39] "The Sweetest Sounds", a duet Rodgers wrote himself following Hammerstein's death for the 1962 musical No Strings was used to explore lead couple's early thoughts and relationship upon meeting each other for the first time in the town square,[13] performing separately until they unite.[48] The filmmakers found this song particularly easy to incorporate.[52]

Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters portrays Cinderella's stepmother. Borrowed from the musical The Boys from Syracuse (1938), the song "Falling in Love with Love" was used to develop the Stepmother's character.
Broadway veteran Bernadette Peters portrays Cinderella's stepmother. Borrowed from the musical The Boys from Syracuse (1938), the song "Falling in Love with Love" was used to develop the Stepmother's character.

"Falling in Love With Love", which Rodgers wrote with lyricist Lorenz Hart for the musical The Boys from Syracuse (1938), was adapted into a song for Cinderella's stepmother, a character who seldom sings or expresses her innermost thoughts in previous adaptations of the fairy tale.[48][52] She advises her own daughters about love and relationships,[52] warning them not to confuse love with marriage.[13] The filmmakers wanted to prove that the Stepmother was not simply "an evil harridan" but rather a "product of bitter experience",[13] for which Freedman himself suggested "Falling in Love With Love".[39] Despite concerns that Hart's "biting" lyrics would sound too abrasive against the rest of the musical's score, James, Hamerstein's son, was very much open to the idea.[52] While Mary, Rodgers' daughter, was initially against using "Falling in Love With Love" in the film, she relented once Peters had been cast as the Stepmother,[52] feeling confident that the Broadway veteran would be able to "put a different kind of spin on it."[13] The filmmakers also agreed that "it would be a waste" to cast Peters but not provide her with an opportunity to use her famous singing voice.[36] According to Peters, the song demonstrates the Stepmother's disappointment with her own life, explaining why she has become increasingly embittered and jealous of Cinderella.[13] Performed while they prepare for the prince's ball,[53] the song was offered "a driving, up-tempo arrangement" for Peters.[54] Although its original melody retained, the music producers adapted the waltz into a "frenetic Latin-tinged number in duple meter".[48] The filmmakers agreed that Alexander deserved a full-scale musical number of his own due to his experience as a musical theatre performer, and decided to combine the Steward's "Your Majesties" with the Town Crier's "The Prince is Giving a Ball" into a large, elaborate musical sequence.[52] As this concept had not been used in Rodgers and Hammerstein's original musical, Broadway lyricist Fred Ebb, a friend of choreographer Rob Marshall, was recruited to contribute original lyrics to the new arrangement "that melded stylistically with the Hammerstein originals."[52] Despite the fact that Hammerstein's will states that such alterations to his work are prohibited,[55] James believes his father would have enjoyed Ebb's contributions as the songwriter had been known to collaborate with new lyricists.[52]

With Houston cast as the Fairy Godmother, the role was expanded to become more musical, including having her ope the film with a slower rendition of "Impossible",[48] in addition to the duet version performed by Houston and Brandy.[33] Claiming to be familiar with the "flavor" of Rodgers and Hammerstein's music, Houston opted to perform the film's songs simply as opposed to in her signature pop, R&B or gospel styles, elaborating, "These songs were written 40 years ago and they've lasted for a reason."[39] Zadan and Meron wanted Houston to end the film by singing a wedding song for Cinderella and Prince Christopher.[39] Although the producers agreed that Houston's Fairy Godmother would perform the film's closing number,[52] selecting a song suitable for Houston's vocal abilities proved a unique challenge for the producers since the original musical had not been written this way.[13][52] Few remaining songs in Rodgers and Hammerstein's repertoire were considered appropriate until they re-discovered "There's Music in You", a then little-known song originally performed by actress Mary Martin in the film Main Street to Broadway (1953),[13] in which the songwriters play themselves writing the song for Martin's character to perform in an upcoming fictional musical.[19][52] Although the song was covered by singer Bing Crosby, "There's Music in You" remained largely obscure for 40 years until it was re-discovered by the producers in 1997.[41] Despite being selected to accompany the film's "happily ever after" finale during Cinderella and the prince's wedding scene,[55] the song originally lacked a bridge and "didn't build properly for Houston's trademark vocal pyrotechnics", according to Zadan,[39] so it was combined with the bridge of "One Foot, Other Foot" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical Allegro (1947).[13][55] Additional, samples of Cinderella's "Impossible" and the wedding march were interpolated into the song.[39] Mary described the song as being "Whitney-fied".[39] Meron believes that these adjustment made the composition resemble "a 100 percent Rodgers and Hammerstein song that sounds like a new Whitney Houston record",[13] a sentiment with which Broadway Musicals: A Hundred Year History author David H. Lewis agreed, calling it "a potential pop hit."[55] Capin considered the song to be a "perfect" addition to the original score because, when combined with the opening number "The Sweetest Sounds", it "bookends Cinderella with songs about music" while demonstrating "how Cinderella herself has grown" over the course of the film.[52] Rob Marshall choreographed the musical numbers.[51] Mary said of the new arrangements, "I'm crazy about what they've done with the music ... They save the original sound while updating it."[39]

Brandy found the recording process "challenging" because the film's songs were different than anything she had recorded before, explaining that she was nervous as her "voice wasn't fully developed, and even if it was fully developed, I wasn't gonna be on Whitney's level", at times struggling to determine "which voice to use."[32] Houston, whom Brandy wanted to impress, would encourage the singer to "Sing from your gut" as opposed to singing from her chest in order to get her to sing louder.[32] Goldberg, who is not primarily known as a singer, also provided her own vocals for the film, by which some of the filmmakers and cast were pleasantly surprised; Goldberg found the process somewhat difficult due to being surrounded by several professional singers, namely Houston, Brandy and Peters.[8] The studio originally planned to release an original soundtrack featuring the film's music.[20] However, this idea was abandoned due to conflicts between Houston and Brandy's respective record labels.[54]


Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was the first of the three versions of the musical to be shot on film.[30] Principal photography began in June 1997 and occurred over a 28-day period,[11][21] primarily on stages 22 and 26 at Sony Picture Studios in Culver City, California,[35] which had once been the location of MGM Studios during what is considered to be "the golden age of the movie musical."[20] With a then-unprecedented budget of $12 million, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella is one of the most expensive television films ever made;[26] some media publications dubbed it "one of the most expensive two hours ever produced for television."[11][39] Disney Telefilms president Charles Hirschhorn identified the film as the upcoming project on which the studio has spent the most money.[56] According to A. J. Jacobs of Entertainment Weekly, the film's budget was approximately four-times that of a typical television film.[57] Disney granted the producers this sum because they felt confident that the film would eventually make its budget back once it was released on home video.[39] The film's costumes were designed by Ellen Mirojnick, who worked towards making them "both funny and stylish".[39] In order to give Cinderella's ballgown a "magical look", Mirojnick combined blue and white detailing into the dress, in addition to incorporating a peplum into its design, an element that had not been used in previous interpretations of the gown.[58] Cinderella's "glass slippers" were made of shatterproof acrylic as opposed to glass, and only one pair of the slippers were designed to fit Brandy's feet; the shoe the prince discovers and carries on a pillow was designed to be extremely small in order to give it the appearance of being "incredibly delicate", with Iscove describing it as "too small for any human".[57] In addition to Cinderella herself, Mirojnick costumed all female guests attending the prince's ball in varying shades of blue, ranging from aqua to sapphire;[41] Meron believes that Mirojnick's use of color in her costumes distracts from the various skin colors of the actors.[39] Although the costume department originally created fake jewelry for Goldberg's character to wear, Houston insisted that the film's queen should be wearing real jewels and personally contacted jeweler Harry Winston to lend the production millions of dollars worth of jewels.[36] Armed guards attended shoots scenes to make sure that the jewelry was safely returned at the end of filming.[36]

The sets were designed by Randy Ser,[20] while art direction was handled by Ed Rubin, who opted for a "bright and bold" color palette combined with "a great deal of subtlety".[39] Iscove identified the time period as "nouveau into deco," while incorporating influences from the work of Gustav Klimt.[39] Prince Christopher's palace was built in the same location as the yellow brick road in the film The Wizard of Oz (1939), thus the palace's courtyard bricks in Cinderella were pained yellow in tribute to the film.[35] Brandy learned how to waltz for the role,[32] a task which took her two weeks to perfect.[59] To film the "Impossible" musical sequence, Houston rode on a wooden pulley to simulate the affect that she was flying alongside Cinderella's pumpkin carriage.[39] Due to the film's child-friendly message, children of the cast and crew visited the set regularly, including Houston's daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown and her husband Bobby Brown.[27] Mary and James visited the set regularly,[35] as well as Chapin.[20] During a visit in July, approximately midway through filming, they previewed early footage of the film and met the cast.[20] Haling the sets as "the most incredible" ones she had ever seen, Mary described Brandy as "a sweet, wonderful young woman ... I love the fact that millions of children are going to hear her sing 'I can be whatever I want to be.' What better message could we send than that?"[20] Towards the end of filming, the producers realized that did not have enough money to pay for extras an additional costs, and Disney refused to loan any more money to the production.[36] The producers agreed to pay for the remainder of the project using their own money, while Goldberg volunteered to donate her remaining daily salary to the production.[36]


Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was heavily promoted as the centerpiece of the newly revived Wonderful World of Disney;[39][57][60] Disney themself have referred to Cinderella as the "grande dame" of the anthology series.[61] One of ABC's promotional advertisements for Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella featured a black-and-white scene from the original 1957 television broadcast in which Andrews sings "In My Own Little Corner", which then transitions into Brandy singing her more contemporary rendition as seen in the 1997 version, its "funkier orchestration" that includes more rhythm, drums and bass sounding particularly noticeable opposite Andrews' original.[39] Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella premiered on October 13, 1997 at Mann’s Chinese Theatre,[62] which Houston attended with husband Bobby Brown and daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown.[63] The film's impending premiere coincided with the launch of the official Rodgers and Hammerstein website, which streamed segments from the upcoming production via RealVideo from October 27 to November 3, 1997.[38] These segments were again interpolated with excerpts from the 1957 version.[38] A public screening of the film was hosted at the Sony Lincoln Square Theatre in New York on October 27, 2017.[41] Most of the film's cast – Brandy, Houston, Cox, Garber, Desselle and Montalban – was present albeit Goldberg and Alexander, who were unable to attend.[41]

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella premiered on November 2, 1997 during The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC, 40 years after the original.[42] Disney CEO Michael Eisner introduced the program before it aired.[35][60] The telecast aired to over 60 million viewers who watched at least a portion of the film,[17] making television history by becoming the most-watched television musical in several years and earning more viewership than 1993's Gypsy.[23] According to the Nielsen ratings, Cinderella averaged a 22.3 rating and 31 share (although it was originally estimated that the program had earned only an 18.8 rating),[17][64] which is believed to have been bolstered by the film's appeal towards women and adults between the ages of 18 and 49.[17] Translated, this means that 31 percent of televisions in the United Stated showed the premiere,[23] while 23 million different households tuned in to the watch broadcast.[17] Surprisingly, 70 percent of Cinderella's total viewership that evening consisted of females under the age of 18,[23][65] specifically ages two to 11.[66] The broadcast attracted a particularly high number of younger audience members, including children, teenagers and young adults, in turn making it the television season's most popular family show, according to The New York Times.[64]

In addition to being the most-watched program of the evening, Cinderella remained the most-watched program of the entire week, scoring higher ratings than the consistently popular television shows ER and Seinfeld.[23] The film became ABC's most-watched Sunday night program in more than 10 years,[67][68] as well as the most-watched program during its two-hour 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm time slot on the network in 13–14 years,[17][23][64][69] a record it broke within its first hour.[70] AllMusic biographer Steve Huey attributes the film's ratings success to its "star power and integrated cast".[71] Additionally, the popularity of Cinderella boosted the ratings of ABC's television film Before Women Had Wings, which immediately premiered following the program and consequently earned a rating of 19;[64] much of its viewership was retained from Cinderella's broadcast.[72] ABC's chief researcher Larry Hyams recalled that few "predicted the magnitude of Cinderella's numbers".[73] ABC re-aired the program on February 14, 1999 (Valentine's Day),[26] which was watched by 15 million viewers.[74] Fuse re-aired Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella on November 2, 2017 in honor of the film's 20th anniversary; the network also aired "Cinderella"-themed episodes of Brandy's sitcom Moesha and the sitcom Sister, Sister in commemoration.[45]

Home media

Audiences soon began to demand a quick home video release, which the studio soon began working on.[65] Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella was released on VHS February 10, 1998, which became the highest-selling home video release of any made-for-television film at that time.[67][68] By February 1999, the video had sold more than two million copies.[26] The film was released to DVD on February 4, 2003 by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.


Critical response

Playbill's Rebecca Paller reviewed the New York screening as "overflowing with star performances, lavish sets" and "lush rainbow-hued costumes", describing its score as "fresher than ever."[41] According to Paller, the screening resembled a Broadway preview more than a film preview since the audience reportedly applauded at the end of every song.[41] Praising its sets, costumes, choreography and script, Paller concluded "everything about the TV play worked", predicting that both young and adult audiences will find the program memorable.[41] Although well-received by the public and audiences, Cinderella premiered to generally lukewarm reviews from most critics,[30][23][75] who were critical of some of its songs, cast and feminist approach,[34][47] at times deeming it inferior to the 1957 and 1965 versions.[76] Though the collaboration of Houston and Brandy was much-anticipated during the weeks leading up to the film, the supporting cast of Peters, Goldberg and Alexander ultimately garnered most of the praise.[77] Some purist fans were less impressed with the contemporary arrangements of Rodgers and Hammerstein's original music.[78]

Praising its score and faithfulness to the source material, Eileen Fitzpatrick of Billboard called the film a "sure to please" remake while lauding Brandy's performance, joking that the singer "slips into the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway-like score as easily as Cinderella fits into the glass slipper".[29] Fitzpatrick went on to write that the supporting cast lacks "a weak link" entirely, finding it obvious that Houston enjoyed her material and commending the contributions of Peters, Alexander, Goldberg, Garber, Cox and Deselle.[29] New York entertainment critic John Leonard praised the cast extensively, highlighting the performance of Brandy whom the writer said possesses "the grace to transfigure inchoate youth into adult agency" while complimenting the work of Houston, Montalban, Peters, Goldberg and Alexander, the latter of whom the critic identified as a reminder "that he belonged to musical theater before he ever shacked up with Seinfeld's slackers."[79] Leonard also praised the actors' musical performances, particularly Peters' "Falling in Love with Love", but admitted that he prefers the songs used in Disney's 1950 animated adaptation of the fairy tale.[79] In addition to receiving praise for its overall craftsmanship and musical format, critics appreciated the film's use of color-blind casting.[23][37] Describing the film as "Short, sweet and blindingly brightly colored", TV Guide film critic Maitland McDonagh wrote that Cinderella is "overall ... a pleasant introduction to a classic musical, tweaked to catch the attention of contemporary youngsters."[78] McDonagh observed that the color-blind cast spares the film from potentially suffering "disturbing overtones" that could have otherwise resulted from images of an African-American Cinderella being mistreated by her Caucasian stepmother.[78] Despite calling the film's supporting cast "unusually strong", the critic felt that Brandy and Houston acted too much like their own selves for their contributions to truly be considered compelling performances.[78]

Teresa Talerico, writing for Common Sense Media, praised the film's costumes, sets and musical numbers while lauding the performances of Peters, Goldberg and Houston, but found the choreography "staged and stiff."[80] In a mixed review, The New York Times journalist Caryn James found that the film's multi-racial cast and use of "better" Rodgers and Hammerstein material make Cinderella an overall improvement over previous incarnations of the musical, but admitted that the production fails to "take that final leap into pure magic. Often charming and sometimes ordinary, this is a cobbled-together 'Cinderella' for the moment, not the ages."[47] While lauding Brandy as "amazingly good ... with the longing of a dreamy adolescent and the musical control of a Broadway trouper", and describing Montalban as an "ideal Prince" due to his singing voice and "down-to-earth manner", James described the film's feminist re-writes as "clumsy" while dismissing Houston as "stiff", criticizing the film for wasting her talents.[47] The critic concluded that the broadcast ultimately "sacrifices some of its fairy dust" in favor of emphasizing themes of "inner magic ... self-reliance and love."[47] Similarly, Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe complained that despite its "cartoony visual charm" and strong cast, the film lacks "romance, warmth, and a bit of snap in the dance department", failing to become "anything more than a slight TV outing that feels more Nickelodeon than Broadway."[81] Describing the film as "big, gaudy, miles over the top and loads of fun", Variety's Ray Richmond wrote that at times there can be "so much filling the screen ... that you’re never quite sure where to look", feeling that the entire project "could have been toned down a notch and still carried across plenty of the requisite spunk."[7] While praising Brandy's subtlety, Richmond found Houston's interpretation of the Fairy Godmother to be an overzealous, "frightening caricature, one certain to send the kids scurrying into Mom’s lap for reassurance that the good woman will soon go away."[7]

Television critic Howard Rosenberg, in a review for the Los Angeles Times, described Cinderella as a familiar musical in which Brandy's singing is superior to her acting, creating "a tender, fresh Cinderella".[50] Writing that "the magic comes mostly from" Alexander, Peters and Goldberg, Rosenberg was unimpressed with Montalban and Houston, describing them respectively as "pastel as a prince can get (although it's not his fault the character is written as a doofus)" and "not much of a fairy godmother."[50] Rosenberg particularly enjoyed Iscove and Marshall's staging of the ballroom sequence, while describing "the famous shoe-fitting contest" as "delightfully broad nonsense."[50] For Entertainment Weekly, Denise Lanctot praised the film's musical numbers and choreography but found Brandy's performance underwhelming, describing it as "oddly vacuous" and "Barbie-doll blank", writing, "her hoarse voice strains to lyric-soprano heights."[82] However, she called Montalban's prince "perfectly charming" and "The real fairy tale".[5] Similarly, while praising the performances of Houston, Montalban, Alexander and Bernadette Peters, People's Terry Kelleher felt that while Brandy's acting was "fine" her voice was noticeably inferior to Houston's and "lack[ed] the vocal command and emotive power to put over" the film's "soaring, sentimental ballads"".[83] Harlene Ellin of the Chicago Tribune wrote that, despite the production's aesthetics and color-blind casting, the film resembles "the fair maiden who lacks the requisite charm and spark required to snag the handsome prince", concluding that the production "doesn't capture the heart" despite its beauty.[82] While praising the performances of Houston, Peters and Montalban, Ellin wrote that "Cinderella's glass slippers are far too big for Brandy to fill", criticizing her acting while saying that the singer "delivers her lines so timidly and flatly that it's hard to stay focused on the story when Brandy is on the screen", concluding that her co-stars "only makes her weak acting all the more glaring", and causing her to wonder how the film would have turned out had Houston been cast as the lead instead.[82]

Theater director Timothy Sheader found the production "harsh and unmagical, with very saturated colour."[16] Theatre historian John Kenrick called it a "hideous desecration" of the musical.[84]

In its year-end edition, TV Guide ranked the program the best television special of 1997.[23]

Awards and nominations

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was nominated for seven Emmy Awards,[85][24] including Outstanding Variety Special.[68]


ABC began discussing the possibility of Disney producing more musical films for the network shortly after Cinderella's premiere.[69] Bill Carter of The New York Times predicted that the success of the broadcast "will mean more musicals for television, probably as early as" 1998.[65] Similarly, Bert Fink of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization said that the program's ratings will most likely "have a salubrious effect on" the future of television musicals.[17] Walt Disney Television president Charles Hirschhorn interpreted the film's success as an indication that "there is a huge family audience out there for quality programming," expressing interest in eventually "fill[ing] in the ground between feature animated musicals and Broadway".[65] Cinderella's producers immediately began researching other musical projects to potentially remake for the Wonderful World of Disney, with the studio originally hoping to produce between one and two similar television specials per year,[65] announcing that songwriter Stephen Schwartz had already begun writing a musical adaptation of Pinocchio.[17] According to Zadan, Cinderella's success "helped secure a future for musicals in the 'Wonderful World of Disney' slot", whose film company Storyline Entertainment began developing musical projects for Disney shortly afterward, including Annie.[26] In his book The Cambridge Companion to the Musical, author Nicholas Everett recognized Cinderella among important television musicals that "renewed interest in the genre" during the 1990s.[53] However, the Los Angeles Times' Brian Lowry observed that few of the series' subsequent projects achieved the outstanding ratings that Cinderella had, with ratings of later programming being mostly inconsistent.[86]

Following the success of the film, its producers, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization and Disney began discussing the possibility of adapting the production into a touring stage musical, potentially aiming for 2000 or 2001. However, the idea never came to fruition.[54] Various elements from Freedman's script were used in the 2000 national tour of Cinderella, which is considered by Variety to be the first time the musical was adapted into a "Broadway-style production with a book clearly designed for the stage", including having Cinderella and the prince meet during one of the opening scenes.[87] A stage adaptation of the musical premiered on Broadway in 2013, in which several songs used in the 1997 film are re-used, including "There's Music in You",[88] performed in similar fashion by the Fairy Godmother.[19] Like the film, the producers of the stage production have always employed color-bling casting. In 2014, actress Keke Palmer was cast as Cinderella on Broadway, becoming the first black actress to occupy the role in the production. Identifying Brandy as one of her inspirations for the role,[89] Palmer explained, "I feel like the reason I'm able to do this is definitely because Brandy did it on TV".[90] Additionally, Montalban has reprised his roles as the prince in both regional and touring productions of the musical, some of which have been based on the 1997 film.[91][92]

The film is considered to be "groundbreaking" due to its multi-ethnic cast and casting of a black actress as Cinderella.[1] Following its success, Disney considered adapting the fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty" into a musical set in Spain featuring Latin music, but the idea never came to fruition.[93] Brandy is considered to be the first African American to have been cast in the role of Cinderella.[94] Newsweek opined that Brandy's casting disproved the notion that "the idea of a black girl playing the classic Cinderella was unthinkable", calling it "especially significant because for many black women, the 1950 animated Disney Cinderella with her blond hair and blue eyes sent a painful message that only white women could be princesses."[34] Brandy's performance earned her the titles "the first Cinderella of color", "the first black Cinderella" and "the first African-American princess".[32][75][95][96] According to Ruthie Fierberg of Playbill, Brandy's performance "immortalized the role on screen",[97] while's Jeremy Rodriguez ranked seventh out of "10 Actresses Who Played Cinderella Like Royalty", praising the scene in which she explains to Prince Christopher that women should be treated with kindness and respect for introducing "a more independent version of the classic character."[98] Essence's Deena Campbell credited the singer with "inspiring other young girls to be Black Cinderellas too."[99] Media criticism professor Venise Berry found Brandy's casting and performance to be a "wonderful opportunity to reflect the true diversity in our society", writing, "I think that Brandy will help African-American females see there are other possibilities that their lives can blossom into something good, and you don't have to be white for that to happen," in turn making the classic story more accessible "to little black girls" who had believed that ascending into a life of privilege was only possible if you were white.[31] Writing for Nylon, Taylor Bryant called the film both "An Underrated Classic" and "One of the most important moments in [film] history".[76] Applauding the film for providing minorities with "the chance to see themselves depicted as royalty for perhaps the first time", Bryant identified Brandy as a princess for black girls to "fawn" over, which Disney would not revisit until The Princess and the Frog (2009).[76] Ashley Rey, a writer for Bustle, opined that the film "helped show the world that black and brown faces should have just as much of a presence in fairytale land as white faces do."[45] In an article for HuffPost, contributor Isabelle Khoo argued that despite the constant remakes that Hollywood produces "no fairy tale adaptation has been more important than Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Cinderella.'", citing its diverse cast, combating of sexist stereotypes often depicted in other Disney films, and empowering themes that encourage children to make their own dreams come true as opposed to simply "keep on believing" among "three important reasons the 1997 version has maintained relevance today."[100] Khoo observed that fans who had grown up with the film continue to be constantly praised by social media for its diversity, concluding, "With so much talk about the lack of diversity in Hollywood these days, Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Cinderella' is a shining example of the diversity we need."[100]

The Daily Telegraph deemed it "The final of the trio of classic Cinderella remakes".[30] Entertainment Tonight ranked the film the third greatest adaptation of the fairy tale.[101] Highlighting the performances of Montalbán, Peters and Houston are particular highlights, Entertainment Weekly ranked Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella the fourth greatest adaptation of the fairy tale, ahead of both the 1965 (10th) and 1957 (sixth) versions, with author Mary Sollosi calling it one of "the 11 best-known film adaptations of the tale".[49]


Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program (Winner)
Outstanding Choreography (nomination)
Outstanding Costume Design for a Variety or Music Program (nomination)
Outstanding Directing for a Variety or Music Program (nomination)
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (nomination)
Outstanding Music Direction (nomination)
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special (nomination)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-Series – Whoopi Goldberg (nomination)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Television Movie or Mini-Series – Brandy (nomination)
Outstanding Television Movie or Mini-Series (nomination)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television – Jason Alexander (nomination)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television – Bernadette Peters (nomination)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Rohwedder, Kristy (October 12, 2017). "'Cinderella' Star Paolo Montalban Proves Exactly Why This Is The Most Superior Cinderella Movie". Bustle. Retrieved July 30, 2018. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella ... yes, that is the movie's full title. 
  2. ^ a b "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997)". BFI. Alternative titles – Cinderella 
  3. ^ "Ellen Mirojnick Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved July 11, 2018. Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella (also known as Cinderella) 
  4. ^ "Peters, Bernadette 1948–". Retrieved July 16, 2018. Cinderella's stepmother, Cinderella (also known as Rodgers & Hammerstein "Cinderella"), ABC, 1997. 
  5. ^ a b c Lanctot, Denise (February 13, 1998). "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 16, 2018. 
  6. ^ "Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella". Ebony. November 1, 1997. Retrieved August 7, 2018 – via HighBeam Research. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Richmond, Ray (October 26, 1997). "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella". Variety. Retrieved August 2, 2018. Whitney Houston (one of five executive producers) 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Whitney Houston And Brandy Star In TV Movie 'Cinderella'". Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. November 3, 1997. pp. 46–47. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved July 31, 2018 – via Google Books. 
  9. ^ "Background On Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 'Cinderella'" Archived August 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., accessed February 15, 2011
  10. ^ a b Fink, Bert. "Background on Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Cinderella' " Archived April 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., accessed November 13, 2013
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Fleming, Michael (June 20, 1997). "ABC stages 'Cinderella'". Variety. Retrieved July 19, 2018. 
  12. ^ "It's Possible: An Oral History of 1997's "Cinderella"". November 2, 2017. Archived from the original on December 30, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Purdum, Todd S. (November 2, 1997). "Television; The Slipper Still Fits, Though the Style Is New". The New York Times. Retrieved July 12, 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c "Brandy Norwood, Bernadette Peters & More Look Back on Twenty Years Since Cinderella". Broadway World. November 2, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2018. 
  15. ^ Hischak, Thomas S. (2007). The Rodgers and Hammerstein Encyclopedia. United States: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313341403 – via Google Books. 
  16. ^ a b "Finally, Cinderella is going to the ball". The Independent. November 13, 2003. Retrieved July 30, 2018. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gans, Andrew; Lefkowitz, David (November 5, 1997). "TV's Cinderella Turns In Royal Ratings Performance". Playbill. Retrieved July 12, 2018. 
  18. ^ a b Byrd, Craig (March 25, 2015). "Curtain Call: Ted Chapin Makes Sure Cinderella Has a Ball". Los Angeles. Retrieved July 13, 2018. 
  19. ^ a b c Haun, Harry (March 4, 2013). "Playbill on Opening Night: Cinderella; The Very Best Foot Forward". Playbill. Retrieved July 13, 2018. 
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