OK, first of all, it’s my 200th post! HOORAY!
Second of all Happy Halloween! (I do love Halloween, just not posting about it.)
Now, onto the actual post. Last night as my 26th birthday present, my mom took me out to dinner and to go see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on Broadway.
I’ve always felt a special connection to Cinderella. I mean the character. She was always my favorite Disney princess. Probably because she has dark blonde hair like I used to (still do depending on the lighting.) Her song in Into The Woods was a particular favorite. The only good poem I ever wrote was about Cinderella. (I, like most teenagers who want to be writers, wrote some God awful poetry in high school.) I love Gail Carson Levine’s amazing book Ella Enchanted, (But not the stupid movie version starring Anne Hathaway) and even A Cinderella Story starring Hilary Duff, Chad Michael Murray, Stiffler’s Mom and The Son from Cougar Town.
And of course I loved the Rodgers and Hammerstein version, that was originally written for Julie Andrews as a teleplay then was redone with Leslie Ann Warren and Brandy through the years.
When it opened on Broadway this past year with a new book, I was overwhelmingly excited to go.
Here’s the thing though. No one really wanted to go with me. Despite the music being some of RNH’s best, no one really likes Cinderella, largely because the script has always been kind of a mess. The attempts to update it over the years always made it look even more dated, even if some of the changes (giving The Prince a name, Christopher, is one such instance) were warranted and necessary.
The latest book is phenomenal, developing characters instead of relying on the familiarity of the story, and shaking up the order of the classic songs. It feels current and classic at the same time, which is a massive achievement when it comes to musical theater.
And speaking of those classic songs, oh God! I did not expect to have the reaction that I did.
I’m a pretty emotional person, it doesn’t take much to get me choked up. A sweet commercial will do it, or someone saying that they think I look pretty. So when I say that I had a completely over the top, even for me emotional reaction to these songs, you can trust me. When Ella began singing “In My Own Little Corner,” I felt a lump rise in my throat. By the time she was “a young Norwegian princess or a milk maid,” the tears were running down my face, when she was “lost in the jungle all alone and unarmed,” I was sobbing.
This behavior continued and culminated in Act II when Ella and Prince Topher sang “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” This is possibly my favorite RNH song, to me it epitomizes what they were good at as a team. It’s a tentative love song, like “Some Enchanted Evening,” or “If I Loved You,” or “People Will Say We’re in Love,” but not overly schmaltzy, and sweetly emotional. Also it’s Jen and my favorite (we watched the Brandy version a lot when we lived together.) I was inconsolable. It was just so beautiful.
Go see Cinderella. Or don’t, because the sooner it closes, the sooner I can produce this version.