Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 23

Thread: Some Cinderellas

  1. #1
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495

    Some Cinderellas

    I was poking around on YouTube (or as I sometimes call it, YouTube University) for music to get me through a tough morning, when I came across the entire production of the 1957 TV broadcast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. It is sheer luck that this tape exists at all, because the production was telecast live on just that one night in 1957. This show was created specifically for TV, not Broadway. (There's a Broadway version of it now, I believe.)

    Later, it was redone for TV with an all-star cast, introducing Lesley Ann Warren and featuring Ginger Rogers and Celeste Holm, among others. Still later, of course, it was remade by Disney with Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother. Both of these productions are in color, and the Disney has lovely production values, and a fabulous cast. (Disney has done three or four spectacular TV revivals of musicals, including this one, Annie, Bye Bye Birdie, and The Music Man. I wish they'd do more.)

    But the original Cinderella, recorded by I think a kinescope process, has one irreplaceable, incomparable factor: Julie Andrews as Cinderella. She was all of 21 at the time, and she was in her starmaking role as Liza Doolittle on Broadway. Lerner and Loewe graciously loaned her out for this Rodgers and Hammerstein production. She's less conventionally girlish than Warren and less glamorous than Brandy, but she projects wonderful combination of dreaminess and unsentimentality that makes her seem like someone any Prince would pick out of a crowd. And she has one of the voices of the century, which is all the more astonishing coming out of the throat of a 21-year-old. And she does it all live! The supporting actors are all splendid, especially including Edie Adams as the Godmother. It's got a witty charm that's entirely of its era.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5zyMriEOoE

    There are segments from the other two productions on YouTube as well, if you want to compare. But this one, in all its black-and-white fuzziness, is an amazing experience to watch.

  2. #2
    Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity golden411's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    5,161
    By the way, because some admirers of Meryl Davis think of her as a fairy-tale princess, I had noticed that she could have been separated at birth from the actress currently playing Cinderella on Broadway (her name is Laura Osnes).
    [Not apparent from the black-and-white photo, but their hair color at this point happens to be very similar too.]

    [I hasten to add my strong belief that like anyone, Davis should be appreciated for who she is -- not for this or any other resemblance. She is unique and does not need to be compared to anyone else to deserve notice. Same goes for Osnes. ]

  3. #3
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495
    I see a resemblance.

    I agree that each is an individual, but I do enjoy that "separated at birth" thing. Some resemblances are amazing.

  4. #4
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    10,702
    I grew up with the TV Cinderella of the 1960's, with Leslie Ann Warren, and was thrilled to find a copy of the CD recording of R&H's Cinderella a few years ago. I had no idea that Julie Andrews had been in it back in the 1950's. Now there is a Broadway run of R&H's Cinderella. We definitely want to try to get to see this one!

  5. #5
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495
    The music is delightful. I bet it's just enchanting onstage. You'll have to tell us what you think of it if you go. (That ballroom waltz is divine, in my estimation.)

    All three productions (the Andrews one, the Lesley Ann Warren one, and the Brandy/Whitney one) go to town on the casting of the subsidiary characters. The first production had the married couple of Dorothy Stickney and Howard Lindsay, not so well known now, who starred as Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Day in the long-running play Life with Father. The Godmother was Edie Adams. The two stepsisters were the comediennes Kaye Ballard and Alice Ghostley.

    The second production was considerably more elaborate. There, the unknown Lesley Ann Warren was balanced out by Hollywood institutions such as Celeste Holm, Ginger Rogers, and Walter Pidgeon. The Prince might be the handsomest prince of the three, soap actor Stuart Damon. I think a lot of us who were kids at that time could see him as our ideal prince: melting dark eyes, perfect features...sigh.

    The Disney musical had the advantage of updated special effects and the great imaginations of Disney designers. What a visual confection! Another aspect of it that I love is that it's so multiethnic. The King and Queen are Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber. The Prince was Filipino-American actor Paolo Montalban (no relation to Ricardo). Cinderella is the gorgeous actress-singer Brandi. Whitney Houston at her mature peak, while she still gleamed, is the godmother.

    But for my money the best singing done by any Cinderella is still Julie Andrews. This woman didn't have a peak. Her whole musical career has been a peak. She doesn't sing much anymore, because of the throat surgery and her age, but she's still a compelling presence in film and on TV. As one cute comment under her Cinderella video on YouTube said, "So that's how she became Queen of Genovia."

  6. #6
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495
    So of course I splurged (it was on sale) on the Disney version. It's simply glorious-looking. The costumes are not candy-colored as I thought I remembered, but in very rich hues, roses and rust and burgundy and purple and turquoise and olive and gold. And for a music maven, this show does one wonderful thing that didn't even exist in the time of the first version: they included a splendid song from Richard Rodgers' later musical No Strings. This is the first musical Rodgers wrote after Hammerstein's death. It didn't prove an enduring hit, but one song from it, "The Sweetest Sounds," is worthy of immortality, and this production begins with the song. Very clever of the creators to do that.

    Brandy is charming, and her voice is very sweet (and I think she may be the prettiest Cinderella of the three) but for me no one could top Julie Andrews.

  7. #7
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    10,702
    I have the Disney version with Brandy on video, too!

    Just for the record, my favorite song from the R&H Cinderella is "Ten Minutes Ago." I also the instrumental waltz music played during the ball scene, just before "Ten Minutes Ago."

    Julie Andrews toured the US about 4-5 years ago. She was on Good Morning America, and she announced that she would visit 8 US cities on the tour. We were lucky enough to have her come to Philly as one of those cities. Even though she doesn't have the amazing vocal range she had before the surgery, she was still fabulous ( listening to her speak as well). She received a standing ovation before she even sang one note (the concert began with a movie montage from The Sound of Music). Then she humbly said something like, "Thank you, but I/we (she was in this concert with several young adult singers) haven't even done anything yet!" Later in the concert she did a duet with one of the younger singers - she did the fairy godmother's part of "Impossible" and the young singer did Cinderella's part. What a night! She's still my all time favorite actress and Broadway musical singer!

  8. #8
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495
    I compliment you on your good taste, Iluvtodd.

    I have the DVD of The Princess Diaries II largely because of her. Somewhere on it (can't remember if it's in the film or in a feature), the Queen of Genovia (Andrews) sings a duet with Raven-Symone. Raven's young fans are probably excited over seeing her in the film. I was practically in tears seeing Andrews.

    I've always with you about both "Ten Minutes Ago" and especially the instrumental waltz. But after hearing Andrews sing "In My Own Little Corner" and that post-ball sequence with "A Lovely Night," I can't be so decisive. I keep saying to myself, "And she was only 21! And it's live!"

    She was a child star; she had that amazing voice, and her parents were music hall performers, so the stage was a part of her life. Very unusual for a child star to become even better as an adult. What's more, she can act as well as sing. She is definitely one of a kind.

  9. #9
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    10,702
    Thank you, Olympia.

    I guess it would be no surprise to you that we have The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, both Princess Diaries movies and the Shrek movies, partly because of Julie. For CDs, it's Camelot, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music (movie soundtrack), and The King & I studio version (she was Mrs. Anna) that was aired on PBS in the early 1990's. I will not watch the movie version of Camelot (Vanessa Redgrave can't sing), but I'll always the original Broadway cast recording of Camelot (the first stereo reel to reel tape my parents owned), and still my all time favorite musical.

  10. #10
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495
    Oh, that Camelot movie was so frustrating. I had the original cast recording of the stage musical, too (Andrews and Richard >sigh< Burton...how much better can it get? As well as Robert Goulet, with that immense voice...). Not only couldn't Redgrave sing, Richard Harris overacted shamelessly. It was visibly a gorgeous production, with lavish costumes and sets out of this world, but it was bloated and the emotions were misplaced. Redgrave, normally one of my favorite actresses, really didn't do such a hot job in this. She was coltish and coy, with no sense of a living character.

    I watched that King and I on PBS. Andrews was born to play Mrs. Anna. Better than Gertrude Lawrence for my money, though of course I only ever heard Lawrence on recording; never saw her.

  11. #11
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    10,702
    I wish we could have seen the original Broadway cast of Camelot on Broadway! The movie, for me, is unwatchable. Re: the studio version recording of The King & I, that's another favorite CD. After watching the PBS broadcast, I had to head over to the music store & get it! It's that good! It also includes some dialogue from the musical and instrumental pieces that connect the scenes.

  12. #12
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495
    Quote Originally Posted by iluvtodd View Post
    I wish we could have seen the original Broadway cast of Camelot on Broadway! The movie, for me, is unwatchable. Re: the studio version recording of The King & I, that's another favorite CD. After watching the PBS broadcast, I had to head over to the music store & get it! It's that good! It also includes some dialogue from the musical and instrumental pieces that connect the scenes.
    Can you imagine? Julie Andrews and Richard Burton before your very eyes...And Roddy McDowall played Mordred. Not to mention Robert Goulet with that monumental baritone voice. Another thing the movie did wrong: Franco Nero was certainly gorgeous, but at that point he had to learn his lines phonetically, because he barely spoke English, and I'm not sure he could sing. Redgrave couldn't. At least in the movie of My Fair Lady, they dubbed Audrey Hepburn so that her singing did justice to the songs. These are songs that carry the characters' development and emotions. You can't just have someone murmur them with an orchestral accompaniment.

    And then a few years later, they mounted Man of La Mancha with Peter O'Toole and Sophia Loren doing their own singing. No wonder the movie musical died.

  13. #13
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    10,702
    I the movie version of My Fair Lady, even though Julie wasn't in it (and I always liked Audrey Hepburn).

    Man of La Mancha is another one of our favorite musicals (on a personal level, I'm attracted to characters who are idealists - King Arthur, Don Quixote), but the movie version leaves a lot to be desired.

  14. #14
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    9,495
    Me too, Iluvtodd. I just love the music of Man of La Mancha. (Remember Alissa Czisny's program?) The only performance I enjoyed in the movie was John Castle as Dr. Carrasco. I don't recall he had to sing.

    My Fair Lady was probably one of the last move musicals where someone could be dubbed. (Unless I misremember.) The product was more important than the process. Actually, I think two of the greatest Golden Age MGM dancing stars were routinely dubbed, Cyd Charisse and Eleanor Powell. (Well, if you were a filmmaker who found dancers like those, were you going to keep them off the screen because they couldn't carry a tune?) I think Ann Miller, the other great tap dancer, did her own singing, and of course Judy Garland...well! Another "voice of the century" like Julie Andrews. Ginger Rogers didn't have much of a voice, but it was perfect for the rather minimalist singing style of the Art Deco thirties. For lavish musicals, though, dubbing makes sense. I can think of one man who was dubbed: I think Rossano Brazzi was dubbed by an opera singer (Giorgio Tozzi?) in South Pacific. I think it's nice to have real singing in a lavishly mounted musical, and short of getting a real singer to play the role (what a concept!), get the actor you choose and have him or her dubbed so the soundtrack album is as enjoyable as the film itself. Audrey Hepburn is worth the sacrifice: she was such a wonderful Eliza...so there were a few notes that Marni Nixon added, so what?

    Though of course Julie Andrews would have been splendid in the film, things worked out. This way, we have Audrey in those glam Cecil Beaton outfits, and we have Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins....two classic performances instead of just one.

  15. #15
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    10,702
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympia View Post
    Audrey Hepburn is worth the sacrifice: she was such a wonderful Eliza...so there were a few notes that Marni Nixon added, so what?

    Though of course Julie Andrews would have been splendid in the film, things worked out. This way, we have Audrey in those glam Cecil Beaton outfits, and we have Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins....two classic performances instead of just one.
    I am glad we actually got to see/hear Marni Nixon in the National tour of The Drowsy Chaperone when it came to Philly. I do have a lot of respect for her and her singing.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •