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.


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.