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Cinderella – 1965 Television Cast

Cinderella – 1965 Television Cast

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Synopsis

If the purpose of an Overture is to set the mood for what’s to follow, then Johnny Green’s brightly orchestrated group of excerpts from Richard Rodgers’s score tells us straight-off to get ready for a jaunty, playful, warm-hearted, and tenderly romantic musical program – what many would call a typically Rodgers and Hammerstein one. The excerpts range from the bubbly “Impossible” to the romantically evocative “Loneliness of Evening,” then the buoyant waltz rhythm of “Ten Minutes Ago,” and finally the amorous “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” The Prince (Stuart Damon) sings “Loneliness of Evening” as he rides his horse through the countryside near his castle, returning home after a year away. He laments the fact that, for all the dragons he has slain and princesses he’s rescued, he has not yet found his true love – that he plaintively asks the moon each night: “Oh, how soon, how soon will my love appear to me?” The Prince arrives at the castle (“Cinderella March”) and is greeted by the King and Queen to the cheers of the people of his kingdom. This recording presents the complete version of Rodgers’s jaunty march, part of which was cut in the television and video versions of the 1964 production. Cinderella (Lesley Ann Warren), treated as merely a workhorse and serving girl by her Stepmother since her father’s death, is sent to sit by herself in a drab comer of the house as punishment for an infraction of her Stepmother’s rules. But she refuses to let her Stepmother’s and Stepsisters’ abusive treatment get her down. “In My Own Little Corner,” she sings, she can dream as she wishes and “be whatever I want to be.” The King and Queen tell the Prince he cannot delay choosing a bride any longer. They decide he must give a ball to which all available prospects will be invited – and from which he must decide on the one he’ll wed. As the Herald’s stentorian tones announce the ball to the populace (“The Prince is Giving a Ball”), parents and daughters alike reflect on what it may mean for their chances of winning the Prince’s favor. On the night of the ball, Cinderella is left alone at home when her Stepsisters and Stepmother depart for the palace. As she sobs in her own little corner, her Fairy Godmother (Celeste Holm) appears and asks why she’s weeping. Cinderella says it’s because she wants to go to the ball but knows it’s impossible. “Bah,” comes the reply, “what’s a Fairy Godmother for?” (“Impossible!; It’s Possible!”) As the Fairy Godmother magically transforms a pumpkin into a golden carriage, four white mice into four white horses, and Cinderella’s tattered dress into an elegant ball gown, she passes along a piece of typically Hammersteinian philosophy: that impossible dreams can be achieved. Riding to the ball, Cinderella amends the words of her Fairy Godmother’s song to now affirm that “it’s possible!” At the ball, the Prince dances (“Gavotte”) in turn with some of the eligible young ladies, including the two Stepsisters, but makes no secret of being disappointed in all of them. As Cinderella arrives at the ball, the Prince is immediately drawn to the beautiful but unknown young lady and asks her to waltz with him. Alone together on a starlit terrace a bit later, the Prince confesses that the past ten minutes have changed his life, that it’s love at first sight (“Ten Minutes Ago”). Cinderella admits that she, too, has lost her heart. Jealous of all the attention the Prince is giving the unrecognized Cinderella, the two Stepsisters (Pat Carroll, Barbara Ruick) let loose with a stream of catty venom as they realize they stand no chance of competing with anyone so lovely (“Stepsisters’ Lament”). The King and Queen, happy that the Prince seems to be “dancing on air,” move to the dance floor themselves (“Waltz for a Ball”). In the moonlight, the Prince and Cinderella express in a duet the sort of romantic quandary that not only fairy-tale characters but also lots of plain mortals often find themselves in. “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful” (or Are You Beautiful Because I Love You?) is a prime example of the lyrical poetry Hammerstein could make out of the straightforward expression of thoughts and feelings other lyricists might consider too obvious or prosaic. Then, as the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella remembers her Fairy Godmother’s warning that her magic spell would last only to that hour, Cinderella flees from the palace – losing one of her glass slippers on the palace steps as her gown reverts to her old tattered dress. Back home, as Cinderella’s Stepmother (Jo Van Fleet) and Stepsisters reminisce about the ball, Cinderella dreamily tells them how she pictures what the evening must have been like (“When You’re Driving Through the Moonlight”). As the others scoff at her and go off to bed, Cinderella reminisces to herself about her night of nights (“A Lovely Night”). The Prince, after searching his kingdom from one end to the other for the girl whose foot fits the glass slipper, has finally found Cinderella. As her Fairy Godmother reminds them that impossible things are happening every day, Cinderella and the Prince enter the chapel to be married – leaving no doubt that, in true fairy-tale tradition, they’ll live happily ever after (“Finale”). – Roy Hemming

Credits

The Queen: Ginger Rogers The King: Walter Pidgeon The Fairy Godmother: Celeste Holm The Stepmother: Jo Van Fleet The Prince: Stuart Damon Prunella: Pat Carroll Esmeralda: Barbara Ruick Cinderella: Lesley Ann Warren The Herald: Don Heitgerd