On Sunday, November 2nd, 1997, The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC presents Rodgers & Hammerstein's mega-musical Cinderella. This $12 million dollar made-for-TV movie is a historic multicultural production: R&B singer Brandy (African American) plays Cinderella, Paolo Montalban (Asian American) is the young prince, Whitney Houston is the fairy godmother, Whoopi Goldberg is the queen, Victor Garber is the king, Jason Alexander is the prince's steward, Bernadette Peters is the stepmother, and Veanne Cox and Natalie Desselle are the stepsisters.
Robert L. Freedman wrote the Cinderella teleplay. The new Cinderella story has been gently revised to reflect current ideas about what we should be teaching children. The prince has a democratic impulse and he goes out among his people because he truly wants to understand them. That's where he first meets Cinderella and speaks with her. The movie is filled with romantic and humorous songs.
Executive producer Craig Zadan: "The prince isn't looking for just a hot babe, but someone he can talk to. And Cinderella isn't merely rescued by the prince; she decides she's not going to be a victim anymore. We finally hit upon the idea to keep the classic fairy tale setting but to contemporize the themes and make the characters have values of today."
Executive producer Debra Martin Chase: "We hope that this Cinderella, as we approach the millennium, is reflective of society today. My dream is that it will touch every child and the child in every adult. I sincerely hope that it reinforces the art of dreaming - having a vision and understanding that everyone has the power within to make that vision come true."
Whitney Houston: "I want children of all colors to be able to watch this program, enjoy it and know that they, too, can have their dreams come true."
Producer Chris Montan: "We wanted the message from the fairy godmother to be: 'You could have done it all yourself; you just didn't know it.' "
Bernadette Peters: "I think it's a shame that we haven't done more musicals for television. Maybe this (Cinderella) will be a trend leading to it."
Production designer Randy Ser: "All of this was done to bring Disney animation to life so that the audience can feel like they're walking in a virtual reality pop-up book."
Cinderella, lost in the sights and sounds of the marketplace, lags behind and let's her imagination wander with the music of "The Sweetest Sounds."
Pleas by the Prince that he be permitted to fall in love the old fashioned way are dismissed by his parents, especially the Queen, and Lionel is dispatched to proclaim that "The Prince is Giving a Ball."
Cinderella retreats to her chair in the kitchen, which doubles as her bedroom, where she loses herself in exotic and exciting dreams of a world away from this cold and loveless life, in a world to be found only "In My Own Little Corner."
Stepmother ridicules and mocks Cinderella's impossible and childish ideas about "Falling in Love With Love."
Encouraging Cinderella to stop dreaming about her life and instead start living her dreams, Fairy Godmother shows her that nothing is "Impossible."
Off to the Palace, Cinderella finally begins to believe "It's Possible."
Soon Cinderella and the Prince are waltzing away in each other's arms thinking how odd that they were mere strangers just "Ten Minutes Ago," and leaving Minerva and Calliope to commiserate over their bad luck in a "Stepsisters' Lament."
Once again finding their conversations relaxed and comfortable, Cinderella and the Prince wonder "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?"
Wishing to share her excitement, Cinderella recalls that her imaginary evening at the ball was "A Lovely Night."
In true fairy tale fashion, Cinderella and the Prince are married under the approving eye of the King and Queen. Fairy Godmother blesses the couple with the message that "There's Music in You" as they are cheered by their joyful royal subjects.