17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2013
While not exactly the Cinderella I grew up on (the 65 Leslie Ann Warren version) or the original Julie Andrews version, it captures all the elements that made both magical. All of the score is here, plus several Rodgers and Hammerstein pieces excised from other productions.
The original is a teleplay that is approximately 60 minutes in length, so they had to flesh it out to 2 and a half hours for a full scale Broadway production. How to do that? Re-write the book, add a couple silly sub-plots, and fill it in with lots, and lots of R&H music! While the book and story are still fluffy and mild, even though they tried to make it more PC, Cindy is now socially conscious of the plight of the Prince's subjects (and cute animated animals), and there is an innocuos revolutionary that falls for a (hardly) wicked stepsister, none of it really matters.
R&H's Cinderella has always been about the glorious music. Even the awful Whitney Houston mess could not tarnish the majesty of the score. Everything from the first two productions is included and performed by leads Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana to sublime perfection. Most of the supporting cast are wonderful as well, with the delicious Victoria Clarke as the Fairy Godmother standing out. Peter Bartlett as a devious, mincing Prince's aid, with a dumb sub-plot that has him trying to usurp the Princes power, being slightly annoying. Fortunately he doesn't have much to do on the Cast Recording. Frazier's Harriet Harris as the wicked stepmother, is as usual, hysterically funny.
So it isn't exactly the original, who cares when it provides all that fantastic music, currently the best score on Broadway! The recording is delightful from the first note of the overture, to the finale!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2013
I was fortunate enough to be able to preview this album the week before its release. As an owner two other Cinderella recordings, I assumed that the listen would be my chance to quench any curiosity about the new cast and immediately go back to listening to Julie Andrews. Wrong. I listened to it three times in a row and then started counting down the days until its release.
I am late to the Laura Osnes fan club, but her voice is flawless here. Even her spoken parts (which I sometimes find hokey on soundtracks) are delightful. And am I allowed to call Santino Fontana (our favorite talent from 'Submissions Only') charming as the prince? Because he is. Victoria Clark is as brilliant as always as the Fairy Godmother.
Seriously, this album is a theatre lover's dream. The best songs are the classics "In My Own Little Corner", "Impossible"/"It's Possible", "Ten Minutes Ago", and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful", as well as the borrowed "Loneliness of Evening" from South Pacific. (Although truthfully, the short duet in "The Proposal" might be my favorite.)
Even if you love another recording of Cinderella, this is worth adding to your collection. There are enough new songs and refrains (not to mention a completely new book!) to satisfy. This album, from start to finish, is pure happiness.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2013
We're just not getting melody in our songs anymore. Musical whiz David Chase has done a remarkable job in weaving together strands of Rodgers and Hammerstein's original TV score for "Cinderella" with other "trunk" songs that enrich and enliven this cast recording. The more you listen to it, the more wizardry you will find in its arrangements. There is a difference between leaving a theatre whistling the tunes because they are cheap and easy to remember, or having one's body and spirit to "take to" a song the minute you hear it because the heart and the mind are engaged by beauty and professionalism. Revisiting the show through this album, the in-person pleasure returns, plus more. Laura Osnes has a bit of the brassy sound of today's Broadway singers (slight steely edge vs. lilting soprano) but acquits herself nicely. Santino Fontana is an endearing prince, and the choral work is gorgeous. Outside the Broadway Theatre where the show is playing is a poster that proclaims, "A radiant score!" It really is.
This is not top-drawer R&H, but because so much of it is relatively unknown (compared to "South Pacific" or "The Sound of Music") it is almost like having a new Rodgers and Hammerstein musical on Broadway. Most of the songs were written for the 1957 CBS television production starring Julie Andrews and Jon Cypher, reprised in 1965 in color with Leslie Ann Warren and Stuart Damon, and then in 1997 with Brandy and Paolo Montalban. One of the loveliest songs in the Broadway production, "The Loneliness of Evening," was cut from "South Pacific," and has been given to the Prince in his yearning for Cinderella, but also has new lyrics that confer a kind of blessing on the show by singing of a yearning for a perfect world. Another standout is "The Music in You," a little-known song sung by Mary Martin in the little-seen film, "Main Street to Broadway." It's given to the fairy godmother to sing to Cinderella and serves as the finale of the show.
Because today's Broadway has so many jukebox musicals ("Motown," "Jersey Boys," "Million Dollar Quartet," etc.) it is easy to get cynical about "Cinderella" and see it as a way to keep the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization in business (not to suggest they don't have their hands full) but there is real musical artistry in how different themes from various songs are highlighted or recalled in the course of other songs, subtly influencing the brain through unconscious music recollection and association. This is not a new technique but the hands in "Cinderella" really care about the music and truly honor it by giving it more dimension and resonance.
The one clunker is "The Prince is Giving A Ball," which is not bad in and of itself, but on this cast album it goes on and on with a truly unnecessary dance by townsfolk that is basically a time waster. That aside, the rest of this is really gorgeous, really beautiful, and respectfully and lovingly done. I am really impressed with what David Chase and company have accomplished, and this album is a great gift to anyone who loves show music, or to a young girl or boy who is becoming enchanted with musical theatre.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2013
This is a fantastic Broadway cast album. All of the singers are wonderful, the songs flow beautifully, and there is just enough dialogue to help tell the story. The next best thing to being at the show. I recommend listening to this album the first time from beginning to end.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2013
This cast album is magical. Laura Osnes has an incredible voice as does the entire cast. The score is classic and you will find yourself singing along. Buy it as fast as you can.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2015
The original 1957 score for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical version of Cinderella only included 8 songs (not counting reprises). I'm doubly sure that Rodgers and Hammerstein would have expanded their score into a full-fledged Broadway musical were it not for Hammerstein's death in 1960. As such, all subsequent presentations of this musical (including the two TV remakes) have interpolated extra songs.
All the subsequent version of this Cinderella musical might not be sui generis R&H because others have had a hand in expanding the score for a full-length evening. This is different from, for instance, the extensions that Lloyd Webber and Rice made to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat when they expanded their original pop cantata version into a full-fledged musical. Many productions have ghostwritten sections of lyrics and music. The Godmother's song, There's music in you, has a paraphrase from One foot, other foot from Allegro. This ghost-written section was added to the song when it was inserted into the 1997 production.
Although there have been various attempts at a stage version of the R&H Cinderella, this version is the first mounting of the musical on Broadway. Douglas Carter Beane wrote a new book and the producers padded out the score with discarded songs from the various R&H musicals. It is remarkable that the extra songs maintain the existing tone of the original 1957 score and blend well into it.
The storyline of this version has its plus points and minus points. I know I've felt doubtful about the various subplots in this version. I know that there is a Tuscan proverb quoted by Italo Calvino that says "The tale is not beautiful is nothing is added to it." As such I am aware that the producers are responding to this proverb. However the sub-plots make the story lose focus. They tend to stick out like sore fingers and they don't evolve from the main plot like the Rolf-Liesl subplot in The Sound of Music, or the Tuptim-Lun Tha love story in The King and I. Hammerstein's intent for the script and storyline was that it be direct and focused, qualities that might be lacking in the telling of the tale here. On the plus side I am very happy that this version nods to the Perrault story and makes Cinderella attend TWO balls rather than one, as most other version do (including the 1957 TV version). This provides sensible grounds for stretching the score so it does not pad. The two acts are now of an equal length and the Fairy Godmother sings TWO songs to Cinderella, one before each palace event. Also it makes sense to separate the two love songs so that the Prince and Cinderella sing one at each palace function.
The cast recording reminds us that this score is pure joy. All the main songs from the 1957 TV musical are here on this recording, except for the Gavotte. The songs still serve the telling of the tale, define characters or set moods. Unlike You'll Never Walk Alone, Some Enchanted Evening or Do-Re-Mi, they did not lead lives as stand-alone songs outside their original contexts. Perhaps these songs have lived long in the towering shadow of the songs from the 1950 Disney film of Cinderella. As such, Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, So this is love and A dream is a wish your heart makes have overshadowed the songs in this Cinderella score. In my own little corner, Impossible/It's possible, Ten minutes ago and Do I love you because you're beautiful are standouts in this score. The waltz-song, Ten minutes ago, is a patented Rodgers waltz in the tradition of The most beautiful girl in the world, the Carousel Waltz, Edelweiss and My Favourite Things. The Waltz for a ball is a worthy centrepiece of the score.
As presented here, the score includes the key interpolations in the subsequent TV versions and adds in four R&H trunk songs. It cuts out the Gavotte and the Royal Dressing Room Scene for the King and Queen, who were dropped in this production. The trunk songs are sensibly chosen and maintain the tone of the original score. It helps that there are only three songs otherwise they would stick out from the original score like the extra songs that were included in prior drafts of the musical. The Prince's opening solo, Me, who am I (cut from Me and Juliet) sets up his character so well and Cinderella reflects on her night's experiences with He was tall. This song was the original introduction to Hello, young lovers from The King and I. In any case the score in its current iteration is tight and focused. Danny Troob, a veteran on Alan Menken's Disney musicals, orchestrated the score and did not let his Disney background intrude on the feel of the music. It is suitably lush yet sensitive and sensible throughout. Despite the frills that might distract from the main plot I tend to like this stage configuration of the R&H Cinderella much better than the other stage versions, including the version presented on the International Tour version with Lea Salonga.
As for the cast, this is an excellent team of performers who bring this time-honoured tale to life. Osnes ans Fontana are perfection as the leads. They shine individually and as a pair, in their various solos and duets. Osnes as the eponymous heroine is solid and spirited and, if I might say so, sings as a princess should. Her voice reminds me of some of the singing voices of the Disney princesses. Osnes does her best to animate the words she sings. Occasionally I wish she had been crisp in her delivery of some passages, notably in the bridge of A lovely night. Fontana as the Prince is well-characterised, grappling with his uncertainties and feeling his love for Cinderella bloom through the course of the story. He turns in ravishing renditions of Ten minutes ago and Do I love you because you're beautiful. I do note that sometimes the Prince doesn't sound as present as he needs to be. The balance of the recording does not quite do him justice. The stepsisters are suitably disagreeable and the Godmother is both a bewitching character and a spiritual earth mother figure to Cinderella at the same time. Her rendition of Impossible/It's Possible is vivacious yet grounded, and she offers a suitably touching rendition of There's music in you. In a way the Godmother reminds me of two other R&H earth mothers, Nettie and the Mother Abbess. Impossible/It's possible is the counterpart to June is bustin' out all over while There's music in you is the counterpart to You'll never walk alone and Climb ev'ry mountain. In fact, the lyric of There's music in you includes the words mountain and music in the same song, thus anticipating the subject matter of The Sound of Music.
The album is excellently produced and the listener can literally feel the story unfold without the context of the stage show. It includes instrumental passages and snippets of dialogue that illustrate key moments (i.e. the Prince's search for Cinderella, the glass slipper episode towards the end.) As such this cast album flows and unfolds seamlessly to tell this time-honoured story in its own way.
If I had a few concerns about the music, I might mention something about The Prince is giving a ball and the inclusion of the discarded South Pacific song, Now is the time. This song feels out of place in this production because it sounds too militaristic for a dreamy, romantic-toned fairy tale musical. It makes the song lose focus when we are supposed to hear the announcement and the impact on the subjects of the kingdom. I also wish that the producers had included Do I love you because you're beautiful in the finale sequence. It reflects the burgeoning love for Cinderella and the Prince and might be more effective than another reprise of Ten minutes ago. Another concern is that the recording does not allow the orchestra to bloom and have definition, space and air. The recording seems rather close-miked, but unfortunately many cast recordings are engineered in this way. However the superb orchestra makes the score sound full-bodied and lush.
I am pleased that this musical did well on Broadway, running for nearly two years. This has allowed this Cinderella musical to take its place alongside The King and I and The Sound of Music as the main R&H successes of the 1950s. I know that scholars and historians might ask history to pass harsh judgement on latter half R&H and claim that the successful R&H musicals after Carousel are "more of the same" and "frippery" only fit for the 1940s and 1950s. However, it is good to have this particular screen-to-stage adaptation of the R&H Cinderella to take its place in their canon of Broadway musicals.
To conclude, I am very happy with this iteration of the musical. I find that I like it better than State Fair and better than most screen-to-stage musicals. More importantly, I like it much better than the other stage iterations of this R&H score that have been presented since the 1957 broadcast. It is still an enchanting score that does justice to R&H. It is a worthy telling of the fairy tale and I sense that this recording might endure and hold up better than the stage script. I heartily recommend this to any R&H fan, and as such it can take its place alongside any King and I or Sound of Music cast recordings.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2013
I wasn't sure whether I should download the soundtrack from iTunes or to order the album, but I decided to order it. I was VERY happy with the outcome! I thought the case might be thrown together with the disk, but no! It's got a great Broadway booklet filled with pictures from the production, and the soundtrack itself is astounding! I listen to it every single day, and when I'm to it it's playing beautifully in my mind! I love it, it's fantastic, and I HIGHLY recommend it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2013
I got the extraordinary opportunity to see this show just yesterday on Broadway after winning the lottery for it only a half hour before and I'm so glad because this has been one of my favorite musicals since the album was released! Iv seen clips on youtube but nothing compares to the real thing! Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana, and Victoria Clarke are simply phenomenal and after the show when we got our playbills signed at the stage door they were so nice! It wad such a great experience! This is truly one of my top favorite musicals
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2013
Laura Osnes has a beautiful voice. Although numerous remakes, this version is truly worth the listen to. A classic Boarway show for all ages to enjoy.
on September 25, 2015
Okay so some mixed feelings on this one. I adore Laura in everything she does and she is simply a brilliant Cinderella and her voice is perfect for the role. My complaints lie with the constant changing of a wonderful production. Granted there have been some songs added or deleted over the years that I adore (Boys and Girls The Sweetest Sounds and Falling in Love With Love) but this production changed way too much of the classic masterpeice around for me. And while I love the idea of blending different songs it just doesnt work in this one. And adding Who Am I and He Was Tall just seemed like a total waste when there are so many lovely pieces that could have been used. So to me this was probably my least favorite in terms of overall choices of songs but Laura is simply a perfect Cinderella and I adore her so much I take what I do like about this and listen to that over and over.