I’m not sure how Brandy Cinderella found her way into our family life, but once she got in, she was here to stay. We watched her 1997 version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical so many times that we have all memorized all the songs. It is my favorite musical.
Cinderella in all her forms was a fixation with my daughter Ellen. We would go the library and check out all the different permutations of the Cinderella story, and believe me, there are a LOT. The American Library Association lists more than 500. Egyptian Cinderella, Chinese Cinderella, Korean Cinderella, Persian Cinderella, and on and on.
We watched all the Cinderella movies: the insipid 1950 Disney bibbidi-bobbidi-boo one (our least favorite), the original Rodgers and Hammerstein 1957 movie with the lovely Julie Andrews, the atrocious 1965 R&H movie with Lesley Ann Warren, the fun 1998 Ever After with Drew Barrymore.
In fact, as I write this, I remember hauling 3-year-old Susan and 1-year-old Ellen to an afternoon movie matinee of Ever After because I really, really wanted to see it, so maybe Ellen’s Cinderella thing didn’t come out of nowhere…
Susan and Ellen both participated in children’s theater, and they used “In My Own Little Corner” and “Sister’s Lament” from Cinderella as audition songs.
In the midst of “artistic differences” between Ellen and her high school drama director, a local youth theater announced a production of R&H Cinderella. I talked Ellen into auditioning, and she played the Stepmother. I think I enjoyed the production more than she did. She did get to wear some great wigs.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. Foothill College Theater was performing R&H Cinderella. All the children were away doing fun things, and Larry was off playing with his boat, so I took myself to Cinderella.
I decanted a bottle of white wine into a Thermos which I snuck into the theater in my capacious handbag. I also bought a Snicker’s bar from the table out front. It was a great night – the cast, the orchestra, and the production were fabulous, my wine was cold, and I had a chocolate bar.
After the show I wandered around the Foothill campus and cried for a while because the production had a theme of “optimism” and there doesn’t seem to be much cause for optimism lately. Then I pulled myself together and came home because I wasn’t sure I could adequately explain myself to campus security.
Larry accompanied me to Cinderella last weekend, and we also took my next-door neighbor Camay. It was odd having to explain what we were about to see to Camay, who had never heard of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. It’s been a part of my life for so long. Luckily, she enjoyed it, and maybe she’ll be inspired to watch the best Cinderella, Brandy Cinderella.