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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Rodgers & Hammerstein's sole joint television venture has triumphantly transferred to the Broadway stage - original 1957 score augmented by songs dropped from their other shows.

This 65 minute CD is a delight. 26 tracks, the additions skilfully interwoven. The cast does them full justice. Cinderella is sung by Laura Osnes (who also features on the new R&H "Pipe Dream" recording). Santino Fontana proves a dashing prince. Victoria Clark is fun as the Fairy Godmother.

All the old favourites are there: "In My Own Little Corner", "The Prince is Having a Ball", "Impossible", "Ten Minutes Ago", The Cinderella Waltz, The Stepsisters' Lament, "A Lovely Night", "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?". Some are extended versions of those previously heard. The zesty orchestrations throughout are a joy. Amongst the new numbers "The Pursuit", "Loneliness of Evening" and "There's Music in You" particularly shine.

(A little dialogue is included. It provides the only jarring note - Cinderella asking the prince, "Is marriage still on the table?")

Clearly not only the Prince is having a ball. Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves - as will most listeners. Rodgers & Hammerstein have been royally served. Sumptuously illustrated notes accompany.

This, the fifth recording of "Cinderella" in my collection, is the one that has given greatest overall pleasure.

(Any hopes of a DVD version?)
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VINE VOICEon 27 July 2013
I was really looking forward to hearing this recording and, unlike almost everybody else who has reviewed it, I was very disappointed.

"Cinderella" is a story that is all about magic and, for me, that is a quality seriously lacking on this recording. The music as presented here sounds rather pedestrian. It was of course written in the 1950's but what was a simple short piece written to last about 90 minutes has been inflated to provide a full evening's entertainment. The original production, written for Julie Andrews, was simple and left you wanting more. It's not really top drawer R & H but Oscar's take on the story was original and the Rodgers' music was apt. They wrote a nice solo, "In My Own LIttle Corner", a romantic duet "Ten Minutes Ago" and a comedy duet "Sisters' Lament", two excellent musical scenes "The Price Is Giving a Ball" and "A Lovely Night", whose main theme is a song that should have been performed more frequently over the last 50 years and a sublime love song "Do I Love You Because Your Beautiful?" Rodgers also wrote an enchanting waltz for the ball and other very effective incidental music.

To pad out the piece for a full theatre production, other R & H songs have been patched in. "The Loneliness of Evening", cut from "South Pacific", was first pasted into "Cinderella" with Rodgers' good will for the 1965 TV production. Stuart Damon sang it well but it wasn't right for "South Pacific" and it isn't right for "Cinderella" either. Neither are any of the other tunes which have been dragooned in either from "Allegro", "Pipe Dream" or the R & H trunk. Each of these pieces suddenly spoils the flow of the "Cinderella" music by betraying its origins. I am also not very enamoured of some of the new lyrics, the worst of which is sung by the Prince as he describes himself as "a regular guy". For a fairy tale? It seems very republican. Surely Oscar didn't write this? He always wrote for character and his Prince was romantically royal.

I can't say I am very enthusiastic about the performances either or the quality of the recording. The latter seems to be a typical product of the digital age, close with no space around it. The choral singing sounds dreary and very unenthusiastic. The conducting doesn't let the music take flight. Too many tunes, "Ten Minutes Ago" for one, are reprised way too many times. Worst of all, the best song in the original score, "Do I Love You Because Your Beautiful?" is buried towards the end of the piece in such an unmagical glutinous mass of sound that it almost passes unnoticed. The vocal performances are just about acceptable but nowhere so characterful as in the original TV production.

Fie on Ted Chapin for allowing this to happen. If "Cinderella" had to be turned into a full length Broadway production, as keeper of the keys at the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, he should have demanded something better than this. It would have been better to have have sanctioned a revisiting of "Allegro". If you do this, Mr Chapin, you might restore my previous faith in your guardianship of the R & H treasury. This new piece lacks artistic integrity, which is something R & H always strived for and, for the most part, achieved.

For those wanting a recording of the"Cinderella" score, I would recommend the recording of the original TV production with Julie Andrews. It may have fewer songs than you'd hoped for but these were written especially for the production and fitted the story like a glove. This recording also has more magic than any of the recordings made of subsequent productions. If you want to hear the best recording of "Do I Love You Because Your Beautiful?. this can be found on Mel Torme's splendid "That's All" album.
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VINE VOICEon 16 April 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. However this production does not include the Gavotte and the Royal Dressing Room scene. 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. 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.
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on 31 May 2013
Bought this cast recording because I adore Laura Osnes and the story of Cinderella is a favourite of mine. It is a brilliant soundtrack, such a shame I'm unable to watch it but I live in hope that there's a West End version.
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on 26 July 2013
We saw this show on Broadway at the "Broadway Theatre" and it is wonderfull, It has been rewritten and a good thing too, with some characters removed and all for the good. But the C.D. is a joy to listen to. First class cast with the beautiful voices of Victoria Clark & Laura Osnes, The arrangments and the large orchestra (even in the theatre) is something that's now rare. This is something of an old fashioned musical, but its everything that a show should be......Happy & a pleasure to watch & listen to. I agree with bring out a dvd ! This Cd will give enjoyment for years to come.
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on 26 March 2014
Great to see this new version on cd.A UK version was done many years ago when the show was in London and starred Tommy Steele.Other songs have been added and others deleted from this new USA version-so the show feels completely new,so if you have the original cd this version is well worth buying.
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on 6 July 2014
This album is amazing. Laura Osnes' voice is crystal and perfect and Santino Fontano sounds like such a prince. Ten Minutes Ago is amazing and I really love the little bit of dialogue in The Proposal. I think it's amusing and sweet.
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on 29 August 2013
A wonderful score. Sit back and enjoy this new 'old' Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

I look forward to a West End production in the near future.
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on 17 October 2013
Very quick delivery from the time I placed the order. Great fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein so it was great to get a new recording of one of their works
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on 27 July 2013
It's always great to have a recording of unfamiliar music by Richard Rodgers, and here is a very presuasive, highly enjoyable cd. Try it!
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