Not content to stay in its own little corner on the TV screen, the smash 1997 ratings hit, "Cinderella," first seen on ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney," may become a live touring stage musical.
Industry sources say there are discussions between the producers of the television musical, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization and the Walt Disney Co. to mount a stage tour that would embrace the telepic's multicultural casting angle.
Whitney Houston, who co-produced with Debra Martin Chase, Chris Montan, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, played the Fairy Godmother to Brandy's Cinderella. The TV movie used newly orchestrated and arranged versions of songs by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, first heard in their 1957 television adaptation of "Cinderella" starring Julie Andrews (and later in the 1965 version with Lesley Ann Warren).
Talks about the family-friendly stage show are just beginning, and there are no details about stars or director yet. The project is likely for 2000 or 2001, and there has been no mention of Broadway in the grapevine buzz.
There would likely be some star casting, but speculation is that the original cast is highly unlikely for stage appearances due to their commitments to other projects. The 1997 cast included Jason Alexander (the Valet), Veanne Cox and Natalie Desselle (Stepsisters), Victor Garber (the King), Whoopi Goldberg (the Queen), newcomer Paolo Montalban (the Prince) and Bernadette Peters (the Stepmother).
It's not clear if "There's Music in You," "The Sweetest Sounds" and "Falling in Love With Love" -- all interpolated into the TV film, borrowed from other shows by Richard Rodgers -- would be used for the stage version. "Falling in Love With Love" (from Rodgers' and Lorenz Hart's The Boys From Syracuse) was given a driving, up-tempo arrangement for Peters, as the embittered Stepmother.
Due to conflicts in the record label contracts of stars Brandy and Houston, a soundtrack recording -- a surefire hit, producer speculate -- was never released.
Bert Fink of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization told Playbill On Line, "We are extremely proud of the latest Emmy-winning TV remake of 'Cinderella' and would look forward to a live version that transferred its magic to the stage."
In the meantime, folks at ABC and "The Wonderful World of Disney" are hoping for another major ratings score when a TV movie musical version of "Annie" airs Nov. 7.
-- By Kenneth Jones