Bernadette Peters will star in a new production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Cinderella, to be aired on ABC-TV Nov. 2.
The film, which casts the inimitable Peters as the wicked stepmother, was originally planned for CBS as a star vehicle for Whitney Houston. However, Houston has opted to take the role of the fairy godmother in this production for ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney" film series. The key role of that glass slipper-losing Cinderella has gone to pop star Brandy.
It will be Peters' second major "wicked," role, having played the Witch in Stephen Sondheim's 1988 Into the Woods.
For more on the special, see Ken Mandelbaum's column in US Theatre News.
Others in the Cinderella cast include "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander as Lionel, a new character created for this version; Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen; Paolo Montalban as the prince; and Veanne Cox of Company fame as one of the wicked stepsisters.The Rodgers & Hammerstein score includes "Ten Minutes Ago," "Impossible" and "Do I Love You."
Three songs have been added, including "The Sweetest Sounds" (from Ao Stringsscore, with lyrics by Rodgers) to be sung by Brandy and the young prince; "There's Music in You," an R&H tune to be performed by Whitney Houston; and "Falling in Love With Love," a song from The Boys From Syracuse (with lyrics by Lorenz Hart), which will receive the Peters treatment. The lavish production promises to be one of the most expensive TV movies ever made.
R&H's only musical written expressly for television, Cinderella was originally done with Julie Andrews, then remade for broadcast on CBS with Lesley Ann Warren.
The musical made its New York stage debut at New York City Opera in 1994 with Crista Moore as Cinderella.
Those eager for a sneak-peek at Cindy can go to the brand new Rodgers & Hammerstein website -- http://www.rnh.com -- for a RealVideo sequence from the upcoming TV special. (The promotion begins Oct. 27 and runs only to Nov. 3).
Scenes from the 1957 Julie Andrews broadcast will be shown, with corresponding scenes from the new Cinderella. Andrews' costars included Fairy Godmother Edith Adams, Prince Jon Cypher and Step-sisters Kaye Ballard and Alice Ghostley, in excerpts from such songs as "In My Own Little Corner," "Impossible," "Ten Minutes Ago," and "Step-sisters Lament."
After the Cinderella promotion, the new website, designed by T3 Media, will provide show-by-show information on all songs and productions written by Rodgers & Hammerstein and/or handled by their organization, Williamson Music and the Irving Berlin Music Company.