Cinderella on Broadway

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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella came to the Broadway stage for the first time on January 25. Emily Hirshorn ’15

Glass slippers are back in style  as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella premiered for the first time on Broadway this past January. The book writer, Douglas Carter Beane, incorporated many aspects of the traditional Cinderella story but with some new twists. The pumpkin, glass slippers, and fairy godmother are still included, but this time it is Cinderella, referred to as Ella, who rescues the prince.

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella came to the Broadway stage for the first time on January 25.
Emily Hirshorn ’15

The show opens with Ella, played by Laura Osnes, gathering plants in the forest. She runs off stage as Prince Topher, played by Santino Fontanta, enters with his soldiers prepared to slay a fearful tree beast lurking in the dark. The show goes on to explore the lives of both Ella and Topher. Ella spends her days completing endless chores for her stepmother Madam and her ugly stepsisters Charlotte and Gabrielle. Prince Topher struggles as he prepares himself to become king with a financial adviser to guide him instead of parents.
Ella and Prince Topher meet in the forest after one of Topher’s hunts. Ella offers him some water from the well behind her house and he gives her a gold coin in return. With the help of Ella’s fairy godmother Marie, Ella and the prince meet again at the ball. Ella is truly the belle of the ball in her sparkling white dress, tiara, and glass slippers, and she immediately catches the eye of Prince Topher in a dashing white suit. Topher asks Ella for her name, but instead of telling him, she requests something from him. She asks that he opens his eyes to the needs of the poor people in the kingdom who are starving, and leaves the prince in a haze.
Just like in the classic Cinderella story, the clock strikes 12 and Ella must go. However, in the Broadway debut, when Ella loses one of her Venetian glass slippers, she snatches it back before the prince can take it. This leaves the audience perplexed at the end of act one as to how Topher will find Ella without her glass slipper.
According to Osnes, this twist in the play makes the show different from a typical love-at-first sight story.
“Cinderella challenges the prince to step up and be the king. He pushes her to believe in herself. The right person can bring out the best in a person,” Osnes said in an interview with the Daily News.
The show resumes with Prince Topher desperately searching for his one true love. He is determined to find Ella again and therefore, holds a banquet for everyone in his kingdom with the hope she will come. But, Ella wants more than a handsome prince charming. She wants Topher to use his position as king to make life better for everyone in the kingdom. When she runs away for the second time, she deliberately places her slipper on the palace steps and exits.
The Prince then holds the traditional search for which woman’s foot will fit the delicate glass slipper. But another event is also held at the castle that day. All members of the kingdom will have the ability to vote for the king’s new adviser. This is a solution that will ensure stability and proper representation for all members of the kingdom. 
Ella goes to vote at the palace in her rags, and then seats herself in the chair to try on the slipper. It is the perfect fit and Prince Topher is ecstatic to see her, regardless of what she is wearing. Ella finally tells the prince her name, and they make plans to get married.
The show ends with the royal wedding. All members of the kingdom are invited to attend, and joy spreads throughout the land. Ella and Topher show that spreading kindness and love to everyone is a magical thing.
 
 – Emily Hirshorn, Staff Writer