The story of Cinderella has been around for centuries and the interpretations are vast… too vast to go into detail here. But one element always remains the same – Cinderella is an underdog who triumphs over her oppressors, be it by the help of fairy godmothers, mice, or just her own wit and kindness…. And she has excellent taste in shoes.
In anticipation of our upcoming engagement with The Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra and their performances of Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella, we thought we’d take a moment to highlight the many different “Cinderella-stories” of stage and screen….
In Alexei Ratmansky’s 2002 version of the ballet – being performed next month here at The Music Center by the magnificent Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra – he sets the classic story amidst the glamour and grit of 1930’s. The ballroom scene is more Gatsby than gallantry, and you won’t find any mice or pumpkins in this version. Rather, Ratmansky reinvigorates this classic story-ballet with vibrant choreography, feisty humor, and a glamorous twist!
Perhaps one of the best-known and widely performed versions of the ballet set to Sergei Prokofiev’s luscious score, is Sir Frederick Ashton’s 1948 version. The choreography is something of an homage to the Petipa classics, and the full-length story ballet is brimming with panto-like humor (mainly in the form of stepsisters, traditionally performed by men in drag.) It followers the classic story line and is pure fairy-tale sweetness with gorgeous fluidity of movement.
Disney’s Cinderella (the animated version)
Disney’s 1950 animated classic perhaps is one of the most beloved and well-known versions of the story. And while Cinderella is lovely and the stepsisters have their comedic moments, I feel it’s really the mice who steal the picture. I mean who doesn’t love Gus Gus?
Sondheim’s Into The Woods
Sondheim’s take on Cinderella steers closer to the Brother’s Grimm version, with the Fairy Godmother being within a tree on Cinderella’s mother’s grave, and the gruesome efforts her stepsisters go through to fit into her glass slipper (hint: they cut off bits of their feet!) But as Sondheim weaves Cinderella’s story with a myriad of other classics, and shines harsh lights of reality on each, we see a completely new side to our heroine.
Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
The made-for-television special originally starred a young Julie Andrews, before being remade in 1965 with Leslie Ann Warren, and again in 1997 with Brandy. This version is as classic and magical as it gets! The recent update to this Broadway musical staple was part of Center Theatre Group’s 2014/15 season in our Ahmanson Theatre and gave new depth to both the prince and Cinderella. Her agenda to be princess was more about social justice than wanting to move out of her old digs, which was a pretty cool addition to the story. #GirlPower
The 1998 Drew Barrymore film also brought a modern sophistication to the story, while keeping it set in rural France during the renaissance. Leonardo DaVinci was thrown in to serve as fairy godmother (cause why not) and fellow human house servants were a nice change from talking mice! Drew’s Cinderella, didn’t need the prince to save her (again #GirlPower.) Plus that glitter face-makeup she wore to the ball was so spot on nineties!
That’s just a few of many Cinderella stories floating around out there. Leave a comment and tell us your favorite!