The last show that Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein created together was "The Sound of Music" in 1959. But as recently as 2013, there was still one Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that had never been staged on Broadway.
And until this month, that show had never had a national tour.
"Cinderella" was conceived as a television production in 1957. It starred 22-year-old Julie Andrews in an adaptation of the classic fairy tale.
"Most people don't realize that it was never on Broadway until last year," said Paige Faure. "And this is the first national tour."
Faure plays the title role in the touring production -- officially titled "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella" -- that comes to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. The six-day run starts Tuesday.
Faure is touted as a rising star on Broadway. She had a small part in the Daniel Radcliffe revival of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," became an ensemble member in "Cinderella" before taking the lead role and joined the cast of "Bullets Over Broadway" earlier this year. Her husband, Adam Monley, is in "Les Miserables" on Broadway and played the role of Javert for a while over the summer.
Faure came back to "Cinderella" for the tour, which opened last week in Providence, R.I. The Tampa stop is the tour's second, so very few people have seen the production outside of New York.
"Cinderella" is the only show Rodgers and Hammerstein created for television. Their "State Fair" was originally a movie, but that made it to Broadway in the 1990s.
The TV version has had a couple reincarnations. Lesley Ann Warren took the title role in a 1965 version; in 1997, a new version aired with Brandy Norwood, Whitney Houston and Bernadette Peters.
But while the current version has all those classic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, it has a new book by Douglas Carter Beane that has a more contemporary feel. Beane is best known as the writer of such plays as "The Little Dog Laughed" and for writing the film "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar."
"Both Cinderella and the prince go through very real journeys as human beings," Faure said. "You feel that the girl is
not simply yearning for the prince to rescue her. The prince is unsure of himself. He doesn't know how to rule. Cinderella's message is one of belief and generosity, and that's where the Fairy Godmother comes in."
The result, Faure said, is that this version of "Cinderella" has the fairy-tale elements that have always appealed to kids, but has more fully drawn characters with real problems, to appeal to a wider audience.
"Adults who come to this because they're bringing their kids will end up enjoying it themselves," Faure said. "It's romantic and it's contemporary. It makes for a great date night."
Details: Oct. 21-26, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Show times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $56-$95 plus service charge. Information: 813-229-7827, strazcenter.org.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.