Most of us have fond memories of one of the television versions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella.” For some, it may the original 1957 TV production starring Julie Andrews. For others it’s the 1965 version with Lesley Ann Warren in the title role, or the 1997 all-star production with Brandy as Cinderella.
It’s the only musical that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote for TV, and though there have been stage versions for decades, “Cinderella” didn’t make it to Broadway until 2013, with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane and some added songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein catalog. It ran for a respectable 21 months and earned a bunch of Tony Award nominations.
Now a non-Equity national tour is coming to the the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota for two performances, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Beane, who also wrote the screenplay for “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” the straight plays “The Little Dog Laughed” and “As Bees in Honey Drown,” and the book for the stage musical “Xanadu,” has by most accounts altered the tone of the classic fairy tale, turning Cinderella into a social activist and making her stepsisters more sympathetic. Some people liked his version. Others didn’t.
But it’s still packed with great Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, including “The Stepsisters Lament,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”