The Television Musical

Robynn J. Stilwell

in The Oxford Handbook of The American Musical

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780195385946
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Television Musical

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Three different versions of Cinderella, which are studied here, offer an opportunity to examine the specificity of a musical made for television and the medium as it changes over the years between. The first version was performed live in a complex soundstage set. The live-ness and the integral set meant that the performance was closest to a theatrical production. The acting style is theatrical and slightly restrained to the small scale of the television screen, particularly the small screen of the 1950s. The 1965 version was shot on soundstages, with much simpler and more spacious sets. The 1957 version has a rococo design aesthetic and the 1965 version is a combination of the modern and the medieval. The Disney version is strongly centered on the voice. The role of the Prince in this version is considerably more “generic adolescent” than the Prince of the 1965 version. The structural bonding between Cinderella and the Prince is used efficiently in the 1997 version, where the leads meet through Richard Rodgers's “The Sweetest Sound”, interpolated from No Strings. The relationship between the Prince and Cinderella is focused in this version but more attention is given to other characters, particularly the fairy godmother, the stepmother, and the major-domo of the castle. The romance between Cinderella and the Prince in this version seems more youthful.

Keywords: versions of Cinderella; Broadway musicals; theatrical production; Disney version; Hammerstein book

Article.  6748 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Musicology and Music History

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