History of Chinderella as Multimedia Productions – Film, Ballet, Opera, Broadway, Animation

“… [numerous] artists took Cinderella off the printed page and into the realm of the performing arts.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 22

Gruelle's Cinderella paperdolls

Johnny B. Gruelle – 1911 Illustrations for McCall’s Magazine.  Charolyn Sherwin Bailey wrote a Cinderella play; and children could cut out Gruelle’s illustrations to create their own productions.

“There are records of ‘Cinderella’ ballets dating back to 1813 in Vienna, although none of them have attained the status of the great Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky fairy-tale ballets.  Composer Boris Fitinhoff-Schell’s lavish ‘Cinderella’ debuted at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatrein St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1893.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 22

 1893 Ballet

Maria Anderson as the fairy godmother in the ballet Cinderella, composed by Boris Fitinhoff-Schell in 1893.

File:Cinderella -title role -Pierina Legnani -1893.JPG

Pierina Legnani as Cinderella in 1893 Ballet


“The subject for the ballet Aschenbrodel (Cinderella) by Johann Strauss II was chosen in a contest organized by the editor and the music critic of the magazine Die Waage (The Weighing Scales).  Composer Josef Bayer completed it after Strauss died in 1899; it premiered in 1901 at the Berlin Royal Opera–as composer-conductor Gustav Mahler rejected it for the Vienna Court Opera.”   Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 22

 Galinla Ulanova as Cinderella in Prokofiev Ballet 1945

“Sergey Prokofiev’s Cinderella (1945) ranks among the most popular ballet scores of the twentieth century, and has been choreographed in Russia England, and America.  He worked on it for five years, setting it aside while he composed the opera War and Peace.  The music juxtaposes lush romanticism with comedy and satire.” Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 22


“However, the most celebrated operatic interpretation of ‘Cinderella’ is Gioacchino Rossini’s La Cenerentola ossia La bonta in trionfo (Cinderella, or Virtue Triumphant). Rossini reportedly wrote the opera, first performed in 1817, in three weeks, whortly after The Barber of Seville.  The wicked stepfather, Don Magnifico, takes the place of the stepmother, and Cinderella is ecognized not by her slipper but by a bracelet.  (Historians speculate that a bracelet would have mollified the Roman censors who might have objected to displaying a woman’s bare foot onstage.)

“When it was harshly criticized at its premiere, Rossini reportedly told his grieving librettist Jacopo Ferretti, ‘Fool! Before carnival ends everyone will be in love with it; and within a year it’ll be sung from one end of the country to the other.’  His predictions proved true.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 23


“Cinderella debuted as a pantomime at the Drury Lane Theatre in London in 1904, the same year as the premiere of the first musical comedy in America:  stage and film composer Louis F. Gottschalk’s Cinderella and the Prince, or the Castle of Heart’s Desire.  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 23

“Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II composed their version for a CBS-TV production in 1957 starring Julie Andrews:  an estimated audience of more than one hundred million watched the broadcast.  Their ‘Cinderella’ was remade for television in 1965 with Lesley Ann Warren and again in 1997 with Brandy Norwood.  A revised version of the show debuted on Broadway in 2013”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 23

“Cinderella is one of the many fairy-tale characters Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine brought together for the Broadway show Into the Woods (1987).  Originally played by Kim Crosby, she sings the musical’s most famous song, ‘No One Is Alone’ to Little Red Ridinghood, joined by the baker and his wife.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 23

Into the Woods Movie

“There have been scores of live-action ‘Cinderella’ films.  One of the earliest made in [pg. 23] 1898 by British special effects pioneer George Albert Smith, George Melies filmed the story twice:  Cinderella Up-to-Date (1909) and 1912’s Cendrillon ou la pantoufle merveilleuse (Cinderella or the Magical Slipper).

” ‘America’s Sweetheart,’ Mary Pickford, took the title role in a `9`4 Cinderella, opposite Owen Moore.   A Kiss for Cinderella (1925), based on the play by J. M. Barrie, starred Betty Bronson–whom Barrie had chosen to play his most famous character, Peter Pan, in a film made the previous year.” Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, pgs. 23 – 24.

“In addition to the more straightforward retellings, there have been numerous musical adaptations, usually tailored to the heroine’s talents.  Deanna Durbin sang as the Cinderella-esque heroine of First Love (1939)…. Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 24.

“…Leslie Caron danced through Paris as Ella, a modern Cinderella, in The Glass Slipper (1955).”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 24.

“In 1976, Robert and Richard Sherman, who had written the songs for Mary Poppins, collaborated on The Slipper and the Rose:  The Story of Cinderella, with Gemma Craven as the heroine and Richard Chamberlain as Prince Edward.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 24.

“Some adaptations have strayed further from the original.  A magic pair of shoes enabled Kelly Carter (Jennifer Grey) to appear as supermodel Prudence and win the affection of fashion designer Francesco Salvitore (Rob Lowe) in If the Shoe Fits (1990).”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 24.


“Any rags-to-riches tales, from the original Rocky (1976) to Pretty Womah (1990) is invariably referred to as a ‘Cinderella story’….”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 24.


Swing Shift Cinderella – Tex Avery – 1945

“There have also been a number of animated Cinderellas over the decades.  Tex Avery lampooned the tale in Cinderella Meets Fella (Warner Bros. 1938), though he made a faster, funnier send-up at MGM seven years later:  Swing Shift Cinderella, with Red, the sexy nightclub chanteuse who appeared in many of his wartime shorts, in the title role.  When she calls her fairy godmother for help, the old girl’s in a bar, slapping back an outsided drink.  A lecherous wolf pusue Red around a Hollywood nightspot while the libidinous godmother soon arrives and chases after the wolf.  But Red has to fkee the scene completely at midnight–to change into coveralls and a welding mask for her shift at the aircraft factory.” Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p. 24.

Canadian author-animator Janet Perlman earned an Oscar nomination for her hilarious spoof, The Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin (1981), which featured such absurd touches as a medieval licorne tapestry with a penguin and a glass slipped shaped like a swim flipper–to be fit a webbed foot.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, pgs. 24 – 25.

“The American TV animation studio Rankin/Bass Productions included ‘Cinderella’ in their Festival of Family Classics animation series (1972) on ABC. ” Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p . 25.

“The story has been animated several times in Japan.  Cinderella Monogatari (The Tale of Cinderella, 1996) stretches the story into a twenty-six-episode TV series that suggests a combination of the traditional fairy tale and Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper.  Additional Japanese retellings appeared in the series Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Famous World Fairy Tales, and Hello Kitty.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p . 25.

“Poor Cinderella, from the New York based Fleischer Studios, with Betty Boop in the title role, ranks as the oldest cartoon.  Under pressure from Paramount to duplicate the success of Disney’s Silly Symphonies, the Fleischer brothers began their ‘Color Classics’ with Poor Cinderella in 1934.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p . 25.

“And in 1922, an ambitious young cartoonist and his friends animated an updated version of the story in which the stepsisters read Beauty Secrets anEat and Grow Thin, and the fairy godmother presents Cinderella with a jazzy modern car instead on the traditional pumpkin-coach.  Cinderella was the last of the six Laugh-O-grm fairy tales Walt Disney produced in Kansas City, Missouri.  More than a quarter century later, he would return to the story.”  Solomon, Once Upon A Dream, p . 25.


About jackikellum

Jacki Kellum is a Fine Artist, a Designer, and also a writer. For one of her graduate programs, she wrote her thesis on William Blake. Like Blake, much of Kellum's work is about childhood and lost innocence. Also like Blake, Kellum strives to both write and illustrate her work. .
This entry was posted in Animated Cinderella, Cinderella Ballet, Cinderella Broadway, Cinderella Opera, History of Cinderella as Multimedia Productions, Into the Woods, Once Upon A Dream Charles Solomon, Rogers and Hammerstein Cinderella, Walt Disney and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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