There is a mystique about putting together a Broadway show. It all seems so easy. But in reality, it takes time and a lot of work, both on and off stage.
The 2012 television series, Smash took this concept and put in front of the television viewing audience.
The book writer and lyricist, Julia Houston and Tom Levitt (Debra Messing and Christian Borle) are writing a musical based on the life of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe. Directing is smarmy British director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport). Behind the scenes producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston) is doing all she can to bring the show to Broadway. Competing for the lead role is fresh from the farm ingenue Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) and pulling herself up by her bootstraps chorus girl Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty).
Was the drama a little hyped up? I’m sure it was. Was the writing, especially in season 2 after taking on a new show runner a little questionable? Yes.
But sometimes, we need this kind of television, even if the critics hate it.
Cinderella is a pretty basic story. A orphaned young woman is forced to work as a servant in her own home by her stepmother after the death of her father. A fairy godmother hears this young woman’s prayers and gives the finery to go the ball, where the very eligible prince is looking for a bride. The prince and Cinderella fall in love, but she must leave by midnight, otherwise her finery returns to her every day rags. The prince searches the land for Cinderella, but her stepmother hides her. Eventually the prince finds Cinderella and they marry, living happily ever after.
Cinderella was originally published in 1697 by Charles Perrault and then by the Grimm brothers, which is the probably the version most of us know.
There have been many reboots of Cinderella since the 1697 publishing.
The Cinderella movie that I enjoy is Ever After. Ever After premiered in 1998, claiming to tell the real story of Cinderella.
Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is the only daughter of an aristocrat whose wife is dead. Very early into the movie, he marries Rodmilla (Anjelica Huston), who is a widow with two daughters of her own. Danielle’s father dies, spending his last few moments of life looking at his daughter. Rodmilla never forgets her husband’s choice and will spend the next ten years punishing her stepdaughter.
Flash forward to Danielle as an adult. She has been reduced to the servant of status in her own home. While one of her step-sisters, Jacqueline (Melanie Lynskey) is sympathetic, her other step-sister, Marguerite (Megan Dodds) follows in her mother’s footsteps. At the castle, Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) is spoiled and acts without thinking. Danielle’s first meeting with Henry will slowly change both of their lives.
I’m not a huge fan of the fairy tale genre and Cinderella in particular. But this movie, I enjoy. I like that the setting is real, not just some random European-ish country set in the 16th or 17th centuries. I like that Danielle is extremely independent and instead of just accepting her new lot in life, she fights for what she believes in. The romance between Danielle and Henry feels real and organic. It’s not just love at first sight, it evolves out of friendship and common values. The best is the not so traditional ending, when the wicked stepmother and stepsisters finally get what is coming to them.
And did I mention that Dougray Scott looks dam good in period clothes?