Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (Original)


Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (Original)

Full-Length Musical, Comedy  /  6w, 5m plus ensemble

Music by Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

The timeless enchantment of the magical fairy tale is reborn with the Rodgers & Hammerstein hallmarks of originality, charm and elegance.

Image: 1957 Television Broadcast Production (Courtesy of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization)

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (Original)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    6w, 5m plus ensemble
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Fantasy, Adaptations (Literature), Christmas/Holiday, Fables/Folktales, Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
  • Nominee: Three 1958 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Best Musical Contribution for Television



Four versions of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella are available for licensing. To compare and contrast the four versions, click here.

The timeless enchantment of a magical fairy tale is reborn with the Rodgers & Hammerstein hallmarks of originality, charm and elegance. Originally presented on television in 1957 starring Julie Andrews, Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella was the most widely viewed program in the history of the medium. Its recreation in 1965 starring Lesley Ann Warren was no less successful in transporting a new generation to the miraculous kingdom of dreams-come-true, and so was a second remake in 1997, which starred Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother.


In 1956 Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were indisputably the world’s most successful writers of musicals. Julie Andrews was a sparkling new star, having just triumphed in My Fair Lady. When her agent approached Rodgers & Hammerstein and suggested that the television audience would welcome a musical version of "Cinderella," it was an irresistible temptation for all.

Everything about the project was right from the start. The CBS production team was quickly assembled. Richard Lewine, a distant cousin of Rodgers and a close friend, was the producer, Ralph Nelson the director. Howard Lindsay and his wife, Dorothy Stickney, were signed for the King and Queen; Jon Cypher played the Prince; the Stepmother and Stepsisters were made less frightening and more comic by Ilka Chase, Kaye Ballard and Alice Ghostley; rather than the standard old crone, the beautiful Edie Adams played the Godmother.

Rodgers & Hammerstein approached the story with the honesty and simplicity that characterized all their work. They purposely did not seek to improve a story they felt was dramatically sound, as many writers are prone to do, instead concentrating on bringing the characters to life. Rodgers wrote in his autobiography Musical Stages, “In writing the story and the songs, Oscar and I felt that it was important to keep everything as traditional as possible, without any ‘modernizing’ or reaching for psychological significance.” When Hammerstein was asked where he found the version of Cinderella story he based his adaptation upon, he answered, “I looked it up in the encyclopedia.”

The marriage of music, lyrics and story in Cinderella exemplified their artistic philosophy; all elements held together integrally to illuminate the characters. As Rodgers explained, “Although a few of its songs have become popular, our score for Cinderella is another example of what theatre music is really about. No matter what the medium, a score is more than a collection of individual songs. It is, or should be, a cohesive entity whose word and music are believable expressions of the characters singing them...Like a symphony, concerto or opera, some portions have greater appeal than others, but it is the work as a whole that makes the overall impression.”

Cinderella succeeded. When it was broadcast on March 31, 1957, it was viewed by more people than any other program in the history of television.

Act I

In the Public Square, a busy afternoon is interrupted by trumpeted fanfare. The town crier proclaims that to celebrate Prince Christopher’s 21st birthday, the ladies of the kingdom shall be invited to a ball in hopes the Prince will meet a special girl to join in marriage (“The Prince is Giving A Ball”).

On their way home from shopping, Stepmother and her two daughters, Joy and Portia, are followed by Cinderella (“Where Is Cinderella?”). Cinderella carries all of their bags, hat boxes, frills and frou frou as they ungratefully order her around the house. Stepmother wants to speak with her daughters, but when Cinderella sits down with them, she specifies her own daughters. She says that Joy and Portia, who are both named for virtues (they unknowingly do not possess), are to show off at the Prince’s ball because, even if it is not to the Prince, they both must marry this year. Cinderella will have the formidable job of making Stepmother and her stepsisters beautiful for the ball, in addition to her regular work, which includes cooking, sewing, cleaning, washing and everything else.

When they go upstairs to rest, Cinderella cleans up after them and dreams of living an exciting life of a princess, or anything other than a servant (“In My Own Little Corner”). Meanwhile, at the Royal Palace, the King and Queen are not in complete agreement about the upcoming ball. The Queen is eager to throw a party. After all, they haven’t given their subjects any fun for five years ­– not a festival, nor fair or pageant – nothing to make their people love them. For the King, it’s just an expensive, great deal of trouble. Nevertheless, they discuss the ball’s dinner with their Chef and Steward (“Your Majesties”).

The Prince and the King discuss the coming evening of festivities. Like his father, the Prince is less than enthusiastic about spending a lavish evening greeting eager, simpering “candidates.” His father sympathizes, but wishes the Prince would keep that from his mother. When she overhears their loving consideration of her, she is pleased and tells the King she loves them both. When the Prince leaves, the King and Queen sing a song of simple, everlasting love (“Boys and Girls Like You and Me”).

Everyone in the kingdom is preparing for the royal ball, and the stepsisters are no different. As Cinderella helps them get dressed, they yell demands and make fun of her. She remains graceful and patient. After seeing them off and wishing them a good night, Cinderella wishes she could join them, and imagines what it would be like to attend such a ball (“In My Own Little Corner” Reprise). Suddenly, out of nowhere, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears. Cinderella wishes something “marvelous and magical” could happen. She imagines the pumpkin on the front porch turning into a carriage that could take her to the ball, with her mouse friends becoming horses and footmen. To her Fairy Godmother, she hopes for a kind of guardian angel who could grant her such an inconceivable wish (“Impossible”).

Suddenly, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother tells her to look out the window, and there it is: the pumpkin has turned into a beautiful horse-led carriage with footmen. When Cinderella worries about what to wear, her working clothes are magically transformed into a beautiful gown. In the carriage, they make their way to the royal ball (“It’s Possible”). Fairy Godmother makes it clear that the magic will disappear at midnight.

Act II

At the palace, the Prince is dancing with each lady of the kingdom as the giddy Queen and content King observe from a far. Joy and Portia both take their turns dancing with him. Pointing to the clock tower, Fairy Godmother reminds Cinderella that it all ends at midnight. When Fairy Godmother suddenly disappears, Cinderella makes her way into the palace.

Inside, Joy tells the Prince all about her lawyerly aspirations, while surrounding guests dance to a stately gavotte (“Gavotte”). Suddenly, everyone falls silent and the music stops – Cinderella has entered. The Prince, like a man in a trance, moves to meet her at the bottom of the stairs. In silence, he bows, and she curtseys. He offers his arm to her, and she takes it. The music resumes and they begin dancing together. The King and Queen notice a change in their son’s step, and have the same question everyone at the ball has: Who is the woman who has enchanted the Prince so? It is now 11:40.

The Prince takes her aside and introduces himself, asking her to call him Christopher. Unsure of what has just happened to both of them, they recall the very recent and astonishing experience of meeting one another (“Ten Minutes Ago”). From across the room, the stepsisters watch the Prince with a beautiful young woman they do not recognize and begin to complain about not being similarly noticed (“Stepsisters’ Lament”).

While Cinderella and the Prince gleefully dance in the ballroom among other happy pairs, the King and Queen come down and join in the festivities (“Waltz for A Ball”). Prince Christopher and Cinderella step out onto the patio and she notices the clocktower. It is now 11:50, and Cinderella must leave immediately. Before she goes, the Prince asks Cinderella for her name, but she hesitates to give it to him, worried he’ll think it’s silly. When she suspects she must be dreaming, the Prince attempts to prove his confessed love for her (“Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”). Just as he asks her name once more, the clock begins chiming midnight and Cinderella hurries out back to her carriage. The Prince chases after her but finds nothing but a glass slipper, which has fallen off her foot.


The morning after the ball, Cinderella is serving Stepmother, Joy and Portia a late breakfast while listening to them reminisce and boast about their night at the palace. Cinderella begins to imagine what their evening must have been like (“When You’re Driving Through the Moonlight”). Her imagined suppositions (which are actually, secretly her memories from her experience of the ball) grow so vivid that the stepsisters and their mother become enchanted – and perhaps suspicious – by her description of the evening (“A Lovely Night”). After coming back to reality, they scold Cinderella ­– she would never know of the kind of night they and only they had – and yell demands at her to clean up and get back to her chores.

Meanwhile, in the Royal Dressing Room, the Prince holds Cinderella’s glass slipper while speaking to his father. He asks the King to call on his royal guards to search throughout the kingdom for the slipper’s owner, whose name he does not know. When the King agrees, the Prince orders a Herald to see that the slipper is tried on every young woman in the kingdom, no matter how unlikely. The Queen wonders what might happen if she is not found. What if his dream girl was just... a dream? With that, the Prince’s determination to find her only grows (“Do I Love You” Reprise), and the search begins.

The Herald tries fitting the glass slipper onto every maiden in the kingdom, from young to 93, with the search ending at Cinderella’s house (“The Search”). The stepsisters and their mother try desperately to make the slipper fit but have no success. Suddenly, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother magically appears and suggests to the Herald that Cinderella try on the slipper. Her Stepmother brushes it off, calling Cinderella a sort of chimney sweep and helper around the house, but – as ordered – the Herald must try it on every woman in the Kingdom. Fairy Godmother points them upstairs to find Cinderella, but she’s not there.

The Prince, waiting at the palace, receives news that the search was fruitless. As the heralds leave, the Prince throws the glass slipper into the garden, giving up on the girl of his dreams. Unbeknownst to him, Fairy Godmother catches the slipper. Cinderella, believing everyone has gone, wanders the palace grounds until she stumbles onto the Prince, sitting on a bench. While they greet each other, she seems familiar to him. Only when he finds the slipper, magically returned to its cushion by Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, does he remember exactly who she is. At once, he tries the slipper on her, and it fits perfectly. She, Cinderella, is the girl of his dreams.

After her stepmother and stepsisters help her get ready, Cinderella and the Prince are married at the palace, where they all live happily ever after (“Finale: The Wedding”).

6 Women
2 Men

3 Men

Large singing-dancing ensemble

Stepsister Portia
Stepsister Joy
Prince Charming
Fairy Godmother
Town Crier
Captain of the Guard
Court Tailor

NOTE: In this show, the race of the characters is not pivotal to the plot. We encourage you to consider diversity and inclusion in your casting choices.

In this show, the race of the characters is not pivotal to the plot. We encourage you to consider diversity and inclusion in your casting choices.

  • Time Period 16th Century / Elizabethan, 17th Century, 15th Century
  • Setting

    Long ago in a kingdom far away.

  • Features Fantasy Costumes
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • No Special Cautions


“The most triumphant night of Broadway's golden age!” – Noel Murray, The AV Club

“A major new musical...produced with characteristic skill, dexterity and lilt. The whole was a love story of often enormous charm...Rodgers & Hammerstein have not lost their knack for the lyrics and beat that are easy to remember.” – Jack Gould, The New York Times

“It would take a jaded eye to miss the magic and a deaf ear not to appreciate Richard Rodgers' lilting, lovely tunes and Oscar Hammerstein's simple and poetic lyrics.” – Joan Crosby, The Pittsburgh Press

“A class production all the way, Cinderella is a straight telling of the fairy tale with several catchy songs...Writer/lyricist Hammerstein gives the characters personality but doesn't spoof the story or send anything up, which is a refreshing change from today's anything-for-a-laugh comedy writing.” – Glenn Erickson, DVD Talk


Cinderella Through the Years
by Ted Chapin
July 22, 2020


  • “In My Own Little Corner” – Rodgers __and__ Hammerstein's Cinderella 1956 youtube thumbnail

    “In My Own Little Corner” – Rodgers __and__ Hammerstein's Cinderella 1956

  • "Impossible" – Rodgers __and__ Hammerstein's Cinderella 1965 youtube thumbnail

    "Impossible" – Rodgers __and__ Hammerstein's Cinderella 1965

  • Rodgers __and__ Hammerstein's Cinderella – Through Time and History youtube thumbnail

    Rodgers __and__ Hammerstein's Cinderella – Through Time and History

  • The Musicology of "Ten Minutes Ago" youtube thumbnail

    The Musicology of "Ten Minutes Ago"


Music Samples

Act I

1. Overture – Orchestra
2. Curtain Music Act I – Orchestra
3. “The Prince Is Giving A Ball” – Herald, Townspeople
4. Cinderella March – Orchestra
5. “In My Own Little Corner” – Cinderella
6. Change Of Scene – Orchestra
7. “Your Majesties” – Chief, Steward, King, Queen
8. “Your Majesties: Dance” – Chief, Stewards, King, Queen
9. “Boys And Girls Like You And Me” – King, Queen
10. Change Of Scene – Orchestra
11. “In My Own Little Corner (Reprise)” / “Fol-De-Rol” – Cinderella, Godmother
12. “Impossible” – Cinderella, Godmother
13. The Transformation – Orchestra
14. “It’s Possible” – Cinderella, Godmother

Act II

15. Entr’acte – Orchestra
16. Curtain Music Act II – Orchestra
17. Gavotte – Orchestra
18. Cinderella’s Entrance – Orchestra
19. “Ten Minutes Ago” – Prince, Cinderella
20. “Stepsisters’ Lament” – Joy, Portia
21. Waltz For A Ball – Chorus
22. Waltz Underscore – Orchestra
23. “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” – Cinderella, Prince
24. Twelve O’Clock – Orchestra


25. Act III Prelude – Orchestra
26. Curtain Music Act III – Orchestra
27. “When You’re Driving Through The Moonlight” – Cinderella, Stepmother, Joy, Portia
28. “A Lovely Night” – Cinderella, Stepmother, Joy, Portia
29. “A Lovely Night” Coda – Cinderella
30. Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful? Underscore – Orchestra
31. “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” Reprise – Queen, Prince
32. The Search – Orchestra
33. Transition To Palace – Orchestra
34. The Slipper Fits – Orchestra
35. “Finale: The Wedding” – Company
36. Bows – Orchestra
37. Exit Music – Orchestra

Orchestration by Robert Russell Bennett

Flute 1
Flute 2 (Doubles Piccolo)
Oboe (Doubles English Horn)
Clarinet 1
Clarinet 2
Bass Clarinet
Horn 1&2
Trumpet 1&2
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Violin A (Divisi)
Violin B (Divisi)
Viola (Divisi)
Cello (Divisi)

DIVISI NOTE: In the pit of the original television production of Cinderella there were 6 players on Violin A, 2 players on Violin B, 2 Violists, 2 Cellists and 2 Bass players.

  • Musical Style Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements Easy
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra Size X-Large
  • Chorus Size Large

Licensing & Materials

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!

25 Vocal Book
1 Piano-Vocal
1 Flute 1
1 Flute 2
1 Oboe
1 Clarinet 1
1 Clarinet 2
1 Bass Clarinet
1 Bassoon
2 Horn 1&2
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
2 Percussion
1 Harp
1 Piano-Celeste
2 Violin A
2 Violin B
2 Viola
2 Cello 
1 Bass
1 Logo Pack 

Additional Material:
Additional song "Loneliness of Evening" is available for an additional fee. Please contact your licensing representative for additional information.

25 Vocal Book
1 Piano-Vocal
1 Logo Pack

Additional Material:
Additional song "Loneliness of Evening" is available for an additional fee. Please contact your licensing representative for additional information.


Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers' contribution to the musical theatre of his day was extraordinary, and his influence on the musical theatre of today and tomorrow is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, his hits ranging from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright light ...

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Oscar Hammerstein II

Oscar Hammerstein II was born on July 12, 1895 in New York City. His father, William, was a theatre manager and for many years director of Hammerstein's Victoria, the most popular vaudeville theatre of its day. His uncle, Arthur Hammerstein, was a successful Broadway producer ...

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