Three cheers for a television musical with soaring melodies, witty lyrics, and real actors instead of Muzak, rhyming drivel, and animated blobs! It’s clear why last November’s lavish ABC remake of the 1957 musical (with three songs added from other Richard Rodgers projects) attracted an audience 34 million strong. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is chockful of kitschy excess: divas doing overtime (Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander, and Whitney Houston deliver 200-proof Camp & Vamp with gleeful vengeance); dreamy MGM-ish choreography (by Rob Marshall); and sets and costumes that wed Salvador Dalí with Gustav Klimt. But Cinderella is oddly vacuous — pop star Brandy is Barbie-doll blank and her hoarse voice strains to lyric-soprano heights. The real fairy tale is newcomer Paolo Montalban, whose Prince is perfectly charming. B

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (TV Movie - 1997)
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