Fairytale Flashback: CINDERELLA

We’re gearing up for Into the Woods, Sondheim’s delightfully fractured fairytale musical – which’ll open here at the Lyric on May 9. For those of you not in the know, Into the Woods mashes up some of your favorite fairy tales, with a dark twist.

The allure of fairy tales isn’t lost on us, even now in 2014. Television shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm prove that the modern audience is ripe for new ways to hear old stories. We thought we’d help you out by spotlighting a new tale that contributes to the mythology of Into the Woods every week, with a look back at how these characters have been portrayed throughout history – AND offer you a look at how they’ll look on our stage. So welcome to our very first FAIRYTALE FLASHBACK!

And where better to start than with bibbity, bobbity, boo? Cinderella is a name we all know well – the rags to riches story of the forlorn maid who picked lentils out of the cinders in her fireplace. (Cinder-ella. Clever, clever. I like to think that if she were named today, we’d call her Ashley. Ash… ashes. Get it?!?!?)

Cinderella is ubiquitous in our minds, thanks in no small part to the Disney film she played a starring role in. But she’s also shown up in woodcuttings and musicals and TV… take a look back at of our personal compilation of the history of the character Cinderella, below. As a bonus, you can check out her costume design for OUR production, where she’ll be played by the illustrious Erica Spyres, bottom right – design by the fabulous Elisabetta Polito! Click to enlarge.

A Collage of Cinderellas

Once upon a time there was a rich man who lived happily for a long time with his wife. Together they had a single daughter. Then the woman became ill, and when she was lying on her deathbed, she called her daughter to her side, and said, “Dear child, I must leave you now, but I will look down on you from heaven. Plant a little tree on my grave, and when you want something, just shake the tree, and you shall get what you want. I will help you in time of need. Just remain pious and good.” Then she closed her eyes and died. The child cried, and planted a little tree on her mother’s grave. She did not need to carry any water to it, because her tears provided all the water that it needed. 

Click for the Brother’s Grimm version of the tale!

With many thanks to D.L. Ashliman’s folk tale library, (click to view) we’ve got a whole mess of Cinderella Stories ripe for the reading – just click here to get to them – but don’t be surprised if they’re less “happily ever after” than you remember!