Act I
In the village square, a Herald proclaims: The Prince Is Giving a Ball to celebrate the Prince's 21st birthday. The ladies of the kingdom are thrilled at the prospect of meeting him. Cinderella, whose beloved father has died, takes care of the home of her ill-tempered and selfish stepmother and stepsisters. She carries all of their shopping parcels for them, and when they return home, all three order Cinderella about. Left alone in her corner near the fire, she dreams of living an exotic life as a princess or anything other than a servant (In My Own Little Corner). Meanwhile, the King and Queen get ready for the big celebration (Royal Dressing Room Scene) and the servants discuss the planning for the feast (Your Majesties). They hope that their son will find a suitable bride, but the Prince is a bit apprehensive about meeting all the eager women of the kingdom. The Queen is touched by overhearing the King's discussion with his son and tells him she loves him (Boys and Girls Like You and Me [sometimes omitted, and not sung in any of the telecasts]).

As Cinderella's stepsisters get ready for the Ball, hoping that they will catch the Prince's eye, they laugh at Cinderella's dreams. Finally they leave, and Cinderella imagines having gone with them (In My Own Little Corner (reprise). Cinderella's Fairy Godmother appears and, persuaded by the fervor of Cinderella's wish to go to the Ball, she transforms Cinderella into a beautifully-gowned young lady and her little mouse friends and a pumpkin into a glittering carriage with impressive footmen (Impossible; It's Possible) and she leaves for the Ball.

Act II
Cinderella arrives at the palace at 11:30; before she enters, her Godmother warns her not to stay past midnight. The Prince has been bored by the attention of all the young ladies with whom he has had to dance, including the stepsisters. Cinderella's grand entrance immediately attracts everyone's attention and intrigues the Prince. They dance together and instantly fall in love (Ten Minutes Ago).

Seeing the Prince with a petite beauty (whom they do not recognize), the stepsisters ask why he wouldn't prefer a substantial "usual" girl like them (Stepsisters' Lament). The Prince and Cinderella dance and find themselves with a private moment, and he declares his love for her (Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?). As they share a kiss, the clock begins to strike midnight, and Cinderella flees before the magic wears off; but in her haste, she drops a glass slipper.
Act III
The next morning, Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters reminisce about the Ball and find that Cinderella is very intuitive about what it must have been like going to the Ball (When You're Driving Through the Moonlight) and dancing with the Prince (A Lovely Night). Meanwhile, the Prince is searching for the beauty with whom he danced, and who fled so quickly from the Ball. His Herald tries the slipper on all the ladies (The Search). At Cinderella's house, the slipper will not fit any of the ladies. Everyone tries to steer the Prince away from the servant girl, Cinderella, but she is not home; she is in the Palace garden. The prince returns to the Palace dejected by his lack of success. Prodded by the fairy godmother, his Herald tries the slipper on Cinderella. It fits, and the prince recognizes his beloved (Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? (reprise). Cinderella and the Prince marry, and all ends happily.
We all know the story of Cinderella. The origins of the tale date back as early as the Ancient Greeks in the 1st Century BC through to The Brothers Grimm in the 19th Century and finally the most popular 1950 Walt Disney animated movie.

In 1955, NBC had broadcast the Broadway musical “Peter Pan”, starring Mary Martin. It was a hit, and NBC looked for more family-oriented musical projects. They approached Rodgers and Hammerstein and asked them to write an original musical expressly for television. The team decided to adapt the fairy tale Cinderella. Seeking the advice of friend Richard Lewine, who was then the Vice President in charge of color television at CBS, he told Rodgers and Hammerstein that CBS was also seeking a musical project and had already signed Julie Andrews, who was then starring in “My Fair Lady” on Broadway. Rodgers recalled, in his autobiography, Musical Stages: An Autobiography: "What sold us immediately was the chance to work with Julie." So the team signed with CBS and not NBC.

Rehearsals started on February 21, 1957 and it was finally broadcast live on March 31, 1957. The original 1957 broadcast was directed by Ralph Nelson with choreography by Jonathan Lucas and starred Julie Andrews as Cinderella and Jon Cypher as The Prince. The largest audience in history saw the 1957 version of Cinderella at the time of its premiere: 107,000,000 people in the USA. Jon Cypher (who played the Prince) later remembered leaving the studio a few minutes after the broadcast had ended and finding the Manhattan streets deserted because so many had stayed in to watch the broadcast.

After its huge success as a stage production in the U.S. in 1961, the network decided another television version of Cinderella was needed. The 1957 premiere had been broadcast live, so only one performance could be shown. CBS mounted another production in 1965 with Richard Rodgers as Executive Producer. This re-make did not use the original script, but instead a new one closer to the traditional tale commissioned by Rodgers (Hammerstein had died in 1960) and written by Joseph Schrank, although nearly all of the original songs were retained and sung in their original settings. The 1965 version was directed by Charles S. Dubin with choreography by Eugene Loring and was recorded on videotape for a later broadcast.

The cast featured Ginger Rogers and Walter Pidgeon as the King and Queen; Celeste Holm as the Fairy Godmother; Jo Van Fleet as the Stepmother, with Pat Carroll and Barbara Ruick as her daughters Prunella and Esmerelda; and Stuart Damon as the Prince with an 18 year old Lesley Ann Warren "introduced" in the title role. The 1965 version was broadcast repeatedly. The first broadcast was on February 22, 1965, and it was rebroadcast eight times through February 1974. This, I believe, is the best television adaptation of “Cinderella”. While Julie Andrews definitely has the voice, Lesley Ann Warren brought such a sweetness and innocence to the role that left you tearing up throughout. And Stuart Damon makes a wonderful Prince with a stellar voice and good looks to match.

The 1997 television re-make, the only one of the three versions shot on film, was adapted by Robert L. Freedman and directed by Robert Iscove with choreography by Rob Marshall. It aired on November 2, 1997. This version featured a racially diverse cast, with Brandy as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother, Bernadette Peters as Cinderella's stepmother, Paolo Montalbán as the prince, Whoopi Goldberg as the queen, Victor Garber as the king and Jason Alexander as Lionel, the herald. Several new songs were added and the broadcast was very popular, with an audience of 60 million viewers. This production was the #1 show of the week and became the highest-rated TV musical in a generation. Unfortunately, the critics didn’t agree, with one critic calling it a "hideous desecration" of the musical.

Sad to say, “Cinderella” is the only Rodgers and Hammerstein musical written for television. I truly wish they had made more television classics as they did movies. For the film clip below, I incorporated all versions of In My Own Little Corner from the three actresses for a different perspective from the various shows.
Emmy
1957
2 Nominations
0 Awards

1965
0 Nominations
0 Awards

1997
7 Nominations
1 Award
Best Art Direction

Tony
0 Nominations
0 Awards
Ten Minutes Ago
1957
Ten Minutes Ago
1965
Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?
1957
Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?
1965