Calling all fairy godmothers: Brandy’s 1997 ‘Cinderella’ is coming to Disney+
It’s always a good time for a little more Brandy — and Disney+ will answer that call soon by streaming the 1997 TV movie version of “Cinderella,” starring the R&B singer.
“Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” will begin streaming at the notorious stroke of midnight Feb. 12, the streaming service announced Thursday. The show, which originally ran during “The Wonderful World of Disney” on ABC and features Brandy as Cinderella, also stars the late Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother.
“We can celebrate and share and inspire a whole new generation to see this wonderful piece,” Brandy told her “Cinderella” costar Whoopi Goldberg and the rest of the panelists on “The View” Thursday.
Goldberg called it “remarkable” that fans had been begging for the production to be rereleased nearly 24 years after its launch.
Brandy Norwood was 18 and starring in “Moesha” when her “Cinderella” story was watched by 60 million viewers. Now she is an advisor on John Legend’s team on “The Voice” and has a new album, “B7,” which came out after an eight-year break. She also recently appeared in a highly watched Verzuz battle with fellow singer Monica.
Being chosen by her childhood idol Houston to play Cinderella “meant everything to me,” Brandy said on “The View.” But the social significance didn’t fully register with her in the moment because her dreams were coming true at the same time, she said.
“Looking back, I can now share this with my daughter,” the 41-year-old said.
Brandy discussed the movie with The Times in 2017, which marked its 20th anniversary.
“You had a young African American lady with braids in her hair as Cinderella. Just that alone was brilliant,” she said. “Everyone was multicultural. You could just see the differences of humanity reflected in this entire cast, and I think if someone really believed in an idea like that in today’s time that it could definitely work. It worked then.
“I think it’s something we all want to see again,” she foreshadowed.
The 1997 show includes three songs that were not in the 1957 TV version of musical, which starred Julie Andrews as Cinderella and Jon Cypher as Prince Charming. One of them was a “new” Rodgers & Hammerstein song that was cobbled together from obscure tunes specifically for Houston.
“Families are longing for this kind of thing,” Houston told The Times in 1997. “Simple family entertainment that people can watch with their children. And the message is beautiful for children — that everyone has a song to sing.”
It can be easy for those without a finger on the pulse of R&B to overlook Brandy’s influence.
Brandy’s “Cinderella” wound up nominated for seven Emmy Awards in 1998, winning one for outstanding art direction for a variety or music program.
The balance of the diverse cast included Goldberg as Queen Constantina, Victor Garber as King Maximilian, Bernadette Peters as Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and Paolo Montalban as Prince Charming.
Disney+ is making “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” part of its “Celebrate Black Stories” collection, which includes the movies “Soul,” Beyoncé’s “Black Is King,” “Black Panther,” “Hidden Figures” and more.
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