Cinderella goes digital

Disney+ releases a historically diverse rendition of the classic fairytale.

David Matos, Contributing Writer

Fans of all ages can finally indulge in the uplifting and magical adventure of Disney’s first Black princess.

Photo from Twitter

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s remake of “Cinderella,” starring Brandy Norwood and Whitney Houston, made its arrival on Disney+ on Friday, Feb. 12. The TV adaptation of the classic tale is most notable for its culturally diverse, star-studded cast. The film’s re-release marks the first time the beloved musical is available on a streaming service.

Norwood announced the film’s revival during an interview on “The View” that was meant to discuss her newest album, “b7,” on Feb. 4. She revealed her excitement and joyous memories working with “The View” host and actress, Whoopi Goldberg. She also expressed her gratitude to the late Houston, who also produced the film, for hand-picking a young Norwood to star alongside celebrated talents like Goldberg and Bernadette Peters.

“I’m so excited that ‘Cinderella’ has a home now at Disney+, and we can celebrate and share and inspire a whole new generation,” Norwood said on “The View.”

The musical follows Cinderella, a servant girl who suffers the circumstances of being raised by her evil stepmother, played by Peters. She is accompanied by Cinderella’s evil stepsisters, played by Veanne Cox and the late Natalie Desselle-Reid. Cinderella’s fairy godmother, played by Houston, gives Cinderella a new meaning to the word impossible by magically converting her rags into a blue ball gown paired with an iconic set of glass slippers.

Cinderella then rides to the ball alongside Houston where they meet the prince, played by Paolo Montalbán. Cinderella and the prince take a liking to each other, which pleases the king and queen, played by Goldberg and Victor Garber, who had earlier urged the prince to marry. The couple soon live happily ever after in an epic wedding finale.

The film is historic for being one of the earliest examples of color-blind casting, which is the act of casting actors without examining the actor’s physical attributes like their skin color, gender or even body shape. The musical can be used as a standard for future films to be more culturally diverse. Its impact allows for kids of every background to see themselves in a lead role, rather than a minor side character that was simply created to fulfill a racial quota.

“Yes, ‘Cinderella’ is absolutely iconic because of Norwood and Houston — but Montalbán was one of the first times I saw a Filipino person on screen. “Huge,” social media manager for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Jason Carlos, wrote on Twitter.

YouTuber Todrick Hall collaborated with Norwood to produce a “Cinderella” medley on YouTube in unison with the re-release. The video features reimaginations of iconic scenes from the film while Norwood and Hall sing to the original soundtrack. Norwood even sports a re-creation of her original blue dress.

“It’s the legacy for me,” Norwood wrote on Twitter. “Todrick Hall, we had a magical time reimagining Cinderella. Much love to everyone involved.”

“Cinderella” is a film that resonates with a lot of people. This re-release on Disney+ continues the legacy it began so many years ago. In the midst of Black History Month, it’s important that we celebrate a film that was a monumental moment in Black history. Grab a snack and your coziest blanket and experience the joyous ride that is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” now on Disney+.

5/5 Stars