There have been many versions of the classic fairy tale Cinderella, including a couple notable films made by Disney. But for readers of a certain generation, especially my millennial friends, neither the cartoon-mice take nor the Kenneth Branagh live-action interpretation are canonically the “correct” Disney version. To find this, we need to revisit 1997’s Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, a made-for-TV movie adaptation of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein‘s television musical from 1957. This version stars Brandy as Cinderella and Whitney Houston as her Fairy Godmother, ensuring gobsmacking, pop and R&B-infused musical mastery in these classic musical theater tunes.
Just one problem: It’s been very hard to revisit, noticeably absent from Disney+, the very streaming service that’s supposed to have all the dang Disney movies! Until now. Finally, we are getting the Brandy/Whitney Cinderella streaming on Disney+ at midnight on February 12. And our household is going to be filled with riffs.
Beyond Brandy and Houston, the adaptation also stars the eclectic cast of Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, and Victor Garber. It was nominated for seven Emmys when it originally aired. And if you’re unfamiliar with the film, it’s not only a lovely piece of entertainment but a landmark in inclusion in Disney‘s family-friendly fare. As Brandy explained to the Los Angeles Times, “You had a young African American lady with braids in her hair as Cinderella. Just that alone was brilliant. 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.”
And now, we all can. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella comes to Disney+ on the stroke of midnight February 12.