In the spring of 1957, CBS aired an original television musical written by Rodgers & Hammerstein. With Julie Andrews as the lead, the production had a viewership of over 100 million enraptured people. The musical was Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and it didn’t make it to Broadway until more than 50 years later, in 2013. Now TUTS is bringing the show to the Hobby Center, and Audrey Cardwell, playing the lead role of Ella, is excited.
“Ella really is a strong, smart girl,” she says, explaining how Rodgers & Hammerstein’s version differs from most depictions of the classic story. While Ella still falls in love with her prince, there is more to her than simply romance. “She wants to change the world. . . She imparts her own wisdom on the prince, and she finds her own strength.”
Cardwell previously came to Houston as Attina, one of the royal mermaid sisters in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, in a TUTS production last year. This visit to the Bayou City marks her debut as leading lady. “We can lose sight of the love for what we’re doing sometimes,” she says, giving credit to the hard work of the ensemble and supporting cast. “When you’re in the grind, it can be exhausting. But I haven’t had that yet. I'm lucky. This time, I’m just excited about it.”
Coming to town May 26, the show promises some surprises, too. “There really is some magic on stage every night,” Cardwell says with a laugh. “We have on-stage costume changes, but I won’t give away the best parts.”
Cinderella premieres May 26 at the Hobby Center and runs thru June 7.