First Listen to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella!

When I first heard that Andrew Lloyd Webber was bringing yet another musical based on "Cinderella" into the world, I met the news with a healthy dose of skepticism. Now that there are two full songs from this upcoming show available online, I have never been more pleased to be wrong. Just a few days ago, Webber released the show-stopping number "Bad Cinderella" on both YouTube and Spotify. This song was teased in a very early preview video for the show, but hearing it in full gave deeper clarity into the context of the lyrics and who this new Cinderella is. My growing excitement for the show led me to a Twitter post from last month in which the extraordinarily talented Carrie Hope Fletcher performed another song from the show entitled "Far Too Late," which is a complementary opposite to "Bad Cinderella" in terms of tone. Hearing both of these songs gave me a more complete image of what to expect when the theater doors will open again to audiences, and I like what I've heard so far.


The catchy punk rock number "Bad Cinderella" presents a modern twist on the Cinderella we know and love, making her a rebel who doesn't want to dress up and become a trophy wife. I've written in the past about how the consistent rejection of femininity among princess content can be polarizing, but this is the first time I think that someone actually got it right. When you compare the Cinderella character presented in the lyrics of "Bad Cinderella" to someone like Sam from the recent Disney+ original, Secret Society for Second-Born Royals, you will find several similarities. Both princesses are unhappy with the society they were born into and intentionally act out in the hopes of offending the people around them enough to embrace the revolutionary changes they want to see in the world. However, where Sam is a rebel without a cause who was born into a life of privilege and a caring family,Cinderella has every reason to reject her life prior to meeting the prince. She is surrounded by petty, selfish, and vain people who abuse her without just cause. It's only natural for her to act out. Her submission to mistreatment is something that many modern versions of the story have tried to explain or correct over the years.

Not only is "Bad Cinderella" a natural progression of the "Cinderella" story for modern times, but it is also a terrific anthem for children about how to respond to bullying. I don't know what the target age is for this show, but ALW most likely anticipated parents bringing their children into the audience since it's based on a popular fairy tale. If that his the intention for this song, I wish I could bring my childhood self to the future to hear it. This is a Cinderella who knows to put up with oppressors and won't sit back and take it. With lyrics like "Every insult that you utter makes me strong" and "If you think I won't ignore you, I think 'Poor you,'" it conveys an important message about not giving in to bullies and using their taunts as a form of empowerment instead of self-degradation. As someone who was made fun of a lot in school and then targeted online several times in my later years, I wholeheartedly support this message. Princesses are role models for girls first and foremost, so it's important that the ideas they convey are positive and not about acting out or being rebellious for no reason. On that note, I can understand how having Cinderella be a troublemaker might be seen in a negative light, which brings me to the other song that was released on social media.

"Fat Too Late" is the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful "Cinderella" song I have heard since "Tell Him Anything" from The Slipper and the Rose. The lyrics imply that because Cinderella ran away from the ball at midnight, she freed the prince to be with another woman. This new twist complements the fairy tale. The whole point of the story was that Cinderella had to leave the ball early, and the prince was surrounded by other eligible maidens who were determined to be with him, so of course they would jump at the opportunity the moment she left. The gorgeous piano melody feels nostalgic for a time when movies and musicals were much better than they are today. The song also makes it clear that Cinderella's more modern traits that are often seen only as empowering in modern films are her downfall as well. Lyrics like "Too proud to stay" and "If I begged you to forgive me, we might share a different fate" demonstrate that the very same pride that keeps her guard up against her tormentors also prevents her from showing her true feelings to the prince. In the end, she will likely need to lower her tough exterior and bring out her inner princess to attain her happy ending. I love how realistic the Cinderella in this show is comparison to other modern princesses who are cold, aloof, and unrealistically capable of doing everything on their own. In short, this song proves that even though she is a thick-skinned rebel, Cinderella is still human and just as capable of heartbreak as any other woman.

Both songs I've listened to from Andrew Lloyd Webber's upcoming Cinderella musical have greatly exceeded my expectations. I am now more excited than ever to learn what new twists the famous Phantom of the Opera composer will bring to this classic fairy tale. Carrie Hope Fletcher is an inspired choice for the role and looks endearing even in this silly Marie Antoinette-inspired teaser. I'm so glad her dream of playing a princess came true, but it's a terrible shame that the lockdown got in the way of it. The show will be opening in England instead of New York City, so it might be a while before any of us Americans will be able to see it live. It is currently scheduled to premiere in April of 2021, but of course that is subject to change. However, thanks to the magic of the internet, everyone in world is now able to listen to these two stunningly beautiful songs and, hopefully, the rest of the soundtrack as well as soon as it is ready for release.

Comments

PrincessContent said…
Yes, yes! I’m so excited for this musical now after hearing these songs!
I agree with you on what the songs could mean. I also when I heard Bad Cinderella the first time, I got the feeling that maybe this musical might have some commentary on how damaging the “not like other girls” attitude can be.
Like you said, it’s only natural for Cinderella to act out after being abused for several years. It’s also natural to try to find strength in looking down on the people who mistreat you.

So basically my theory for the story is:
Cinderella finds her strength by not letting people’s insults get to her and instead she embraces that she is different. But she accidently ends up locking up her true feelings in an unhealthy sense of pride, which causes her to think badly of all people, and she does not trust the people who are actually nice to her.
Her strength becomes a flaw.

This makes me think just a little bit of Tiana from Princess and The Frog. Her story shows us that it’s good to work hard for your dreams but it can also be a flaw if you don’t allow yourself to take a break and enjoy life a bit.

But hey, what do I know? It’s impossible to figure out the whole story from just two songs. I’m very excited for the full album! :D

By the way, are you aware that Sony Pictures are currently making a Cinderella movie musical? There is no trailer yet but there are some photos from the set and some screenshots of Camila Cabello (who plays Cinderella) while she sings. Also Idina Menzel plays the stepmother.
Lisa Dawn said…
I figured you would like this post! :) I'm also excited because I retweeted a post that Andrew Lloyd Webber made on Twitter of himself playing "Bad Cinderella" on the piano with a video of myself singing along, and he liked it! That means he actually listened to me sing! What an honor!

I agree with you about the plot of the show, but I feel differently about Tiana. I know the movie insinuated that her strength became a flaw, but I thought she was an extremely admirable character and didn't want her to change. I related to her a lot when the movie came out and wished I could be more like her. On the other hand, I would like to see this version of Cinderella learn to be more honest and respectful by the end of the play.
Lisa Dawn said…
Oh, and yes, I am aware of the Camila Cavell l Cabello Cinderella movie! I would like to write about it, but I can't find enough information or footage for a full post. I know it was going to contain a cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies," which is an... Interesting choice. I wouldn't be surprised if it got delayed because of covid like so many other movies.
PrincessContent said…
So nice that he liked your singing! :D

I thought Single Ladies was going to be used by a different Cinderella adaptation xD
I do wonder how they will work that song into the story. And if they will go the moulin rouge road with no original songs.
So much Cinderella stuff on they way... I love the Cinderella fairytales but it would be nice to see some other fairytales be adapted for the screen :)
Lisa Dawn said…
No, it's definitely the same movie. It's mentioned here: https://www.newsbreak.com/news/1585214858742/camila-cabello-is-reportedly-recording-beyonces-single-ladies-for-new-cinderella-movie

I would be more concerned if there were another one being made! Do you remember the year 2012, when two Snow White movies and a TV show starring Snow White's daughter all came out around the same time? I hope that doesn't happen again with Cinderella! Talk about sensory overload!

It sounds like the movie might be just cover songs since this article says it will also use music by Missy Elliott: https://bugle24.com/camila-cabello-is-covering-beyonces-single-ladies-for-the-new-cinderella-movie-news/ I get the feeling it will be pretty forgettable, but I'll still watch it once.
PrincessContent said…
Thank you for all the links! :D

Yes, I do remember! xD Cinderella and Snow White are just does two fairytales that people keep making over and over!
Cinderella is one I can understand why. It's a rags to riches story and that's a very popular formula and it's a fantasy that a huge part of people of any society can relate to.
Snow White though I just can't figure out why! Maybe it's just an effect after the fact that the Disney movie was such a hit and game changer.
Lisa Dawn said…
I think everyone wanted to remake "Snow White" in 2012 because "Cinderella" had been done so many times already. Plus, everyone seemed to want to give the character more agency. Having an evil queen try to kill you is better motivation for the recent "strong woman" trope than just being told you can't go to a ball.
PrincessContent said…
That makes sense. :)
PrincessContent said…
By the way! The other day I came across a movie called The Princess Twins of Legendale.
The animation of it swings between ok, to cringe, to beautiful, which is quite a special mix. But I still was pleasantly surprised because the story in my opinion is pretty cute. Despite of some plot holes and clich├ęs.
It's not a masterpiece but like a said, it's cute. :)

The whole film is up on Youtube but sadly in low quality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GWL-Zsqp9U
Lisa Dawn said…
Thanks for sharing! I'll check it out!

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