Based on: Charles Perrault's "Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre"
Cinderella Plot & Roles
*Classical ballets have evolved over time, lending themselves to different interpretations as choreographers and directors create works that reflect their visions of the story. The following is intended to provide general information; for details on different versions, click on each of the Cinderella performances below.
PRINCIPAL CHARACTERS IN CINDERELLA (in alphabetical order)
Cinderella: A lonely woman, servant to Stepmother
Fairy Godmother: A magician
Prince: In love with Cinderella
Stepmother: Matriarch of the house
Stepsisters: Daughters of Stepmother
⊙ ACT I: CINDERELLA'S HOME
In a land far, far away is a home in which there lives a family – a dominating woman with two spoiled daughters and Cinderella, the kind daughter of the woman’s husband. Stepmother deems Cinderella responsible for the death of her husband, thus directing her anger toward the young woman. She demands that Cinderella essentially be her servant, and the stepsisters – jealous of the outcast’s beauty – follow suit.
News has arrived that the Royal Palace is planning a ball during which the Prince will choose his future bride. Overcome with excitement about the prospects of being chosen, the stepsisters order Cinderella to work on their gowns, all the while, the latter dreaming the impossible of herself attending and dancing with the Prince.
Fairy Godmother, appreciative of Cinderella’s kind disposition despite her despicable living conditions, grants her the wish of attending the ball. As a gift, she magically makes glass slippers from house shoes and summons the fairies of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter who convert Cinderella’s rags into a glimmering gown, transform a pumpkin and mice into a carriage of horses, and create footmen from grasshoppers and dragonflies. As Cinderella scurries to the party, she is reminded by Fairy Godmother that the magic expires at midnight at which time all but the gifted glass slippers will revert back to their original forms.
⊙ ACT II: THE SPRING BALL
Along with the dozens oof other women vying for the Prince’s attention, the stepsisters endeavor to win him over. Their effort – as well as that of the others – is in vain, as the Prince has no desire to marry without love.
His sadness is interrupted by the tardy entrance of Cinderella, who is unrecognizable – even to her own family – due to the magical transformation the fairies have mustered. The Prince is immediately enamored and asks her for a dance, the first of the evening. From this moment, the couple are engrossed in their own happiness and oblivious to what is happening around them.
Amidst the festivities, the clock begins to strike midnight. Cinderella is taken off guard as she has completely lost track of time and in a panic of not wanting her true identity to be discovered, she suddenly flees the party. In her haste, one of her glass slippers falls off her foot; this is the only trace the Prince has of his new love and he vows to find her at no expense.
⊙ ACT III: THROUGHOUT THE WORLD
Upon denial of the local shoemakers that they are the manufacturer of the glass slipper, the Prince decides that his love must be a princess from a foreign land. Thus, he travels the world on a search for the foot that fits the shoe, but ultimately returns home disheartened.
His last resort is to go house to house in his own kingdom, trying the slipper on every young woman who lives there.
Hearing of this announcement, Stepmother and the stepsisters frantically get ready for the Prince’s visit. Of course, the slipper fits neither of the sisters nor their mother, who despite not being in quite the correct age range, forcefully attempts to squeeze her foot in the shoe. Although the others don’t see the need (as to them she is but a servant), the Prince then asks for Cinderella to try. To everyone but Cinderella’s surprise, she is revealed to be the woman that the Prince danced with at the ball.
★ INTERESTING FACT ★ Sergei Prokofiev began composing the music for CINDERELLA in 1940; it wasn’t actually completed, though, for another four years. An interruption was caused by the outbreak of World War II which inspired Prokofiev to write his opera War and Peace. Upon its completion, he returned to his ballet score.