Cinderella Synopsis

Original 1957 Broadcast

In the Public Square, a busy afternoon is interrupted by trumpeted fanfare. The town crier proclaims that to celebrate Prince Christopher’s 21st birthday, the ladies of the kingdom shall be invited to a ball in hopes the Prince will meet a special girl to join in marriage (“The Prince is Giving A Ball”).

On their way home from shopping, Stepmother and her two daughters, Joy and Portia, are followed by Cinderella (“Where Is Cinderella?”). Cinderella carries all of their bags, hat boxes, frills and frou frou as they ungratefully order her around the house. Stepmother wants to speak with her daughters, but when Cinderella sits down with them, she specifies her own daughters. She says that Joy and Portia, who are both named for virtues (they unknowingly do not possess), are to show off at the Prince’s ball because, even if it is not to the Prince, they both must marry this year. Cinderella will have the formidable job of making Stepmother and her stepsisters beautiful for the ball, in addition to her regular work, which includes cooking, sewing, cleaning, washing and everything else.

When they go upstairs to rest, Cinderella cleans up after them and dreams of living an exciting life of a princess, or anything other than a servant (“In My Own Little Corner”). Meanwhile, at the Royal Palace, the King and Queen are not in complete agreement about the upcoming ball. The Queen is eager to throw a party. After all, they haven’t given their subjects any fun for five years ­– not a festival, nor fair or pageant – nothing to make their people love them. For the King, it’s just an expensive, great deal of trouble. Nevertheless, they discuss the ball’s dinner with their Chef and Steward (“Your Majesties”).

The Prince and the King discuss the coming evening of festivities. Like his father, the Prince is less than enthusiastic about spending a lavish evening greeting eager, simpering “candidates.” His father sympathizes, but wishes the Prince would keep that from his mother. When she overhears their loving consideration of her, she is pleased and tells the King she loves them both. When the Prince leaves, the King and Queen sing a song of simple, everlasting love (“Boys and Girls Like You and Me”).

Everyone in the kingdom is preparing for the royal ball, and the stepsisters are no different. As Cinderella helps them get dressed, they yell demands and make fun of her. She remains graceful and patient. After seeing them off and wishing them a good night, Cinderella wishes she could join them, and imagines what it would be like to attend such a ball (“In My Own Little Corner” Reprise). Suddenly, out of nowhere, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears. Cinderella wishes something “marvelous and magical” could happen. She imagines the pumpkin on the front porch turning into a carriage that could take her to the ball, with her mouse friends becoming horses and footmen. To her Fairy Godmother, she hopes for a kind of guardian angel who could grant her such an inconceivable wish (“Impossible”).

Suddenly, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother tells her to look out the window, and there it is: the pumpkin has turned into a beautiful horse-led carriage with footmen. When Cinderella worries about what to wear, her working clothes are magically transformed into a beautiful gown. In the carriage, they make their way to the royal ball (“It’s Possible”). Fairy Godmother makes it clear that the magic will disappear at midnight.


At the palace, the Prince is dancing with each lady of the kingdom as the giddy Queen and content King observe from a far. Joy and Portia both take their turns dancing with him. Pointing to the clock tower, Fairy Godmother reminds Cinderella that it all ends at midnight. When Fairy Godmother suddenly disappears, Cinderella makes her way into the palace.

Inside, Joy tells the Prince all about her lawyerly aspirations, while surrounding guests dance to a stately gavotte (“Gavotte”). Suddenly, everyone falls silent and the music stops – Cinderella has entered. The Prince, like a man in a trance, moves to meet her at the bottom of the stairs. In silence, he bows, and she curtseys. He offers his arm to her, and she takes it. The music resumes and they begin dancing together. The King and Queen notice a change in their son’s step, and have the same question everyone at the ball has: Who is the woman who has enchanted the Prince so? It is now 11:40.

The Prince takes her aside and introduces himself, asking her to call him Christopher. Unsure of what has just happened to both of them, they recall the very recent and astonishing experience of meeting one another (“Ten Minutes Ago”). From across the room, the stepsisters watch the Prince with a beautiful young woman they do not recognize and begin to complain about not being similarly noticed (“Stepsisters’ Lament”).

While Cinderella and the Prince gleefully dance in the ballroom among other happy pairs, the King and Queen come down and join in the festivities (“Waltz for A Ball”). Prince Christopher and Cinderella step out onto the patio and she notices the clocktower. It is now 11:50, and Cinderella must leave immediately. Before she goes, the Prince asks Cinderella for her name, but she hesitates to give it to him, worried he’ll think it’s silly. When she suspects she must be dreaming, the Prince attempts to prove his confessed love for her (“Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?”). Just as he asks her name once more, the clock begins chiming midnight and Cinderella hurries out back to her carriage. The Prince chases after her but finds nothing but a glass slipper, which has fallen off her foot.


The morning after the ball, Cinderella is serving Stepmother, Joy and Portia a late breakfast while listening to them reminisce and boast about their night at the palace. Cinderella begins to imagine what their evening must have been like (“When You’re Driving Through the Moonlight”). Her imagined suppositions (which are actually, secretly her memories from her experience of the ball) grow so vivid that the stepsisters and their mother become enchanted – and perhaps suspicious – by her description of the evening (“A Lovely Night”). After coming back to reality, they scold Cinderella ­– she would never know of the kind of night they and only they had – and yell demands at her to clean up and get back to her chores.

Meanwhile, in the Royal Dressing Room, the Prince holds Cinderella’s glass slipper while speaking to his father. He asks the King to call on his royal guards to search throughout the kingdom for the slipper’s owner, whose name he does not know. When the King agrees, the Prince orders a Herald to see that the slipper is tried on every young woman in the kingdom, no matter how unlikely. The Queen wonders what might happen if she is not found. What if his dream girl was just... a dream? With that, the Prince’s determination to find her only grows (“Do I Love You” Reprise), and the search begins.

The Herald tries fitting the glass slipper onto every maiden in the kingdom, from young to 93, with the search ending at Cinderella’s house (“The Search”). The stepsisters and their mother try desperately to make the slipper fit but have no success. Suddenly, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother magically appears and suggests to the Herald that Cinderella try on the slipper. Her Stepmother brushes it off, calling Cinderella a sort of chimney sweep and helper around the house, but – as ordered – the Herald must try it on every woman in the Kingdom. Fairy Godmother points them upstairs to find Cinderella, but she’s not there.

The Prince, waiting at the palace, receives news that the search was fruitless. As the heralds leave, the Prince throws the glass slipper into the garden, giving up on the girl of his dreams. Unbeknownst to him, Fairy Godmother catches the slipper. Cinderella, believing everyone has gone, wanders the palace grounds until she stumbles onto the Prince, sitting on a bench. While they greet each other, she seems familiar to him. Only when he finds the slipper, magically returned to its cushion by Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, does he remember exactly who she is. At once, he tries the slipper on her, and it fits perfectly. She, Cinderella, is the girl of his dreams.

After her stepmother and stepsisters help her get ready, Cinderella and the Prince are married at the palace, where they all live happily ever after (“Finale: The Wedding”).