Today we have part 1 of a special guest blog from Cinderella herself, Laura Osnes, writing about her experiences with Rodgers and Hammerstein. Cinderella makes its Broadway debut this week. The original television cast recording of Cinderella starring Julie Andrews is now available in an eco-friendly softpack as well as part of the Rodgers & Hammerstein – The Complete Broadway Musicals box set.
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein are arguably the most well-known and successful musical theater writing duo to date. Headlining the “golden age” of musical theater, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s masterpieces (both stage and film versions) collected a total of thirty-four Tony Awards, fifteen Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and the Pulitzer Prize. Their final collaboration resulted in one of the world’s most beloved musicals, The Sound of Music, which has been recorded in dozens of languages and whose film version remains the most popular movie musical of all time. Clearly, RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN did “something good,” fabricating powerful anthems that span generations, penetrating the soul and touching the heart. I was that little girl who grew up watching the entire collection of RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN classics on VHS. I longed to be “16 going on 17” and fantasized about riding in a “surrey with a fringe on top!” I pondered over the thought of “washing a man right out of my hair.” I even commenced to “whistle a happy tune” whenever I felt afraid!
Any aspiring musical theater performer can only dream of portraying one of RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’s illustrious heroines throughout her career … and I feel so incredibly blessed to be preparing to tackle my fourth RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN leading lady within my past three years here in New York City.
I took a very unusual path to Broadway, winning a tv reality show that landed me the role of Sandy in the 2007 revival of Grease. I was very grateful for that big break, but it came with the negative stigma of being ”the girl from that reality show.” I still felt I had much to prove as a performer in New York City. You can imagine my shock and elation when, after a series four auditions, I got the offer to replace Broadway leading lady Kelli O’Hara as Nellie Forbush in Lincoln Center Theater’s acclaimed revival of South Pacific. I was twenty-three-year-old with the opportunity of a lifetime to validate my place in the Broadway community, singing the esteemed music of Rodgers & Hammerstein in what I still believe to be one of the most richly complex and satisfying female roles ever written. I finally understood what it meant to wash a man out of my hair!
– Laura Osnes