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10 Things You Didn't Know About 'Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella'

Watch the Fuse premiere of ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ starring Brandy and Whitney Houston on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 8PM, part of Fuse’s ‘A Night Of Magic: 20th Anniversary of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ special starting at 7PM!

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Making History

Brandy Norwood was the first Black actress to portray the Disney princess, which was a historical feat as the first film about Cinderella premiered in 1899. The most well-known version, Disney's animated feature, was released in 1950.

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A Multi-Cultural Cast

It was the first version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical to have a multiracial cast. "This may be a first. It makes perfect sense because of who we are. Before, it was either all-Black or all-White. But, never a normal mix of people. This integrated cast is how the real world is," Whoopi Goldberg, who plays the Prince's mother, explained to Jet magazine in 1997. "This is more normal than being part of a cast that doesn’t have any color in it. This is perfectly fine. This is how I live."

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Taking Home The Gold

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The movie was nominated for seven Emmys and took home the award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Variety or Music Program. It also won a Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design Award, Variety or Awards Show, Music Special or Documentary and was nominated for various categories at the Image Awards and Satellite Awards.

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Raking Up Views

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Over 60 million viewers tuned into the premiere of Cinderella on ABC, making it the No. 1 show of the week. It was also the highest-rated TV musical during its time.

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Brandy Was Chose By Her Idol To Star in the Movie

Whitney Houston, who was one of the movie’s producers, was initially up for the role of Cinderella. But she later personally handpicked Brandy to play the iconic character. "Someone who probably had a lot more energy and who really was Cinderella to me should play the part..."I'm 33 now and I'm not quite feeling like Cinderella," Houston said at the time. But Brandy only accepted the role given that her idol would play her Fairy Godmother.

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Remaking A Classic

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The film was the third version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, following previously-released made-for-tv movies in 1957 and 1965. Julie Andrews starred as the princess in the 1957 movie, while the latter starred Lesley Ann Warren.

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A Major Budget

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The Disney studios reportedly spent nearly $12 million to produce it, which was way more than the average television film budget.

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The Movie Added Its Own Musical Twists

"The Sweetest Sounds" song from Richard Rodgers' 1962 musical No Strings and "Falling in Love With Love", from the Rodgers and Hart's 1938 musical The Boys from Syracuse were added to the 1997 version.

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From 'Moesha' to the Big Screen

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1997's Cinderella was Brandy’s major movie debut. She previously had an uncredited role in 1990's Arachnophobia and played Danesha Turrell in ABC's Thea (which ran for one season) in 1993. And of course, aside from her music career, many of us know the star from the hit Moesha series that ran from 1996-2001.

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Working With Hollywood Greats

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Bernadette Peters, Whoopi Goldberg and Jason Alexander are all Tony Award winners. Peters took home the award in 1985 and 1999 for Song and Dance and Annie Get Your Gun, Goldberg in 2002 as the producer of the Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie and Alexander in 1989 for Jerome Robbins' Broadway.

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Apr 2: Basket-Bros

Currently on his 'The Man of the Woods' tourJustin Timberlake brought out a special guest for his Cleveland show. LeBron James surprised concertgoers by showing up alongside Timberlake and taking a shot on stage. On Friday, the singer was also seen cheering on LeBron during the Pelicans and Cavaliers game. James gave a shout out on Instagram, "My brother @justintimberlake showed up and showed out last night at the Q! One of the greatest to ever do it in my lifetime and still going strong."