Ring out the bells, fling out your arms, and sing out the news: The Cinderella movie with Brandy is going to stream on Disney+
If you know, you know. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is different from Disney’s classic 1950 animated movie. Instead of “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,” we get the rousing “Impossible,” sung by a resplendent Whitney Houston. Instead of a cartoonishly evil stepmother, we get Broadway star Bernadette Peters in all her glory, belting out, “Falling in love with love is falling for make believe!” And instead of little children growing up believing that fairy tales are exclusively for white people, we get a truly ethnically diverse cast just giving magic, sparkles, and song.
Fans have been waiting for this since the moment Disney+ was announced. Suddenly, Twitter is all sunshine and sing-alongs, shipping a fictional couple from over 20 years ago. They really are that iconic.
The Brandy Cinderella is often held up as a true example of successful diverse casting. Instead of keeping ingenues white and casting only light-skinned people of color in main roles—and I will say it: Hello, Bridgerton—the 1997 Cinderella chose a cast that clearly broadcast the message: A Black girl can be a fairy-tale princess. A Black woman can be a queen. Interracial marriage is common. An Asian actor can play the prince, because he’s the best person for the role and kids aren’t hung up on race like adults. This Cinderella is so celebrated because it takes an imaginary world and actually makes it beautiful, instead of replicating the ugly prejudices and divisions of real life. In this Cinderella, anything is possible.
But Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, often referred to as the Brandy Cinderella or The One With Whitney, hasn’t been available to stream or buy on demand. If you don’t have a DVD or VHS copy—or a way to play them—you’ve been out of luck. We’ve been living in a world without the Christmas-tree-sized ball gowns, Brandy’s blue eye shadow, and Paolo Montalban singing about love. Finally, finally we’re going to revisit Brandy’s beautiful, affirming fantasy kingdom.
The Cinderella movie with Brandy and Whitney Houston has a superb cast. Besides the heavenly trinity of Brandy, Whitney, and Bernadette, we have Whoopi Goldberg and Victor Garber as the queen and king. Jason Alexander—yes, George Costanza from Seinfeld—plays the comic-relief courtier. Veanne Cox and the late, great Natalie Desselle manage to make the stepsisters almost sympathetic.
And then there’s the gorgeous music. Rodgers & Hammerstein, whom you may know from a little thing called The Sound of Music, get Houston singing such lines as “Because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes keep building up impossible hopes! Impossible things are happening every day!”
It continues to be a dark, scary, difficult time. Hang in there: Brandy, Bernadette, Whitney, and Whoopi are coming to save the day.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.