Over the years, I've dabbled with a living history group that in turn dabbled in period amateur theatre -- and let me tell ya, the "screw-ups" were half the fun. The other half of the fun was searching for period-appropriate material -- and keeping joyous whoops of discovery to a minimum before being thrown out of the library.
Anyway, over the years, I've managed to acquire a modest personal collection of books from the 19th century were geared toward parlor theatricals -- one of them has a charming script for a musical version of Cinderella. Though my group has never peformed it, I know the affection in DKos theatre buffs have with Sondheim's Into the Woods, and I thought it would be fun to share this 1868 version.
The book's preface has this to hook its audience
...ever in the road of amateur Siddons, Keans and Davenports, stand the great stumbling blocks of scenery and costume, limiting the choice of plays to the very few that do not stray beyond the limits of the drawing-room or attic. To make a forest out of the gilded wall paper, guide a stream across a velvet carpet, plant a garden on the hearth rug, drop a cateract from the mantel-piece, or a precipice from the chandelier, was found too great a stretch of scenic ingenuity, while costumes were equally unattainable and puzzling. The Saratoga trunk held no costumes for Queen Elizabeth or Portia, and Hamlet or Othello sighed in vain for a wardrobe in a valise.Some things never change, I guess. At any rate, the book is filled with scaled down dramas, with explanations on how quick costume changes could be made. For example, Cinderella's transformation was to be effected by having her ballgown covered up by
a long, loose dress of gray cotton, made to fall full and straight from a yoke, high in the neck, with long sleeves, patches and darns of various colors, sizes and shapes all over the dress (this dress must be made to completely cover the figure, but fasten with one button only at the thoat, that it may fall off instantly when unbottoned, as for rapid transformation...a string must be fastened to it to jerk it off the stage)Did I mention that this is a musical? Keeping in mind that this was meant to be performed by non-professionals, verses were set to popular airs commonly available in sheet music for the parlor piano, or perhaps a fiddle or guitar. (I've been able to find some of these on the Library of Congress website.) I imagine that then as now, people would have laughed to hear funny new lyrics to familiar tunes.
For example, Cinderellas's opening scene laments her fate to the following lyrics to "What fairy-like music"
I'm poor Cinderella,Her evil stepmother and stepsisters taunt her to the tune of "here we go round the mulberry bush":
A hard lot is mine;
Yet before my harsh tyrants
I dare not repine.
My mother has left me,
I'm weary and worn;
While memory haunts me
With her that is gone.
While my sisters in dancing
Spend every night;
And in ball-room and party
Find endless delight;
I at home must be toiling,
Their fingers to save.
And in kitchen and cellar
Must work like a slave.
Is this the way you idle and sleep?To which Cinderella replies in the same tune:
Is this the way you idle and sleep?
Is this the way you idle and sleep?
Whenever we go out?
Pray, pray forgive my sisters dear,When she is left alone, she weeps to the haunting evening star waltz
Mother, forgive me, your anger I fear,
I'll make up the munites I've lost sleeping here,
If you will all forgive me
In dancing and singing I once did delightFor this last, I found an 1860s arrangement of this last tune -- so you should all sing along now.
my merry feet springing to party and ball,
But now I am working all day and all night,
And lose my old pastimes, dance, music and all
I once waltzed with a viscount , could chat with an earl,
Tread a minuet stately, or joined in gay songs
But now with spinning wheel only I twirl,
And my partners are now but the shovel and tongs
Evening Star Waltz by Joseph Lanner
When her fairy godmother comes along to save the day, she warns Cinderella to leave the ball before midnight with words set to the tune "Home Sweet Home".
The prince makes his appearance, with these lyrics sung to "Coming through the Rye"
Amonst the many fair ones round me,At this point, my corset stays are straining at my guffaws, and I realize this diary is getting too long. So, let me just say the play continues on in the usual way, with more silly tunes, and a happy ending. (Unlike the Sondheim version, the evil stepsisters don't get their eyes pecked out by birds.)
How can I decide?
Yet by promise I have bound me,
Here to choose a bride,
Every prince must have a consort,
None as yet have I;
Yet to choose a loving princess,
Sore perplexed am I.
Some too fair, and some too dark are,
Some are quite too free,
Some the air have of a milkmaid,
Which would not suit me,
Some too stout and some too thin are,
Some to tantrums fly;
Some are vain, and some coquettish,
Sore plerpexed am I!
For those who are interested, Google books has the volume for free (eBay, can I get my money back?). Amateur Theatricals and Fairy Tale Dramas by Sara Annie Frost published in 1868.