Day 26: Fairy Tale References in Popular Culture

As well as adaptations and re-tellings:

  • ABC’s Once Upon A Time uses characters from the Disney canon–not necessarily all fairy-tale characters (Mulan and Lancelot, for example)–and places them in the modern world. So far, some of the characters are: Belle, Rumplestiltskin (even though, to the best of my knowledge, he hasn’t shown up in a Disney movie) , Snow White and her stepmother, and her prince; Pinnochio and his father, Geppetto, and Jiminy Cricket; Maleficient; Cinderella; Captain Hook; The Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts; Hansel and Gretel; Aladdin’s genie; the Magic Mirror.
  • Disney’s Lilo and Stitch references Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling to illustrate how lost Stitch, as an alien being, feels on Earth among humans.
  • Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods has been referenced many times in this series. The stories they use are: Jack and the Beanstalk; the Grimm Brother’s Cinderella; Rapunzel; Little Red Riding Hood; and Sleeping Beauty and Snow White (tangentially). The stories are tied together using the characters of a Baker and His Wife. The Baker is actually Rapunzel’s brother, and the Witch in the story is the one who took Rapunzel from her parents after the baker’s father stole the greens from her garden. The first act covers the stories as we know them; the second part covers “what happens after the stories ended?”
  • The British film The Red Shoes uses Andersen’s story and sets it in the world of ballet.
  • Sleeping Beauty became one of the greatest ballets of all time after its premiere in Imperial Russia in the 19th century. Music by Peter I. Tchaikovsky and choreography by Petipa. The role of Princess Aurora and the Lilac Fairy are highly coveted in the dance world.
  • The film Ever After retells Cinderella as if the characters were real people in 17th century France.
  • Shrek uses many fairy tale characters, including Puss-In-Boots, a Fairy Godmother, Snow White and the Dwarves, Pinnochio, and fairies.
  • The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a part of Disney’s Fantasia 2000.
  • Thumbelina was made into an animated motion picture in the 1990s.
  • The Emperor’s New Clothes  was spoofed, in a sense, by Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove.
  • The Princess and the Pea inspired the musical Once Upon A Mattress.
  • Cinderella has seen several versions in opera: Cendrillion, by Massenet, as well as a version by Rossini.
  • Joyce DiDonato as Cinderella at the Royal Opera House

  • Hansel and Gretel is also an opera, popularly performed during the holiday season as a “family” selection, since it’s in English and involves creative and funny costumes (like actors dressed up as fish in ties and tails!)

Man as fish! And scary cooks

  • The opera Rulsalka plays off Andersen’s Little Mermaid, but uses the Slavic idea of merwomen who lure men to their deaths with their music and tempting appearance  Rusalka, like the Little Mermaid, falls in love with a prince and wants to become human. She also fails in getting him to marry her, and returns to her watery world, but the prince commits suicide in order to be with her.
  • Renee Fleming as Rusalka, making her deal with the Witch

     

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