Cinderella and her Prince Charming are back together again!
Brandy and Paolo Montalban reunited at the Second Stage Theater’s annual gala to honor one of the executive producers of 1997’s Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Debra Martin Chase. Paolo took to Instagram on Monday to show fans the sweet reunion, which included a photo of the two actors with Debra and Jordin Sparks behind the scenes of the gala.
“Debra is one of our beloved executive producers of @cinderellamusical . She is also the first African-American female producer to have a deal at a major studio. A real trailblazer. And earlier this week at their annual gala, @2stnyc honored her, along with two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright @lynnnottage,” Paolo captioned the post.
“As a storyteller and humanitarian, the constant through line is female self-empowerment and in particular lifting up women of color. So if you love the kind of agency that inspire women of all ages in @rodgersandhammerstein ‘s Cinderella, The Princess Diaries, Harriet, and @theequalizercbs etc… you sense the impact she’s had on the entertainment industry and the social zeitgeist. That doesn’t even mention the countless people she’s mentored, encouraged, partnered with, and given their first chance in the industry,” he added. “Maya Angelou famously said, “…people will never forget how you made them feel.” Thank you Debra for making those of us fortunate to know you feel truly FABULOUS. You have my heart! ?”
The post also had a video of Brandy and Paolo showering Debra with praise, which the producer happily returned.
“I love them so much. They were like 16 (Brandy) and 20 (Paolo, at the time of filming) and now they’re so adult,” she tells the camera. “And they look amazing and are so lovely. And most importantly such lovely people. I’m so proud of you as people. Really, I’m so proud of you as human beings.”
“Thank you for supporting us and cultivating us,” Paolo responds.
Brandy and Paolo star as Cinderella and Prince Christopher in the beloved 1997 film alongside Whitney Houston, who plays the Fairy Godmother. Whoopi Goldberg, Victor Garber, Natalie Desselle Reid, Bernadette Peters and Jason Alexander also appear in the fan-favorite flick. The film earned seven Emmy nominations at the time, including for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.
After months of fans pushing for the groundbreaking film to be added to Disney+, they got their wish when the streaming service announced it was doing just that back in February. Fans were quick to celebrate on Twitter, with one calling the movie “everything” and another admitting that she “could cry” from excitement.
“I heard so much chatter about it. I know the fans have been asking about it. I believe there was a petition. I know that so many people have been hitting up Disney+ like, ‘Come on! You gotta have Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella on there! It’s Whitney Houston!'” Brandy told ET about the film being moved to Disney+. “I’m so glad that it has a home now. It has the perfect home for this new generation to really just soak it all in and really understand that this is something that they’ve never really, truly seen before.”
While she knows of its impact now, Brandy didn’t realize the magic she was making while on set.
“I didn’t really understand what really was going on. I couldn’t really grasp the the history… I didn’t really know that it was gonna be historic in the way that it was, and [that] it was gonna have such an impact and be so revolutionary,” she said. “I didn’t know that. I didn’t have that kind of mentality.”
“But I did know that something special and magical was happening,” Brandy continued. “I was just so happy to be around my childhood idols and really work with them and learn from them. I was over the moon about it… I’m just thankful to Disney+ that they really gave this beautiful piece of art a place to live, just for people to relive it over and over again and dream their dreams.”
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella is available to stream on Disney+.