Cindy (1978)

Rated Not Rated

Starring: Charlayne Woodard, Clifton Davis, Mae Mercer and Scoey Mitchell

Not Rated Musical/Comedy

Cindy is an urban adaptation of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella.  Opening in a rural town in South Carolina, 1943, the plot quickly is centered in the Harlem community of New York City.  The main character is a naïve, bright and kind young girl, Cindy (Charlayne Woodard).  She has moved north to live with her father (Scoey Mitchell), who has presented himself as working and living affluently.

However, upon her arrival, she learns quickly that not all is what it seems.  His new wife, Sarah (Mae Mercer), and her daughters, Olive (Nell Carter) and Venus (Alaina Hall), treat her cruelly, even barring her from attending a lavish ball. 

With assistance, she attends and meets Captain Joe Prince (Clifton Davis).  The son of the wealthiest man in Harlem, Prince is on furlough from serving during World War II. 

Will love occur for Cindy and Captain Prince … or will others and circumstances keep them apart? 

Directed by William A. Graham, Cindy, starred an all-African American cast.  Made for television, this adaptation was nominated for an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design for Music – Variety”.

Several of the actors, including Charlayne Woodard, Clifton Davis and Nell Carter, would later be featured actors in films, television and theatre productions, including Ain’t Misbehavin’.  For the Broadway production of Ain’t Misbehavin’, in 1978, Woodard and Carter were nominated for a Tony Award for a “Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical”.  Carter won the Tony Award as well as a Primetime Emmy Award for her reprisal of the role on television in 1982.  Cindy was the first time that Carter appeared on television.

For decades, it has been almost impossible to view Cindy in a film format but it may be found uploaded on certain video-sharing websites, such as YouTube.  Additionally, Cindy was revived as Cindy the Musical in 2017.  Developed by Stepp Stewart, it had a limited run at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center in Decatur, Georgia.