NEW YORK (AP) — Cinderella wasn't sure where her prince was. She could hear her stepmother, but they couldn't see each other. And her fairy godmother? Waiting in a hallway in jeans.
Such was the scene one day in March when the cast and orchestra of the lush Broadway musical "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella" were packed into a Times Square recording studio in a one-day bid to record their cast album.
The 29-member cast — the lead singers in one studio and the ensemble in another — plus a 20-piece orchestra that was split up over half a dozen rooms and booths, made it like a logistical Rubik's Cube.
"I equate it to landing a Boeing 747 on an aircraft carrier," said David Lai, one of the record's producers. "There are so many moving parts and there's not much space to work in or very much time. Everything has to line up properly."
Fueled by platters of bagels and fruit, the cast, musicians and creative teams spent the one day off they share — it was a Monday — alternating between the thrill of recording live and moments of tedium while equipment was adjusted.
"You get two or three takes at everything and so you really have to give it your all every time and trust that they'll edit you to make it sound as good as it does at night," said Laura Osnes, the Tony Award-nominated Cinderella, who has recorded five cast albums.
It all took place March 18 in MSR Studios, a nondescript building where albums such as Kanye West's "Graduation," Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange" and Beyonce's "4'' were worked on.
Recording the "Cinderella" album actually began Sunday night when the orchestra came in for three hours to prerecord the overture and some instrumental pieces and to get a feel for the space. The ensemble showed up the next morning at 9:30 a.m. to kick off the long day by recording "Ten Minutes Ago."
The show's stars — Osnes, Santino Fontana as the prince, Victoria Clark as the fairy godmother and Harriet Harris as the evil stepmother — filtered in at different times depending on when they were needed. All wore street clothes, trading in their onstage ball gowns and formal coats for jeans and T-shirts.
Thirteen hours later, the singers and orchestra had run through some classic Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II songs, including "In My Own Little Corner," ''Impossible/It's Possible" and "Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful?" The last piece of the puzzle was Osnes and Fontana adding their voices to "Ten Minutes Ago." The carefully planned recording session took two weeks just to map out.
"A lot of the job is what happens ahead of time, setting it up so that everyone can anticipate everything that's coming," said David Chase, the musical's musical adapter and arranger who is another producer on the CD. "Cinderella" is his 28th Broadway show.
The mood was surprisingly loose in the control room, with the producers quick to make decisions without testiness and often with humor. The professionalism seemed to filter down to the musicians and singers.