Southern Fried Fairytales!
Call Us at (704) 847-9672

Southern Fried Fairytales is the children's theatrical arm of McGee Communications & Entertainment! 

The same folks that produce "Girls Raised in the South-GRITS: The Musical" and "Cinnamon GRITS: Christmas in the South" now bring you southern spins on classic fairytales for kids to enjoy!

Study Guide

A Study Guide for Elementary Students

On Traditional Music from and about

The South!

By McGee Communications and Entertainment


Table of Contents:


-The Show “Cindabella”

-The Music of “Cindabella”

-Songs and Their Composers


-Musical Heritage


The Show “Cindabella”

The show “Cindabella” is based on the fairy tale classic “Cinderella” written by Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859), and first published in 1812.  “Cindabella” is a new version that incorporates Southern traditions, experiences and characters from our regional heritage. 

There are between 350 and 1500 different versions of the Cinderella story in the world today.

Children will be able to identify the characters in the “Cindabella” story from the classic tale they have loved over the years.  These characters remain the same as defined in the original, but have been slightly modified to reflect the regional take on the tale.

Why change the story?  Well, it has been around the world for centuries!  It is one of the most well-known stories ever written, Cinderella and its universal tale of the human heart has always appealed to young and old alike. Variations on Cinderella's myth appear in folktales in almost every culture.

China: Recorded on paper by Tuan Ch'eng-shih in the middle of the ninth century, this version centers around "Yeh-Shen," a beautiful young girl whose mother has died. Raised by a spiteful stepmother, Yeh-Shen's only friend is a fish in the river near her home. After her stepmother kills her fish, Yeh-Shen is told by an old man to gather the fish bones and make a wish. She wishes to attend the spring festival, and she is granted a beautiful outfit complete with golden slippers. Yeh-Shen loses one of her slippers while running away from her stepmother at the festival; however, a villager discovers it and it eventually finds its way to the King. The King searches everywhere for the rightful owner of the slipper, and when Yeh-Shen puts the magic slipper on, her clothes are transformed into the beautiful attire from her night at the festival and the King proposes to her.

Native Americans: The Algonquin Indians of North America also created a Cinderella myth known as "The Rough-Face Girl." The youngest sister is forced by her two older sisters to tend the village fire for hours, causing her hair and face to burn from the cinder sparks. The powerful and magical chieftain is seeking a wife, but he is invisible. Although both sisters claim to know what the chieftain looks like, he is visible only to Rough-Face Girl  because her heart is pure and honest, she is able to see the his image in the forest and the sky. Dressing herself in a birch-bark dress and worn moccasins, she walks to meet the chieftain. Her beauty is restored after she bathes in a lake, and she is soon married to the chieftain.

Africa: A West-African interpretation of Cinderella, the story of "Chinye," does not focus on marrying a prince.  Chinye meets an old woman who tells her to go into a hut where there are gourds on the floor, and she is to take the tiniest, quietest gourd home and break it. Chinye does as she is told and when she breaks the gourd, treasures spill out. In a jealous rage, her stepsister finds the house with the gourds and greedily selects the largest one. She eagerly runs home to split her gourd open, but instead of treasures, the broken gourd unleashes a terrible storm. Chinye's stepfamily loses everything. Because they are too proud to ask for help, the stepfamily moves. Chinye is left behind and chooses to use her wealth to help her village.

France: In 1697, French author Charles Perrault published Contes de ma Mere L'Oye (Tales of Mother Goose), a collection of folktales he interpreted.  This is the version that Walt Disney used to create his animated movie.  In the original story, Cinderella's slipper had been made of fur; however, scholars think Perrault may have confused vair (French for "fur") with the word verre (French for "glass"). Perrault recorded the story as it had been told by storytellers, but added the magical elements for literary effect. Perrault was also slightly more humane than many other interpreters. He ends his version of the tale with Cinderella forgiving her sisters, offering them lodging in her palace, and finding them two men of the court to marry.

No matter which version of the story you choose, the heroine, Cinderella is always triumphant over jealousy and greed because of goodness and kindness shown to others.  This is a lesson in good winning over evil and patience and sensitivity being rewarded. All good tools for young children to learn!



The Music of “Cindabella”

Music in this version of Cinderella was chosen based on historical merit.  The songs either originated in the South or are recognized for subject or tradition as southern.  Some of the songs while tagged as “southern” were really nationally recognized during their time of popularity.

We will explore each song that is included in the production in its original format so that students will know where these songs came from and who the composers were that wrote them. 

Stephen Foster

(“Swanee River”, “Oh Suzanna”, “Home! Sweet Home”)

Stephen Collins Foster was born July 4, 1826 and died January 13, 1864.  He grew up and attended school in Pennsylvania.  He was known as the "father of American music", and was an American songwriter primarily known for his parlor and minstrel music.

In the 19th century “Parlour” or Parlor music came as a result of a steady increase in the number of households with enough money to purchase musical instruments and with the leisure time and cultural motivation to engage in recreational music-making type of popular music which, as the name suggests, is intended to be performed in the parlors of middle-class homes by amateur singers and pianists.

Minstrel music was American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music.

 Foster wrote over 200 songs; among his best known are "Oh! Susanna," "Camptown Races,""Old Folks at Home," "My Old Kentucky Home," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," and "Beautiful Dreamer."  Many of his compositions remain popular more than 150 years after he wrote them.

Many of his songs had Southern themes, yet Foster never lived in the South and visited it only once in 1852 by river-boat voyage on his honeymoon on his brother Dunning's steam boat the Millinger, which took him down the Mississippi to New Orleans.

Foster attempted to make a living as a professional songwriter and was considered innovative in this respect, since that career did not yet exist. Due in part to the limited scope of music copyright (The right to get paid for your creative work) and composer royalties (The right to get paid when someone else uses your creative work) at the time, Foster made very little money for his songs generated for sheet music printers. Multiple publishers (companies that make, distribute or sell the musical works) often printed their own competing editions of Foster's tunes, paying Foster nothing. He received $100 ($2,653 in 2012 dollars) for “Oh, Susanna”.

Foster moved to New York City in 1860. About a year later, his wife and daughter left him and returned to Pittsburgh. Beginning in 1862, his fortunes decreased, and as they did, so did the quality of his new songs. Early in 1863, he began working with George Cooper, whose lyrics were often humorous and designed to appeal to musical theater audiences. The Civil War created a flurry of newly written music with patriotic war themes, but this did not benefit Foster. During this time he composed a series of Sunday school hymns, including "Give Us This Day" (1863).

Toward the end of his life he had no money and developed a fever while staying in a New York hotel.  As he tried to call for help he fell and hit his head.  He died only 37 years old, wearing a worn leather wallet containing a scrap of paper that simply said, "Dear friends and gentle hearts," along with 38 cents in Civil War coins and three pennies. Foster was buried in the in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. One of his most beloved works, "Beautiful Dreamer," was published shortly after his death.


When the Saints Go Marchin’ In

Originally “When the Saints Go Marching In", often referred to as "The Saints", was an American gospel hymn. The precise origins of the song are not known. Though it originated as a Christian hymn, today it is often played by jazz bands.

Both vocal and instrumental renditions of the song abound. The musician Louis Armstrong, an American trumpeter and singer from New Orleans was one of the first to make the tune into a nationally known pop tune in the 1930s. Armstrong was in a New Orleans tradition of turning church songs into brass band and dance numbers that went back at least the start of the 20th century.

In New Orleans, the song was traditionally used as a funeral march, a slow simple song in a minor key, until the tune was brought into the early rock and roll repertory by such artists as Fats Domino and by Bill Haley & His Comets. Haley's version removed the traditional lyrics in favor of verses that introduced the members of his band (who then performed instrumental breaks).

It is nicknamed "The Monster" by some jazz musicians, as it seems to be a frequent request for Dixieland bands, and some musicians dread being asked to play it several times a night.


“The Tennessee Waltz” By Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart


This song was written by Pee Wee King and Red Stewart.   Both performers at the Grand Ole Opry, King recalled the story of how the song came to be. "While driving back to Nashville from some dates in Texas, Redd Stewart and I were listening to the radio and heard Bill Monroe's 'Kentucky Waltz' and Redd remarked, 'It's odd no one ever did a "Tennessee Waltz," since we make our living on the Grand Ole Opry.' On the back of an old-fashioned match box, the lyrics were composed. A song was born. Governor Frank Clement signed the bill officially on February 17, 1965, making it the Tennessee state song."
It was written in 1946 and first released in January 1948. The song became a multimillion seller via a 1950 recording – as "The Tennessee Waltz" – by Patti Page. Tennessee Waltz" returned to the charts in the fall of 1959 with a rockabilly version recorded by both Bobby Comstock & the Counts and Jerry FullerIn 1964 "Tennessee Waltz" was recorded in a rock and roll ballad style by Alma CoganSam Cooke recorded a double-time version of "Tennessee Waltz" for his Ain't That Good News album recorded 28 January 1964 at the RCA Studio in Hollywood. 

It has been recorded many times over and is used in the south for many events other than musical. After every home game the Appalachian State University Marching Mountaineers perform the song during their post game show. The University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Band also performs Tennessee Waltz at the end of each home game at Neyland Stadium and Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville as the fans are filing out of those venues. Baylor's Golden Wave Band plays the song at the end of each home game, The Tennessee Waltz is also the corps song of Music City Drum and Bugle Corps, a Drum Corps International Open Class corps from Nashville, Tennessee.

The word “Waltz” comes from the German verb walzen, which describes the turning or rotating movement characteristic of the dance.  It is often written in ¾ time signature.  Classical composers were normally asked to create dance music, and were not typically seen as artistic in nature. However Chopin’s “18 Waltzes” could be seen as just that.  There are also jazz waltzes, like “The Tennessee Waltz” that are also written in ¾ time.  These songs became popular in the 50’s and were considered for listening or dancing.


Musical Heritage

Southern musical heritage was created by both white and black Americans.  The music started well before the civil war.  Caucasians brought traditional folk music from Britain and Ireland, while African slaves brought a sound that we now recognize as spirituals.  Blues was developed in the rural south, by African Americans in the beginning of the 20th century.

The South lays claim to and has created many different styles of music based on settlers from all over the world bringing their musical foundation with them from far off places.  Some style that were born in the south are:  old-time music, gospel music, spirituals, country music, rhythm and blues, soul music, funk, rock and roll, beach music, bluegrass, jazz, zydeco, and Appalachian folk.  In more recent years, we have seen the growth of Rap Music and Hip-Hop explode in the South.

While much of this music can be traced back to the south as its point of creation, it has inspired musicians everywhere.  The musical heritage of the South is undeniable as an important contributor to the arts community in the world.