A story that has a memorable touchstone, item, sound or sight is a story that'll weather centuries.
But weathering centuries isn't solely what a great story is about. Some magic is needed, and a magic wand has clearly been waved over "Cinderella," a tale that is instantly recognizable by its distinct parts: glass slippers and pumpkin-pretty coaches and shoe-grabbing staircases and that dastardly clock that strikes midnight, much to our heroine's chagrin.
Midnight's enchantment-ending ways are on full display in the musical from Rodgers & Hammerstein, which dashes down the palace stairs at The Ahmanson from March 17 through April 26.
This is a famous take on the old-old-old tale of the cheerful young woman who gets to go to the big ball, courtesy of her fairy godmother. It's the only tale the legendary music-making duo ever created for television -- Julie Andrews starred back in 1957 -- and the spectacle brims with romantic ditties such as "Ten Minutes Ago," songs that are pure powdered sugar for the ears.
And heart, of course. What would "Cinderella" be without its sweet swoon? Just a clock and some great shoes.
The lavish, big-skirted production nabbed Tonys during its Broadway run, and served as a jumpstarter for the recent fairy-tale renaissance in modern pop culture. And is it the only "Cinderella" in town? Nope: It has a cinematic complement in the live-action Disney "Cinderella," which bows on March 13.
Fairytales, of course, aren't all powdered sugar -- there's some vinegar mixed in, and sass and drama and scares, too. If you're going to write your own, though, and you want it to last for centuries as "Cinderella" has, consider filling your story with symbols and items that will eventually become iconic.
Truly, what other yarn has taken full possession of those twelve, sonorous chimes in such a memorable fashion? "Cinderella" has practically trademarked the spot on the clock where both hands meet up top.
That is some powerful mythmaking, right there, if a time of day is widely associated with a story. But note: The Ahmanson shows begin well before midnight each day of the LA run.