Calliope is the taller of Cinderella's stepsisters in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella and an adversary of the film. Biologically, she has a single mother and a shorter sister named Minerva.
Role in the Film
On a trip to the market, Calliope spots an unusual purple hat topped with fluffy pink feathers and makes a grab for it, but her sister Minerva is faster. They ask their mother who it looks best on, but she smoothly dodges the question before she steps into a shop. Unsatisfied, the girls turn to their stepsister Cinderella and ask her opinion on the matter. Cinderella answers honestly, saying she doesn't think it looks good on either of them. Highly offended, Calliope dismisses her answer before snatching the hat off Minerva's head and making a break for it. An angry Minerva catches her and the two resume fighting all the way into the hat shop.
When they emerge, Calliope is the proud new owner of a unique green flowered hat with an explosion of long feathers. Her sister makes fun of Cinderella for being lazy, but Calliope mishears her and thinks she's the one being called lazy. Minerva snaps that Calliope's stupid, she clearly meant Cinderella. Calliope is mollified for a moment before taking offense at being called stupid.
On another day spent shopping in the marketplace, Calliope and Minerva are choosing lollipops from a candy shop when their mother bustles in, exclaiming that the prince is throwing a ball in order to find a bride. The excited sisters hope the prince will propose to them before their mother puts back their candy and drags them off. When they get home, Calliope glares at Cinderella along with her mother and sister until she opens the door for them and takes their hats, bags, and gloves. The Stepmother wastes no time in training her daughters to be graceful, respectable ladies and places a book on each of her daughters' heads, instructing Calliope to keep her shoulders back. Before the girls can even sit down their mother orders them all upstairs to take their tea.
The day of the ball, Cinderella helps Calliope with her hair, watching in slight terror as the Stepmother tightly laces Minerva into her corset. She then asks her daughters how they plan on impressing the prince. Calliope drops an unusual curtsy before fluttering her eyelashes, then proudly declares that she will laugh infectiously at all of the prince's jokes, demonstrating by giggling so hard she starts to snort. Her horrified mother begs her not to snort in front of the prince, reminding her and Minerva that they must hide their flaws until after the wedding.Cinderella, however, disagrees and vocalizes her thoughts of love to her stepsisters, who find her ideas beautiful. Their incensed mother snaps that love doesn't matter, marriage does. Calliope and Minerva drink up every warning about the follies of falling in love as they undergo facial masks and pedicures and other methods of beautification before they saunter out the door with feathers in their hair and stars in their eyes.
Soon enough, the sisters are waiting impatiently in line for their chance to share a dance with the prince. Soon after Minerva's disastrous shot at dazzling him, Calliope eagerly seizes her opportunity to win the prince's heart by immediately launching into a giggle-spree. Alarmed by her incessant snorting laughter, the prince signals his loyal servant Lionel to take Calliope away. Nevertheless, she fights him every inch of the way by doing her very best to cling on to the prince before Lionel finally manages to wrench her off. Not long after, Cinderella arrives and sweeps the prince off his feet. Not recognizing her stepsister, a jealous Calliope fumes with her sister from the sidelines as the prince and the mysterious girl whirl around the room. When they whirl right outside, Calliope and Minerva follow and spy on them all around the gardens. They complain that just because the mystery girl is beautiful, graceful, and unusual, that doesn't mean the prince has to fall for her rather than one of them. Hastily backing out of the prince's line of sight, the sisters topple over each other backwards into a fountain.
Returning home after the ball ends, Calliope and Minerva tell Cinderella slightly-exaggerated stories of the ball, although they grudgingly admit that there was some other girl who captured his attention as well. Cinderella mentions her ideas of what the ball may have been like, enchanting her stepsisters with dreams of charming princes and floating ballrooms before their disapproving mother sends them off to bed.
The next day, the prince has devised a way to find the mysterious Cinderella by having every single eligible young maiden try on the glass shoe she left behind until he finds the one whom it fits. His search eventually brings him to the Stepmother's house, where Calliope tries it on first. She pretends that its a perfect fit, but Lionel sees through her charade and tries to take the slipper off, but Calliope holds onto it firmly before he tickles her heel (which sticks out from the shoe) and slaps her foot away. She observes petulantly as her sister tries and fails to put it on perfectly, and then in shock as her mother tries it on herself and does put it on perfectly.
When their mother starts shrieking that the shoe is cutting off her circulation, Calliope and Minerva hurriedly help Lionel yank the glass slipper free. The disbelieving prince asks them if they are sure no other eligible girl is in the house. Knowing that Cinderella is in the kitchen, the trio hastily and conspicuously attempt to block the locked kitchen doors. With renewed hope, the prince orders them opened. After a brief struggle, Lionel manages to secure the key and unlocks the doors before the prince walks inside. Everyone crowds around the doorway only to see that Cinderella is clearly not in the room, much to her stepfamily's relief. The disheartened prince prepares to leave but is stopped by the Stepmother, who absolutely begs him to take one of her daughters as his bride. She praises Calliope's "charm and elocution", promising that she's much smarter than she looks as said daughter holds the glass slipper high out of Lionel's reach. Losing patience, Prince Christopher orders the chaos to stop and marches out the door, running right into Cinderella. He places the shoe on Cinderella's foot himself, and as it easily slides into the glass slipper -a perfect fit- her Stepmother screams in despair and collapses into her daughters' arms.
On the day of Prince Christopher and Cinderella's wedding, the trio are shut outside the palace gates, although that doesn't stop the Stepmother from unsuccessfully trying to boost Calliope over them.
- "I've been working on my naturally infectious laughter...Tonight I'm going to laugh infectiously at all the prince's jokes!"
- "You've got too big a heart, mother."
- "She doesn't know anything about hats; she said so herself! Give it to me!"
- Calliope was named after one of the Muses (off whom those from Hercules are also based).
- Calliope favors slim, straight dresses in multiple layers and various shades of green.
- Calliope drinks tea with warm milk.