a musical which originally debuted on Broadway on October 23, 1961 at
the54th Street Theatre, and ran for 32 performances, ending on November
18, 1961. It starred Sally Ann Howes, Terry Carter, Robert Guillaume,
and Brock Peters among others and was written by Richard Adler and
choreographed by Agnes de Mille. The action takes place in 1960s West
Africa in a British colony on the eve of it's independence. The people
are torn between their traditional ways and the modern world. Kwamina,
the chief’s son, returns after studying in London. He soon falls in love
with the white lady doctor, Eve. Meanwhile, his father still wants him
to marry the girl who had been betrothed to Kwamina sine birth, Naii.
The original cast album was recorded for Capitol Records on Monday,
November 20, 1961 following the Saturday close two days earlier. A cast
album had already been planned based on hopes that the show would be a
hit, but Capitol Records, despite the extremely short run of the show,
went ahead and made and released the album, and it has since reached a
cult status. It is currently out of print. Read the New York Times
Leader of the Pack is
a musical with liner notes by Anne Beatts and additional material
by Jack Heifner, music by Ellie Greenwich, and lyrics by Greenwich, Jeff
Barry, Phil Spector, George "Shadow" Morton, Jeff Kent, and Ellen Foley.
Based on an original concept by Melanie Mintzwith, this jukebox
musical (created before the term was coined) celebrates the life and
times of the Brooklyn-born Greenwich, whose doo-wop sounds skyrocketed
to the top of the pop charts in the early to mid-1960s. Beatts' "liner
notes" serve as the book that link the songs and provide a look into the
songwriter's professional triumphs and personal misfortunes.
he initial presentation of Leader of the Pack: The Songs of Ellie
Greenwich (as it originally was titled), with a cast of six, had a brief
run at Greenwich Village's Bottom Line in the winter of 1984. After 53
previews, the much-expanded production, boasting a cast of nineteen
(including Dinah Manoff, Patrick Cassidy, and Annie Golden, Darlene Love
and Ellie Greenwich as themselves) directed and choreographed by Michael
Peters, opened on April 8, 1985 at the Ambassador Theatre, where it ran
for 120 performances. Frank Rich, reviewing the show in The New York
Times, called it an "embarrassment" and later wrote that upon closing,
the show's producers engaged each other in litigation that "entertained
Broadway for far longer than their show had." The production was
nominated for the Tony Award for Best Musical, but lost to Big River.
Leader of the Pack was unlike other shows on Broadway at the time.
Though it ran in two acts, it was without an intermission and had a
duration of 90 minutes. It is a popular choice for high school and amateur
productions, which Ellie Greenwich frequent managed and oversaw until
her death in August 2009.
Here is "Be My Baby" from the Off Broadway production:
Legally Blonde is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence
O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. The story is based
on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film
of the same name. It tells the story of Elle Woods, a
sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her
ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help
others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a
Legally Blonde premiered in pre-Broadway tryouts in San
Francisco, California. In April 2007 the show moved to Broadway's Palace
Theatre, opening to mostly positive reviews and grossed more than
$1,000,000 a week on several occasions. Jerry Mitchell directed and
choreographed. The original cast included Laura Bell Bundy as Elle
Woods,Christian Borle as Emmett Forrest and Richard H. Blake as Warner.
It received seven Tony nominations but failed to win any.
The musical was recorded in September 2007 and aired on MTV in October
2007. Following this, a reality TV program was aired showing the
audition process for the next person to play Elle Woods on Broadway. The
winner was Bailey Hanks, who played the role from July 23, 2008 until
the production closed on October 19, 2008.
After a tryout at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre from February 6 to
February 24, 2007, following previews from January 23,Legally
Blonde opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre on April 29, 2007,
following previews from April 3. The production was directed and
choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, with set design by David Rockwell,
costume design by Gregg Barnes, and lighting design by Kenneth
Posner and Paul Miller. The original Broadway cast included Laura Bell
Bundy in the lead role of Elle Woods and featured Christian Borle, Orfeh and Michael
Rupert. The show received mostly positive reviews and was nominated for
seven Tony Awards, including Best Original Score and Best Leading
Actress, but failed to win any.
The production closed on October 19, 2008 after playing 30 previews and
595 regular performances.
The musical received mixed reviews but was praised for being a fun and
upbeat production. Ben Brantley, reviewing the musical in The New York
Times, wrote that the show was a "high-energy, empty-calories, and
expensive-looking hymn to the glories of girlishness"; he praised Laura
Bell Bundy saying, "she sings and dances flawlessly, and she delivers
silly lines as if she meant them." Clive Barnes, in his New York
Post review, wrote that he loved the "effervescent and radiant Bundy" as
well as others in the cast, and that the "dances certainly have a slick
snap, crackle, and pop". Elysa Gardner in the USA Today wrote that the
musical was an "ingratiating trifle", and the "game cast ensure that the
proceedings, however patronizing, aren't irritating." Jeremy McCarter
in New York Magazine wrote that the musical unfortunately "doesn’t
summon memories of Tracy Flick, the steely student-council campaigner
that Reese Witherspoon played in Election before starring in Legally
Misérables, colloquially known as Les Mis or Les Miz, is
a musical composed in 1980 by French composer Claude-Michel Schönberg,
with a French-language libretto by Alain Boublil.
The English-language adaptation, with libretto by Herbert Kretzmer,
opened at London's Barbican Centre on 8 October 1985. It is the world’s
longest-running musical, now in its twenty-sixth year, and the third
longest-running show in Broadway history. In January 2010 it played its
ten-thousandth performance in London's West End. The production
continues at London's Queen's Theatre.
On 3 October 2010, the show became the first musical in history to have
three productions running in the same city, with the original show
running in London's West End, a Twenty-Fifth Anniversary touring
production running at the original home of the show, London's Barbican
Centre, and a special concert version at London's O2 Arena.
Based on Victor Hugo's 1862 novel of the same name, set in
early nineteenth-century France, the plot follows the stories of the
characters as they struggle for redemption and revolution. An ensemble
that includes prostitutes, student revolutionaries, factory workers, and
others joins the lead characters.
Originally released as a French-language concept album, the first
musical stage adaptation of Les Misérables was presented at a
Paris sports arena in 1980. However, the first production closed three
months later when the booking contract expired.
In 1982, about six months after he had opened Cats in London,
producer Cameron Mackintosh received a copy of the French concept album
by director Peter Farago. Farago had been impressed by the work and
asked Mackintosh to produce an English version of the show. Initially
reluctant, Mackintosh eventually agreed.
Mackintosh assembled a production team to adapt the French musical for a
British audience. After two years in development, the English language
version opened in London on 8 October 1985, at the Barbican Arts Centre.
Critical reviews were negative, and literary scholars condemned the show
for converting classical French literature to a musical. Public opinion
differed from the press, with the box office receiving record ticket
orders. The limited three-month Barbican engagement eventually sold-out
and reviews improved.
The Broadway production opened on March 12, 1987, and ran until May 18,
2003, closing after 6,680 performances. It is the third longest-running
Broadway show in history. A fully re-orchestrated Broadway revival
opened on November 9, 2006 at the Broadhurst Theatre.
The show was nominated for twelve Tony Awards, winning eight, including
Best Musical and Best Original Score.
a Broadway musical inspired by Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles.
The score is by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, book by Linda Woolverton and
directed byRobert Jess Roth with musical staging by Matt West. The show
was directed by Robert Jess Roth. The title role of Lestat was played
by Hugh Panaro, and starred Carolee Carmello as Gabrielle, Drew Sarich as Armand, Jim
Stanekas Louis, Roderick Hill as Nicolas, Michael Genet as Marius,
and Allison Fischer as Claudia. Scenic design by Derek McLane, costume
design by Susan Hilferty, lighting design byKenneth Posner, sound design
by Jonathan Deans, visual concept design by Dave McKean, and hair design
by Tom Watson.
The pre-Broadway version of the Lestat musical was extremely
different from the New York version of the Lestat musical. Even though
it was the highest-earning pre-Broadway play in San Francisco history
(beating out Wicked and Cats) the company drastically revised the play.
The San Francisco version, performed at the city's historic Curran
Theater during the final months of 2005 and early 2006, had far more
elaborate stage effects and production values and included projected
images illustrating the main character, Lestat's, story.
The Broadway version of Lestat was more interpretive, and used
fewer projections. It also cut quite a few plot elements from San
Francisco. The song "Right Before My Eyes" was inserted, "In Paris", a
duet sung by Nicolas and Lestat was cut, and "In Paris" was expanded to
when Lestat first arrives in Paris and sees Nicolas' work at the
theater, the number was called "In Paris Sequence". Gabrielle's solo
"Nothing Here" was changed to "Beautiful Boy"; and the
play-within-a-play in the Vampire theater, was changed from the number
"Origin of the Species", which explained the legend of King Enkil and Queen
Akasha, to "Morality Play", which was about Armand and Marius'
relationship, and completely scrapped any references to Queen of the
Damned, including, later in previews, cutting Queen Akasha and King
Enkil from the show completely. This version was played in mid-2006 at
the Palace Theater.
Clip from the Broadway production:
Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Disney animated film of the
same name with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice along with the
musical score created by Hans Zimmer with choral arrangements by Lebo M.
Directed by Julie Taymor, the musical features actors in animal costumes
as well as giant, hollow puppets. The show is produced by Disney
The musical debuted July 8, 1997, in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the
Orpheum Theatre, and was an instant success before premiering
on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater on October 15, 1997 in previews
with the official opening on November 13, 1997. On June 13, 2006, the
Broadway production moved to the Minskoff Theatre to make way for the
musical version of Mary Poppins, where it is still running after
more than 5,350 performances. It is now Broadway's eighth
longest-running show in history.
Many of the animals portrayed in the production are actors in costume
using extra tools to move their costumes. For example, the giraffes are
portrayed by actors carefully walking on stilts. For principal
characters such as Mufasa and Scar, the costumes feature mechanical
headpieces that can be raised and lowered to foster the illusion of a
cat "lunging" at another. Other characters, such as the hyenas, Zazu,
Timon, and Pumbaa, are portrayed by actors in life-sized puppets or
costumes. The Timon character is described by Taymor as one of the
hardest roles to master because the movement of the puppet's head and
arms puts a strain on the actor's arms, back, and neck.
Composer Lebo M led the original Broadway chorus. The chorus members are
usually visible in the production, rather than being hidden in the
shadows as seen in some other musical shows.
A new section of the production, the Lioness Hunt, features a
particularly complicated dance sequence for the actresses, and the dance
is made even more difficult by the large headpieces worn during the
During the show's run in China, Chinese elements were included in the
musical. One of the songs was adapted to a well-known Chinese pop song,
"Laoshu ai dami" or "Mice Love Rice". The cast even cracked jokes and
attempted conversations with the audience in Chinese.
As of June 27, 2010, nine minutes of the Broadway version were cut,
among them, the entire "Morning Report" musical number.
From the Tony Awards:
Little Mermaid is a stage musical produced by Disney Theatrical,
based on the animated 1989 Disney film of the same name and the classic
story of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. The
musical's book is by Doug Wright, music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the
late Howard Ashman (written for the film) and new lyrics by Glenn
The musical had a pre-Broadway tryout in Denver, Colorado in July
through early September 2007, with Broadway previews beginning in
November 2007 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, previously the home
of Disney Theatrical's Beauty and the Beast, which closed in July
2007 to make way for the new production. With Disney set to open the
show at the time, it was believed that having two Disney icons on
Broadway at the same time would divide audiences and cause competition
between the two shows. The Little Mermaid officially opened on
January 10, 2008 and closed on August 30, 2009 after 685 performances
and 50 previews.
Direction was by Francesca Zambello, making her Broadway debut, with
choreography by Stephen Mear. Scenic design was byGeorge Tsypin, costume
design by Tatiana Noginova and lighting design by Natasha Katz. The
original cast featured Sierra Boggessin the title role of Ariel, Sean
Palmer as Prince Eric, Brian D'Addario and Trevor Braun alternate as
Flounder, Norm Lewis as King Triton, Sherie Rene Scott as Ursula, Tituss
Burgess as Sebastian, Tyler Maynard as Flotsam, Derrick Baskin as
Jetsam, Jonathan Freeman as Grimsby, and John Treacy Egan as Chef Louis.
To assist the performers in achieving the effect of underwater movement
on stage, the actors wear wheel-heeled footwear.
Madame Carlotta (portrayed by Heidi Blickenstaff) - Human - Carlotta is
seemingly the castle's primary maid and housekeeper. Despite the remarks
of her fellow maids and servants, she is exceptionally kind to Ariel and
does her best to make her feel comfortable.
Two clips (1) "Part of Your World" and (2) recording of Heidi
Blickenstaff singing "Poor Unfortunate Souls":
Mamma Mia! is written by British playwright Catherine Johnson,
based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn
Ulvaeus, former members of the band. Although the title of the musical
is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper "Mamma Mia", the plot is
fictional, not biographical. Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, who
composed the original music for ABBA, were involved in the development
of the show from the beginning. Anni-Frid Lyngstad has been involved
financially in the production and she has also been present at many of
the premieres around the world. The musical includes such hits as "Super
Trouper", "Lay All Your Love On Me", "Dancing Queen", "Knowing Me,
Knowing You", "Take A Chance On Me", "Thank You for the Music", "Money,
Money, Money", "The Winner Takes It All", "Voulez Vous" and "SOS". Over
42 million people have now seen the show which has grossed $2 billion
dollars worldwide. A film adaptation, Mamma Mia! The Movie, starring Meryl
Streep, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski and Julie
Walters was released in July 2008.
Mamma Mia! is based on the songs of ABBA. ABBA was a
Swedish pop/dance group active from 1972–1982 and was one of the most
internationally popular pop groups of all time, topping the charts again
and again in Europe, North America and Australia. Following the premiere
of the musical in London in 1999,ABBA Gold topped the charts in the
United Kingdom again. This musical was the brain child of producer Judy
Craymer. She met songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson in 1983
when they were working with Tim Rice on Chess. It was the song "The
Winner Takes It All" that suggested to her the theatrical potential of
their pop songs. The songwriters were not enthusiastic, but they were
not completely opposed to the idea.
In 1997, Craymer commissioned Catherine Johnson to write the book for
the musical. In 1998, Phyllida Lloyd became the director for the
show. It is unusual for three women to form the collaboration behind a
commercial success in musical theatre.
The musical opened in the West End at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6
April 1999 and transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre on 9 June
2004, where it is playing as of 6 February 2010. Directed by Phyllida
Lloyd with choreography by Anthony Van Laast, the original cast featured
Shiobhan McCarthy, Lisa Stokke, and Hilton McRae.
Prior to the musical's Broadway engagement, it made its US debut in San
Francisco, California at the Orpheum Theatre from 17 November 2000 to 17
February 2001, moving next to Los Angeles, California at the Shubert
Theatre from 26 February 2001 to 12 May 2001, and finally to Chicago,
Illinois at the Cadillac Palace from 13 May 2001 to 12 August 2001. The
musical opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre on 18 October
2001 and is currently running, as of June 19, 2010. The director is
Phyllida Lloyd with choreography by Anthony Van Laast.
On any given day, there are at least seven performances of Mamma
Mia! being performed around the globe. On May 15, 2005, Mamma
Mia! surpassed the original Broadway runs of The Sound of Music, The
King and I, and Damn Yankees with 1,500 performances. As of August 19,
2009, it is the 11th longest running Broadway musical of all time with
3,560 performances. As of January 2008 "Mamma Mia!" became the longest
daily running show in the history of Russian theatre.
Medley from the Broadway production:
An American Fable is a musical about Marilyn Monroe with a libretto
by Patricia Michaels, music by Jeanne Napoli, Doug Frank, Gary Portnoy, Beth
Lawrence and Norman Thalheimer and lyrics by Jeanne Napoli, Doug
Frank, Gary Portnoy, Beth Lawrence and Norman Thalheimer. It opened
November 20, 1983 and ran for 17 performances. Here is The New York
STAGE: 'MARILYN,' MUSICAL ABOUT MONROE'S MAGIC
By Frank Rich
IF you read all the fine print in the Playbill for ''Marilyn: An
American Fable,'' you'll discover that the new musical at the Minskoff
has 16 producers and 10 songwriters. If you mistakenly look up from the
Playbill to watch the show itself, you may wonder whether those 26
persons were ever in the same rehearsal room - or even the same city -
at the same time. On top of its many other failings, ''Marilyn'' is
incoherent to the point of being loony. I defy anyone to explain - just
for starters - why 10 chorus boys dressed in pink plumbers' costumes
sing a song about bubble baths at the climax of Act II.
The woman who summons the plumbers is supposed to be Marilyn Monroe, and
it can be said without fear of contradiction that ''Marilyn'' is meant
to be the story of the ill- starred actress's life. But even this fact
is occasionally in doubt. Patricia Michaels's libretto makes only scant
mention of Monroe's movies (no mention at all of ''Some Like It Hot'' or
''The Misfits'') and vastly abridges the story of the actress's
tempestuous personal life. If ''Marilyn'' is to be believed, Monroe's
biggest problem was insomnia - an ailment soon rectified when she takes
to tap dancing through the streets of New York with fellow classmates
from the Actors Studio.
We do, however, hear about Marilyn's various husbands. Husband No. 1,
Jim Dougherty, pops up in a high- school jitterbug number, then pops up
again in a World War II soldiers' number, then disappears without a
trace. Husband No. 2, Joe DiMaggio, is a moony juvenile who is first
seen carrying a baseball bat and later discovered daintily clutching a
red rose. He and Marilyn break up when she refuses to eat every meal at
his restaurant on San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf. Husband No. 3 is
Arthur Miller, who lives in a New York penthouse and always speaks with
a pipe in his mouth. Marilyn leaves him shortly after delivering the
line, ''But you're Arthur Miller - how can you be so boring?''
Still, most of ''Marilyn'' is not about Marilyn or her famous husbands.
This show has more symbolic figures and narrators than it does
characters with recognizable proper names. A fey trio of singers known
collectively as Destiny forever weaves in and out of the action, tossing
glittery stardust on one and all. Two of Marilyn's fans periodically
wander on to declare their devotion with lyrics like, ''My knees are
weak/And I can't even speak.'' A pair of chorus girls campily outfitted
as ''Hedda'' and ''Louella'' are dragged in at intervals to dish the
''gossip'' about Monroe - but their gossip is so bowdlerized that they
might as well be describing the private life of Shirley Temple.
Alyson Reed, the professional and hard-working performer cast in the
title role, has precious little to do under the circumstances. In Act I,
she must deliver most of her characterization with her chest and derri
ere. Monroe she's not, but, when she's stuffed into the famous costumes,
you can squint your eyes and accept her as a Madame Tussaud's replica.
Miss Reed also mimics Monroe's voice effectively - until she takes to
delivering her Act II songs in a standard Broadway belt.
The production surrounding the star looks as if it suffered a bombing
raid during previews. Tom H. John's gloomy scenery, built around a
sound-stage motif, is a gutted retread of Robin Wagner's design for
Jerry Herman's Hollywood musical, ''Mack and Mabel.'' Joseph G. Aulisi's
costumes, Marilyn's excepted, look as if they were picked up at a fire
sale. The dance numbers are often thinly populated, and the pit band
sounds decimated. The disposable songs, some of them joltingly out of
period, also seem to have been radically cut: A few mercifully give up
the ghost in less than a minute.
The amateur direction and choreography are attributed to Kenny Ortega;
the Playbill also thanks another director, Thommie Walsh. Perhaps
someday one of these men or their several dozen collaborators will
reveal what they had in mind. ''Marilyn: An American Fable'' is so
confused that it never gets around to its heroine's death. If nothing
else, it must be the first exploitation of the Monroe legend that even
denies necrophiliacs a good time.
Mary Poppins is a Walt Disney Theatrical musical based on the
similarly-titled series of children's books by P. L. Travers and the
Disney 1964 film. The West End production opened in December 2004 and
received two Olivier Awards, one for Best Actress in a Musical and the
other for Best Theatre Choreography. The musical features the film's
music and lyrics by the Academy Award winning Sherman Brothers, along
with additional music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. The
book was written by Julian Fellowes. The musical was directed by Richard
Eyre and co-directed byMatthew Bourne, who also acted as
co-choreographer with Stephen Mear. A Broadway production with a
near-identical creative team opened in November 2006, with only minor
changes from the West End version. It received seven Tony
Award nominations, includingBest Musical, winning for Tony Award for
Best Scenic Design.
The stage musical is a fusion of various elements from the film and
the books. Some elements from the Mary Poppins series
of children's books that had been omitted from the film were restored,
such as the walking statue and the ladders rising to the stars. Others
were removed, such as the scene in which Uncle Albert gets caught on the
In 1993, theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh met Pamela Travers and
acquired the rights to develop a stage play adaptation of her Mary
Poppins books. In 2001, Mackintosh and the head of Disney
Theatrical Thomas Schumacher opened talks on a possible collaboration,
so that the stage play would be able to use the songs from the Disney
film. With both sides committed, a preliminary outline of the show was
written in 2002.
Around this time songwriters George Stiles and Anthony Drewe heard about
the project, and independently wrote a demo version of a new
introductory song for the character of Mary, titled "Practically
Perfect". They submitted the song to Mackintosh, and due to his positive
response, were officially brought on to the creative team. Julian
Fellowes was brought on to write the show's script because of his "clear
understanding of the social niceties of the English class system that
prevailed in the Edwardian era".
A workshop of the show was held at the end of 2003 at the rehearsal room
at London's Old Vic Theatre, using the cast of My Fair Lady,
which had just closed in the West End. After four weeks of rehearsals at
Sadler's Wells, the production moved to Bristol, where an out-of-town
tryout opened at the Bristol Hippodrome on September 15, 2004.
Cameron Mackintosh's stage adaptation of Mary Poppins had its
world premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome starting with previews from
September 15, 2004, before officially opening on September 18 for a
limited engagement until November 6. The production then moved to
the Prince Edward Theatre on December 15, 2004. The role of Mary was
played by Laura Michelle Kelly, who subsequently won the 2005 Olivier
Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the role, and the role of Bert
was played by Gavin Lee. Notable replacements have included Scarlett
Strallen and Lisa O'Hare as Mary Poppins and Gavin Creel as Bert.
The show sparked mild controversy not long after its debut when
producers Cameron MacKintosh and Thomas Schumacher banned children below
3 years old from entering the theatre, deeming the show too scary for
young children. The ban remained throughout the show's entire run,
during which the theatre staff were to prevent patrons with children
below 3 to enter. The show was officially tagged as being "for children
seven years and up".
On March 17, 2005, Julie Andrews, who played Mary Poppins in the film,
visited the show as a guest. She appeared onstage during the curtain
calls, where she gave a speech recalling her own memories from making
the film and praising the cast for their new interpretation. The
production closed on January 12, 2008, after a run of more than three
Following the success of the West End production, a Broadway production
debuted on November 16, 2006 at the New Amsterdam Theatre after previews
from October 14. Broadway performer Ashley Brown was brought on board to
play the title role, and Gavin Lee, who had originated the role of Bert
in the West End production, reprised his role in the
Broadway production. The rest of the original cast included Daniel H.
Jenkins as George Banks, Rebecca Luker as Winifred Banks, Katherine
Doherty, Kathryn Fraughnan, and Delaney Moro as Jane Banks, and Matthew
Gumley, Alexander Scheitinger, and Henry Hodges as Michael Banks.
Starting on 9 October 2008, the role of Mary was played by Scarlett
Strallen and Bert was played by Adam Fiorentino. Laura Michelle Kelly,
who originated the role of Mary in London, officially took over the role
on Broadway on October 12, 2009. Tony Award nominee Christian Borle joined
the cast the same day as Bert. Nicolas Dromard replaced Borle on July
16, 2010, on a limited engagement through August 22, 2010. Gavin Lee
returned the role of Bert on August 24, 2010 and was reunited with
former London co-star Laura Michelle Kelly.
The Broadway production differed from the London production in that the
"Jolly Holiday" sequence was staged in full technicolour instead of the
gray tones of the London show, and in "Anything Can Happen" the stairs
to the heavens were replaced by a large version of Mary Poppins'
umbrella entering from the stage floor. These changes were later
transferred back to the West End production. Most recently, a new song
has been added to the score, entitled "Playing the Game". This replaces
the already new "Temper, Temper" in the first act. This change has been
added to all current and future productions of the show.
The Broadway version received mixed reviews ranging from enthusiastic to
mediocre. Many critics praised the show for its technical
merits. Despite the mixed reviews, the show has been regularly
performing well at the box office since its opening. After running for
52 weeks, the show recouped all its original investment.
A clip from Broadway:
We Roll Along is a musical with a book by George Furth and lyrics
and music by Stephen Sondheim. It is based on the 1934 play of the same
name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.
Furth and Sondheim retained the basic structure and overall theme of the
play but updated it to encompass the period from 1957 to 1976. The story
revolves around Franklin Shepard who, having once been a
talented composer of Broadway musicals, has now abandoned his friends
and his songwriting career to become a producer of Hollywood flicks.
Like the play, the musical begins at the height of his Hollywood fame
and moves backwards in time, showing snapshots of the most important
moments in Frank's life that shaped the man that he is today.
Like Sweeney Todd, the show utilizes a chorus that sings reprises of the
title song to transition the scenes.
The musical closed on Broadway after 52 previews and only 16
performances in 1981 and marked the end of the Harold Prince-Sondheim
collaborations until Bounce in 2003.
Prince's wife, Judy, had been "nagging" him to do a musical about
teenagers, when he recalled the play Merrily We Roll Along. Sondheim
said that since the play was about friendships, he wrote the songs to be
interconnected. The original choreographer, Ron Field, wanted to work
with Prince. The decision was made to cast teenagers, and to have
tryouts in New York rather than out-of-town. The tryouts, beginning on
October 8, 1981, had a poor reception, with audiences walking out. On
October 21, the New York Times reported that the leading man had been
replaced by Jim Walton and the Broadway opening had been postponed.
Field was replaced with choreographer Larry Fuller.
After an unusual 52 previews, the Broadway production, directed by
Prince and choreographed by Fuller, opened on November 16, 1981 at
the Alvin Theatre. The show opened to mostly negative reviews. While the
score was widely praised, critics and audiences alike felt that the book
was problematic and the themes left a sour taste in their mouths.
Hampered by the several critical reviews published prior to its official
opening, as well as more negative ones published afterwards, it ran for
only 16 performances. In his New York Times review on November 17,
1981, Frank Rich said of the production, "As we all should probably have
learned by now, to be a Stephen Sondheim fan is to have one's heart
broken at regular intervals." Clive Barnes wrote, "Whatever you may have
heard about it – go and see it for yourselves. It is far too good a
musical to be judged by those twin kangaroo courts of word of mouth and
The cast included Jim Walton as Franklin Shepard, Lonny Price as
Charley, Ann Morrison as Mary, Terry Finn as Gussie, Jason Alexander as
Joe, Sally Klein as Beth and Liz Callaway, Tonya Pinkins and Giancarlo
Esposito in supporting roles. Rosie O'Donnell auditioned; she was 18
The musical won the Olivier Award for Best Musical in 2001. Sondheim was
nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score and the Drama Desk
Award for Outstanding Music, and won the Drama Desk prize for his
lyrics. Ann Morrison won the 1982 Theatre World Award for her
Recording of "Merrily We Roll Along" with photo clips of the original
Mother Earth, Book by Ron Thronson; Lyrics by Ron Thronson; Music
by Toni Shearer.
Preview: Oct 13, 1972 Total Previews: 6 Opening: Oct 19, 1972 Closing:
Oct 28, 1972 Total Performances: 12.
(originally The Mystery of Edwin Drood) is a musical based on the
unfinished Charles Dickens novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood. It
is written by Rupert Holmes, and was the first Broadway musical with
multiple endings (determined by audience vote). Holmes received Tony
Awards for Best Book and Best Original Score. The musical won five Tony
Awards out of eleven nominations, including Best Musical.
The musical first debuted as
part of the New York Shakespeare Festival in August 1985, and, following
revision, transferred to Broadway, where it ran until May 1987. Two
national tours and a production in London's West End followed. Though
the show has yet to have a Broadway revival, it continues to be popular
with regional, amateur, and student theater companies and has seen
numerous foreign productions.
The musical Drood is
derived from three major inspirations: Charles Dickens's final (and
unfinished) novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and the British
pantomime and music hall traditions that reached the height of their
popularity in the years following Dickens's death.
Dickens's Mystery began
publication in 1870. The book, which had been written and published in
episodic installments (as had most of Dickens's other novels) was left
unfinished upon Dickens's sudden death from a stroke that year. The lack
of resolution to the mystery (and the absence of notes that would
indicate Dickens's intentions) have made The Mystery of Edwin Drood
a literary curiosity. Almost immediately after the publication of
Dickens's last episode, various authors and playwrights (including
Dickens's own son) attempted to resolve the story with their own
endings: by the time of the Drood musical's production, there had
been several "collaborations" between the late Dickens and other
novelists, numerous theatrical extrapolations of the material, and three
film adaptations of the story.
Contemporaneous with Dickens's
writing, British pantomime styles — distinguished by the importance of
audience participation and conventions like the principal boy — reached
their height of popularity, just as music hall performance with its
attributes of raucous, risque comedy and a distinctive style of music
began to achieve prominence.
Rupert Holmes, who would go on
to be the major creative contributor to the musical Drood, spent
his early childhood in England. At age three, he would experience
theater for the first time when he was taken to a modern "panto",
complete with cross-dressing lead boy and audience sing-alongs. Some
years later, as an 11-year-old boy fascinated by mystery books, Holmes
first discovered the unfinished Dickens novel. Both of those seminal
experiences would go on to have a major impact on Holmes when he was
first approached to write a new musical by impresario Joseph Papp.
After Rupert Holmes wrote an
initial draft that lasted three-and-a-half hours, and performed it,
solo, for Joseph Papp, Gail Merrifield, and Wilford Leach, (the New York
Shakespeare Festival's artistic director), Papp offered to produce the
show as part of the Festival (also known as "Shakespeare in the Park"),
and told Holmes that it would be immediately transferred to Broadway if
it was deemed a success. The original production of The Mystery of
Edwin Drood premiered in New York City's Central Park at the
Delacorte Theatre on August 21, 1985 after only three weeks of
rehearsals. Notably, Holmes conceived most of the orchestrations
himself, a rarity for a Broadway composer.
After the final Festival
performance on September 1, preparations for the Broadway transfer
(retaining the original cast) immediately got underway. Following a
great deal of editing (the Delacorte version contained 32 original songs
and was nearly three hours long) The Mystery of Edwin Drood
opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on December 2, 1985. Roughly
halfway through the run, the title of the musical was officially
shortened to Drood (the name it continues to be licensed under). The
show ran for 608 performances (not including 24 previews), and closed on
May 16, 1987. The Broadway production was produced by Papp and directed
by Leach, with choreography by Graciela Daniele.
The opening night cast of the
Broadway production starred George Rose, Cleo Laine, John Herrera,
Howard McGillin, Patti Cohenour, and Jana Schneider, who were all
nominated for 1986 Tony Awards for their performances, as well as Betty
Buckley in the title role. Donna Murphy, Judy Kuhn, and Rob Marshall
were also members of the ensemble. (Marshall, who would later become
best known as a choreographer and theater/film director, also received
an early choreography credit as assistant to Daniele.) Before the show
ended its run, Murphy, who was understudy to Cleo Laine and Jana
Schneider, took over the title role. Other notable replacements during
the show's run included Alison Fraser (taking over for Jana Schneider),
Paige O'Hara (taking over for Donna Murphy as Drood), as well as Loretta
Swit and later Karen Morrow, who stepped into Laine's roles.