My theme for the next two weeks is "Hit
Broadway Plays that Did Not Become Movies."
Surprisingly, this list for the last 60 years has
been relatively short, especially if TV productions
are counted as films. In the 20 years from 1949 to
1969, only 4 Tony-winning plays were not made into
movie musicals. Since 1970, the list is longer, but
several of the plays in the last four decades have
been broadcast on television or the Broadway or
London versions have been recorded on tape and are
now available on VHS or DVD.
"Fiorello" has the distinct honor of
being only one of seven Broadway musicals to win the
Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Yet, it has never been made
into a movie and its only revival in New York was a
limited run, concert format production for Encores at
City Center in 1994.
"Fiorello" opened on Broadway in
November, 1959 and it ran for 795 performances,
closing in October, 1961. Tom Bosley, probably best
known to most people as Richie Cunningham's
father on "Happy Days," played the lead
role of the New York City mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia.
"Fiorello" is a loose interpretation of
LaGuardia's political life in the 1920s. [read more ...]
Applause was a Tony-winning musical
based on the classic movie All About
Eve. The book was written by the experienced
play and screenplay writing team of Betty Comden and
Adolph Green and the score was written by Charles
Strouse (composer) and Lee Adams (lyricist).
Applause opened in March, 1970 and it
played for 896 performances, closing in July, 1972.
The stars of the play were Lauren Bacall, Len Cariou
and Penny Fuller. [read more ...]
Big River," the musical play based on
Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn,"
played in regional theaters before making its way to
Broadway. In February, 1984, "Big River"
was performed at the American
Repertory Theater in
Cambridge, Massachusetts. The next performances
were in June and July of 1984 at the La Jolla
San Diego, California. [read more ...]
The Mystery of Edwin Drood," based on
the unfinished novel of the same name by Charles
Dickens, was a very unconventional musical. The play
was the creation of Rupert Holmes who wrote the book
and lyrics, composed the music and arranged the
orchestrations for the production. What made
"Drood" truly unique, however, was its
ending, which was decided upon by each audience.
Holmes wrote different possible endings and, at each
performance, the audience voted on different aspects
of the story to lead to a conclusion for the
play. [read more ...]
It is surprising that "City of Angels,"
which is a parody of the movie industry, never became
a film. The Tony award winner is a play within a
play, with two parallel stories - the story of
screenwriter Stine and the story of the screenplay he
is writing about a detective named Stone. Except for
the two male leads (Greg Edelman as Stine and
James Naughton as
Stone), the actors and actresses played two parts,
a real-life character in author Stine's life
and the counterpart character in Stine's
screenplay. [read more ...]
"The Will Rogers Follies," like its Tony
winner predecessor, "City of
had music by Cy Coleman. The lyrics were written
by well-known lyricists, Betty Comden and Adolph
Green, and the book was written by Peter Stone,
who wrote the screenplay for another Cy Coleman
Charity." [read more ...]
Almost 10 years after the London premiere of their
first hit, "Les Miserables,"
Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil saw
their second major play open in London. Like its
predecessor, "Miss Saigon" became a huge
success, first in London, and then several years
later on Broadway.
"Miss Saigon" opened on Broadway on April
11, 1991 and it closed almost 10 years later, after
4,092 performances. The Broadway production was
followed by productions in at least 15 other
countries in many different languages, including
German, Polish, Swedish, and Japanese. [read more ...]