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On Broadway, but not in the movie


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I watched BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE last night and it caused me to go to the Internet Broadway Database (the IBDB) and look up information about the original stage production.

 

I figured Eileen Heckart was repeating her stage role and also figured Goldie Hawn was a replacement (which she was, for Blythe Danner). I wasn't sure about young Edward Albert...and it turns out that one of my favorite actors from the 60s/70s, Keir Dullea, had originated the part on Broadway. In fact, all three of the original leads-- Dullea, Danner and Heckart-- apparently did not miss a performance. There were over 1100 performances from October 1969 to July 1972.

 

I wonder if the film, which is great the way it is, would have been even better if Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner had been able to recreate their roles on celluloid.

 

Thoughts...?

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while not related to "Butterflies...", reading your thread title reminded me of this relating to film version of *Brigadoon* ....

"Four of the stage show's musical numbers ("Come to Me, Bend to Me", "There But For You Go I", "From This Day On", and "The Sword Dance") were cut prior to the film's release. The Breen office refused to allow the use of the two songs the 'Meg Brockie' character sang in the stage version ("The Love of My Life" and "My Mother's Wedding Day"[7]), as the lyrics were considered too risqu? for general audiences. With the omission of these songs, the supporting role of Meg Brockie was reduced in the film to scarcely more than a bit part. "

 

--always felt the movie version missed the mark, lacking the 'spark' and certainly the humor of other Lerner & Lowe musicals. Just MHO

:D

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Hi mr6666,

 

The thread title is meant to be interpreted in a variety of ways. And certainly, it applies to more than Butterflies Are Free.

 

Thanks for mentioning BRIGADOON-- maybe the loss of those musical numbers is why I have always felt the film version is a bit flat.

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>The thread title is meant to be interpreted in a variety of ways. And certainly, it applies to more than Butterflies Are Free.

 

You didn't make that it clear, so I limited my original comment to BAF.

 

In the larger sense the queen of this category would surely be Julie Andrews re My Fair Lady

 

Lee J Cobb was passed over for the Death of a Salesman film but fortunately for posterity did a TV version in 1966. Same with Jason Robards and The Iceman Cometh -- he did a TV production in 1960.

 

Other originators I would like to have seen:

 

Zero Mostel - Fiddler on the Roof

 

Ben Gazzara - A Hatful of Rain and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

 

Cliff Gorman - Lenny. I once had a double LP recording of this production, and I've always felt Gorman's Lenny Bruce was far superior to that of Dustin Hoffman.

 

Not Broadway or an original production, but perhaps the stage performance I most wish I could have seen: an LA little theatre production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, starring Warren Oates as McMurphy (1966). Jack Klugman, who saw this as well as Kirk Douglas on Broadway, said it was the best McMurphy ever. Douglas IMHO was totally wrong for the role, and Nicholson doesn't quite seem right either. But Oates, with his hillbilly thuggery and causeless rebelliousness crossed with childlike impetuousness, might have been perfect.

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>Ben Gazzara - A Hatful of Rain

 

This film is airing soon on TCM-- on March 27th, in fact. It is part of an evening spotlight featuring Don Murray, who assumes the role of Johnny Pope (which Gazzara did during the original stage production).

 

It is also worth noting that Shelley Winters (who was at the time married to Murray's costar Tony Franciosa and appeared in this play on Broadway) was passed over in favor of Eva Marie Saint. I have always felt that Eva Marie Saint was miscast as Celia Pope, and that Winters probably knew how to convey the character better.

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1ethel.jpg

 

_Roles played by Ethel Merman on Broadway, but not in the movies:_

 

GIRL CRAZY (1932)..her role was given to Kitty Kelly. Remade by MGM eleven years later, again without Merman.

 

TAKE A CHANCE (1933)..her role was given to Lillian Roth. Merman was the only performer from the original stage production that stayed with the show throughout its entire run. She introduced a song called 'Eadie Was a Lady' which was used by Columbia for an Ann Miller picture a decade later.

 

GEORGE WHITE'S SCANDALS..she was a featured performer in the original Broadway production and never hired for any of the films.

 

PANAMA HATTIE (1942)..Merman's stage triumph was taken over by Ann Sothern in the MGM musical version.

 

DU BARRY WAS A LADY (1943)..MGM purchased it for Ann Sothern, but cast Lucille Ball instead when Sothern became pregnant. Ball did a little singing but for the most part was dubbed by Martha Mears.

 

SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS (1944)..Carmen Miranda subbed for Merman in the 20th Century Fox film version.

 

RED, HOT AND BLUE (1949)..part given to Betty Hutton. Merman played it on stage in the mid '30s.

 

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1950)..again, Merman's role in the stage production is taken by Betty Hutton, though MGM initially cast Judy Garland. Merman would reprise the role again on Broadway in the mid-60s.

 

MISS SADIE THOMPSON (1953)..Rita Hayworth took the part in the musical version of Maugham's story that Merman did on Broadway in the mid-40s.

 

STARS IN YOUR EYES (1957)..made by MGM in England with Pat Kirkwood in Merman's role. Merman played it on Broadway in the late '30s.

 

GYPSY (1962)..Rosalind Russell played Merman's part.

 

HELLO, DOLLY! (1969)..Merman took over for Carol Channing in the last year, but Barbra Streisand took the lead in the movie.

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I'm sorry for coming in here, since the closest I've ever come to seeing a "stage production'" of anything was when my high school( in 1968) put on a production of "Bye, Bye Birdie". I can't comment knowledgably about if "so-and-so" from the original Broadway production would of been better than who wound up doing the same part in the movie. I CAN state, however, based on hearing recordings of the originals casts, that ZERO MOSTEL made a MUCH better Tevye than TOPOL, just based on the singing voice. I kinda wish GERTRUDE LAWRENCE had lived long enough to do the film THE KING AND I. And I think JULIE ANDREWS as ELIZA DOOLITTLE in the movie version of MY FAIR LADY would have worked out well.

 

Incidentally, I read "Cuckoo's Nest" long before the movie, and I thought Nicholson WAS a good fit as McMurphy.

 

Sepiatone

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> The queen is Ethel Merman

 

IMHO Andrews missing out on the MFL film has caused more harrumphing than any other single example of this practice, although there has been plenty of gnashed teeth over Merman getting snubbed for Gypsy. Of course for career snubs Merman is the champ.

 

>ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (1950)..again, Merman's role in the stage production is taken by Betty Hutton, though MGM initially cast Judy Garland. Merman would reprise the role again on Broadway in the mid-60s.

 

Merman also did a super-truncated version for TV in the mid '60s. I believe the press agent in this was played by Jerry Orbach

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> I thought Nicholson WAS a good fit as McMurphy

 

For me, Jack Nicholson is the safe, cleaned up Warren Oates. JN isn't bad, but Oates would have brought a sense of danger to the role that JN lacked.

 

FWIW, Ken Kesey actually claimed Kirk Douglas was the best McMurphy. KK may have sincerely believed that, or it may have been his way of dissing a hugely profitable film that he saw virtually no money from.

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> Merman also did a super-truncated version for TV in the mid '60s. I believe the press agent in this was played by Jerry Orbach

 

 

Orbach was the original Billy Flynn in the Broadway production. THAT, I would have loved to see.

 

Kesey thought Douglas was the best McMurphy? I'll have to bow to that, though your take as to why certainly makes sense, too. But I also agree Warren Oates would have been a good choice, too. Yet, understand, at the time of movie production, Oates wasn't as big a "box office draw" as Nicholson was. And I believe there were "rumored" talk about the role going to JAMES CAAN, WARREN BEATTY or ROBERT DENIRO. Don't know how true that is. Given THOSE possibilities, Nicholson was the better choice.

 

Speaking of Warren Oates, did you, Richard, see the movie INGLORIOUS BASTERDS? Didn't you think Brad Pitt was channeling Oates in the potrayal of HIS character?

 

Sepiatone

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Since no one's mentioned MAME, I will. Most human beings agree that Angela Lansbury should have recreated her Broadway role in the movie, and if not her, anyone else should have done it. Not only was Lucille Ball way too old (you can only soft focus so much), she wasn't happy to be there, and let me tell you, everyone can tell if you're not happy to be there, am I right?

 

For that matter, I wish Angela had been in GYPSY instead of either Russell or Merman (she played the role in London)

 

angela3_2221072b.jpg

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Tangent to this discussion, I'm looking forward to this year's big screen version of 'Into the Woods' though, predicatably there was some grumbling on theater message boards about the "Hollywood" casting. I figure, at least there's the PBS American Playhouse video that preserves the (basically original) stage production.

 

Edited by: Calamity on Mar 17, 2014 3:06 PM - to say that I do reserve the right to moan about the feature film version if I don't care for it. And it will make me that much more grateful for the AP recording.

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Well, the deal with MAME is that Lucille Ball bought the property (just like Roz Russell and her husband bought the rights to GYPSY). So when you own it, you can cast yourself-- provided that you can get a studio to go along with it. And Warners went along with Ball in the lead.

 

To be fair, though, we have to take into account that Ball had some other issues going on while MAME was being produced. She had broken her leg, and was still contractually bound to film her sitcom. In fact, she had planned to end Here's Lucy at the end of the fifth season, and she had even filmed a finale in the early part of 1973-- but then CBS renewed it for another year.

 

In the meanwhile, the film's original director George Cukor was forced to withdraw (he was replaced with Gene Saks). Then there was the on-going issue with script rewrites for MAME-- finally, she had her trusted TV show writers, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll revise portions of it, since they had been successful on her previous feature film YOURS, MINE AND OURS. Plus she did not get along with Madeline Kahn, who was eventually replaced. So MAME experienced one delay after another. She was probably relieved that it had even come together at all.

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When "Chicago" was first on Broadway in the mid 1970s, Jerry Orbach and Gwen Verdon were guests on either Merv Griffin's day time talk show or Mike Douglas' doing *All That Jazz* and *Razzle Dazzle* (along with the other cast members) from *Chicago*

 

There may a YouTube video for it.

 

Another memorable moment, from either Griffin's or Douglas' talk show, was Ben Vareen and the cast of *Pippin* performing *Magic to Do*.

 

Edited by: lzcutter

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What she should have done, especially when she had broken her leg, is she should have bowed out and let Lansbury or someone else take over. Since she owned it, she could have just sat back and enjoyed the profits. But I think she was hoping for one big movie hit to cap off her career. What ended up happening is that MAME did turn a profit (though probably not as big a profit as she and Warners wanted) and when her sitcom ended, she signed a special-a-year deal with CBS which meant she either did a variety show or a TV movie every year. She did several high-profile telefilms in the 70s and 80s, so she was able to still keep making movies-- but not with the kind of budget and advertising campaign that she enjoyed with MAME.

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IMHO Andrews missing out on the MFL film has caused more harrumphing than any other single example of this practice

 

Yes, and I suspect the Academy voters awarded Julie Andrews the Oscar for MARY POPPINS that year more because she was passed over for the film version of MY FAIR LADY than for her performance in MARY POPPINS.

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