LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth CAMP Show Queen by Kenn Harris The Flopperoo Quiz It may not be Thanksgiving (or anyone's birthday) but I'm always ready to talk "turkey" about musical disasters on
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth
CAMP Show Queen
|by Kenn Harris|
|The Flopperoo Quiz
It may not be Thanksgiving (or anyone's birthday) but I'm always ready to talk "turkey" about musical disasters on Broadway. So come along for the ride, see how much you already know, and glean some "dish" along the way.
1. The toothsome star of many 40s flicks and a brilliant 70s show, took a dive in this one night stand, in which she played an aging musical comedy star reduced to touring the dinner theatre circuit, where she kept confusing the lyric to Mame with those for Hello, Dolly. Name the lady and the unfortunate show.
2. One of Broadway's favorite divas of the past generation found herself lost in Boston in a bizarre new musical in which she played a schizophrenic housewife with bizarre appetites and a homicidal streak. In spite of a first rate score by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill, audiences hated the show and booed steadily throughout the performances.
Most concerned seem to have been relieved when producer Alexander Cohen closed the show after one week. Name the show and its unfortunate star.
3. This Broadway-ized version of a cornerstone of world literature tried out for a year being constantly rewritten along the way. Nothing could save this leaky ship from sinking. It ended with a one night stand at The Palace, allowing two of the industry's most talented, if obnoxious and egomaniacal performers, a chance to fall on their buns in front of a paying audience, Name the show and its unpleasant stars.
4. Even the mighty team of Rodgers and Hammerstein had a flop. This musical, based on a novel by Steinbeck, just didn't gel. Its cast included a doomed young singer/ actressadored by "boomers" and a beloved opera star who, ironically, is said to be the first woman to use a microphone in a Broadway show. Oh yes, the show had a semi-hit tune. Who introduced it?
5. This invader from Hollywood produced a musical based on a famous fictional character. The New York reviews were so deliciously hateful that there was not a single quote usable in advertising, or in the theatre.
The "hero" swung across the trees half naked nightly (that was the best part of the show!), but only for a year or so, not the decade or more that its producers predicted for it. What was the show? Who produced it?
6. Broadway's very best team of librettist/lyricist decided one day that they would create a sequel to an important nineteenth century playa script which contained nothing remotely musical or comical. They shouldn't have, but they wrote it anyway. It was a five performance disasterat the Mark Hellinger Theatre, home of My Fair Lady. Who were the hubristic pair who wrote it, what was the title of the show, and what play was it based upon?
7. Two of TV's biggest stars were humiliated by appearing in this messy show, based upon a popular novel and a much-loved movie. Both the great Abe Burrows and Edward Albee had their turns as writer/directors of the show. Finally, the exasperated producer pulled the plug during previews. The two stars returned to even greater triumphs in Hollywood. Name the show, the work that inspired it, and the stars.
8. This musical, based on an exotic source, got drubbed by the press. One scribe wrote, "this musical purports to be about the Civil War. It was, more likely the cause of it!" Name the show, the work it is, however loosely, based on and the woman who played the lead.
9. A beautiful colleen active in Holly-wood, often at the sideor across the kneeof John Wayne, once starred in a Broadway flop that told the story of a woman who goes to India and finds true, if forbidden love, with her son-in-law. Her daughter dies in the first scene. There was also a stage full of children who sang a frightful song about UNICEF, in which "the part that sits down on the couch" is rhymed with "Ouch." Ouch indeed. Name the show and itsleading lady.
10. Show queens agree on few things. One, however, is, that the show mentioned here is the must beautiful "flop" with the greatest score in Broadway history. Last month it received a superb revival by City Center Encores. Lots of us are crossing our bejeweled digits that it will be transferred on Broadway. Name the show, its composer lyricist and original stars.
1. The lovely Alexis Smith, so icily fine in Follies was trapped in Platinum.
2. The show was Prettybelle, the star was the great Angela Lansbury who bounced back pretty quickly.
3. The show was Mitch (Man of La Mancha) Leigh's Home, Sweet Homer, a bombastic retelling of the Odyssey of Homer. The delightful stars were the ever sweet Joan Deiner, and Mr. Charm himself, Yul Brynner.
4.The show was Pipe Dream. Judy Tyler, a wonderful artist who had played the native-American Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring on the Howdy Doody Show, and who was killed in an automobile crash before she could fully realize her promise, played Suzy.
Helen Traubel, late of the Met, was Fauna. The sort of hit song, "And all at once, you love her" was sung by Bill Johnson, another great performer who died too young.
5. The musical was Tarzan, produced by the Disney Organization.
6. Betty Comden and Adolph Greene wrote A Doll's Life based upon Ibsen's A Doll's House. Trust me, it didn't come close to their other show about single women in the workplace, Bells Are Ringing.
7. The musical was Breakfast At Tiffany's, based upon Truman Capote's novel. It starred Mary Tyler-Moore and Richard Chamberlain, our very own "heartbreak kid" who has never once played a gay role in a Broadway show.
8. My Darlin' Aida, based on the Verdi opera but reset in Tennessee. Elaine Malbin of Great Neck, N.Y. created the antebellum version of the Ethiopian Princess.
9. Maureen O'Hara flopped badly in Christine.
10. The show is Juno, by Mark Blitzstein, book by Joseph Stein, based upon O'Casey's Juno And The Paycock. The original stars were Shirley Booth and Melvyn Douglas.
Kenn Harris is a NYC theatre and music critic and author of the biography of opera diva Renata Tebaldi, and The Ultimate Opera Quiz Book. Kenn is both an opera devotee and big time collector of original cast albums from Broadway and around the world. And he loves to dish. Contact him at email@example.com
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 03 April 04, 2008