Lyrics that have changed in Shows

Next2Noone Profile Photo
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/6/13 at 11:29pm
I am curious of changes from Cast Recording to Actual Stage Show songs. My Examples:

Next to Normal
OBCR: "He's been dead 16 years"
Show: "He's been dead all these years"

Rock of Ages- The note at the end of Harden My Heart was much shorter and I believe lower for Amy Spanger than current ones I've heard.

Do you have any other examples? Also does anyone know the reason for the Next to Normal change?

Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/6/13 at 11:48pm
Song of Purple Summer and Those You've Known from Spring Awakening. Purple Summer has two entire verses that were cut from the OBCR, and Those You've Known has little lyric changes too, towards the end. There were different vocal arrangements, too. I have no idea why, though.
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/6/13 at 11:57pm
Book of Mormon - In "I Am Africa" the lyric on the CD is "we are the tears of Nelson Mandela". The lyric has since changed in the show to "we are the dream of Nelson Mandela" since his recent decline in health. Also during "Man Up" the Ugandans sing the lyric "listen to the fat white guy" on the CD. However, if the Cunningham is not fat they sing "listen to the weird white guy" instead.
darquegk Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 12:00am
The lyrics of Purple Summer were changed because the impressionist lyrics of the original song were considered too inscrutable to close out the show, being especially obscure even for the show they were in. A new intro and varied lyrics throughout make the song more tangibly "about something" than the original lyric, which suggested the progression of time and autumnal decline without actually tying in to anything more specific.
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 12:22am
From Nunsense, the Rev. Mother's name changed from Sister Mary Cordelia to Sister Mary Regina.
If anyone ever tells you that you put too much Parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them. You don't need that kind of negativity in your life.
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 12:25am
^I know why the change was made to the lyrics in the first place- I meant that I didn't know why they were changed back for the OBCR.
Leading Actor
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 12:25am
I recall my "Phantom of the Opera" sheet music that I got from my Kris Kringle in 7th grade (1989) had different lyrics than what is usually sung for the song "Think of Me". When my family listened to the CD (or tape actually at that time) sometimes I would try and play along on the piano, and then there would be arguments about which lyrics to sing---the ones on the OBCR or the ones in the sheet music. :)

Updated On: 9/7/13 at 12:25 AM
ClumsyDude15 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 12:57am
The Spring Awakening cast album was recorded between off-Broadway and Broadway, so there were many differences.
Sally Durant Plummer Profile Photo
Sally Durant Plummer
Leading Actor
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 03:04am
In the OBC of "Hello, Dolly!", during "Put On Your Sunday Clothes", Dolly says "Ambrose, let me hear that tonic chord" was changed to "We haven't missed the train, thank the Lord".
"I know what a show-stopping song is. I know what you get a Tony for. Neither of those songs were it. And Sheryl Lee Ralph didn't even get nominated. Even with the new material. You know as an artist when somebody's giving you material that will stop a show. Give me the material. I know how to stop a show." - Tonya Pinkins Blocked: mjohnson2, Sue Storm (Sutton Ross)
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 03:32am
Oh, thanks clumsydude, that would explain all the differences!
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 07:06am
In reference to Sally D Plummer - exactly, those lyrics did indeed change and because originally Dolly was to enter Ambrose in the singing contest (talent contest? not sure anyone?) at the Harmonia Gardens in which he would perform in the number 'Come And Be My Butterfly' it was in fact in the show until Carol Channing left.


Many lyrics changed, too many to note right now. But here is one


'Look at me, I don't belong here' became 'Look at me, the other woman'



'A big two weeks on the riviera' became 'Two whole weeks on the riviera'



Productions alternate between 'Three long years I've knelt in silence' and 'Passing bells and sculpted angels'

I suppose in much the same way that there are several alternate versions to much of the CHICAGO choreography they do it to keep things interesting.


'Christine, you're talking in riddles, and it's not like you!' became 'I watched your face from the shadows, distant to all the applause, I hear your voice in the darkness, but the words aren't yours'

david_fick Profile Photo
Chorus Member
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 07:19am
ullabelt wrote: [T]here are several alternate versions... to keep things interesting.

If storytelling and craft came first in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, there wouldn't need to be be several alternate versions of the lyrics to keep things interesting. The libretto would already be interesting in the first place.

Updated On: 9/7/13 at 07:19 AM
best12bars Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 07:31am
The "fag"/"drag" change in You Could Drive a Person Crazy (Company).

Probably the most infamous lyric change was for the opening number in "Show Boat." The very first word sung by the black chorus in the show was the N-word. The curtain rose, and audiences heard:

"N*ggers all work on the Mississippi, N*ggers all work while the white folks play."

It was a controversial and vulgar word even in the late 1920s, and Oscar Hammerstein put it in to make people squirm in their seats a bit. He didn't want the characters on stage to come across as "happy black folks" just doing their jobs and glad about it. He meant to set the tone for the events that followed with the sad tale of Julie and her downward spiral from river boat star to solitary alcoholic.

It wasn't long (perhaps even during the original run, but definitely for the next revival and the early film version), the lyric was changed to:

"Colored folks work on the Mississippi, Colored folks work while the white folks play."

And later on:

"Some folks work on the Mississippi, Some folks work while the white folks play."

This last one was used in the 1951 MGM remake.

Various attempts have been made to replicate the original production of Show Boat, but when it was recorded in the '80s, the black chorus refused to sing the original lyrics. They ended up quitting as a group. and so the white singers had to sub for the black chorus on the recording.

(I'm paraphrasing and simplifying here, but that's the gist of it.)
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 07:57am

Well yes, I agree with that entirely but what I meant was interesting for the creative team/actors as with all the variations on choreography in CHICAGO - they pick and choose with every cast change. I am not a fan of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA


When did fag/drag change?

What you wrote about SHOW BOAT was very interesting indeed. Reminded me of meeskite/jewish in 'If You Could See Her Through My Eyes'

hanschens Profile Photo
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 08:17am
Anything Goes has had some lyric changes over the years, along with songs added/cut and moved about in the show. Two of the changes lyrically that I can think of off the top of my head are

"I know that I'm bound to answer when you propose" to "I know that you're bound to answer when I propose"

"Now heaven knows, Anything Goes" to "Now God knows, Anything Goes"
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 08:57am
The heaven knows lyric was the original 'radio edit' I think.
Chorus Member
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 02:32pm
Re: Spring Awakening, I believe there were also some verse changes in "Touch Me", though I don't remember where.
g.d.e.l.g.i. Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 02:52pm
Jesus Christ Superstar had a huge crop of changes beginning with the 1996 West End revival. Most of them have reverted to the original lyrics over time as people realized how clunky some of the changes were, but a handful are still part of the show as currently licensed. I'll list them below.

This Jesus Must Die
"One thing I'll say for him / Jesus is cool" became "Infantile sermons / The multitude drools"

Simon Zealotes
"...but add a touch of hate at Rome" became "...but make sure they're all hating Rome"

Poor Jerusalem
All iterations of the phrase "But you close your eyes" became "But you live a lie"

The Temple
Rather than repeat the whole "Roll on up for my price is down..." section once more, the merchants now have a new section, partially based on the additional lyrics for the 1973 film: "Roll on up Jerusalem / Here it isn't us and them / While our temples still survive / We at least are still alive / Come all classes come all creeds / I can fix your wildest needs / Name your pleasure I will sell / I got heaven I got hell // What you see is what you get / No one's been disappointed yet / Don't be scared give me a try / There is nothing you can't buy"

Make Us Well (finally, in the Stratford revival, they gave us a title to distinguish the lepers section from the temple scene -- "long overdue" is an understatement)
* "See my tongue I can hardly talk" became "See his tongue he can hardly talk" (which I guess makes more sense)
* "See my legs I can hardly stand" became "Change my life oh I know you can"
* All the group verse repetitions except for maybe the beginning of the last repeat have been pluralized: "See our eyes we can hardly see / See us stand we can hardly walk / We believe you can make us whole / See the tongues that can hardly talk / See our skin we're a mass of blood / Change our lives oh we know you can / We believe you can make us well / You're the hope of the poor poor man"

Damned for All Time
"Why are we the prophets / Why are we the ones..." became more specific to Judas' plight ("Why are we the prophets / Why am I the one / Who sees the sad solution / Knows what must be done")

The Arrest
The last four lines of the first group stanza of the song are now "How do you view your coming trial? / Have your men proved at all worthwhile? / Did you pick an efficient team? / Is that it for the Jewish dream?"

Judas' Death
Judas' incoherent rambling became instead "And I acted for our good / And I'd save him if I could"

Trial by Pilate
Pilate's verse about truth became "What is truth? / Not easy to define / We both have truths / Are yours the same as mine?"

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

Blocked: After Eight, suestorm, FindingNamo, david_fick, emlodik, lovebwy
Updated On: 9/7/13 at 02:52 PM
adam.peterson44 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 05:58pm
A couple more from Next to Normal and possible answer to OP's question:

In "How could I ever forget?", they changed

"Just eighteen months old, so cold" to
"And just eight months old, so cold"

Which i believe is why they changed the 16 years reference in the first line. If Natalie is 16 and they conceived her to try to get over Gabe's death, and he is 18 (according to Dr. Madden) at the time of the show, then the timing works better if he was 8 months old when he died.

They also deleted one stanza from Maybe between the OBCR and the currently-performed version:

Could be Iím crazy to go.
They say you should stay with the devil you know
But when life needs a change
And the one devil wonít
You fly to the devil you donít

Another poster on here (sorry, I don't remember who) said that they made that change due to people associating Alice Ripley with Side Show, which has a song called The Devil You Know, and chuckling when they heard her sing those lines in Next to Normal. Don't know if that is the reason, but it is understandable, if maybe a bit extreme (in the sense that the people most likely to notice or care were probably more represented in preview audiences than in the general audience post-opening, perhaps).
Dollypop Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 06:23pm
In THE FANTASTICKS, most references to "rape" have been eliminated from "It Depends on What You Pay" for the sake of being politically correct.
"Long live God!" (GODSPELL)
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 08:10pm
The change in You Could Drive a Person Crazy was for the first revival, I believe. I read somewhere that Sondheim thought the word would distract from the song, and people would assume that the women are homophobic. And thus it was changed.

Also, Dollypop, I was under the impression that it's not always changed, it's at the discretion of the director? I have seen a production in whch they said rape.
disneybroadwayfan22 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 10:36pm
Just being in a production of Beauty and the Beast, I can say that Mason De Lu (SPELLING, I KNOW) is completely different in the show from the OBC and in Home, the "What I'd give to return to the life that I knew lately..." verse is different.
Broadway Shows: Phantom of the Opera (January 2011), Mary Poppins (January 2011), Anything Goes (August 2011, W/ Sutton Foster, Joel Grey, and Laura Osnes), The Lion King (August 2011), Godspell (June 2012, W/ Corbin Bleu), Matilda the Musical (Original Broadway Cast, May 2013), Newsies (May 2013), Cinderella (W/ Carly Rae Jepsen and Fran Drescher, May 2014), and Aladdin (OBC, May 2014). Pre-Broadway: If/Then (November 2013/World Premiere, W/ Idina Menzel, LaChanze, and Anthony Rapp). National Tours: Wicked (October 2012), Beauty & the Beast (January 2013), & Jersey Boys (November 2013)

Met Idina Menzel & Sierra Boggess (November 2013)
PTOPhan Profile Photo
Featured Actor
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 10:55pm
Changes to lyrics are common between stage and motion picture. However, I've seen changes between stage versions. Music of the Night is significantly different in the Phantom's highlight London cast recording than in the full London cast or the Broadway production (apparently the highlight recording is what is known as the "concept" album). The movie is the same as the Broadway version, which is almost like the actual London version except that the Broadway version says, "Music will caress you, hear it feel it, secretly possess you," while the West End version is "Music will surround you, hear it feel it, closing in around you." I have no idea why London and New York are different -- it's not like the change in the first Harry Potter book from "hoovering" the carpet to "vacuuming" the carpet because the American readers wouldn't understand the British colloquialism.
You alone can make my song take flight.
Leading Actor
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/7/13 at 11:39pm

A little more FYI. The final version of Song of Purple Summer was written literally hours before the final preview when shows are "locked-in" so the performed version was the last revision of the Broadway show.
GlindatheGood22  Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/8/13 at 05:55pm
Matilda changed a few lyrics. In This Little Girl "Stop pretending, Jenny," is now, "Get on your feet, Jenny," so Miss Honey has a change of heart in between "You are going to march in there and give them a piece of your mind," and "Leave it alone, Jenny."

There are also new lyrics in Miracle. "Take another picture of our angel in that costume that I made," is now "Take another picture of our angel from that angle over there." The rest of the verse is also different. Still ends with the brilliant, "That's right honey, look at Mummy/Don't put honey on your brother/Smile for Mummy, smile for Mother/I think she blinked/Well, take another." I assume the new CD is going to have the changed lyrics.
I leave the room smiling.
Broadway Legend
Lyrics that have changed in Shows
Posted: 9/8/13 at 06:21pm
Aside from the "fag" to "drag" lyric change, another that pops into mind immediately is "The Very Next Man" from FIORELLO!. Instead of "And if he likes me/what does it matter if he strikes me/I'll fetch his slippers with my arm in a sling/just for the privilege of wearing his ring" we now have much more digestible to a modern audience version: "When he proposes, I'll have him send me tons of roses/sweet scented blossoms I'll enjoy by the hour./Why should I wait around for one little flower?Ē

Updated On: 9/8/13 at 06:21 PM