Singin' in the Rain and Meet Me in St.Louis on Broadway?

bigbelterbaby
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thoughts on these on Broadway? it seems like they weren't that successful which is surprising since the name value with the popularity of the movies.

I think the main issue was that these are 'nostalgic' type musicals and they were put on stage in the 80's when that wasn't what people wanted.

Singin' in the Rain did 367 shows and got 2 Tony noms.
Meet Me in St.Louis did 252 shows and got 5 Tony noms (including Best Musical)

I would like to see them revived and tried again - Did anyone see them on Broadway? were they good (like captured the spirit of the movie version) or not? I know Singin' in the Rain is popular with community theatres and high schools and stuff. I've never seen it though.
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thetinymagic2
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Saw them, and both were underwhelming for me.
#1 problem: I believe both were at that ugly depressing barn, the Gershwin Theatre.

Singin in the Rain was directed and choreographed by Twyla, her first Bway undertaking, and it just wasn't all that creative imo. The film was so great because of great editing, not so much on stage. The girl who played Kathy had a lovely singing voice, and Don Correia was alright as Don L, but just not any real pizazz. Good hoofer, though. The RAIN was the best part (and that's not exactly a good thing... - scenery by Loquasto, I believe-very nice, but overshadowed the fantasy element that imbued the film. Anyway, the film is such perfection, imho, so ANY stage version pales in comparison, I guess.

Meet Me in St. Louis. Another example of huge money thrown on the stage, with no real magic there. Great music, of course. Not really familiar with the creators of this stage version, but it really needed the Hal Prince treatment. Also, (The Trolley Song w/o Judy stinks!).

The 80s were the era of big, fancy scenery driven musicals - i.e. Phantom, Saigon, Cats, etc.

Not much more I can remember of these 2 musicals.


Updated On: 4/19/12 at 04:04 AM
bigbelterbaby
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thanks for your insight! I lol'd at the Gershwin comment.

I wonder if either will be on Broadway again? seems like if they do they will need to make alot of changes - maybe with the right creative team.

EDIT:
I totally spaced that Singin' in the Rain is playing in the West End right now. and they have made a lot of changes to it. I doubt it will come over here though.

There is also a new stage version of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie 'Top Hat' opening in May there as well I didn't know about. That looks interesting.



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Updated On: 4/19/12 at 04:24 AM
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thetinymagic2
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One also needs a FULL pit orch for these shows! not some elctronic crap.(My pet peeve being a musician myself)
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Top Hat has been touring for six months or so before opening in London. They have about 15 in the pit if I recall. They sound not bad (which is more than can be said for the dancing)
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Singin' in the Rain was the first Broadway musical Twyla Tharp directed and choreographed. There was a big New York Magazine piece about its troubles - as I recall, the production began previews with Twyla's own choreography and a show that diverged more from the original film, but she was forced to recreate the film's choreography, as audiences were disappointed not to see the dances they remembered. And film choreography recreated on stage can't benefit from the edits and camera movement that make it exciting on film. It opened without much of a point of view or reason for existing. (It also had a truly hideous WTF logo/title treatment). Also, despite the talents of Don Correia, Mary D'Arcy and Peter Slutsker, are you willing to pay Broadway prices to see them, when you could rent the movie and see Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor for less?

Singin' in the Rain and Meet Me in St.Louis on Broadway?

And here's "Good Morning"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opxK-G-S2kE

"Fit as a Fiddle"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6Lm8QUmleo

"Moses Supposes"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV6iOwmoySw&context=C49e23fcADvjVQa1PpcFPl7KSe7Sj0KojdPGi-4cooh7l7dLwIToQ=

and "Singin' in the Rain"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvDHPFqvNVQ&feature=related
Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.
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madbrian
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I saw Singin' In The Rain at the Papermill back in 1994 and loved every minute of it. Michael Gruber was terrific in the Gene Kelly role.
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The first public performance of Singin' was also the first time the show had been run. Effectively, it was the tech rehearsal, before a paying audience. I remember two problems. Since it was the first time the rain sequence had been run, they didn't know you had to HEAT the water (it dropped about 20 degrees Fahrenheit as it fell) AND no one had realized that Don had to show up in the next scene immediately and dry... The other leads went into the next scene saying, "Well, if Don were here, I bet he would say..." and then about 5 min in, Don entered still drying himself with a towel and shivering from head to toe...
Two sets of water heaters were installed. One below the stage and a set above in the flys.
They also had a horrible time getting a phone installed in Don's dressing room (phones used to have chords in olden days) because NYTelephone had no record of a Gershwin Theater existing anywhere in the city. It took months, the phone company kept saying it was a prank and they weren't falling for it.
As I remember, Twyla reproduced the movie choreography from the very start. She used her own style in the new scenes.
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The West End revival is seriously fantastic and I very much hope that you guys get to see it in New York very soon. The title song is also the last scene in Act 1 where the audience also get wet!
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I only saw SINGING IN THE RAIN in Pittsburgh, but it starred Lara Teeter, no slouch in the dance department.

It wasn't bad, but I just didn't get the point. It wasn't going to equal the movie, so why not just watch the movie?

I think Smaxie identifies the problem above: audiences are disappointed if they don't get the choreography, songs, etc., that they already know, yet if all they get is what they already know, why bother?

I believe the two projects discussed in this thread are what posters mean when they complain about musical adaptations of films.
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The odd thing about the movie Meet Me In St. Louis is that it's not really a musical. There are only 5 songs, two of which are diegetic (performed not as an extension of a character's thoughts, speech, and action, but as songs - the title tune and "Under the Bamboo Tree").

Turning it into a stage musical felt like something was taken away, rather than added, as the added songs were not very interesting or particularly good.
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Singin' in the Rain made a common error when it decided that the movie had to be recreated on stage instead of adapted. It never delighted and was earthbound because there was no 'wow' factor except for a title song rainstorm that was step-for-step from the film. Because of the amount of water, I think it was pre-recorded. No mike, no matter how well wrapped, could have stood up to this deluge.

Meet Me in St. Louis was a trifle better because while the show matched the film scene for scene, there was additional work provided. And there was a lot of heart provided by Betty Garrett.

Both shows lacked heart. They seemed mechanical, and more than a little dull.
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Jonwo
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The revival of SITR in the West End is really good although I found the second act is weaker than the first due to the fact the iconic song as well as the title number are in Act 1 but the cast is what makes the show.
Gaveston2
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Good points, newintown and WOSQ. 5 songs wasn't necessarily unusual for a film musical of the period, it isn't nearly enough to make a stage score.

Although I didn't see the stage version, it might also be added that MEET ME isn't really a "play" either. It's more a collection of "life tableaus" over the course of a year. Film can handle that because the camera becomes the unifying element and also supplies the momentum; I don't think that sort of thing works as well on stage.
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I worked on a production of Meet Me in St. Louis a few years back that I actually quite enjoyed. It did have a good number of edits to the script, for instance having "The Trolley Song" open Act II instead of close Act I. There were a few other things that I'm sure were changed, but not having actually seen the licensed script from Tams-Witmark I can't be certain what all was different.

I do remember that there was also a peppy-uptempo duet added for Rose and her suitor (who was a Douglas Moore, from West Point, in this edited script) after the corned beef dinner/phone call from NY scene. We were told that this song had been used once a very long time ago when the Muny first did a stage adaptation, well before the Broadway version was produced. I can't remember the name of it, but, while it was a fun number, it was in a totally different style than anything else in the score and I could see why it hadn't been used again in any other production.
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Emmaloucbway
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I saw Singin in the Rain in London's West End. I loved it, but it was very similar to the film. The cast was excellent, especially the actress playing Lina Lamont!
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I sorta have these categorized with the 70s/80s versions of Seven Brides and Gigi as well... I think the best reason was already given (wow those clips of Rain really do have the exact movie choreography). It does sound like the current West End Rain is pretty good, though I assume part of that is due to Adam Cooper.
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Video of the new West End production
http://www.singinintherain.co.uk/
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I loved Meet Me In St. Louis! It was a feel good, crowd pleaser. Great score, great singers, great trolley, great ice skating rink, great christmas tree! The sets were wonderful, like something out of an old fashioned Hallmark card. Yes a lot of money went into this but it was well worth it. It's a shame it didn't run longer!
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Thanks for that link!

Just saw the original logo for the Broadway Singin'--who the F designed that?? Bizarre--it looks like it should be Once on this Island or something.
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I saw both shows on Bwy and can say their biggest mistakes were slavishly reconstructing what had been done in the films. They were lifeless and more befitting Madame Tussaud's than legitimate theater. RAIN only came to life in a brief segment of movie shorts that Twyla created for the show.

Really, if you want to see what had been done in the film, you could have rented the movies.
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re: the graphic

It was the best of design, it was the worst of design. That year began a revolution as computers made ordinary citizens into designers.

In every revolutions, there are victims of torture. This logo was one. You should see the rejects.
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WOSQ is right: "Singin' in the Rain made a common error when it decided that the movie had to be recreated on stage instead of adapted".

If you watch those videos of numbers from the show, you can see and hear that when the actors do something that is right from the movie, they applaud.
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I recall seeing "Singin' in the Rain". I think I went with a friend who had comp tickets -- the producers were trying fill the house during previews.

I remember the rain sequence as being the highlight of the show.

I also remember that every scene ended with a blackout instead of scene transitions. I don't know if that was changed before the opening.-
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Im amazed they didnt end Act 1 with the title number, how could you not realise he would be wet in the next scene!?

And yes the current West End production is brilliant and is the first time the show has really worked on stage