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The Little Prince & The Aviator

WillParker
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#0
Posted: 2/2/04 at 12:37pm
did anyone here see this when it was produced on broadway?

I'm looking for info on this show--why it bombed, etc...any info at all. also hoping for design details--sets, costumes (especially for the animals, flowers, etc).

Or info from anyone who has been involved in any stage version of The Little Prince.

feel free to email me, as to not take up space on the board.

thanks in advance.

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wickedfan
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re: The Little Prince & The Aviator#1
Posted: 2/2/04 at 1:54pm
My agent's former client was the ittle Prince in that show. She went to see it in previews and said it was just stupid. that the sets were completley fake, and that the story couldn't stray any farther ro mthe book. Something about the viator faling in love with the Rose and that the prince had the ability to fly or something. and that the songs were lke the same melody but at different tempos. It just seemed like a disaster fro mthe beginning.
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re: re: The Little Prince & The Aviator#2
Posted: 2/2/04 at 4:12pm
Didn't see it. Few did. But the tales were legion and in one case, unique.

I do know the original director and choreographer were fired either in rehearsal or that preview week. They were Robert Kalfin and Dania Krupska respectively. I cannot remember who replaced them.

The most important thing about the show was its method of financing. It sold shares of stock rather than shares in a limited partnership. The producer intended that once the show opened the shares would be traded on the NASDAQ like any other commercial company. This had never been tried before nor has it been since.

The show was a disaster in previews and was tossed out prior to opening by the Alvin (now Neil Simon) owners, the Nederlanders. The producer sued for improper eviction and eventually won a decent-sized judgement. Whoever owned the shares eventually got some but not all of their money back. It took a couple of years, but the case was closely watched by the entire industry. It is probably in library copies of Variety.

I cannot remember who wrote it or the producer's name, only that Michael York was above the title. All of that would be in Theatre World (about) 1980-81.

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MusicMan
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From Theatre World 1981-82:
OPENED AND CLOSED IN PREVIEWS
Book: Hugh Wheeler (!!)
Music: John Barry (later responsible for Dances with Wolves)
Lyrics: Don Black (later, Song and Dance)
Director: Jerry Adler
Choreography: Billy Wilson
Scenery: Eugene Lee (Sweeney Todd)
Costumes: Christa Scholtz
Lighting: Roger Morgan
Vocal Arrangements/Musical Direction: David Friedman (the
same)
Orchestrations: Don Walker (The Most Happy Fella, Cabaret,
many others)

Little Prince: Anthony Rapp (!!!)
Toni: Michael York
Suzanne/Little Rose: Ellen Greence (!!!)
...Others of lesser interest...
and my man, the incredible Robert Hoshour: Pilot/Juby Pilot/
Conceited Man


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The producer was attorney A.Joseph Tandet (who also produced the revival of "Born Yesterday" plus other Broadway, off-Broadway, and regional shows). He controlled the ancilliary rights to "The Little Prince" (and was involved in the musical film too - although not directly).

And Little Prince Productions as a stock offering indeed did finance the Broadway musical in a most unique (and never repeated) way....BUT Tandet also threw in his other rights to the title - so the company held more than just the rights to one musical. It was traded for many years after the musical closed based on its other Little Prince holdings.

There is a story about this in Not Since Carrie, I believe.

Broadway veteran Gene Wolsk was general manager --- and there are SO many stories to tell.

Tandet later went on to license the rights to musicalize The Little Prince to others (not the same production - but entirely new score, book, and approach) - so there are different musical (and even opera) renditions of the story - not just the failed one on Broadway.

The problem with the musical was that it was neither fish nor foul...it intercut the charming Little Prince story with the rather turgid and scandalous story of its author's life...which made it less than a family show - and not entirely an adult one.
A difficult mix which didn't work - but a nice score and a great cast.

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Mr. Nowack
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#5
Posted: 4/24/14 at 4:55pm
Does anyone else have their opinions to share in regards to this bizarre sounding mess of a show? It seems that nobody on the board at the time of the last post (over 10 years ago) had seen it, only heard stories.
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#6
Posted: 4/24/14 at 5:29pm
The show's producer A. Joseph Tandet wrote a book called "The Lawyer and The Little Prince," and the last chapter is about "The Little Prince and the Aviator." According to the book, they originally hired Julie Taymor(!!!) to design the set, but she was fired when the original director quit and the replacement didn't get along with her.




"The Lawyer and The Little Prince"
Updated On: 4/24/14 at 05:29 PM
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#7
Posted: 4/24/14 at 6:27pm
Wow I always had assumed that this was simply a stage version of the Lerner and Lowe film mess... Which, aside from Fosse's snake routine is a film I apparently watched several times as a kid (the book and a cartoon TV series adaptation in French were faves of mine) but I remember simply nothing about. It really is the kind of story that seems obvious would lose its charm if fleshed out.
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#8
Posted: 4/24/14 at 6:28pm
(Although, another film composer Rachel Portman, I believe, has had some success with her opera version.)
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#9
Posted: 4/24/14 at 7:04pm
According to Tandet's book, the original idea was for Lerner and Loewe to adapt their version for Broadway, but Fredrick Loewe refused.
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#10
Posted: 4/24/14 at 7:11pm


It was dreadful, one of the worst shows in what seemed to be a season of terrible shows. It had no charm, none of the magic of the book. Michael York was wooden. It made me think that Don Black was a terrible lyricist.

But I don't remember a single moment of Ellen Greene's singing, and I have absolutely no memory that of it being someone as special as Anthony Rapp in the title role.



Updated On: 4/25/14 at 07:11 PM
ARTc3
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#11
Posted: 4/24/14 at 7:12pm
I saw The Little Prince and the Aviator. It was terrible. What I remember most was that the stage was mostly inhabited by a huge - life size - airplane. It made for very limited staging possibilities. I do think at a few points, it was able to wagon slightly upstage and was covered by a drop, but all of the desert scenes were completely dominated by this huge set piece/prop. The planets were on the end of a cherry picker with the Little Prince himself being rigged and therefore able to walk around these tiny floating orbs. It was ugly and pretty unserviceable.

I remember thinking the music was very pretty mediocre and it being a shame because Ellen Greene has such a wonderful vocal quality. Michael York struggled with his songs. The book, as mentioned previously, had Ellen Greene playing both Rose and a new character, The Aviator's love interest Suzanne. It didn't work. Actually, it was sort of embarrassingly bad.

If anyone was any additional questions, I probably have the Playbill among my collection and could look up any information. I also probably could remember more if I was pressed with particulars.

All-in-all, it was bad.
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#12
Posted: 4/25/14 at 12:22am
I was there and it was every bit as awful as everyone indicated. The costumes, set, etc. - garish and amateurish. The book - ugh! The staging awkward, and the actors struggling.

Two things I remember very clearly - the musicians in the pit rolling their eyes at what was transpiring on stage. And - Michael York coming out afterwards and APOLOGIZING to those waiting for autographs for "the whole mess". I have held him in high esteem ever since!
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#13
Posted: 4/25/14 at 2:08am
It was a hot mess, with no notion of what it wanted to be or how to get there. Why is it that a book that seems ripe for adaptation has never made a successful transition to the stage or the screen?
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#14
Posted: 4/25/14 at 2:34am
This is not meant to be mean or catty--but have you read the book lately? It has very vivid parts, but it certainly, at least IMHO, is NOT ripe for dramatic adaptation. Will Vinton's 30 minute 1979 adaptation probably comes closest just because he animates things like the drawings of Saint-Exupéry (the snake/hat, etc) and just has it narrated. There's really not much drama there unless you do a mood piece. That said, it's so beloved and well known that I understand why people have a hard time resisting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Little_Prince_adaptations has a huge list. There's even less of a real narrative thrust than another property people can't resist--the Alice books.
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#15
Posted: 4/25/14 at 6:51am
The book THE LITTLE PRINCE is more about ideas and themes than it is about storytelling. That is why it is so hard to adapt.
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#16
Posted: 4/25/14 at 7:53am
"There's really not much drama there unless you do a mood piece."

I think Eric has put his finger on the essential problem with adapting this work. The musical discussed in this thread was as big a mess as people have noted. It looked cheap and ugly, as well. Michael York appeared extremely uncomfortable on stage. The score was innocuous enough, though.

Rachel Portman's opera, The Litle Prince, was quite charming.
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The Little Prince & The Aviator#17
Posted: 4/25/14 at 8:22am
I love Portman's mini-opera and Le Petit Prince, the French sung-through musical is a guilty pleasure I listen to when I need aural wall-paper.