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Can a show change its name after opening?

Broadwaybri2
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Just curious, may be a totally dumb question. Also, once a show goes on Tour, could they change the name? Or is the name forever stuck to the piece? 

 

Broadwaybri2
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Context: I feel if The Prom were named Unruly Hearts, for example, (or frankly anything else), there would have been a different trajectory. I was hesitant to go to it thinking it was going to be classic high school musical but I see everything, so went. Fell in love- wanted to bring friends and fam and they had the same reaction, I had to really convince them that it was not just a dumb teen musical. Of course, when they all went they loved it. I'm in marketing and just really feel like if they had a different name (and obviously, some Tonys would have helped too), this show wouldn't be closing.... 

Updated On: 7/2/19 at 02:51 PM
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dramamama611
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Only the rights holders/creative team could do so, but then would need to explain: Unruly Hearts (formerly The Prom) - so it makes no sense.. Someone producing the show could not.
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whatdoesntkillme
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A show can do whatever they want, but they have to deal with the consequences of brand confusion. 

But, for instance, the show that opened as THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL in Chicago was called SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS on Broadway and is now going out on tour once again as THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL 

My two cents on this example: UNRULY HEARTS is a worse title than THE PROM. But I haven't seen the show, so I can't comment completely. 

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morosco
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Halfway through it's original run on Broadway, The Mystery of Edwin Drood changed its name to simply Drood.

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I've done it... my musical "Night of the Living Dead: The Musical" didn't exactly make waves, because the title is public domain and there have been so many other, more cookie-cutter, adaptations.

When I changed the name to "Night of the Living Musical," almost instantly I got material into a showcase.

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CATSNYrevival
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"Here's Love" is now licensed as "Miracle on 34th Street The Musical." Not sure what happened with that one. It would have made more sense to call it "Miracle on 34th Street" from the beginning.

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darquegk
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My understanding of the story there is that it was once considered tawdry to adapt a movie, which were still considered less "legitimate" of an art form than musical theatre, into a musical, as opposed to a play or a novel. So they changed the title so as not to been as cashing in on a bastard art form.

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DROOD seems to be the most prominent example, though just last year SUMMER started advertising as THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL in favor of the actual title. I think it would be pretty desperate for a show to change its title while on Broadway (especially if it was officially open).

Lots of shows have switched titles out of town or before opening (Spongebob; Away We Go -> Oklahoma; Holly Golightly -> Breakfast at Tiffany's; My Best Girl -> Mame; The Bandstand -> Bandstand; Little Dancer -> Marie). Sugar has been frequently given the tagline "The Some Like It Hot Musical."

This wasn't a change as much as a strategic abbreviation, but it was a smart move to brand "Natasha, Pierre..." as THE GREAT COMET.

Updated On: 7/2/19 at 03:58 PM
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Can a show change its name after opening?#10
Posted: 7/2/19 at 4:42pm

People here are confounding a name change and a marketing change. E.g., The Mystery of Edwin Drood remains that title (have a look at the studio 54 playbill); Drood is a shorthand marketing label, just as is Les Misérables/Les Mis/Les Mizetc etc etc

Anything can be changed, with the consent of all parties and the proper re-registrations.

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Can a show change its name after opening?#11
Posted: 7/2/19 at 4:53pm

HogansHero said: "People here are confounding a name change and a marketing change. E.g., The Mystery of Edwin Drood remains that title (have a look at the studio 54 playbill); Drood is a shorthand marketing label, just as is Les Misérables/Les Mis/Les Mizetc etc etc
Anything can be changed, with the consent of all parties and the proper re-registrations.
"

Up until the 2012 revival, its officially licensed title via Tams Witmark was DROOD. The title has now been changed back to The Mystery of...

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Can a show change its name after opening?#12
Posted: 7/2/19 at 6:23pm

interesting. Do I understand then that at this point Tams is again using the full name (for the non first class productions it licenses)? 

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Can a show change its name after opening?#13
Posted: 7/2/19 at 8:21pm

HogansHero said: "interesting. Do I understand then that at this point Tams is again using the full name (for the non first class productions it licenses)?"

Yes, the name has been changed back to The Mystery of Edwin Drood. (A better title imho..."Drood" says nothing)

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Can a show change its name after opening?#14
Posted: 7/3/19 at 1:34am

When the musical "Up" opened at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) in the early '70s, the creative team was sure that theater management was responsible for the show's quick demise.  When the show was licensed for subsequent productions, they changed the name to "Up Uris".

cryan71
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Can a show change its name after opening?#15
Posted: 7/3/19 at 3:15am
Wicked was called Witches Be Free, the Elphaba Thropp story.



















Jk
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Can a show change its name after opening?#16
Posted: 7/3/19 at 3:48am

In-between the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2005 and it's Off-Broadway run in 2008, "Feeling Electric" was retitled "Next to Normal".

Also, one of Stephen Sondheim's show has had numerous titles over the years: The Legendary Mizners, Wise Guys, Gold!, Bounce and then Road Show. But each of those different titles correlated with big changes made to the material.

 

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Can a show change its name after opening?#17
Posted: 7/3/19 at 6:38am

AADA81 said: "When the musical "Up" opened at the Uris Theatre (now the Gershwin) in the early '70s, the creative team was sure that theater management was responsible for the show's quick demise. When the show was licensed for subsequent productions, they changed the name to "Up Uris"."

Not quite true, but the real story is still pretty funny - once they saw the name on the marquee they realised they'd made a mistake, and it was changed to "Via Galactica", which sadly hasn't had any subsequent productions...

IMHO I see Queenie as being more of a brunette...
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Can a show change its name after opening?#18
Posted: 7/3/19 at 8:29am

Lots of answers here to a question that has not been asked. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of shows have changed their names during the development process, just as scripts have been changed along the way. What's being asked here is about a change after a show has opened, presumably on Broadway. 

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Can a show change its name after opening?#19
Posted: 7/3/19 at 8:30am

Another example of a show that's changed its name is The Mad Ones, which was named 'The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown' for about 8 years I think, until the 2017 Off-Broadway production, when the authors decided to change its name. Quite the name change, in my opinion (and for the worse, even though the original needed a name change too...)

Updated On: 7/3/19 at 08:30 AM
bowtie7
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Can a show change its name after opening?#20
Posted: 7/3/19 at 9:06am

I remember hearing that The Mystery of Edwin Drood changed its name to move it up in the NY Times abc's (paid alphabetical listing of Broadway shows)(kind of a quaint idea today).

Wasn't the musical Sugar renamed Some Like It Hot the Musical for the Tony Curtis tour/revival?