A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#1
Posted: 12/20/19 at 7:13pm

Not everything that starts at Bard has to come to Broadway does it?  I mean this could go nowhere? 

Interesting that this would happen after Jo Sullilvan Loesser had passed away.....

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Daniel-Fish-to-Direct-THE-MOST-HAPPY-FELLA-at-Bard-SummerScape-20191220

Quote from NYT:

Expect “a nontraditional treatment of the existing material,” a SummerScape spokesman said, “with an emphasis on Loesser’s exquisite score.”

Had I felt that the  Fish "Oklahoma" had emphasized R & H's "exquisite score" I would be less alarmed.

I know I know..... no one is forcing me to buy a ticket. 

 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#2
Posted: 12/20/19 at 7:41pm
This is awesome news and well worth the trip upstate to see it. I think his Oklahoma! highlights the score beautifully. Having only seen the most recent production of Most Happy Fella at Encores, I’m not super familiar with the score here. But I think the story is pretty wild and has some gorgeous musical moments I’m excited to see Daniel Fish’s take on.
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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#3
Posted: 12/20/19 at 8:15pm

I’m really excited for this, personally. Most Happy Fella is one of my favorite musicals, and it holds a very special place in my heart because I was in it a couple years ago, and it was a wonderful experience. I’d love to see a really creative production of it.

My only disappointment is that I have yet to have the opportunity to see a live production of it (not counting the one I was in, obviously), and so I was hoping I’d get to see it done traditionally before seeing an experimental version. I wish I could have seen the Encores production. But oh well! At least I know the material already.

I hope I’m able to go up to Bard to see this, but it looks like a nasty trek on the train (I don’t have a car). Let’s hope it comes to NYC.
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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#4
Posted: 12/20/19 at 8:26pm
It is 90 minutes by Amtrak to Rhinecliff, plus a 15-minute cab ride.
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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#5
Posted: 12/20/19 at 8:36pm

suzycat said: "It is 90 minutes by Amtrak to Rhinecliff, plus a 15-minute cab ride. "

Yep it’s not bad at all. My friend lives in Hudson and hops to the city all the time. 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#6
Posted: 12/20/19 at 8:46pm

I'll have to look into that. Google Maps was showing me 5+ hours. First on the MetroNorth up to Poughkeepsie, then transferring to a bus. 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#7
Posted: 12/20/19 at 10:02pm

Why would you ever take the Metro North when it stops so far from Bard? Weird. Obviously, you'd take Amtrak.

I love what he does to all of his shows. Looking forward to this!

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#8
Posted: 12/20/19 at 10:13pm

ModernMillie3 said: "Why would you ever take the Metro North when it stops so far from Bard? Weird. Obviously, you'd take Amtrak."

 

Not sure if you were being sassy toward me, or Google Maps. But I was just saying what Google Maps told me. I haven't ridden Amtrak at all in the few years that I've been living in NY. And while I've taken MetroNorth a lot, I've never had to go up that far. So I wouldn't know. 

 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#9
Posted: 12/20/19 at 10:16pm

I was throwing some sass at Google maps because that's just weird as hell.  

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#10
Posted: 12/20/19 at 10:30pm

I don't think I've ever seen Google Maps suggest Amtrak since that's not considered mass (public) transit. It would be akin to Google suggesting Greyhound, Megabus, or an airplane for that matter as route options.

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#11
Posted: 12/21/19 at 7:18am
I heard about this a few months ago, when I was up at Bard for their Korngold Festival, and heard that (unsurprisingly) Mary Testa is going to be in the cast. Since this is going to be a non traditional production, I guess it’s not clear what role/track she will be doing yet. Eager to see how this turns out.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#12
Posted: 12/21/19 at 9:25am

AEA AGMA SM said: "I don't think I've ever seen Google Maps suggest Amtrak since that's not considered mass (public) transit. It would be akin to Google suggesting Greyhound, Megabus, or an airplane for that matter as route options."

I hate to be contrary (honestly!), but Google Maps does indeed offer me Amtrak and Megabus as options where appropriate (like when I’m traveling to NYC from Baltimore, where I live).

 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#13
Posted: 12/21/19 at 9:27am

I was not a great fan of OKLAHOMA!, and maybe because of that, my hope on this production is that he casts singers that can really do justice to this score. It's basically an opera and we don't need poorly sung, folk rendition of it.  The last Broadway revival did the piece with two pianos which was for my money unsatisfying musically, though it was one of the first 'stripped down' revivals that critics felt made the musical more accessible.  

Surely Mary Testa will be Cleo. Age wise she is more appropriate to play Marie but, unless he is completely changing the music, that's not a role in her usual vocal range.

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#14
Posted: 12/21/19 at 11:32am
Based on the casting notice, they are not using traditional character tracks. The show will have seven performers, all but one of whom will be female or non-binary, so I don’t think it’s likely anyone will be playing one single character. We’ll have to wait and see.
"You travel alone because other people are only there to remind you how much that hook hurts that we all bit down on. Wait for that one day we can bite free and get back out there in space where we belong, sail back over water, over skies, into space, the hook finally out of our mouths and we wander back out there in space spawning to other planets never to return hurrah to earth and we'll look back and can't even see these lives here anymore. Only the taste of blood to remind us we ever existed. The earth is small. We're gone. We're dead. We're safe." -John Guare, Landscape of the Body
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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#15
Posted: 12/21/19 at 1:39pm

It also appears to be moving away from the operatic roots of the score.

I'll be interested to see if Fish, like Van Hove, is a "one-trick pony," or if he can create something unique and equally exciting as Oklahoma!. I wouldn't expect to ever see this on Broadway unless it plays like gangbusters at an off-Bway venue (MHF, as beloved as it is for people like us, does NOT have the notoriety of OK!. Also, part of what made OK! interesting/successful is the fact that everyone knows how it's "usually" done).

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#16
Posted: 12/21/19 at 2:52pm

ErmengardeStopSniveling said: "I'll be interested to see if Fish, like Van Hove, is a "one-trick pony," or if he can create something unique and equally exciting as Oklahoma!."

I realize that many people on this board had probably never heard of Daniel Fish before OKLAHOMA, but bear in mind that he's been a prominent director for about 25 years. He's very versatile in terms of the projects he chooses, and the conceptual language of his direction.

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#17
Posted: 12/21/19 at 4:09pm
According to the casting notice it’s going to be an ensemble piece and there aren’t set “characters.”
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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#18
Posted: 12/21/19 at 7:34pm

AC126748 said: "Based on the casting notice, they are not using traditional character tracks. The show will have seven performers, all but one of whom will be female or non-binary, so I don’t think it’s likely anyone will be playing one single character. We’ll have to wait and see."

Jesus help us all! What the flock does that have to do with MHF?!

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#19
Posted: 12/21/19 at 10:37pm

"This will not be a conventional production of THE MOST HAPPY FELLA and we will not be dividing the cast up into the traditional roles. The cast will be comprised of a small ensemble of seven performers all of whom have the same story and all of whom, at times, have their own story. That story is expressed through the music. Songs are divided between solos and group numbers and the exact configuration will be decided upon during the rehearsal process." 

Only a cast of 7.

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#20
Posted: 12/21/19 at 11:44pm

GavestonPS said: "What the flock does that have to do with MHF?!"

 

We'll find out when the production premieres! 

 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#21
Posted: 12/24/19 at 2:53am

If it's like Oklahoma then Tony will actually break a leg every night, Joey will have a photo taken and developed in real time, Rosabella will give birth to Joe's child onstage during a gory dream sequence, and they will serve wedding cake at intermission. 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#22
Posted: 12/24/19 at 7:05am

"...Rosabella will give birth to Joe's child onstage..."

In the dark, of course.  

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#23
Posted: 12/24/19 at 7:31am

Remember how in class people would lower their heads in the hopes that the teacher wouldn't call on them? That is no doubt how our classic musicals must be feeling nowadays, cowering in the corner and praying that it won't be their turn to be led to the chopping block by some hot shot for fun, fame and fortune. Ironically, the flops of yore are now better off, since no one is seeking them out for, ahem, ... “reinventing.” How lucky they are! They rest In peace and remain pristine in memory.

Well, at least until there are no longer any past hits left to destroy!

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#24
Posted: 12/24/19 at 8:08am

After Eight said: “Well,at least until there are no longer any past hits left to destroy!"

I don’t know what Daniel Fish will do with The Most Happy Fella. I’m skeptical that I could really enjoy a production with a tiny cast and orchestra (the other things I’m hearing about it are quite intriguing). What I know he won’t do is destroy the show. He won’t destroy my memory of seeing thrilling productions at Da Capo Opera and Encores, and he won’t destroy the possibility of other directors creating full, traditional productions in the future. He certainly won’t destroy the score, so vividly preserved in its entirety on two excellent recordings. As long as the creators or their successors are fine with directors radically reimagining older shows, I’m fine with it too, whether or not I end up liking those versions.

 

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A Daniel Fish Most Happy Fella?#25
Posted: 12/24/19 at 8:25am

“As long as the creators or their successors are fine with directors radically reimagining older shows, I’m fine with it too, whether or not I end up liking those versions.”

 

Are you equally fine with others not being fine with it?

And remember, one person's “radically reimagining” is another person's “destruction.”