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Broadway Musical Edits

OLIVJ
Swing
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Broadway Musical Edits#1
Posted: 2/18/20 at 2:35pm

Afternoon Everyone, 

In a recent Broadway world article on Frozen, they mention that songs will be cut/added/edited for the new cast that starts tonight, and mention that these changes have already happened in the current tour. Does anyone have insight on this? Why are they changing shows throughout their run? I noticed this when I saw the tour of Mean Girls, a variety of songs had been changed (some of them not in a good way). Is this the new normal for Broadway shows, to be edited for tours and then adjusted for the Broadway stage when they have already been running successfully for a number of years?? 

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LizzieCurry
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Broadway Musical Edits#2
Posted: 2/18/20 at 2:38pm

Not super common, but there's actually a thread going on about this right now:

 

https://twitter.com/RobKendt/status/1229836624755937280

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
sparksatmidnight
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Broadway Musical Edits#3
Posted: 2/18/20 at 3:49pm

This is not the "new" normal. Theatre is a live artform and there are always ways to improve pieces (at least in their opinion) here and there when the creative team get together and... there's nothing really wrong with that? Maybe stick to film if you want something that will never change.

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LizzieCurry
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Broadway Musical Edits#4
Posted: 2/18/20 at 4:11pm

Also, if you’d seen Miss Saigon anytime after around 1994 and grew up listening to the OLC, you would’ve noticed a HELL of a lot of differences.

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
Ceej
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Broadway Musical Edits#5
Posted: 2/18/20 at 4:50pm

LizzieCurry said: "Also, if you’d seen Miss Saigon anytime after around 1994 and grew up listening to the OLC, you would’ve noticed a HELL of a lot of differences."

This. Ending went through, what, at least three different incarnations? And with the new tour/production they changed Ellen's song (not for the better, IMO). That's almost 20 years after the show debuted. 

Same creators did similar with LES MISERABLES. Original show ran for years at right under 3 hours long. Cuts were made around the time of the 10th anniversary. They also added a new scene with Valjean finding Young Cosette in the woods prior to "The Bargain." The revisal has quite a few lyric changes as well. I miss the full LES MIS and especially the original staging. Such magic.

WICKED also had several changes well after opening. Some came when the tour launched, more came with the London production. Seems like I recall them also making another change fairly recently (last couple of years maybe) regarding how Fiyero is introduced/first meets Elphaba.

 

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LizzieCurry
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Broadway Musical Edits#6
Posted: 2/18/20 at 4:59pm

There was a huge uproar in the Les Miz fan community around the time of the overtime cuts, but I think a lot of those are largely forgotten now (esp by the under-30 set). I'm very glad the Barbican-era well scene came back into play, though.

Even huge hits like Book of Mormon make some changes, though those can be regional or minor — Nabulungi's dress for the pageant changed from beige to yellow when they decided the liked the yellow dress on tour better. The reinserted the (cut-in-previews) "Was I in it?" line for Elder McKinley after Rory O'Malley left. And the Nelson Mandela line changed after he died. When the tour played Mexico City and Monterrey, it was in English with Spanish subtitles — still, Elder Pop-Tarts became Elder Hotcakes!

"This thread reads like a series of White House memos." — Mister Matt
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NoName3
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Broadway Musical Edits#7
Posted: 2/18/20 at 7:26pm

Changes after the opening aren't uncommon and have a long history.  Show Boat, Hello Dolly!, The Gay Life, Camelot, Chicago, The Lion King and The Addams Family  are among the shows that immediately come to mind that had major, or at least noticeable, changes either during their initial Broadway runs or afterwards.  Changes are sometimes made for the first national tour or first major production outside of New York which are later incorporated into the Broadway production if it is still running.

Camelot and The Addams family are good examples of shows that had to open due to contractual obligations before their creative teams felt the shows were ready so they kept working on them.  Camelot made major changes months into its Broadway run and The Addams Family made  major changes for its first national.  With Camelot, director Moss Hart had a heart attack that almost killed him and lyricist/librettist Alan Jay Lerner had to be hospitalized for other reasons when the show was out of town.  They  couldn't finish their work until after the show had opened in New York.

Updated On: 2/18/20 at 07:26 PM
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NoName3
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Broadway Musical Edits#8
Posted: 2/18/20 at 7:56pm

^ Also, changes or new songs written for film versions are sometimes  later added to licensed stage versions of shows.  Grease and Cabin in the Sky are examples.

Updated On: 2/18/20 at 07:56 PM
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NoName3
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Broadway Musical Edits#9
Posted: 2/18/20 at 10:04pm

Neither Gower Champion nor David Merrick were really happy with the original song contest featuring Ambrose and Ermengarde at the Harmonia Gardens in the second act of Hello Dolly.  The scene featured a song for the Harmonia Gardens' chorus girls called "Come and Be My Butterfly." It had some wonderful comic business for David Burns with the chorus girl Butterflies (“Watch those feelers, Miss!” ) and the song was an enjoyable late 19th century pastiche but Champion wanted more. 

When the first national tour went out with Mary Martin (it played four or five stops in the US as the first national  before going to Japan and Viet Nam as the International Tour and then settling in England as the original London production at the Drury Lane) the Butterfly number was cut and the song contest was changed to  a polka contest.

The change was made to the Broadway production only when Channing left to lead the extensive second national tour and Ginger Rogers replaced her on Broadway.  That was at least 18 months or more into the Broadway production.  Channing's tour also included included the change and that's how it remains in all licensed versions.

This explains Channing's line on the OBCR during Put On Your Sunday Clothes "Ambrose let me hear that tonic chord!"  In all later versions the line is "We haven't missed the train, thank the Lord!"

Updated On: 2/19/20 at 10:04 PM
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Lot666
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Broadway Musical Edits#10
Posted: 2/19/20 at 8:16am

Ceej said: "with the new [Miss Saigon] tour/production they changed Ellen's song (not for the better, IMO)."

Agreed. I liked "Now That I've Seen Her" much better than "Maybe".

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sparksatmidnight
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Broadway Musical Edits#11
Posted: 2/19/20 at 9:16am

^

your username reminded me of when Gillian Lynne revisited The Phantom of the Opera in 2016 and decided to change the choreography of Masquerade

MollyJeanneMusic
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Broadway Musical Edits#12
Posted: 2/19/20 at 2:54pm

This wasn't an edit mid-run, but I recently bought a copy of the script of Falsettos and noticed many differences between the script and the revival production.

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
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NoName3
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Broadway Musical Edits#13
Posted: 3/3/20 at 7:42pm
Small changes were made to both the script and lyrics of the recent Falsettos revival. The changes weren't major but there were many, many of them. I expect the changes were made into the recent national tour but I have no idea whether they've made their way into the currently licensed version. Does anyone know?
MollyJeanneMusic
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Broadway Musical Edits#14
Posted: 3/4/20 at 8:40am

NoName3 said: "Small changes were made to both the script and lyrics of the recent Falsettos revival. The changes weren't major but there were many, many of them. I expect the changes were made into the recent national tour but I have no idea whether they've made their way into the currently licensed version. Does anyone know?"

Curious about this, too - I’m interested in directing a production of my own at some point and would love to know which version I’d be directing.

"It's you." "It's me. Orpheus." "Eurydice..." *crying*
Alex Kulak2
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Broadway Musical Edits#15
Posted: 3/4/20 at 10:49am

The biggest offender is definitely Frank Wildhorn. I don't think I've ever found a score for Jekyll and Hyde and an album that match up.

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AADA81
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Broadway Musical Edits#16
Posted: 3/4/20 at 1:44pm

The are two songs on the original cast album for Sweeney Todd (1979), which were cut, one during previews and one shortly after opening, I believe.  Both have been restored in later productions.

ellbellthomps
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Broadway Musical Edits#17
Posted: 3/4/20 at 2:14pm

The Anastasia tour came to mind first. Crossing a bridge and some scenes in act 2 regarding Anya confronting Dimitri and Vlad were cut, and some time with the Grandma.

Saw it both there and on Broadway, and I know if it didn't close they were planning on bringing the change to NY

CopleyScott17
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Broadway Musical Edits#18
Posted: 3/4/20 at 10:01pm
I think "Chess" is a famous example of a show that has been through *many* iterations, not just in terms of the songs but also in the book itself. Personally, I swear by the Original Broadway Cast, but that's the one I heard first and fell in love with. But apparently every stage version before and after has been radically different. The Wikipedia entry has an extremely thorough rundown...very interesting.