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Unnecessary Revivals

Unnecessary Revivals#1
Posted: 5/24/20 at 7:33am

Two immediately come to mind...

The 2009 revival of GUYS AND DOLLS (17 years after the last revival)

The 2012 revival of ANNIE (15 years after the revival before it)

And another MUSIC MAN revival is expected to hit the stage approx. 20 years after the last one.

I don't know the percentage of rivals that are considered flops, but I'm sure the number is pretty high. Did the producers of the 2009 or 2012 revivals noted above REALLY think people would be flocking in droves to see a new staging of 'Sit Down You're Rocking The Boat,' or yet ANOTHER staging of ANNIE? I think most of on this chat board could have predicted these would have been flops. Are investors that naive?




Unnecessary Revivals#2
Posted: 5/24/20 at 8:41am

That Guys and Dolls was not well received.  I remember liking it, but it wasn't ground breaking.  The 1992 production was truly something special!

The 2012 Annie ran quote a bit longer than the 1997 production.  

The Music Man, if/when it happens, will sell well and audiences will flock to see Hugh Jackman.  It's a star vehicle.  And 20 years is a substantial amount of time.  Gypsy came back with a new star after only 5 years (2003 and 2008), Fiddler came back after 12 years (2004 and 2015).  I think if a revival provides a star that is so right for the role, or a concept that we haven't seen before, bring it on!



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Unnecessary Revivals#3
Posted: 5/24/20 at 8:52am
Though I never saw it I heard the 2005(?) revival of Les kid was pointless. And many were unchanged by the 2014 revival. I saw it and for me it was nothing groundbreaking not like the turntable original.

The cats revival had promised to be an event and it really wasn’t.
I wish the 2012 superstar has latched on it was incredibly performed I thought.
The 2012 evita was solely based on Ricky Martin.
The last Annie was painful.
As was the guys and dolls flop.
Miss Saigon though I personally loved it. But it was also my first experience with it
Rent off Broadway. Though I never understood how it went from being the it show to camp and lulled
As much as I love some shows there has to be a real need to revive it or it just seems forced and boring.
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Unnecessary Revivals#4
Posted: 5/24/20 at 8:54am
Define necessary. When is a revival ever necessary? All professional theater is a gamble, revival or new. Cant criticize them for trying.

About 55 million people were born in this country between Annie revivals.....or a whole bunch of kiddos that were too young last time. Not sure why you are so sure that they should have known it would flop .
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Unnecessary Revivals#5
Posted: 5/24/20 at 9:02am

Theatrefanboy1 said: "Though I never saw it I heard the 2005(?) revival of Les kid was pointless. And many were unchanged by the 2014 revival. I saw it and for me it was nothing groundbreaking not like the turntable original.

Les Miz isn't referred to as "the world's most popular musical" for nothing.  The 2006 revival was really a return of the original production with some luxury casting in the lead roles.  What was supposed to be a limited run ran nearly 500 performances.  

The 2014 production, I admit, isn't groundbreaking.  But that production on Broadway ran over 1000 performances.  Here in Philly, that tour has come through multiple times, and every time, it sells extremely well.  In fact, it was meant to play here in March, (rescheduled for January 2021) and many performances sold out.  At high prices!

Bottom line, Les Miz, coud come back every 2 - 3 years, and I think it'd sell.

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Unnecessary Revivals#6
Posted: 5/24/20 at 10:05am
I always think Fiddler but there are so many people I’d love to see play Tevye...
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Unnecessary Revivals#7
Posted: 5/24/20 at 10:24am

The most recent Les Miserables revival immediately comes to mind. The whole thing was tacky, cheap, garish, and miscast beyond belief. Don't even get me started on the new design and direction...

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Unnecessary Revivals#8
Posted: 5/24/20 at 10:26am
La Cage Aux Folles 2004

La Cage Aux Folles 2010
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Unnecessary Revivals#9
Posted: 5/24/20 at 10:50am

The Sam Gold revival of The Glass Menagerie that came like 3 years after the previous, better received one.

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Unnecessary Revivals#10
Posted: 5/24/20 at 11:17am

I agree with Dramamama. Is there really such a thing as an “unnecessary” revival? Is there even such a thing as “necessary” one? I think “worthwhile” might be a better term. And any show is “worthwhile” if people want to see it.

I, for one, never saw Annie until the 2012 revival. And it was that revival that made me fall in love with the show. If you saw the original production of Annie, sure, I can understand how SEEING that revival might have been unnecessary FOR YOU. But that doesn’t mean the revival itself was whole unnecessary.

As for Glass Menagerie, I personally loved both of the recent Broadway productions. And I think the Sam Gold was was necessary in the sense that it allowed Sally Field and Joe Mantello to play those roles, it allowed a wheelchair-using actor to star on Broadway for only the 2nd time in history, and it allowed audiences to see the play re-interpreted drastically, probably for the first time (for most audience members).

I feel like there is no cut-and-dry definition for what makes a revival “necessary” or “worthwhile." Now that I'm thinking about it, I guess I'd argue that there are 3 metrics for this: (1) Does it expose the material to a new generation? (2) Does it provide a fresh interpretation of the material? Or (3) Is it a vehicle for great actors to play great roles they haven’t yet played?

I’d argue that Annie satisfied the first metric, and Glass Menagerie satisfied the other 2.

Updated On: 5/24/20 at 11:17 AM
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Unnecessary Revivals#11
Posted: 5/25/20 at 5:05pm

I agree with what JBroadway has said, especially in the three metrics of a revival.  While I think that coming to the material with a fresh interpretation is always more exciting, there are so many shows that I never had the chance to see that I'd love a replica revival of just to see it (whether those shows need to be on Broadway is probably a different story).  For shows like the recent Daniel Fish Oklahoma, it seemed that it would be difficult to understand the scope of what that show was trying to do without knowing what the baseline for a "traditional" revival would be (I ended up watching the Hugh Jackman version before attending and liked it much better than my friend who had no experience with Oklahoma).  

Of course there are sometimes takes on a specific show that don't work (I don't think I've heard anything good about the latest Guys and Dolls revival), so I guess those could be considered "unnecessary" in terms of possibly misconstruing the original material without even adding an insightful look to it.  Carousel also comes to mind for this, as the Jack O'Brien revival was considered pretty misguided, but to be fair, that was also my first experience with the show and I ended up loving the music afterwards, so I suppose there's always something.

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Unnecessary Revivals#12
Posted: 5/25/20 at 5:19pm
At least once every season somebody revives this topic, so like any other revival, there are always people out there who consider it worthwhile enough to engage, regardless what someone else thinks.
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Unnecessary Revivals#13
Posted: 5/25/20 at 8:03pm

In in the vain of whether a revival was worthwhile, I would say the 1996 production of Once Upon a Mattress qualifies (at least for me, my companions, and the people who sat around me who were also disappointed after the curtain call).  It was my first and last experience with the property.

I also didn't think the 1981 revival of My Fair Lady was anything magnificent, but it was nice to see Rex Harrison recreate his role of Higgins and Cathleen Nesbitt recreate her role of Mrs. Higgins.  It was my first experience with the property. The 1994 revival with Richard Chamberlain was unremarkable, but it did introduce me to Melissa Errico. Given these two experiences, I had low expectations of the recent LCT production, but it was the first production I enjoyed.

Updated On: 5/25/20 at 08:03 PM
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Unnecessary Revivals#14
Posted: 5/25/20 at 8:21pm

I don't think revivals have to be "necessary" - just like a musical adaption of The Band's Visit wasn't really necessary, but still very good. There's a lot more nuance to it than that, I think. There are plenty of obscure revivals I wish didn't happen because I can think of a list of people better suited for the roles in it. But I don't think that means said revivals I didn't like weren't necessary. Storytelling is necessary, therefore I would say that revivals of theatre are necessary, no matter how miscast, ill-received, or personally disliked they are.

However, any revival with an all white cast in completely unnecessary.

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Unnecessary Revivals#15
Posted: 5/25/20 at 10:21pm

What Dramarama and JBroadway said.

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Unnecessary Revivals#16
Posted: 5/26/20 at 11:42am

Since that last revival of Music Man, we've had two revivals of Oklahoma, two revivals of Gypsy, two revivals of La Cage, two revivals of Les Mis, two revivals of Follies, two revivals of Fiddler, two revivals of West Side Story, and revivals of Kiss Me Kate and Jesus Christ Superstar, both of which had revivals in that same season as Music Man.  So no, by those metrics, it's not at all too soon for another Music Man.

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Unnecessary Revivals#17
Posted: 5/26/20 at 1:01pm

Malinda5000 said: "La Cage Aux Folles 2004

La Cage Aux Folles 2010

both of these were totally needed!   

They both took the Tony in their year for best revival