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The Greatest Showman

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The Greatest Showman#1
Posted: 6/26/08 at 4:52am
Harold Fielding produced some of the West End's biggest and most spectacular shows from the 1960's thru to the late 90's.
He was never afraid to try something new and if it seemed to fail he would nurse it until it became what the public wanted to see- he failed miserably on a number of occasions but mostly he presented shows that were 100% top level productions!
Here is a list of his biggest West End shows, not a complete list as he presented many more. This subject was brought up earlier on a different thread.

Charlie Girl 1965-Adelphi Theatre -Anna Neagle
The Biograph Girl 1980-Phoenix Theatre
The Great Waltz 1970-Drury Lane
Showboat 1971-Adelphi Theatre - Cleo Laine
Phil The Flutter 1969-Piccadilly Theatre
Sweet Charity 1967-Prince Of Wales Theatre - Juliet Prowse
The Two Ronnies 1983-London Palladium
Cinderella 1966-London Coliseum -Tommy Steele
Sail Away 1961-Savoy Theatre -Elaine Stritch
Singin' In The Rain 1983 and 1989-London Palladium -Tommy Steele
Barnum 1981-London Palladium -Michael Crawford
Mack And Mabel -Piccadilly Theatre
Charlie Girl (revival) 1986 -Victoria Palace Theatre -Cyd Charrise
Barnum (revival) -1985-Victoria Palace Theatre -Michael Crawford
Irene 1976-Adelphi Theatre -Jon Pertwee
Hans Andersen 1974 and 1977-London Palladium - Tommy Steele
Gone With The Wind 1972-Drury Lane
Beyond The Rainbow 1978-Adelphi Theatre -Roy Kinnear
Half a Sixpence 1963-Cambridge Theatre -Tommy Steele
The Music Man 1961- Adelphi Theatre -Van Johnson
Ziegfeld 1988-London Palladium -Topol

He gave Julie Andrews one of her first big stage shows, a touring show called 'Music For The Millions' in the early 1950's!


A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
Updated On: 6/26/08 at 04:52 AM
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re: The Greatest Showman#2
Posted: 6/26/08 at 11:19am
I read the thread heading Wickedboy2 and without opening it thought "Harold Fielding". In the words of Dame Edna - spooky!

Another of his shows ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY with Julia Mc Kenzie, Keith Michell and Ann Beach, oh, and MAME with Ginger Rogers.
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re: The Greatest Showman#2
Posted: 6/26/08 at 11:31am
Spooky? or just great minds thinking alike!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: The Greatest Showman#3
Posted: 6/27/08 at 5:16pm
My parents saw a number of those shows before I was around - I've still got their programmes for:

Sweet Charity
Irene
Mame

And I was around for:

Barnum
Singing in the Rain
The Biograph Girl

and ofcourse the amazing On The Twentieth Cenury: that cast, the sets, the score, the costumes. Brilliant!
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re: The Greatest Showman#4
Posted: 6/27/08 at 10:45pm
I have the souvenir programme for ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (I saw the NY production). I wonder why it didn't work in London? With that cast I'd of thought that show would have worked there, yet it only ran about 7 weeks, I think.
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re: The Greatest Showman#5
Posted: 6/28/08 at 3:31am
I recall it running for about six months, a similar time to Sweeney Todd the same year I think.

The critics were very sniffy about it, as they were for Sweeney, finding minor things to criticise whilst ignoring stuff to rave about. Also there was a deep economic recession going on (not long after the Winter of Discontent) so theatregoers had little spare cash for tickets.
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re: The Greatest Showman#6
Posted: 6/28/08 at 7:22am
Poor old Dora Bryan!

A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: The Greatest Showman#7
Posted: 6/28/08 at 7:36am
I remember she had to drop out for some reason and Ann Beach stepped in at the last minute, although she wasn't really an above-the-title star.
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re: The Greatest Showman#8
Posted: 6/28/08 at 7:40am
'She's A Nut She's A Nut, Mrs Primrose Is A Nut'

Dora Byan had a huge nervous breakdown, went crazy backstage and ended up in a mental hospital for 4 months. I think she pops back there still, now and again!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
Updated On: 6/28/08 at 07:40 AM
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re: The Greatest Showman#9
Posted: 6/28/08 at 7:52am
'Mame' with Ms Rogers was my first West End musical!
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Oct 19th 1969.
Stalls G17- yes i still have the programs!
My Mum tells me that she booked many months in advance and when the show opened Ms Rogers freqeuntly missed shows-almost on a nightly basis- so she was nervous as hell about traveling all the way to London and not see her perform!
She was on and the few, but strong memories i have are, that she looked stunning and the sets were just pure Broadway! I'm filling up here!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: The Greatest Showman#10
Posted: 6/28/08 at 7:54am
Oh dear! I recall reading somewhere much later that Dora had religious convictions so I thought it was strange that she would have taken on that role in the first place.

That song was staged so well - I can still picture it in my mind with the train racing across stage in the distance and then coming out of nowhere straight towards the audience with Mrs Primrose on the front and then, in a hiss of smoke, racing away from the audience into the distance.

Five minutes that was infinitely superior to the two-and-a-half hour bag-of-****e that was Starlight Express!!!

Edit: I didn't put in those asterisks - they've been automated by the software - I posted in the proper Anglo-Saxon because Starlight Express ****ing deserves it

Updated On: 6/28/08 at 07:54 AM
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re: The Greatest Showman#11
Posted: 6/28/08 at 7:58am
OMG -that little train that went along the horizon at the back of a black stage and then all that smoke and there she was tied to the train!!!!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: The Greatest Showman#12
Posted: 6/28/08 at 8:06am
It was brilliant wasn't it!

And then there was an enormous close-up side profile of the engine carriage with her leaning out of the Driver's window and waving as the train guards tried to capture her.

Being able to say you've seen Ginger Rogers live is really something! Do you know why she was missing shows - she wasn't like Lucille Ball in the film was she?
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re: The Greatest Showman#13
Posted: 6/28/08 at 8:10am
I have no idea to be honest- I'm guessing she was in her 50s by then? Maybe she wasn't used to stage performing and couldn't hack it. ?
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: The Greatest Showman#14
Posted: 6/28/08 at 8:11am
Yes that's it!!! I saw it on Broadway with Imogene Coca and that is how I remember it.

wickedboy2 your MAME experience is exactly 2 years before I started my theatregoing in earnest with CHARLIE GIRL with Dame Anna, Derek Nimmo etc. To the day October 19, 1971. Spooky. ( I have my ticket stub too).
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re: The Greatest Showman#15
Posted: 6/28/08 at 8:16am
WHAT!
That was spooky!
Matinee or evening?
Mine was a matinee thats why my mum was convinced we wouldn't see her!
A young actress with Noel coward after a dreadful opening night performance said to him 'Well, i knew my lines backwards this morning!'' Noels fast reply was ''Yes dear, and thats exactly how you said them tonight'!'
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re: The Greatest Showman#16
Posted: 6/28/08 at 8:20am
Mine was an evening show. My first real musical was CAMELOT but I was very young (no really!) and didn't see another musical comedy for 7 years.