Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Yet Another Remake of "Bye Bye Birdie"

It was announced today that Adam Shankman, the man who helmed the 2007 film adaptation of the Hairspray musical will present another remake of the classic Strouse & Adams Best Musical winner Bye Bye Birdie.

According to the playbill article, there have been plans for this remake for some time, including the possibility of updating it to the hip-hop era (which leads me to wonder, how would they work the whole drafting plot point, a major one at that). The original 1963 film featured Tony-winning original Dick Van Dyke repeated his stage success opposite Janet Leigh, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton and fellow original company member Paul Lynde. A second made-for-TV remake in 1995 starred George Wendt, Vanessa Williams and Tyne Daly. While the latter is more faithful to the original stage show, neither can beat the original musical comedy as it plays onstage. Which leads me to my query, why is it that there will be three film versions and not a single Broadway revival of this delightful period satire?

Given that Hairspray was a huge success, I can understand the hiring of Shankman to direct and choreograph. However, factoring in Hairspray and its impending film sequel (as well as Bob: the Musical), I think Shankman might consider other musical properties to film or remake. (Whatever happened to that film version of Urinetown?). I say leave Bye Bye Birdie to the stage for right now, and let Shankman work on more original projects.

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