Thursday, April 15, 2010

How to Succeed with Wolves

Two major productions were announced today. One of the two was official confirmation of a project long rumored to be in gestation. The other, a left field surprise.

Spring 2011: Daniel Radcliffe, famously of the Harry Potter series will star in the second Broadway revival of the Tony and Pulitzer prize winning musical (and one of my personal favorites) How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. Perhaps he's younger than the other actors who have played him (specifically Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick, both to Tony-winning effect) and perhaps some might think fifteen years is a bit too soon for another revival. But it doesn't seem as fast a turn around as revivals of Gypsy and La Cage Aux Folles within five years of each other. I'm curious to see what Radcliffe does with the part, as he's been rumored to be quite good in the workshops they've had recently. The director-choreographer is Rob Ashford, currently represented with Promises Promises. I only hope this is the sort of revival that makes audience go crazy a la Guys and Dolls (1992, not 2009). It's encouraging to see one of the most recognizable movie stars in the world interested in doing theatre - and a musical at that. I wish him nothing but the best with the experience.

Opening unknown: The left field announcement came from producer Matt Murphy (Thurgood, Impressionism and the current Memphis) who announced plans for a musical adaptation of Dances with Wolves. Originally a novel by Robert Blake, its 1990 film adaptation won seven Oscars including Best Picture. The story is that of an isolated US Army lieutenant who finds himself connecting with Sioux culture while Americans start to invade the territories of the West. Frankly, I've never been that compelled by the film; I find it something of a slog (three long hours in its theatrical cut, four in its masturbatory director's cut). But I am curious what could be made of the project. I admit my initial reaction is to scream "bad idea." Then again I can't imagine that Sweeney Todd looked that great on paper either. But for every Sweeney Todd there are countless Gone with the Winds, Lolita My Loves, Here's Where I Belongs, Civil Wars, etc. Even if they use the novel for the adaptation, many are just going to assume it's a musical version of a well received film. Apparently there isn't even a creative team in place for this one therefore it's completely in its infancy. It will be some time between now and its premiere. We shall see...

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