Special Sub-Topic: A Broadway Musical By Any Other Name
|"Hard To Get" was the original title of? |
Anything Goes. In 1934, Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse completed the book for a musical entitled "Hard To Get." The show, with songs by Cole Porter, was to take place on a luxury liner and describe what effect a shipwreck had on its passengers. Unfortunately, there was a real-life disaster and shipwrecks were no longer thought to be humorous. Russell Crouse and Howard Lindsay were called in to rewrite the book. Although it still took place on a ship, all references to a shipwreck were eliminated, and the show was now called "Anything Goes."
|"Fanforan" was a title considered for?|
My Fair Lady. While working on the musical version of "Pygmalion," lyricist Alan Jay Lerner came upon the word "Fanforan," which means braggart. He thought it suited the character of Henry Higgins perfectly and wanted to use it as the title of the musical. Composer Frederick Loewe didn't like it, and it was decided to call the new show "My Fair Lady."
|"Hello, Dolly!" was first announced with the following title?|
Dolly: A Damned Exasperating Woman. Believe it or not, the announcement that a musical version of "The Matchmaker" would be produced on Broadway stated the new show would have the rather complex title of "Dolly!: A Damned Exasperating Woman." By the way, the same announcement stated that the new show was going to star Elaine Stritch.
|When "Oklahoma!" opened out of town in New Haven, the show was called?|
Away We Go!. When "Oklahoma!" opened out of town, its first title was "Away We Go!," which is a square dance call. Nobody cared for that title and it was decided to rename the show "Oklahoma" after the rousing number in the show. An exclamation point was added so people wouldn't think the show was about the "okies" in "The Grapes of Wrath."
|When the musical "Funny Girl" was first conceived, it was named after one of Fanny Brice's famous songs. What was the musical known as ?|
My Man. The musical based on the life story of Fanny Brice was first announced as "My Man," the title of probably her most famous song. When rights to the song proved to be unavailable, the show was renamed "Funny Girl."
|The musical which at one point had the rather awkward title of "Come Back! Go Away! I Love You!" had a much more simple title by the time when it reached Broadway. What show am I referring to?|
The Apple Tree. "The Apple Tree," an evening of three one-act musicals, was known as "Come Back! Go Away! I Love You!" during part of its gestation period. It was eventually renamed "The Apple Tree", referring to its first musical, "The Diary of Adam and Eve."
|"On A Clear Day You Can See Forever" started life with a different composer and title. What was the show known as at that point?|
I Picked a Daisy. "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" started out as a collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Alan Jay Lerner with the title "I Picked a Daisy." When Rodgers dropped out to be replaced by Burton Lane, the show then received its new name.
|"My Best Girl" is the original title of what musical?|
Mame. For a while, the creators thought of calling the musical version of "Auntie Mame" "My Best Girl" (after one of the songs in the show); until it was decided to call it simply "Mame."
|"The Fantasticks" was first conceived by its authors to have a different setting and have the title of?|
Joy Comes To Dead Horse. When Harvey Jones and Tom Schmidt first conceived a story of two families who build a wall between their families to bring their children closer together, it was to be set on neighboring ranches in Texas. (Jones and Schmidt are both Texans.) The title they choose was "Joy Comes To Dead Horse."
|When "West Side Story" was first developed, it had the title of?|
East Side Story. "West Side Story" was first conceived as a story about Jewish and Irish families fighting around Passover/Easter Time, with the title "East Side Story." It was decided to make the story more relevant and it was set among warring native born Americans and Puerto Ricans with the title "West Side Story."
|The musical "Grand Hotel" started out of town tryouts over twenty years before it finally reached Broadway. What title was it known by then?|
At The Grand. "Grand Hotel" began its out of town tryout in the 1950s under the title "At The Grand." At that point, it was a star vehicle for Paul Muni. That version never made it to Broadway. It was revamped (with new songs) and was finally presented on Broadway in the 1980s.
|"My Fair Lady" was the original title of what 1920s musical?|
Tell Me More!. The 1920s Gershwin musical "Tell Me More!" was first known as "My Fair Lady." It even had a song with that title, based on the music in the nursery rhyme, "London Bridge is Falling Down."
|In the 1930s, writers were working on a musical that satirized Hollywood and labor unions called "Swing To The Left." Through a drastic rewrite, all the satirical elements were dropped and it became just a love story. Along with these rewrites, it received a new title. What was it?|
Stars in Your Eyes. It was Joshua Logan, the director, who insisted that all the satire in "Swing To The Left" be dropped and engineered it into the more bland "Stars In Your Eyes."
|The musical "Follies" began life as a musical murder mystery with the title?|
The Girls Upstairs. Stephen Sondheim and James Godlman's surreal musical "Follies" began left as a murder mystery which involved some murdered Follies showgirls, "The Girls Upstairs."
|"Breakfast at Tiffany's,"one of the biggest musical bombs at all times, started its out of town tryout with a different name. What was it?|
Holly Golightly. The musical version of Truman Capote's novella "Breakfast at Tiffany's" began life with the title "Holly Golightly," the lead character. Along the way, the entire book was jettisoned and replaced with a new one by Edward Albee. At the same time, the title reverted back to the title of its source. Eula Mae was Holly's real name; "Moon River" was the hit song used in the film version of the novella.
|A musical version of "Buried Alive," a play about a gentleman who changes places with his valet, was called "Darling of the Day." What was its previous title?|
Married Alive. "Darling of the Day" was known for a brief time as "Married Alive." When the title was changed, book writer Nunnally Johnson's name was also removed from the credits. It opened on Broadway with no one being credited for the book, never a good sign.
|"A Girl To Remember" was an early title for what Broadway musical?|
Fade Out--Fade In. The Broadway musical "Fade Out--Fade In" which starred Carol Burnett was first announced with the title "A Girl to Remember." "Fade Out--Fade In" is probably remembered today for the constant squabbles Miss Burnett had with the show's producers.
|"Gone With The Wind," the musical version of Margaret Mitchell's epic novel, began its out of town tryout in Tokyo of all places (in Japanese!) with which title?|
Scarlett. Believe it or not, the musical "Gone With The Wind" had its world premiere in Tokyo. It was performed in Japanese with the title "Scarlett." It then was played in London (by now in English) under the title "Gone With the Wind." This produced toured the United States but never made it to Broadway. In the American production, Pernell Roberts was Rhett and Lesley Ann Warren Scarlett. The score contains such songs as "Two of a Kind," "Blissful Christmas," and of course "Tomorrow Is Another Day."
|"Roberta" was a 1930s musical about the fashion industry in Paris and included a fashion show. What title did it have when it first opened out of town?|
Gowns By Roberta. "Roberta" was based on a novel titled "Gowns By Roberta," which was also its first title. At first, the show got negative reviews, but Jerome Kern's score (which included "Yesterdays" and "I'll Be Hard To Handle") charmed audiences and the show became a hit. "I Won't Dance" was written for the film version of "Roberta."
|"The Act," a 1970s musical which starred Liza Minnelli, went through countless changes before it reached New York, including an uncredited assist from director/choreographer Gower Champion. What title did the show have out of town?|
Shine It On. "The Act" was known prior to Broadway as "Shine it On," one of its songs. "The Act" was not a success. Even Liza Minnelli's fanbase (which then was quite large) were dismayed that she only performed in the show seven times a week and lip-synched some of the numbers. In addition, most of the songs were mediocre anyway.
|"Rainbow" was an early title for what Broadway musical?|
110 in the Shade. When the musical version of "The Rainmaker" was first announced, it was with the title "Rainbow." The musical, retitled "110 in the Shade," is about a man who brings rain to a town suffering from a physical and emotional drought. It was received modestly in the 1960s, but has had two major revivals in New York--in 1997 and 2007 and seems to be accepted now as a minor classic in musical theatre.
|The musical "Kiss Me, Kate" was known during rehearsals as?|
Shrew. When "Kiss Me, Kate" was in rehearsals, the musical was known as "Shrew." (Which is also the name of the show-within-a-show that is being performed.) The actual title for the show was formulated when someone noticed that Cole Porter had written the lyrics "Kiss Me, Kate" for the musical's finale.
|In the early 1930s, famed Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld ran out of money and had to rely upon gangster's money to finance his next show. The "gentlemen" who financed the show wanted to call it "Laid in Mexico." (nudge, wink.) Mr. Ziegfeld ultimately had the name changed to something more innocent. What was this show called when it reached Broadway?|
Hot-Cha!. This show was called "Hot-Cha!" (a popular slang expression of the time) when it reached Broadway. Ziegfeld reluctantly kept the phrase "Laid in Mexico" as a subtitle.
|After Mr. Ziegfeld's death, the Shuberts announced they were going to present "The Ziegfeld Follies of 1934." However, they were unable to obtain use of the phrase "Ziegfeld Follies" and instead titled their show?|
Life Begins At 8:40. The Shuberts titled the show "Life Begins At 8:40." (8:40 was then the time Broadway shows began.) The Shuberts did eventually obtain rights to the title "Ziegfeld Follies" and presented musicals with that title in the 1930s and 1940s.
|In 1920, Florenz Ziegfeld decided to take an intimate unproduced musical called "The Little Thing" and turn it into a lavish musical for his reigning star, Marilyn Miller. What title was chosen for the revised version (that became one of Broadway's best loved musicals of the 1920s)?|
Sally. The revised and revamped "The Little Thing" was titled "Sally," after its leading female character. In the early 1920s, it was vogue to title musicals after the heroine. Besides "Sally," there was "Irene," "Mary," and who could forget "Sally, Irene and Mary?" :-)
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