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Scarlett Sings!

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jdb1

Scarlett Sings!

Postby jdb1 » June 4th, 2007, 9:21 am

This appears on the BBCNews website:

Gone With The Wind set for stage Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara are to come to the West End next year in a musical version of Gone With The Wind.

The new adaptation will be directed by Sir Trevor Nunn - who returns to the New London Theatre, where he launched Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats in 1981.
In a statement, Sir Trevor said he was "drawn to the challenge" of adapting Margaret Mitchell's vast, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel for the stage.
In 1939, the book was turned into an epic film that won 10 Academy Awards.
Starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, it has been named the most successful movie of all time at the US box office by film trade journal Screen Digest.
'Relevant'
It tells the story of southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, whose idyllic lifestyle is shattered when President Lincoln's demands to end slavery trigger the American Civil War.
The novel has been turned into a musical before. A Japanese production, Scarlett, premiered in Tokyo in 1970 before being overhauled for the London stage in 1972.
Sir Trevor's production has been in the works for three years. It features music and lyrics from first-time composer Margaret Martin.
Producer Aldo Scrofani said the musical would "remain true to Margaret Mitchell's original story and characters while also revealing its relevance to our lives today".
The show is expected to open in April 2008, but no information about casting has been released.


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Any thoughts? Note the description of the plot. I wonder if Jonathan Pryce will play the villanous Abraham Lincoln.

I don't even remember a 1972 London production, and when I read of a director, producer or writer promising that a subject from the past is going to reveal its relevance to our lives today, I get kind of nervous. That usually means a total rewrite to make room for product placement. Can't wait to see the filmed version of this musical. It will be the 1938 race to play Scarlett all over again (my bet will be on either Renee Zelwegger or Reese Witherspoon).

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mrsl
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Postby mrsl » June 4th, 2007, 9:59 am

When, oh when, are they going to learn to leave well enough alone!!!??? Why does some 'wonder boy' always think he can improve on a good thing? Instead of spending three years on GWTW, why didn't he spend it on something new and that he could call his own?

I sew a lot, and in the process, I copy styles, and lines, but I always add something like a lower neck line, a fuller skirt, different sleeves, etc. In that way, I can say, "It's mine, I made it". I get much more satisfaction out of that than saying, "I copied it in total".

This is like the discussion that went on over at TCM on the remake of The Women. Although I joined in, what is the sense of it? Just to add color? It's gone into who could play what role, and why. But the original has been copied and updated once to no great accomplishment. How many failures does one need in ones' lifetime to learn?

Anne
Anne


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moira finnie
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Postby moira finnie » June 4th, 2007, 10:38 am

Gee, I don't remember hearing about any musical GWTW production in '72 either, but do--because Rex Reed wrote an amusingly scathing review at the time--recall hearing about that very elaborate musical production of Gone With the Wind in Tokyo during that decade with an all Japanese cast. How, I wonder, could they reproduce the Burning of Atlanta onstage?

Me, I'm still waiting to see if a musical version of a true classic, Othello, ever makes it past the off-off-Broadway stage, (a friend from college was an angel for this honest to gosh attempt at a musical back in the early '90s). If you should run across it, this Shakespeare-set-to-music production was called "Hanky-Panky", appropriately enough. :wink:

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » June 4th, 2007, 1:03 pm

Well, I think that stories of the scope of GWTW are really better suited to be operas than "musicals."

Really, isn't it the height of presumption to think you can "improve" on something that's been part of a national cultural scene for 50 years? Is it because they are not American that they don't think this story has relevance in today's world?

It has always seemed to me that those who try to "improve" a classic are those who simply don't understand said classic, and maybe don't really understand what a "classic" is. If it didn't have an eternal relevance, it wouldn't be a classic in the first place.

It's all part of way of thinking of the current crop of people who create what passes for art: this need to deconstruct everything to fit one's own agenda, this notion that the present sprang up full grown, just because it's the time they are existing in. Whatever happened in the past to form this present doesn't count, because it did not include them. I don't get it - everyone these days loves gossip and stories about other peoples' lives, but after all, isn't that to a great degree what history is comprised of? How come the present generation doesn't make the connection?

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Moraldo Rubini
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Missed Operatunities

Postby Moraldo Rubini » June 5th, 2007, 12:15 am

Well, I think that stories of the scope of GWTW are really better suited to be operas than "musicals."

That's exactly where I was going to go with this one. Gone With the Wind would make a terrific opera. Scarlett's aria closing the Act II ("I'll Never Go Hungry Again") would be a tour de force for the spinto soprano; Ashley (tenor) and Melanie's (lyric soprano) tender love duet; Rhett's (baritone) tortured aria as the blockader with an embargo on intimacy; the O'Hara girls' trio of hope as they prepare for the Wilkes' barbeque; it's fairly made for opera...

...just as Otello was, Moira! I know of two operas based on Shakespeare's masterpiece of jealosy. Rossini and Verdi both inked grand operas on the piece; and the Verdi version is one of the greatest 19th century operas ever written. Though liberally adapted, it was also filmed (by Zefferelli) in the 1980's for theatrical release. Check it out!

By the way, this thread is a perfect fit for the already existing thread Another Stageshow, Another Feature Film.

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moira finnie
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Postby moira finnie » June 5th, 2007, 10:51 am

Hey, guys, you're right GWTW and Othello are better suited to opera than musical comedy. While I was aware of the Verdi & Rossini Otellos and even had to listen to it alot thanks to my parents who were diehard Verdi fans, (I like Puccini, and yes, I'm shallow)...but still kind of long to see/hear the Hanky Panky lightweight version for those of us who prefer musical comedy over opera.

I really think Moraldo should start penning that GWTW opera pronto!! Sounds as though you have most of the technical breakdown well in hand. Do you think that you could get the Max Steiner estate to release his music for easy adaptation to this new form, (or as I might suggest pitching it during your presentation to the Steiner lawyers: "a new revenue stream").

I'd also like to point out that another popular film that could be and has been adapted to opera form was Bernard Herrmann's version of Wuthering Heights. He also played around with a cantata of Moby Dick, but I can't recall if he ever finished that one. Gotta dig out my copy of Steven Smith's "A Heart at Fire's Center: The Life and Music of Bernard Herrmann" to check.

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Moraldo Rubini
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How do you like? How do you like it? Moor, Moor, Moor!

Postby Moraldo Rubini » June 5th, 2007, 5:51 pm

The aria -- I have dreamt -- from Herrmann's Wuthering Heights is dreamy. Renee Fleming has a wonderful recording of it on her I Want Magic! cd.

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Kyle In Hollywood
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Postby Kyle In Hollywood » June 5th, 2007, 9:25 pm

As to the 1990's "Gone With The Wind" stage production -

It was titled "Scarlett" and it was scored by composer Harold Rome.

Harold Rome's recording history can be seen here -
http://www.amazon.com/Harold-Rome/artist/B000APLT0K

and some details about "Scarlett" can be found here -
http://www.amazon.com/Scarlett-Gone-Win ... 12-7421513

and his papers are in the Yale Library here -
http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2htm ... /rom-d.htm

While I find no appeal to a stage version of "Gone With The Wind", I also felt the same about a stage version of "Sunset Blvd." I do think "Sunset Blvd." was adapted well to the stage but the music left me cold.

Happily, that is not the case with that other epic novel set upon the stage with a musical score - "Les Miserables" - which I think is a perfect piece of musical theater. If Jean Valjean and the Barricades can succeed on stage, I don't see why Scarlett and the Burning Of Atlanta couldn't be a success too. But I do have my doubts...
Kyle In Hollywood

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traceyk
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Postby traceyk » June 12th, 2007, 1:07 pm

RE: the japanese "Scarlett"

OK, is it just me or does the whole concept of a Japanese cast playing denizens of tthe American South seem, well, totally and irretrievably wrong??

(Although I suppose its no worse than a red-haired, blue-eyed American playing a Chinese peasant...)
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. "~~Wilde

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Scarlett singing

Postby tallulahfan » October 7th, 2007, 11:27 am

I think it was the 1972 stage production that prompted Noel Coward to say of Bonnie Langford the very young actress who played Bonnie Blue "They should cut two things - the third act and the child's throat". LOL. The production was also notable in that it starred Bessie Love, the former American silent screen star, as Aunt Pittypat.


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