For this next entry, I’m supposed to choose a Broadway production and analyze the different ways in which it is produced via the wonderful world of YouTube. It would be a travesty for me not to choose How to Succeed…obviously. I love that show! So, here we go.
How to Succeed was first released on Broadway in 1961 and ran until 1965. It starred Robert Morse as J. Pierrepont Finch and Bonnie Scott as Rosemary. This particular production of How to Succeed won seven tony awards including distinguished musical actor (Robert Morse) and best musical. This was also the production that was later adapted to film in 1967 by United Artists. Most of the original Broadway cast was kept for the film save Michelle Lee who played the on-screen role of Rosemary. To illustrate the amazing Robert Morse and the film adaptation, here’s the video!
The production elements on this are of course slightly different from the original Broadway performance. However, YouTube doesn’t seem to be too forthcoming with any 1960’s theatrical footage. So, this video will have to do! I actually believe it adds to the conversation anyway since it’s interesting to think about what features of the theatrical production were taken away/added to create the film. In this clip, it’s obvious to see that the overall “Broadway” feel of the performance is toned down for the sake of cinema. The set of the film adaptation is probably the most significant difference. In the video clip, the set looks much too realistic (Hollywood style flats) to be featured on Broadway.
Next, there was a Broadway revival from 1995-1996 starring Matthew Broderick as Finch and Megan Mullally as Rosemary. The production elements in this performance are interesting because it seems that it almost completely strayed from the original staging. Side note: I’ll mention that my next two video clips are the H2$ performances at the Tony Awards. But back to the production elements…the background image is very simple. The only thing they really have to back up this particular performance is the giant H2$ symbol featured behind the cast. Other than that, they pretty much rely on talent (and Lillias White’s outstanding voice). I will say I found it fascinating how very different it was from the original. But I’ll stop talking about it now, and just let you see for yourself.
Last but certainly not least, the 2011 Broadway revival starring Daniel Radcliffe as Finch and Rose Hemingway as Rosemary. You probably get tired of hearing about it, but this is the first and ONLY Broadway show I’ve had the pleasure of seeing. So, excuse if I’m biased, but it’s kind of my favorite. This show, I can say from watching it in person, uses quite a few fly-in pieces of scenery and standard flats. However, I’ve also noticed that this version of H2$ and the 1995 revival have several similarities. They both use larger flats with several colors of lighting. Though, it’s notable to see that even the 2011 version shows slightly more complex background scenery shapes and color schemes. Of course, the similarities between the 1994 and 2011 revivals are probably due to advancements in theatrical production since the 1960’s.
And since I’m sticking with the Tony Award performances, here’s H2$ at the 65th Annual Tony Awards.