Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shakespeare: The Musicals

Yesterday, William Shakespeare, the most produced playwright in Broadway history (although he's famous for some other stuff, too), would have celebrated his 446th birthday.  Coincidentally, yesterday also commemorated the 394th anniversary of his death.  Yes, Mr. Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday.  Or so legend has it...

In honor and memorium of those occasions, I thought we might look at 10 musicals that have something to do with his plays.  (And before you write, I'm sure I missed one or two...)

Alphabetically, here they are!

The Boys from Syracuse based on The Comedy of Errors

  • Opened in 1938 at the Alvin Theatre
  • 235 performances
  • Revival in 2002 at the American Airlines Theatre
  • 73 performances

The Goodbye Girl contained a lengthy sequence of Richard III

  • Opened in 1993 at the Marquis Theatre
  • 188 performances
  • 5 Tony nominations

Kiss Me, Kate based on Taming of the Shrew

  • Opened in 1948 at the New Century Theatre
  • 1077 performances
  • 5 Tony nominations, 5 Tony wins, including Best Musical
  • Revival opened in 1952 at the Broadway Theatre
  • 8 performances
  • Revival opened in 1999 at the Martin Beck Theatre
  • 881 performances
  • 12 Tony nominations, 5 wins, including Best Revival of a Musical

The Lion King based on Hamlet

  • Opened in 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre
  • As of April 23, 2010: 5161 performances
  • 11 Tony nominations, 6 wins

Lone Star Love based on The Merry Wives of Windsor

  • Played off-Broadway, very successfully.
  • Broadway Production announced, but cancelled after trouble with lead, Randy Quaid

Oh, Brother! based on The Comedy of Errors

  • Opened in 1981 at the ANTA Theatre
  • 3 performances
  • Starred Judy Kaye and Harry Groener

Play On! based on Twelfth Night

  • Opened in 1997 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre
  • 61 performances
  • 3 Tony nominations

Swingin' the Dream based on A Midsummer Night's Dream

  • Opened in 1939 at the Center Theatre
  • 13 performances
  • Starred Louis Armstrong, Bill Bailey and Dorothy Dandridge, three huge stars and it still flopped!

Two Gentlemen of Verona  based on The Two Gentlemen of Verona

  • Opened in 1972 at the St. James Theatre
  • 614 performances
  • Starred Clifton Davis and Raul Julia
  • Written by Galt McDermott of Hair fame
  • 9 Tony nominations, 2 wins including Best Musical, beating Follies, Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar

West Side Story based on Romeo and Juliet

  • Opened in 1957 at the Winter Garden Theatre
  • 732 performances
  • 6 Tony nominations, 2 wins
  • Return engagement of same production opened in 1960 at the Winter Garden Theatre
  • Revival opened in 1980 at the Minskoff Theatre
  • 333 performances
  • 3 Tony nominations
  • Revival opened in 2009 at the Palace Theatre
  • As of April 23, 2010: 456 performances
  • 4 Tony nominations, 1 win

Happy Birthday, Bill!

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