Friday, May 02, 2008

Determined Not To Be Gone With The Wind

Determined Not To Be Gone With The Wind

Despite devastating pans by the critics (my own SOB Review was fairly mild in compari-son), Gone With The Wind is reportedly going all out to save the $9 million show with a salvage operation worthy of post-Sherman Atlanta.

According to Baz Bamigboye in today's Daily Mail, rumors of a weekend closure notice are giving way to confirmations that they'll be...
...shaving another ten to 15 minutes from GWTW...
...and pumping...
...hundreds of thousands of pounds into marketing...
...all as part of an effort to avoid any official proclamation using that dreaded four letter "F" word:


Me thinks it's too little, too late.

To open this show cold on the West End now has to be considered one of the most costly mistakes in recent theatre history on either side of the Atlantic.

Trying a completely untested composer and librettist in the far reaches of the United Kingdom or at least having a more protracted preview period would surely have precluded this mess, wouldn't it? What were they -- and "they" includes Broadway's own Nederlander Organization, among other producers -- thinking?!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Gone With The Wind (The SOB Review) (May 1, 2008)
Is London's GWTW Already Went With The Wind? (April 14, 2008)
GWTW Composer: Knowin' Somethin' 'Bout Birthin' Babies (September 27, 2007)
Frankly My Dears... (July 1, 2007)
Gone With The Wind The Musical? (February 22, 2007)

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At 02 May, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...


this critic was at the same show as me on the 26th, the theatre was packed and the audience loved the show including me!
considering the cast had been working 16 hours a day before opening night, and the script had been altered, tweaked, an dscenes cut an dchopped around - I am amazed the cast did such a great job on the 22nd! Jill must have been exhausted, no wonder she gave in to her throat infection, she was back on the 26th when the show was at last settled a bit after the constant cutting Trevor was doing.

At 02 May, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, I feel sorry for the cast - I don't fault them for how bad this show is. They surely must know that their days are numbered.

At 03 May, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Gone With The Wind this week and I was moved by it several times,the scene with the mourning women and the death of Bonnie in particular, much more than the film which I have seen many times.

I have also read the novel and recognised that Sir Trevor Nunn's production was much more faithful to it.

IMHO the way the style of music was intrinsic to each scene was a great touch, rather than a pastiche.

The show is long but I never once looked at my watch.

Yes there is some narration which sometimes seems unnecessary but much is vital to understanding the backdrop of the play. You have to remember that The American Civil War is not taught in depth in the UK. Neither the book nor the film are so revered in the UK.

My friends and I thorughly enjoyed the show and I would recommend it to anyone who asks for an opinion.

I have already booked more tickets for my mother's birthday in July.

At 03 May, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous, Appreciate your feedback.

But did you really think that the ditty about Reconstruction evoked anything other than pure Kander & Ebb? Was it entertaining? You bet. But it looked entirely out of place with the rest of the musical as did most of the spiritual anthems sung by the slaves.

And the whole sequence of Bonnie dying as the team of men pretending to be horses was just plain bizarre. I know that theatre is all about taking liberties, but surely there must have been another way to handle that sequence given the show's huge budget.

At 03 May, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually I thought the miming of the horses worked well, I wasnt expecting to need to see everything on stage, the whole watching the story and listening to the narration which came from around and within the scenes at times evoked the feeling of being read to which I happened to like a lot - I loved the slow motion and the men holding Bonny when she fell.
The bits that seemed out of place to me was the Prissy song about being a teacher - that was about it thinking about it, the song about reconstruction - the only one I recall is the one where its all about profiteering and involves the whole ensemble - that painted a good picture of the sorts of people who were taking over, I certainly wasn't thinking west side story and clicking fingers as I had read in one press review - perhaps they had changed that?. I found the burning of Atlanta fine, loved the smoke, red sky - commotion smell of burning and the flag in flames, brushing black "ash" of ourselves too. I loved the sound effects coming fomr all around bird song or wind or warfare, and the projected sky line worked well.
I actually thought the whole thing worked well, I did feel that the births could have been brushed over instead of seeing melly in bed an dneeding to see her give birth, but it was fine, but that Wade should really have been in the scenes where Melly gives birth as that was the point of Wade being in the story at all to me - he was looked after by melly more than Scarlett. Melly's songs, were a continuation the family prayer the asking god to help her..then on her death bed asking god to help Scarlett.they were prayeres not her bursting into boistrous song as I had expected from was a way to show she was all forgiving for she knew about Scarlett and Ashley all along for sure. I have to say apart from a few nit picks I enjoyed the whole thing, Thought Darius and Jill were great, clever touches through out relaying parts of the story untold ie the Abraham Lincoln connection in Rhetts hop hat scene and his narration of the end of the war uplight so he looked like Lincoln up there, racking my brain I cant think of a thing I didnt like, only a few things they could cut out - but then some of the cast onyl sang the one song..Prissy for example - thought the slave songs were great - it just evoked the whole feel of the book to me,and have to say I cried more than once, after the women sang on their knees when their men folk had been killed, a contrast to the earleir jovial one the men sang come join the troops, all about the glamour and excitement - not realising what was to come. And when Rhett sang that lullaby again to Bonny after the accident, tears streaming down his face- I couldnt help but cry. knowing why he was distraught at the thought of her being buried - Perhaps it is more a womans story? perhaps some of it goes over a mans head - who knows, I only know I loved it and my partener enjoyed it immensly - after having doubts triggered by reading a couple fo reviews in the press he couldn't understand the harsh reviews at all. I think whe talkijng of styles not fitting you have to remember this production tells a wide sotry whihc pans 12 years - the feels and the scenes have to portray different times, completely different feelings - if it had all been the same style? the feel of the scene wouldnt have come through- that was th joy of the songs they built on that particular scene, that feel of that moment in time in the story. The only one that didnt fit to me was the Prissy song as I said but that was because having read the book and seen the film - I coulndt see Prissy being a teacher.
Oh one niggle - When Rhett was drunk at the party then came over to Scarlett to confront her about Ashly and carried her off - I did feel tha shirt needed to be undone a lot more - again a woman thing!

At 03 May, 2008, Blogger Mondschein said...

As for the Nederlanders, producing for the stage is a gambler's business. I have no idea what their contribution was, but I can certainly understand why they might want to get in on the ground floor. If it had been successful, they are lined up for raking in the cash with a Broadway transfer.

On the other hand, if they put up significant cash, I'm with you. An unknown composer and writer - that's a lot of pressure to put on even as successful a director as Mr. Nunn.

At 03 May, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a reported £4.5 million was spent on the production.

I don't know how much TCM paid as sponsers and for the documentary rights


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