Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Too Many Happy Returns?

Too Many Happy Returns?

Today came word that two musicals are making their way back to the stage -- Sam Mendes' critically-acclaimed, Tony-winning revival of Cabaret is reportedly returning to Broadway while Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story is set for an August return to the West End.

This morning's edition of Michael Riedel's New York Post column mentions that the Roundabout Theatre Company plans to restage Cabaret complete with Alan Cumming reprising his starmaking, Tony-winning turn as the Emcee. Riedel says that Roundabout is returning to a "cash cow" since none of the subsequent productions staged at Studio 54 have demonstrated any staying power. Cabaret finally closed at the theatre in January 2004 after a nearly six year run.

Riedel takes issue with Roundabout receiving grants and tax breaks as a non-profit theatre company if all they're offering is simply a retread... as opposed to, say, director Rufus Norris' vibrant, new revival of Cabaret that opened to mostly ecstatic reviews last fall in London. I have to say I agree with Riedel's point. So here's a "novel" idea for Roundabout: keep Cumming, but scratch the Mendes version that ran its course in favor of Norris' incarnation.

On the other side of the pond, one of the original jukebox musicals, Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story, is set for its second London revival. Billing itself as the "world's most successful rock 'n' roll musical," the musical also claims to have "introduced the concept of the rock ‘n’ roll musical to the West End."

After two earlier London berths, including one a mere five years ago -- coupled with the fact that a touring production continues to flourish -- I guess this is one production that just refuses to crash and burn.

All this news makes me long for a little originality. That'll be the day.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for Cabaret (London) tickets.
Click here for Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story ticket information.
Related Stories:
Amazing Candor From Amazing Kander (March 28, 2007)
Did London Critics Care Much For Cabaret Revival? (October 11, 2006)
Cabaret Opens Its West End Doors This Evening (October 10, 2006)
Cabaret's Conservative Casting Choices (August 18, 2006)
Another Cabaret? It Couldn't Please Me More (July 5, 2006)

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At 03 May, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both of these kind of interest me. Even if they are retreads, I've never seen them.

I've seen Alan Cumming in a couple of movies, and I like him. I'd be interested in seeing him in Cabaret, especially since I'm only familiar with the movie version.

I also like Buddy Holly's music. But what would excite me even more is a show based on the life of Richie Valens. I loved the movie La Bamba when it first came out, and I remember listening to the soundtrack pretty much nonstop for awhile. With the ever-increasing popularity and importance of Latin music, it seems like a natural. I don't think it's been done yet.

At 03 May, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, I don't take issue with revivals of any musicals; however, I do think that audiences should not have to sit through retreads. There's a reason why they closed the shows in the first place: waning interest.

Granted, there are many individuals who never saw the shows, but with grants and tax breaks going to support efforts at Roundabout, I think audiences - old and new - should be treated to a new interpretation, particularly when there is one shining example in the case of Rufus Norris' Cabaret in London.


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