Monday, June 23, 2014

On A Clear Day (v.1)

This week Chicago's Goodman Theatre begins previews for a rewritten production of Lerner and Lowe's Brigadoon. Director Rachel Rockwell told the Chicago Tribune that the hope is the new libretto will "freshen up" a show that has fallen out of popularity in recent years. There's a lot of potential there but before I do a post on Brigadoon I thought I'd talk about another Alan Jay Lerner show that was rewritten in 2011.

Barbara Harris received rave reviews for her dual roles in On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever) and was nominated for a Tony Award. She would a Tony the following year playing three roles in The Apple Tree. Neither show was a success and she soon left Broadway for Hollywood. The relationship between Daisy and her alter ego, Melinda, is an interesting one but the show was not willing to explore it. The Melinda flashbacks had, reportedly, gorgeous costumes but very little plot and raised more questions than they answered. Melinda was betrayed by a cad and died in a shipwreck. Is that why Daisy has gotten engaged to an uptight killjoy and can predict a plane crash? The libretto isn't sure as we spend more time on the Dr's infatuation with Melinda, his Higgins/Eliza-esque arguments with Daisy, and a subplot for a Tycoon who wants to leave his fortune to his reincarnated new self. The 1970 film version wrote some new songs for star Barbara Streisand but did little to strengthen the plot.

One legend goes that an enthusiastic fan told Alan Jay Lerner "At intermission I didn't know what was going to happen next!" Lerner replied "That was the problem. We didn't either."

YouTube clip of the Broadway Cast performing five songs on television.
Background Reading
Production licensing

What happened to On A Clear Day in 2011? Tune in tomorrow to find out.

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