~ Sounds great. Can she sing?
~ Not really but we'll write charm songs for her and give the big ballads to the leading man.
It worked for Rosalind Russell and Lauren Bacall. It flopped for Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and many others. They leave behind broken dreams and fascinating cast albums. Take the Julie Harris vehicle Skyscraper. She's charming and the audience wants to root for her but the show won't have it. The music, plot and ultimate victory got to the men.
In 1941 Lady in the Dark used dream sequences to psychoanalyze the star. Here they were mostly filler. Peter Marshall's architect makes the feeble argument that skyscrapers are a "way to the stars." He, and Charles Nelson Reilly's clown, somehow persuade her to sell her home and business for the sake of urban development.
“Skyscraper qualifies as one of the weakest shows ever to receive favorable reviews... The final version of Skyscraper borrowed only the heroine’s name and the idea of her daydreaming from Rice’s play, and the daydreaming was now just a gimmick to pad out a thin evening.” ~ Ken Mandelbaum. Not Since Carrie
"It stank. A good idea needs more than a good cast and a good choreographer [Michael Kidd]... The score generally lacked delight." ~ Ethan Mordden. Open a New Window.