Here's a little video message from Dyan McBride, our new Education Director.
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Musings on musical theatre from 42nd Street Moon, a San Francisco company that celebrates and preserves the art and spirit of the American Musical Theatre in intimate productions, cabaret evenings, and recordings. More performance information can be found at http://42ndstmoon.org.
Between the end of the Boston engagement and the opening night in New York six days later, something happened to Very Warm For May. Max Gordon had reappeared on the scene, and he and Minnelli became convinced that the show had to have drastic revisions in order to be "commercially successful." Gordon brought in Hassard Short [one of the most successful stage directors, a specialist in big, elaborate productions] as consultant. The book was completely rewritten, the gangster plot removed entirely, and along with it an element of fantasy upon which the tone and humor of the play depended. The character of Quiller [the pretentious director of the play-within-the-play] was so toned down that the satirical element was eliminated and the preposterous, posturing figure became an inexperienced but sympathetic young man. The dialogue was emasculated in the hasty rewrite, losing its wit and verve. The new script showed a tightness that the first version had lacked, but removed the wacky charm of the original without offering any substantially stronger structure [note from Ken: 42nd Street Moon's production uses a combination of the original Boston and Broadway scripts, most of the original Quiller material has been re-introduced into the new San Francisco Production]. Russell Bennett, the orchestrator of the show, called Very Warm For May a "great show that was produced into a failure."Kern went back to Hollywood after the failure of the show and concentrated on film musicals for the rest of his career. Hammerstein coaxed him back to New York to do Annie Get Your Gun, but he died before he could start work on the score.