History TroubledProduction / Theatre

9th Sep '17 4:11:50 PM nombretomado
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* Creator/CirqueDuSoleil productions have their ups and downs on the way to opening night, but ''Theatre/BananaShpeel'' was truly troubled. The original concept -- a fusion of Cirque's "house style", {{Vaudeville}}, and TheMusical -- proved to be too much for one coherent show, so the major characters who were going to handle the songs were dropped and new composers hired AFTER the 2008 ''AmericasGotTalent'' finale featured the singers in question in a preview segment. Now a {{Slapstick}}-heavy show with only two acrobatic setpieces, it bombed with critics in its Chicago tryout at the end of 2009. A second revision with more acrobatics and a ''third'' score took so long to put together (with two comic principals being fired and rehired over the period) that its New York City debut was delayed by months. This ran into another problem -- Cirque's grand plan for 2010 was for ''Shpeel'' to debut in late winter and run indefinitely at the Beacon Theatre, while the tent tour ''Theatre/{{OVO}}'' had a springtime engagement and ''Wintuk'' a holiday season one. The delays meant that ''OVO'' arrived first... and ''Shpeel'', with reviews far worse than ''OVO'''s, was stuck in its shadow. The show closed in two months. Cirque tried to take it on the road afterward, but it closed permanently after one month in Toronto -- the company's first complete failure amongst its live shows.

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* Creator/CirqueDuSoleil productions have their ups and downs on the way to opening night, but ''Theatre/BananaShpeel'' was truly troubled. The original concept -- a fusion of Cirque's "house style", {{Vaudeville}}, and TheMusical -- proved to be too much for one coherent show, so the major characters who were going to handle the songs were dropped and new composers hired AFTER the 2008 ''AmericasGotTalent'' ''Series/AmericasGotTalent'' finale featured the singers in question in a preview segment. Now a {{Slapstick}}-heavy show with only two acrobatic setpieces, it bombed with critics in its Chicago tryout at the end of 2009. A second revision with more acrobatics and a ''third'' score took so long to put together (with two comic principals being fired and rehired over the period) that its New York City debut was delayed by months. This ran into another problem -- Cirque's grand plan for 2010 was for ''Shpeel'' to debut in late winter and run indefinitely at the Beacon Theatre, while the tent tour ''Theatre/{{OVO}}'' had a springtime engagement and ''Wintuk'' a holiday season one. The delays meant that ''OVO'' arrived first... and ''Shpeel'', with reviews far worse than ''OVO'''s, was stuck in its shadow. The show closed in two months. Cirque tried to take it on the road afterward, but it closed permanently after one month in Toronto -- the company's first complete failure amongst its live shows.
7th Sep '17 10:45:37 AM Sapphirea2
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* The musical adaptation of ''Theatre/GroundhogDay'' was almost killed right off the bat in its move from London to Broadway when lead star Andy Karl injured his knee in the American previews. He persevered with help from his costume being refitted to include a leg brace, but it soon suffered another potential show-ending failure in front of critics with technical difficulties in its hugely ambitious police chase scene that resulted in a ten minute delay. This was fixed as well and the show made it to a general release, but closed after only a few months despite fantastic reviews.

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* The musical adaptation of ''Theatre/GroundhogDay'' was almost killed right off the bat in its move from London to Broadway when lead star actor Andy Karl injured his knee in the American previews. previews -- which meant that the show risked playing to critics with an understudy going on instead. He persevered with help from his costume being refitted to include a leg brace, but it soon suffered another potential show-ending failure -- this time in front of critics -- with technical difficulties in its hugely ambitious police chase scene that resulted resulting in a ten minute ten-minute delay. This was fixed as well and the show made it to a general release, opened on time, but closed after only a few months despite fantastic reviews.reviews due to too much competition (''Theatre/DearEvanHansen'' and ''Theatre/ComeFromAway'' got even better reviews and word of mouth while ''Theatre/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' and ''WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}}'' filled the "tourist-friendly adaptation of a well-known property" niche).
28th Aug '17 5:04:06 PM Pren
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* The musical adaptation of ''Theatre/GroundhogDay'' was almost killed right off the bat in its move from London to Broadway when lead star Andy Karl injured his knee in the American previews. He persevered with help from his costume being refitted to include a leg brace, but it soon suffered another potential show-ending failure in front of critics with technical difficulties in its hugely ambitious police chase scene that resulted in a ten minute delay. This was fixed as well and the show made it to a general release, but closed after only a few months despite fantastic reviews.
28th Jun '17 5:09:15 AM RedScharlach
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** The producers duly pushed the opening back... to a ''Friday'', almost unheard of on Broadway. Despite the producers' response that they were just trying to avoid competing with the recently-opened musical adapation of ''Film/SchoolOfRock'', everyone knew this was an attempt to make sure bad reviews would be buried since Saturday's newspapers are the least-read of any day of the week. GenreSavvy critics pounced right back by filing uniformly negative reviews in Friday's papers, based on the previews they had attended (again, a break with custom).

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** The producers duly pushed the opening back... to a ''Friday'', almost unheard of on Broadway. Despite the producers' response that they were just trying to avoid competing with the recently-opened musical adapation adaptation of ''Film/SchoolOfRock'', everyone knew this was an attempt to make sure bad reviews would be buried since Saturday's newspapers are the least-read of any day of the week. GenreSavvy critics pounced right back by filing uniformly negative reviews in Friday's papers, based on the previews they had attended (again, a break with custom).
28th Jun '17 5:07:29 AM RedScharlach
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* Trouble with ''Theatre/{{Chess}}'' in London started when its original director had to drop out before just before rehearsals, then went on to include trouble with the show's highly technical sets that threatened its ability to open on time. Then the Broadway rewrite (which ended up torn apart by critics and flopped) had enough behind-the-scenes drama that ''Vanity Fair'' wrote a feature on it, including claims of a director was nearly unreachable, an ill producer, and a rush to open the show in time to compete with Creator/AndrewLloydWebber's ''The Phantom of the Opera''.

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* Trouble with ''Theatre/{{Chess}}'' in London started when its original director had to drop out before just before rehearsals, then went on to include trouble with the show's highly technical sets that threatened its ability to open on time. Then the Broadway rewrite (which ended up torn apart by critics and flopped) had enough behind-the-scenes drama that ''Vanity Fair'' wrote a feature on it, including claims of a director who was nearly unreachable, an ill producer, and a rush to open the show in time to compete with Creator/AndrewLloydWebber's ''The Phantom of the Opera''.
17th May '17 6:46:47 PM nombretomado
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* ''Dance of the Vampires'', the Broadway version of ''Theatre/TanzDerVampire'', was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_of_the_vampires#Broadway probably doomed from the start]]. To summarize from the Other Wiki: It was supposed to open in 1998 but didn't until 2002, for reasons that ranged from having to find a new director (owing to the original, Creator/RomanPolanski, being unable to return to the U.S. without facing arrest on infamous rape charges) to the 9-11 attacks! As the ball got rolling, the script received an extensive, jokier rewrite to appeal to American audiences who no longer cared for European "megamusicals", and the changes kept on coming with the casting of Michael Crawford as Krolock; he had creative control over his dialogue, costumes, etc. Composer Jim Steinman was ultimately fired from his own show over not showing up to rehearsals. The director and choreographer, both fresh from ''{{Urinetown}}'', proved unable to handle a production of this size and style, especially with so many dueling ideas and egos about. The result lasted only 56 performances and its reputation has so far discouraged other English-language productions.

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* ''Dance of the Vampires'', the Broadway version of ''Theatre/TanzDerVampire'', was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_of_the_vampires#Broadway probably doomed from the start]]. To summarize from the Other Wiki: It was supposed to open in 1998 but didn't until 2002, for reasons that ranged from having to find a new director (owing to the original, Creator/RomanPolanski, being unable to return to the U.S. without facing arrest on infamous rape charges) to the 9-11 attacks! As the ball got rolling, the script received an extensive, jokier rewrite to appeal to American audiences who no longer cared for European "megamusicals", and the changes kept on coming with the casting of Michael Crawford as Krolock; he had creative control over his dialogue, costumes, etc. Composer Jim Steinman was ultimately fired from his own show over not showing up to rehearsals. The director and choreographer, both fresh from ''{{Urinetown}}'', ''Theatre/{{Urinetown}}'', proved unable to handle a production of this size and style, especially with so many dueling ideas and egos about. The result lasted only 56 performances and its reputation has so far discouraged other English-language productions.
17th Apr '17 9:35:24 PM AllenbysEyes88
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** Williams harbored his own doubts about his role, as the titular Nature God. For one, he had to learn Welsh for large passages of the script, turning to Sian Phillips for help. He came to view the role as "a lonely part and...a miserable part" that he couldn't get a grip on. Known for his broad comic acting in the Film/CarryOn films, Williams initially played Jack as a subtly menacing AntiVillain, hoping to [[PlayingAgainstType play against type]]. Instead, Williams found audiences unresponsive, and soon began playing the character more and more broadly as the show's run continued. Williams was heartbroken by the negative reviews his performance received, and always blamed himself for the show's failure.
** When ''Gentle Jack'' premiered in November 1963, it was universally panned: Bolt claimed that the critics "sat like mice, actively hating it" while Michael Bryant complained that audiences "thought we were disgusting." Kenneth Williams recalled that after one show, he was confronted by viewers who demanded to know what the play meant. It was retired after seventy-five performances; its failure convinced Bolt to largely abandon the stage for the screen, agreeing to write the script for ''Film/DoctorZhivago'' immediately after its run concluded. Bolt spent his later years trying to rework ''Jack'' into something more presentable, but never finished it.

to:

** Williams harbored his own doubts about his role, as the titular Nature God. For one, he had to learn Welsh for large passages of the script, turning to Sian Phillips for help. He came to view the role Jack as "a lonely part and...a miserable part" that he couldn't get a grip on. Known for his broad comic acting in the Film/CarryOn films, Williams initially played Jack as a subtly menacing AntiVillain, hoping to [[PlayingAgainstType play against type]]. Instead, When Williams found audiences unresponsive, and soon he began playing the character more and more broadly as the show's run continued. Williams was heartbroken by the negative reviews his performance received, and always blamed himself for the show's failure.
** When ''Gentle Jack'' premiered in November 1963, it was universally panned: Bolt claimed that the critics "sat like mice, actively hating it" while Michael Bryant complained that audiences "thought we were disgusting." Kenneth Williams recalled that after one show, he was and Bryant were confronted by viewers who demanded to know what the play meant. It was retired after seventy-five performances; its failure convinced Bolt to largely abandon the stage for the screen, agreeing to write the script for ''Film/DoctorZhivago'' immediately after its run concluded. Bolt spent his later years trying to rework ''Jack'' into something more presentable, but never finished it.
17th Apr '17 9:27:33 PM AllenbysEyes88
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** For starters, [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the play itself was a hard sell]]: a fantasy parable about an office worker who visits his boss's estate in the countryside, then encounters a Nature God who offers the protagonist his powers [[FaustianBargain if he'll agree to murder one of his friends]]. Besides the premise, the play also featured LotsAndLotsOfCharacters with their own subplots that deviated from the main storyline, along with elaborate set design and stage direction that ensured an expensive production. Many of Bolt's colleagues found the play unsatisfactory and tried warning him away from the project; Peter Hall, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, offered Bolt a chance to write a history play on the English Civil War if he abandoned ''Jack''.
** While Bolt landed a murderer's row of acting talent - Creator/KennethWilliams, Dame Edith Evans, Sian Phillips and Michael Bryant - they were dreadfully miscast, especially Evans who, at age 75, was simply too old for her character, written as a fortysomething businesswoman. Worse, Evans acted the prima donna on set, constantly demanding rewrites to make her character more sympathetic, fussing over minor details about her performance, and refusing to wear any wardrobe beyond the clothes she wore to the theater. All of this, naturally, aggravated her costars, Bolt and director Noel Willman to no end. Kenneth Williams' mockery of Evans' obnoxious behavior became one of his signature bits when appearing on talk shows and interview programs.
** Williams also found his own role (the titular Nature god) extremely taxing. For one, he had to learn Welsh for large passages of the script, turning to Sian Phillips for help. He also found himself increasingly doubting his fitness for the part. Williams, known for his broad comic acting in the Film/CarryOn films, played Jack as a subtly menacing AntiVillain, but found audiences unresponsive to his deviation from typecasting and began playing the role more and more broadly as the show's run continued. Williams was heartbroken by the negative reviews his performance received, and always blamed himself for the show's failure.
** When ''Gentle Jack'' premiered in November 1963, it was universally panned: Bolt claimed that the critics "sat like mice, actively hating it" while Michael Bryant complained that audiences "thought we were disgusting." The play was retired after seventy-five performances; its failure convinced Bolt to largely abandon the stage for the screen, agreeing to write the script for ''Film/DoctorZhivago'' immediately after its run concluded. Bolt spent his later years trying to rework the play into something more presentable, but never finished it.

to:

** For starters, [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the play itself was a hard sell]]: a fantasy parable about an office worker who visits his boss's estate in the countryside, then encounters a Nature God who offers the protagonist his powers [[FaustianBargain if he'll agree to murder one of his friends]]. Besides the premise, the play It also featured LotsAndLotsOfCharacters with their own subplots that deviated from the main storyline, along with elaborate set design and stage direction that ensured an expensive production. Many of Bolt's colleagues found the play unsatisfactory baffling and tried warning him away from the project; Peter Hall, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, even offered Bolt a chance to write a history play on the English Civil War if he abandoned ''Jack''.
** While Bolt landed a murderer's row of acting talent - Creator/KennethWilliams, Dame Edith Evans, Sian Phillips and Michael Bryant - they were dreadfully miscast, especially either dubious about the material themselves, or else miscast. Evans who, was the worst offender in all regards: at age 75, she was simply too old for her character, written conceived by Bolt as a fortysomething businesswoman. Worse, Evans acted the prima donna on set, constantly demanding She forgot or else refused to learn her lines, asked Bolt for rewrites to make her character more sympathetic, fussing over minor details about her performance, and refusing to wear any wardrobe occasionally refused costuming beyond the clothes she wore to the theater. All of this, naturally, aggravated theater, and clashed with her costars, Bolt and costars. In particular, she irritated Kenneth Williams by asking director Noel Willman to no end. Kenneth Williams' mockery if Williams should be replaced, within earshot of the actor. Years later, Williams would make his impression of Evans' obnoxious prima donna behavior became one of his signature bits when appearing on a recurring joke in interviews and talk shows and interview programs.
show appearances.
** Williams also found harbored his own role (the doubts about his role, as the titular Nature god) extremely taxing.God. For one, he had to learn Welsh for large passages of the script, turning to Sian Phillips for help. He also found himself increasingly doubting his fitness for came to view the part. Williams, known role as "a lonely part and...a miserable part" that he couldn't get a grip on. Known for his broad comic acting in the Film/CarryOn films, Williams initially played Jack as a subtly menacing AntiVillain, but hoping to [[PlayingAgainstType play against type]]. Instead, Williams found audiences unresponsive to his deviation from typecasting unresponsive, and soon began playing the role character more and more broadly as the show's run continued. Williams was heartbroken by the negative reviews his performance received, and always blamed himself for the show's failure.
** When ''Gentle Jack'' premiered in November 1963, it was universally panned: Bolt claimed that the critics "sat like mice, actively hating it" while Michael Bryant complained that audiences "thought we were disgusting." The Kenneth Williams recalled that after one show, he was confronted by viewers who demanded to know what the play meant. It was retired after seventy-five performances; its failure convinced Bolt to largely abandon the stage for the screen, agreeing to write the script for ''Film/DoctorZhivago'' immediately after its run concluded. Bolt spent his later years trying to rework the play ''Jack'' into something more presentable, but never finished it.



* Creator/JohnOsborne's biggest theatrical flop was 1959's ''The World of Paul Slickey'', a broad musical satire of England's tabloid press. Coming at the height of his fame and acclaim, its difficult production and critical pounding proved a massive shock to Osborne and his fans.
** Despite his notoriety, Osborne couldn't find anyone willing to produce or direct the play, even his Royal Court collaborators Tony Richardson and George Devine. He ultimately turned to independent producer Donald Albery and a trio of amateur investors for funds, while deciding to direct it himself. Osborne's inexperience (he had never directed a West End production before, only minor repertory plays) led to some poor casting and directorial decisions, especially turning down Creator/SeanConnery (admittedly, little-known at that time) and Robert Stephens for the title character in favor of Dennis Lotis, a singer with little acting experience. He was also adamant about keeping his incoherent musical numbers intact, even though his producers tactfully suggested that they could stand some rewrites.
** ''Slickey'' premiered to one of the worst opening nights in West End history. Audiences started booing halfway through the performance, and continued mocking and talking back to the actors for the remainder of the show. During the curtain call, the audience booed and threw garbage at the stage, prompting actress Adrienne Corri to flip them off while instructing them to "Go fuck yourselves!" Osborne himself later claimed that he was chased by an angry mob up Charing Cross Road. Creator/NoelCoward, who attended the show and joined the booing, proclaimed it "appalling from every point of view," a criticism universally echoed by critics.
17th Apr '17 3:12:40 PM AllenbysEyes88
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** For starters, [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the play itself was a hard sell]]: a fantasy parable about an office worker who visits his boss's estate in the countryside, encounters a Nature God who offers the protagonist his powers, [[FaustianBargain if he'll agree to murder one of his friends]]. Besides the premise, the play also featured LotsAndLotsOfCharacters with their own subplots that deviated from the main storyline, along with elaborate set design and stage direction that assured an expensive production. Many of Bolt's colleagues found the play unsatisfactory and tried warning him away from the project; Peter Hall, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, offered Bolt a chance to write a history play on the English Civil War if he abandoned ''Jack''.

to:

** For starters, [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the play itself was a hard sell]]: a fantasy parable about an office worker who visits his boss's estate in the countryside, then encounters a Nature God who offers the protagonist his powers, powers [[FaustianBargain if he'll agree to murder one of his friends]]. Besides the premise, the play also featured LotsAndLotsOfCharacters with their own subplots that deviated from the main storyline, along with elaborate set design and stage direction that assured ensured an expensive production. Many of Bolt's colleagues found the play unsatisfactory and tried warning him away from the project; Peter Hall, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, offered Bolt a chance to write a history play on the English Civil War if he abandoned ''Jack''.
17th Apr '17 3:11:15 PM AllenbysEyes88
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** For starters, [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the play itself was a hard sell]]: it was a parable about an office worker who visits his boss's estate in the countryside, is tempted by a Nature God to gain his powers, [[FaustianBargain if he'll agree to murder one of his friends]]. Besides the premise, the play also featured LotsAndLotsOfCharacters with their own subplots that deviated from the main storyline, along with elaborate set design and stage direction that assured an expensive production. Many of Bolt's colleagues found the play unsatisfactory and tried warning him away from the project; Peter Hall, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, offered Bolt a chance to write a history play on the English Civil War if he abandoned ''Jack''.

to:

** For starters, [[AudienceAlienatingPremise the play itself was a hard sell]]: it was a fantasy parable about an office worker who visits his boss's estate in the countryside, is tempted by encounters a Nature God to gain who offers the protagonist his powers, [[FaustianBargain if he'll agree to murder one of his friends]]. Besides the premise, the play also featured LotsAndLotsOfCharacters with their own subplots that deviated from the main storyline, along with elaborate set design and stage direction that assured an expensive production. Many of Bolt's colleagues found the play unsatisfactory and tried warning him away from the project; Peter Hall, director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, offered Bolt a chance to write a history play on the English Civil War if he abandoned ''Jack''.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=TroubledProduction.Theatre