* Creator/WSGilbert:
** The author wrote an early draft of ''Theatre/{{Patience}}'' in which the object of the twenty lovesick maidens' affections was not an aesthete but the mystic Revd Lawn Tennison.
** Probably the best libretto Gilbert wrote after ''Theatre/TheYeomenOfTheGuard'' was ''His Excellency''. It has a clever premise, some superb lyrics, fantastic characters, including two of the best female characters Gilbert ever wrote... and Sullivan rejected it because Gilbert wanted to cast the woman he was to adopt as his daughter, Nancy [=MacIntosh=], as one of the leads, and, while there's a couple good tunes in it, most of them are pretty dull, making it unperformable.
** Oh, and there was also talk of Creator/GilbertAndSullivan doing a version of Frankenstein.
* Jerome Robbins originally pitched ''Theatre/WestSideStory'' as a story about antisemitism and strife between the Italian-American Jets and the Jewish-American Emeralds. The Maria character was to be a holocaust survivor, and the story would have taken place over the Easter-Passover season.
* Creator/CirqueDuSoleil's 20th anniversary book ''20 Years Under the Sun'' (2004) mentions several shows and concepts that didn't come to fruition as originally conceived; there have been more such cases since:
** ''Eclipse'' was planned as Cirque's first tour after their breakthrough ''Theatre/LeCirqueReinvente'' (1987), reaching the workshop stage. But many ''Reinvente'' performers wanted to be in it while Cirque co-founder Guy Laliberte wanted to cast a new lineup. Plus, the company's artistic director Guy Caron objected to Cirque becoming a for-profit organization and parted ways with it (he'd return to direct ''Dralion'' in 1999); several performers followed suit, ''and'' financing fell through. After some regrouping, ideas developed and performers recruited for ''Eclipse'' were incorporated into 1990's ''Theatre/NouvelleExperience'', and "Eclipse" is the title of one of its underscore numbers.
** Cirque's first Las Vegas show, ''Theatre/{{Mystere}}'' (1993), was originally pitched to Caesars Palace in 1990 and had a Greco-Roman mythology theme to fit the locale. The show was finally staged at rival hotel-casino Treasure Island, absent the original theme.
** Casino mogul Steve Wynn wanted Cirque to stage a giant outdoor aquacade stunt show for his new Bellagio Hotel and Casino -- they quickly scaled it down into the show that became ''Theatre/{{O}}'' (1998). Initially, it was to have given equal time to both water and fire-based acts. (Notably, the later Vegas production ''KA'' (2005) has a fire motif.)
** Plans for a VarietyShow variant to set up residency in Macau, China were scrapped after the "traditional" show ''ZAIA'' (2008) opened there to weak ticket sales.
** Early press releases for ''Theatre/CrissAngelBelieve'' (2008) had Criss playing an "enigmatic Victorian noble" and no mention of the AllJustADream framework of the finished show, which (when it opened) started as a conventional magic show until a stunt "went wrong" and the setting changed to a dream unfolding in his head. (Perhaps Cirque worried that Criss's fanbase would feel cheated if he wasn't his usual stage self?)
** ''Theatre/BananaShpeel'' (2010) was originally going to be a hybrid of the company's house style, {{Vaudeville}}, and TheMusical. The third style was dropped when the storyline threatened to overshadow the different variety/comedy acts intended as the show's backbone, and among the characters (and performers) dropped were [[Main/RomanticPlotTumor a romantic couple]]. This happened so late in development that one of the dropped musical numbers, led by the axed couple, had already been featured in a preview on the 2009 season finale of ''America's Got Talent''. Details [[http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2009/11/banana-shpeel-cirque-du-soleil-slides-into-world-of-legitimate-theater-.html here]]. In the wake of the poorly-reviewed Chicago tryout, enough changes were implemented to the point that the New York opening was delayed three-plus months. It wound up closing early and an aborted tour confirmed the show as a DorkAge.
** While ''Theatre/VivaElvis'' (2010) made it to the stage of the Aria Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the plans for a similar European tour based around ElvisPresley's work never panned out, possibly due to the Great Recession. That could also explain why a Dubai resident show was cancelled around the same time.
** ''Theatre/VivaElvis'' closed in 2012. Cirque and MGM Mirage Resorts considered restaging Tokyo Disneyland's ''[=ZED=]'' in the Aria's theater as a replacement (the original production closed after the post-earthquake tourism slowdown in 2011). But its format was too similar to that of their first, still-running Vegas show ''Theatre/{{Mystere}}'', and the theater would have to be remodeled for it. Instead they moved the tour ''Theatre/{{Zarkana}}'', which had neither problem, into the Aria and incorporated two ''[=ZED=]'' acts into ''Mystere''.
** MGM Mirage wanted Cirque to develop a show for yet another of their Vegas hotel-casinos, Excalibur, possibly one specifically for kids as a counterpart to the adults-only ''Zumanity'' across the street at New York-New York. But the established showroom -- a small arena built on an underground level of the property -- couldn't be refurbished and expanded on the scale that a Cirque show would require. Instead, the arena's established LongRunner ''Tournament of Kings'' enjoyed a refreshed physical production in 2012.
* ''AnnieGetYourGun'' was originally supposed to have a score composed by Jerome Kern, with co-librettist Dorothy Fields providing the lyrics. It was only after Kern died that Irving Berlin was hired to write the score, considered by many his greatest.
* AndrewLloydWebber originally sought Alan Jay Lerner (''My Fair Lady'', ''Camelot'', etc.) to write the lyrics for ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', but Lerner was too ill to do so. Similarly, he also tried to recruit Music/JimSteinman as the lyricist, but that too came to naught.
** Lloyd Webber initially had an entirely different tone in mind for ''Phantom'', conceiving it as a campy rock musical with Steve Harley in the title role. (The remnants of this idea can still be heard in the drum-and-electric-guitar laced title song.) After Lloyd Webber read the original novel, the musical's style shifted towards romantic melodrama, and Colm Wilkinson played the part in a "proto-staging" at Sydmonton and was considered for the lead (and would eventually play it in the Toronto cast) -- but he was busy with ''Les Miserables'' at the time, ultimately leading to the successful against-type casting of Michael Crawford.
** ''Phantom'' has a long and storied production history, which include robotic mice with glowing red eyes, an animatronic horse and live doves. A live ''elephant'' was briefly considered!
** The 2010 ''Phantom'' sequel ''Theatre/LoveNeverDies'' originally was to open in London, New York City, and Shanghai ''at the same time'' -- an absolutely unprecedented idea that was just too big to pull off. (Later plans to open the Broadway production just months after London's were scuppered thanks to poor critical and audience response.) [[http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_Never_Dies_(musical)#Background Lloyd Webber was working on a sequel from 1990 onwards]]; Creator/FrederickForsyth's novel ''Literature/ThePhantomOfManhattan'' was derived from collaborative work he did with Lloyd Webber on its storyline late in TheNineties. Originally, the showpiece song was to be "The Heart Is Slow to Learn", previewed at a Lloyd Webber tribute concert in the late '90s; after its melody was recycled for a song in ''The Beautiful Game''/''The Boys in the Photograph'', it became the basis for the title tune of ''Love Never Dies''.
* ''Theatre/{{Follies}}'' was originally planned as, in Sondheim's words, "a kind of murder mystery, a who'll-do-it rather than a whodunit." The authors eventually decided to cut out the part where Sally, Ben, Phyllis and Buddy would try to kill each other for the wrongs done by their past selves.
* The list of incomplete and planned-but-never-composed operas is huge, but probably no "what could have been" is more intriguing than a Theatre/KingLear by GiuseppeVerdi.
* Many musicals have at least one song that [[CutSong got cut]] during the development stages.
* Disney Theatricals could-have-beens:
** ''Tarzan'' was originally planned as a Creator/CirqueDuSoleil-style tour in a tent (it was eventually staged in a circus format in Europe).
** Matthew Bourne was originally tapped to direct and choreograph ''The Little Mermaid''.
** ''Hoopz'' -- a musical about the Harlem Globetrotters.
** ''When You Wish'' was effectively a "Disney's GreatestHitsAlbum" for the stage. It was reworked into ''On the Record'', a U.S. tour that was intended for Broadway (and even had a cast album recorded and released) but died on the road.
** For a long time, there was talk of a stage version of ''Pinocchio'' that would have been helmed by Julie Taymor.
** After the success of ''The Lion King'' and ''Beauty and the Beast'' on Broadway, Disney started looking at other films in their arsenal to adapt to the stage. One was ''Pocahontas'', although it was fairly quickly shot down -- long stretches of Pocahontas running, diving, and canoeing were integral to the story and they weren't sure how to adapt those to a stage.
** A stage adaptation of ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' was a huge success in Germany in 1999, and for a time there was talk of getting a Broadway production or TV movie adaptation mounted for U.S. audiences. However, according to Disney insider Jim Hill (who reported on many of the above could-have-beens) the biggest booster of such projects was Michael Eisner...and he was forced out of his CEO position at the TurnOfTheMillennium, which might be a reason the plans fell into DevelopmentHell. ''Hunchback'' finally received an American production in San Diego in 2014, but it was substantially different, with a new book by Peter Parnell, a rejiggered song list, and a completely different approach to the staging.
* ''LadyInTheDark'' was to have had a fourth DreamSequence, in which Liza and Randy Curtis are MarriedInTheFuture and living on a lush San Fernando Valley ranch. The third DreamSequence originally depicted a minstrel show rather than a circus. Moss Hart originally conceived the scenario as that of a straight play (with one song), with Katharine Cornell as the intended star.
* ''Theatre/LilAbner'' was originally supposed to have a book by Alan Jay Lerner, who would also have written the songs with composer Burton Lane (continuing their ''Royal Wedding'' partnership). Lerner later wrote that he had been "trying to turn Li'l Abner into a hillbilly 'Good Soldier Schweik' and came up empty handed."
** After the death of Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers was approached by Alan Jay Lerner to compose songs for ''Theatre/OnAClearDayYouCanSeeForever'' and ''Coco''. The Rodgers-Lerner partnership was not to be, and both projects were ultimately finished with different composers.
* The history of ''StarlightExpress'' is a veritable gold mine of hypothetical possibilities and altered ideas.
** As noted on its page, the show's original concept was a musical adaptation of ''[[ThomasTheTankEngine The Railway Series]]''. When this idea was scrapped, Lloyd Webber decided to base the stage show on the plot of an aborted animated television movie, a retelling of "Literature/{{Cinderella}}" starring a steam locomotive oppressed by his (or her; sources conflict on this point) diesel and electric rivals. The show was intended as a children's pantomime, but Trevor Nunn later took over as director and decided to make it into a piece of theatre equally enjoyable to adults.
** Another inspiration for the original incarnation of ''StarlightExpress'' was the song "Engine of Love," which Lloyd Webber composed for soul singer Earl Jordan in 1977. Peter Reeves wrote the lyrics; when Richard Stilgoe signed on as lyricist, he expanded on the {{Double Entendre}}s already present in "Engine of Love" a hundredfold. Although the song was replaced with "Call Me Rusty" when ''StarlightExpress'' premiered in London, the 1987 Broadway show used a shortened version of it as Rusty's IAmSong.
** Even leaving aside the evolution of the concept, the sheet music for "Belle the Sleeping Car" reveals intriguing hints about the early drafts of ''StarlightExpress''. Belle's song initially had an extra verse; hence the incongruity of the line "...And worst of all, turn over and go straight to sleep," which was meant to rhyme with "They weren't the sort of gentlemen who liked it cheap." This verse was cut by the time the show opened in 1984. The song's coda suggests that Belle was intended as a viable race partner who offered herself to the champion engines and may or may not have had any connection to Rusty. Moreover, the electric locomotive was named [[EltonJohn Elton]], not Electra, which raises questions about his character design. The coda also contains a character named Smuts, who remains the most enigmatic element of all. Fans have speculated that Smuts was the prototype for both Rusty and Dustin, with the one character being split into two as the planning stages developed. This hypothesis would explain the phonetic similarities between the names and why Rusty and Dustin race together at the show's climax.
** Pearl's aerobics instructor-style outfit did not survive beyond the preview periods. By the time the show opened, her costume had been quickly overhauled into a [[PrincessesPreferPink pink tutu-based dress]]. Electra's original unitard had a white motif rather than a blue one.
** Studying the multitudinous different versions of ''StarlightExpress'' is an excellent exercise in "What Once Was." From removed subplots to changed, deleted, and added songs to differing costume designs, no one could list [[SerialEscalation all the alterations made over the years]].
* ''Theatre/AnythingGoes'' was originally supposed to have a subplot in which the Victor Moore character helps spreading rumors about a bomb on board (thereby providing a cue for "Blow, Gabriel, Blow") and builds a fake bomb for the William Gaxton character to discover and throw overboard in a feat of EngineeredHeroism, but things go awry and they get thrown in the brig for intermission. This subplot was removed after the notorious maritime disaster of September 1934 in which the S.S. ''Morro Castle'' went up in flames just off the coast of New Jersey. Sources differ on some of the details, as well as the character names: in one older draft of the script, Moore's character was a refugee from HorribleHollywood named Elmer Purkis.
* ''Theatre/OneTouchOfVenus'' was originally conceived of as a star vehicle for Creator/MarleneDietrich, and the original librettist, Bella Spewack, apparently was going to keep the Victorian setting of the source story ("The Tinted Venus" by F. Anstey). Ultimately, Dietrich lost interest, Spewack was written out in favor of Creator/SJPerelman, and the setting was updated.
* ''Theatre/{{Gypsy}}'':
** The second act was originally supposed to have Rose's breakdown take the form of a DreamBallet (as one might expect for a show whose director-choreographer was ostentatiously credited for the "entire production" of both this musical and ''Theatre/WestSideStory'', hit of the previous season). Fortunately, the ballet was never choreographed, and "Rose's Turn" was written instead.
** Legal threats from June Havoc almost resulted in June being renamed Clare in the show.
** The famous MedleyOverture originally included the "Cow Song" and "Together We Go" after "You'll Never Get Away From Me"; Jule Styne, who complained that the overture ran too long, suggested they be replaced with a timpani roll.
** "Little Lamb" was originally to have been sung by Louise as an interlude within "Mr. Goldstone"; this version can be heard on Creator/EthelMerman's demo recording. It was barely rescued from being cut altogether.
* There was a ''[[Theatre/BatmanTheMusical Batman]]'' musical in the works with songs written by Music/JimSteinman, who is best known for writing many songs for MeatLoaf. Meat Loaf would then cover two of the songs in ''Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose''.
* In ''Theatre/{{Carousel}}'', originally the judge Billy meets in heaven was not the Starkeeper but a New England minister and his wife.
* ''Lost in the Stars'' was not originally an adaptation of ''Literature/CryTheBelovedCountry''. Music/KurtWeill and Maxwell Anderson began work on the show in 1939, before Paton's novel was even written. It had the WorkingTitle ''Ulysses Africanus'', and was being adapted from Harry Stillwell Edwards' novel ''Eneas Africanus''. The title role was offered to Creator/PaulRobeson, who declined it.
* ''Theatre/OnTheTown'' was originally supposed to have a HowWeGotHere prologue, with the three sailors each recalling the events that landed them in night court.
* Anthony Warlow, who is beloved by ''[[Theatre/JekyllAndHyde Jekyll & Hyde]]'' musical fans for singing the title roles on the 1994 album, once mentioned that he had been asked to star in the Broadway production but declined because he felt that [[ExecutiveMeddling the endless script rewrites]] badly hurt the show.
* The popular European musical ''Theatre/TanzDerVampire'' had an infamous Broadway debut characterized by ExecutiveMeddling that turned the show into more of a raunchy comedy, and composer Music/JimSteinman [[CreatorBacklash has spoken out against that production.]] Perhaps things might have been different [[AuthorExistenceFailure if Steve Barton had gotten to star in the production, as originally intended.]]
** According to Wikipedia, actors sought for the role of Krolock for the Broadway version included "Music/DavidBowie, John Travolta, Richard Gere and Placido Domingo". For the record, that's one rock musician, two movie stars, and an opera singer.
* In ''Theatre/DamnYankees'', "Those Were The Good Old Days" was originally a duet for Applegate and Lola, and the number was still a duet when it was orchestrated.
* A musical version of ''Film/TheManWhoFellToEarth'', which would have been closer to the original novel than its 1976 film adaptation, was announced for Broadway at the turn of 2000, and had a dedicated website with song demos and costume designs. The project never got further than the song demo stage. Curiously, there were unrelated plans for a new ''film'' adaptation of the book for 2009, but that project never made it further than an [=IMDb=] page. Both projects may have suffered for the fact that the story has a DownerEnding that would be hard to soften without throwing away the work's point.
* ''The Leslie Bricusse Songbook'', a sheet music collection, includes introductions by Bricusse that reveal behind-the-scenes stories of his work, as well as information about -- and even songs from -- productions that didn't pan out.
** ''Hollywood Wives'' (no relation to the Creator/JackieCollins novel) was a project from the turn of TheNineties that would have been a sendup of Tinseltown.
** He was working on a ScreenToStageAdaptation of ''Franchise/ThePinkPanther'' at the time of the latest edition's release (2007), and one of the songs he'd written for it put lyrics to the series' iconic theme tune. (No, it doesn't appear in the book.) Nothing has been heard of this project since.
** An earlier book had songs Bricusse wrote with Music/HenryMancini for a musical version of ''Theatre/MajorBarbara'' which might have starred Creator/JulieAndrews but was abandoned because obtaining the rights from the Shaw estate was an uphill battle.
* The TurnOfTheMillennium Broadway revival of ''The Elephant Man'' starring Billy Crudup attempted StuntCasting by asking Music/DavidBowie, who famously played the title role during the show's original Broadway run, to play the doctor who becomes his caretaker; Bowie turned it down.
* ''Theatre/{{Oklahoma}}'': The now-famous "II Special Chorus" vocal arrangement of the title song replaced yet another ballet sequence. This resulted in the dismissal of Eric Victor, one of the dancers formerly involved, who had remained in the production even after fracturing a wrist in New Haven.
* ''Allegro'' was originally supposed to tell the full life story of Joseph Taylor, Jr. from his birth to his death. Hammerstein only finished the second act under time pressure, by which time he decided the show was "about a man not being allowed to do his own work because of worldly pressures."
* The opening scene of ''Theatre/TheMostHappyFella'' was rewritten to run shorter with fewer people on stage. The early version included the cashier asking the waitresses out in song and apparently succeeding with one, and several more waitresses besides Cleo gathering around as Amy/Rosabella reads the love letter and identifies its author as "the meatballs and macaroni" by licking gravy off the menu.
* ''Theatre/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' (2013):
** As discussed in [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/drama/10101644/Behind-the-scenes-at-Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory.html this article]], director Creator/SamMendes first tried to get the stage rights to the novel in the late 1980s. He tried again at the TurnOfTheMillennium, but the rights were with Warner Bros. by then, and they were busy with what became [[Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory the 2005 film]]...which Warner Theatricals briefly considered doing a ScreenToStageAdaptation of before giving the go-ahead for a fresh adaptation of the novel in 2007. From there the show went through ''fifty'' drafts!
** Before going with adult actors in trick costumes (ala how Lord Farquaad was handled in the stage version of ''Shrek'') to play the Oompa-Loompas, the creators considered either using puppets or casting children in the roles.
** According to Creator/DouglasHodge (who originated the role of Willy Wonka), "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" was almost a CutSong, as the songwriters came up with a far more bombastic number to take its place. That made it to the readthrough stage, but Hodge wanted something cheekier...so the writers, who felt much the same way by that point, played "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" for him, and with further tweaking, the song was back in the show.
** Initally there were no plans to incorporate songs from [[Film/WillyWonkaAndTheChocolateFactory the 1971 film adaptation]] into this show; it was ExecutiveMeddling that led to "Pure Imagination", serving as TheElevenOClockNumber. (Arguably a positive example of meddling, given how well the sequence goes over with audiences.)
** The novel's CoolBoat ride down the chocolate river was scrapped because the scenery and setpieces required to pull it off convincingly would kill the show's pacing; [[PragmaticAdaptation instead]] a simpler chocolate waterfall appears in the Chocolate Room and a smaller cool boat ferries the DwindlingParty between the Nut Room and the Department of the Future in a transitional scene later on.
** The Great Glass Elevator setpiece was so hard to perfect that a backup version of the "Pure Imagination" number was rehearsed in which the elevator was explicitly stated to be ''invisible'', with the actors miming its walls.
** The final stretch of "Juicy!" (TheVillainSucksSong for Violet's demise) features roller-skating Oompa-Loompas; originally Willy Wonka was going to skate too, but Douglas Hodge never got the hang of it and concerns for his safety led to that bit of business getting cut.
* Shortly before his death, Music/MichaelJackson's people announced plans for a Broadway JukeboxMusical that would have incorporated songs from his albums ''Off the Wall'' and ''Thriller''.
* Creator/PGWodehouse wrote a musical adaptation of ''Literature/JeevesAndWooster'' with Guy Bolton (Wodehouse's sometime collaborator for fifty years) as co-librettist and Robert Wright and George Forrest to write the tunes. ''Betting on Bertie'', however, failed to attract a producer, and the stage rights were ultimately sold to Music/AndrewLloydWebber.
* In [[Creator/GeorgeCarlin George Carlin's]] sort-of biography, ''Last Words'', his final chapter mentioned that he had enough material to construct a Broadway play or musical based on his life. He would have entitled it ''New York Boy''. Unfortunately, ''Last Words'' was published posthumously.
* ''Madama Butterfly'' went through some rather drastic revisions after its La Scala premiere:
** Two short passages in the first act where Pinkerton boorishly insulted the servants were cut.
** Both forms of Butterfly's {{leitmotif}}, which reminded audiences of ''Theatre/LaBoheme'', were altered throughout the score.
** A first-act sequence of Butterfly introducing Pinkerton to everyone was first partially, then entirely cut, along with Yakusidè's bibulous attempts to start the wedding toasts himself.
** The second act was originally performed continuously without lowering the curtain, as in the Belasco play, with Butterfly ''and'' her child (who remained on stage from his entrance) waiting out the long stage silence, which was made a little longer by Butterfly not singing again until her lullaby.
** The ''romanza'' "Addio, fiorito asil" was added for Brescia to strengthen Pinkerton's presence in the final scene. The preceding trio was also lowered in key from G major to G-flat major.
** Butterfly's final aria and its postlude were shortened considerably to eliminate EndingFatigue.
* In the first draft of ''Theatre/PokemonLive'', the reveal would be made that Giovanni was Ash's father, rather than Delia dating him before she met Ash's father.
----