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Theatre / On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

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On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is a 1965 musical comedy with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Burton Lane.

Daisy Gamble is a 22-year-old New Yorker who, although seemingly ordinary, expresses some rather uncanny abilities, particularly over plants. Daisy goes to visit Dr. Mark Bruckner, an experienced hypnotist, to see if he can help cure her addiction to smoking. While hypnotizing her, Bruckner uncovers details not only of Daisy's early life, but also her previous life as a young 18th-century Englishwoman named Melinda Welles and her four years of marriage to Sir Edward Moncrief, a rakish portrait painter.

The original Broadway production starred Barbara Harris as Daisy/Melinda and John Cullum as Dr. Bruckner. The 1970 film adaptation was directed by Vincente Minnelli, starred Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand, and featured a considerably revised story as well as new Movie Bonus Songs from Lerner and Lane.

In 2011 a revival was staged with a number of substantial changes, starring Harry Connick Jr. as Dr. Bruckner. Daisy Gamble becomes David Gamble, who is trying to quit smoking because he already told his boyfriend that he quit. He goes to Bruckner on the advice of his roommate, and during their sessions, Bruckner discovers that David is the reincarnation of a 1940s singer named Melinda Wells.

Tropes appearing in this musical:

  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In the film, Daisy's past alter ego is named Lady Melinda Winifred Waine Tentrees.
    • Also, Dr. Mark Bruckner becomes Dr. Marc Chabot, and is French rather than Austrian.
  • Arranged Marriage: Melinda's family makes elaborate preparations for her to marry Sir Hubert Insdale. She quashes the proposal simply by saying "no" to him.
  • Disposable FiancĂ©: Daisy's blandly perfect fiancé, the perfectly bland Warren Smith.
  • Distant Duet: In the film version, when Daisy is avoiding the psychiatrist and he tries to reach her telepathically, she begins hearing the words of the song "Come Back to Me" coming from the mouths of her cooking class teacher, police officers, and other random strangers.
  • Funny Foreigner: Themistocles Kriakos, an eccentric Greek millionaire who speaks broken English and is more than eager to fund serious research on reincarnation.
  • Loving a Shadow: Mark falls in love with Melinda, though she only exists in Daisy's unconscious recollections.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Edward invokes this with the song "Don't Tamper with My Sister," though the complaint here is just that it's in public (and Edward is only pretending to be her brother anyway).
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Daisy's British accent starts to fade when she stops recalling memories of her previous life in 18th-century England.
  • Psychic Powers: Daisy's demonstrated psychic powers include knowing where other people's car keys are and making flowers grow really fast.
  • Reincarnation: Mark probes into Daisy's unconscious memories of her past life in 18th-century England as Melinda Welles.
  • Talking to Plants: Daisy does this in the song "Hurry! It's Lovely Up Here."
  • Title Theme Tune: In a rare musical theatre example, the prelude features the title song sung by an offstage chorus.
  • Unreliable Voiceover: Daisy's narration of her 18th-century flashbacks often contradicts the immediate happenings.

Tropes appearing in the 2011 revival:

  • Reincarnated as the Opposite Sex: Gay David Gamble goes to therapist Dr. Bruckner to stop his smoking habit and, through hypnosis, discloses his past life as 1940s jazz singer Melinda Wells. Bruckner finds himself falling for David's recollections of Melinda, but, as a straight man, is not attracted to the present David, despite them technically being the same person. David, who had fallen for Bruckner, is none too happy when he realizes this. note 
  • Setting Update: The setting changes from 1960s to 1970s New York. Likewise, Melinda is now a New Yorker from the 1940s, not an Englishwoman from the 18th-century.

Alternative Title(s): On A Clear Day You Can See Forever