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re: Frank Wildhorn and Jim

Posted by:
rockfenris2005 05:07 am UTC 05/01/21
In reply to: re: Frank Wildhorn and Jim - rockfenris2005 05:01 am UTC 05/01/21

There had been a lot of excitement around Jekyll & Hyde from the moment it started at the Alley Theatre in Houston. Audiences were desperately trying to get in. They wanted to keep extending but the actors couldn't stick around long enough to do it. After that, there was a huge National tour of the US, and again a lot of excitement about its Broadway chances. It was a Gothic Musical Thriller. Frank was this big upcoming composer. There had been a massive hit with "This is the Moment" which many artists were taking on, putting into their repertoires. The two pre-cast albums had done very well, and in the end it managed four years on Broadway breaking box office records at the Plymouth Theatre. "Scarlet Pimpernel" and "Civil War" opened after that, briefly making Frank the first American composer in more than 20 years to have three musicals playing simultaneously on Broadway.

But lots of people agree that Jekyll & Hyde had been diluted for the Broadway version, and that it might have lasted longer had they just kept it like the National tour. We will never know.

The trouble really began with "The Civil War" (I don't think any of his Broadway musicals made back their investment until after the rights were released). That didn't last very long at all, and then "Dracula" did the same, "Wonderland", "Bonnie & Clyde", the "Jekyll & Hyde" 2013 production, they all shutter very early.

> There had been a couple attempts with Frank in the West
> End, I know that much. Bill Kenwright introduced Jekyll &
> Hyde to the UK as a tour in 2004, with Paul Nicholas in
> the leading "roles", with hopes that it would then go on
> to the West End that way, but the tour didn't work. Bill
> came back and did it again though a few years later with
> Marti Pellow from the group Wet Wet Wet.
> After that, Bonnie & Clyde was tried out as a workshop at
> the Other Palace in London, Andrew Lloyd Webber's theatre
> where he tries out new musicals, and I think that was all
> supposed to be part of an effort to bring that to the West
> End, but I haven't heard anything since.
> There was also a UK tour of Frank's Wonderland, which had
> flopped on Broadway, and even that hasn't had much of a
> life in Europe and Asia (they're still trying to get it
> right, I think). The script for the UK tour was redone,
> actually adapted for more of a UK audience (this was
> something Frank wanted to do originally, so that say the
> story would take place in New York if it was being
> produced on Broadway, the story would take place in Tokyo
> if it was being produced in Tokyo, and so on), and Frank
> wrote a new song for it as well. I don't know if they were
> aiming that for the West End, but it didn't advance beyond
> the tour, and actually I seem to remember that it closed a
> bit earlier than they would have liked.
> Beyond that, the UK seems to have stayed away from him,
> haven't they? Not the regional theatres though, they love
> him. They produce his musicals all of the time.
> > So do you think Frank not having a West End show is
> > because of all of his Broadway flops? It doesn't seem to
> > have stopped him everywhere else. Of course Jim had a
> > disaster with DOTV on Broadway but even if that had
> > happened before Whistle Down The Wind in the West End, I
> > think that Andrew Lloyd Webber would have still wanted to
> > work with him on that show. BOOH went into the West End
> > after DOTV Broadway. Tanz might still happen in the West
> > End. But I guess in the case of Frank, he had many
> > Broadway flops. Although, didn't Jekyll & Hyde do quite
> > well? But how did he get so many Broadway chances and no
> > West End chances? Of course I hope that Jim gets more
> > Broadway chances. Why didn't Whistle play Broadway? Do you
> > think BOOH will get there? I am really happy that Tanz is
> > the most popular show in European history. Correct me if I
> > am wrong.
> >
> >
> > > He's really done so well over there, and all throughout
> > > Europe and Asia, but his track record on Broadway has been
> > > abysmal. I don't really understand what went wrong there,
> > > or why the shows didn't connect with people, especially
> > > "Bonnie & Clyde" which from memory was actually pretty
> > > good, but there you go. Those audiences don't get it?
> > > There are plenty of audiences who do. The best Frank
> > > Wildhorn project for me is "The Civil War". It's a very
> > > moving experience, of course I'm only judging by the
> > > Complete Work album he did in the 90s which was all stars
> > > from the Nashville music scene, and musical theatre actors
> > > who came together to make the album.
> > >
> > > Yes, Frank is definitely more prolific, BUT he's been
> > > known to recycle some of his music too, hehe, although not
> > > as much as Jim.
> > >
> > > I totally think Tanz should happen on the West End too.
> > >
> > > > Frank is huge in South Korea. As you say. His Jekyll &
> > > > Hyde is the most successful show in their history. Cameron
> > > > Mackintosh went to great trouble to have Phantom and Les
> > > > Mis translated into Korean. They were big expensive
> > > > productions but they didn't do nearly as well as Jekyll &
> > > > Hyde. I can't understand why no Frank show has ever played
> > > > the West End. I think that Jim is the more unique writer
> > > > of the two but Frank is so amazingly prolific. But Jim has
> > > > had BOOH, Whistle Down The Wind and Footloose in the West
> > > > End. From your Batman website, I got a really good idea
> > > > about what Jim's Batman musical might have been like. Its
> > > > such a shame that Warners pulled the plug because that
> > > > could have lasted ten years in the West End. Of course the
> > > > one I am really hoping for as far as the West End goes is
> > > > Tanz. I know that it didn't work on Broadway but it could
> > > > work here.

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