Betty Blue Eyes

There are so many movies being made into musicals nowadays it is ridiculous.

Over the years there have been many, lately there have been way too many. Few hits, lots of misses.

Hits like “The Producers” , “Hairspray” & “The Lion King” can bring in the bucks and the audiences, but there are more often misses – or downright flops.

Most recently a musical adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s hit film “Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown” closed on Broadway earlier than its limited run! It was produced by a non-profit organization – The Lincoln Centre, had an all star Broadway cast (Patti Lupone, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sherie Rene Scott & Laura Benati), still it flopped. The same composer had mini success with 2 other movie adaptations “The Full Monty” & “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” Not hits but they had decent enough runs.

“Legally Blonde” did ok, another John Water’s film adaptation “Cry Baby”, did not.  “9 to 5” flopped as did “High Fidelity”. “Xanadu” (soon to be seen in a tent production in Australia) was successful and “Mary Poppins” is a mega-hit. Even the cult documentary “Grey Gardens” managed a stage musical adaptation (semi successful).

Legally Blonde the musical

Stephanie Block, Allison Janney & Megan Hilty in the musical adaptation of “9 to 5”

Xanadu

Christine Ebersole & Mary Louise Wilson in their Tony winning roles in the musical of “Grey Gardens”

There are so many more to come…..

FAR FROM HEAVEN based on the brilliant Todd Hayne’s film.

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE a US independent breakout hit and Oscar nominee (winner for Alan Arkin)

KINKY BOOTS a hit independent English film

LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE a foreign language food film hit

TO DIE FOR the breakthrough performance that made Nicole Kidman’s name as a serious actress (if you want to call her that).

in London there is a stage production of the hit film “Ghost” premiering soon with music from The Eurythmic’s Dave Stewart no less.

the list goes on and on and on.

Julianne Moore in the film version of “Far From Heaven”

Of course the all time movie adaptation flop (also based on a book) – “Carrie The Musical”. Legendary in its failure, and about to be revived finally, off-Broadway in 2012. This is one musical I would kill to see.

I chanced upon a new musical opening on the West End in March, has apparently been on the cards for a while, but first heard about it this week. It is based on one of my all time favorite English comedies, written by the brilliant Alan Bennett and starring Maggie Smith, Michael Palin, Denholm Elliott and the wonderful Liz Smith (the first film to bring her to my attention/probably most famous as Gran in the brilliant UK comedy series “The Royle Family”). The movie is “A Private Function”. It is being produced on the West End at the Novello theatre in March. The stage musical adaptation is called “Betty Blue Eyes”.

For those not familiar, it tells the delightful story of Gilbert, a chirpodist and his social climbing wife Joyce as they try to settle into a Northern London village at the time of post war rationing and the announcement of the forthcoming wedding of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip. (Handy as this is the year of another Royal Wedding – William & Kate). Together with Joyce’s senile mother they attempt to swindle the towns leading businessmen and powers that be, who have planned a banquet in honour of the royal nuptials including an illegally bred pig – Betty. Hence the title of the musical (does Betty Windsor have blue eyes?). Producer is Cameron MacKintosh (no slouch when it comes to producing musical hits). The composers  had a hand in the new songs to beef up “Mary Poppins” amongst a lot of other projects. They have been championed by MacKintosh over the years.

I hope this one is a success, it is such a good film full of English eccentricities. I do wonder how they will manage a live pig on stage – “No Pig!” let’s hope not.

The wonderful Liz Smith.

 

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1 Comment

Filed under Theatre

One response to “Betty Blue Eyes

  1. Now that one sounds like a hoot. (But they should leave Far From Heaven alone…)

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