Ethan Mordden

in Coming up Roses

Published in print November 2000 | ISBN: 9780195140583
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199848867 | DOI:

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The story behind this show starts in the mid-1940s, when Dorothy and Herbert Fields got interested in Madame Tussaud's waxworks in London. They thought it would prove a dandy setting for a musical murder mystery, with a spinster heroine who at last finds romance. Robert Fryer and Lawrence Carr optioned it, and sought a star for the lead, such as Ethel Merman, Bea Lillie, Celeste Holm, or Gisele MacKenzie. Each one would have tilted composition in a different direction, so all the show was at this point was an idea, a script that knew it was doomed to be rewritten, and a title, The Works. In any case, everybody turned it down. Not until Gwen Verdon was consulted and her husband, Bob Fosse, invited to direct it in a package deal was the show finally set.

Keywords: Broadway musicals; Ethel Merman; Bea Lillie; Celeste Holm; Gisele MacKenzie; Robert Fryer; Lawrence Carr; musical murder mystery; Bob Fosse; Gwen Verdon

Chapter.  2894 words. 

Subjects: Popular Music

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