In 1971 or 1972, he, Prince and Wheeler considered it and decided against it (more in the post)
Last Edit: AlanScott 10:40 am EST 01/11/21
Posted by: AlanScott 10:29 am EST 01/11/21
In reply to: Rules of the Game - garyd 12:22 am EST 01/11/21

In 1957 or so, after West Side Story opened, Sondheim and Prince first started talking about doing a "waltz musical" set in an elegant country house, with a cast of characters featuring lovers in various degrees of frustration. Their first thought was to adapt Anouilh's L'invitation au château, which had been seen in London (where it was a hit) and on Broadway (where it was not a hit) translated into English by Christopher Fry with the title Ring Round the Moon. Anouilh’s London agent turned down the request for the rights, and that was that. (In Finishing the Hat, Sondheim says these events happened after She Loves Me, but it was written about in several places, including Hal Prince’s Contradictions, as having happened after the opening of West Side Story, and I think that Sondheim himself had told it this way in the past. In any case, whether we have a quote by him or not, that is the story told in books vetted by him, including Sondheim & Co. As these other books were written at a time much closer to the events, I would think they are correct.)

After Follies opened, they again decided to do this kind of musical. They asked Hugh Wheeler to join them, and they again tried to get the rights to Ring Round the Moon, and again they were turned down. They moved on to considering The Rules of the Game and Smiles of a Summer Night. Sondheim had seen Smiles in late 1971 and he suggested it. According to Prince, they found The Rules of the Game disappointing (perhaps because it was a famous classic and so much had been written and said about it, which was less true at the time of Smiles), but they liked Smiles a lot and asked for the rights, which they got almost immediately. Prince said that he later was glad that their request for the rights to Ring Round the Moon had been turned down as the characters are bloodless and lacking in dimension, the whole thing too literary.

When Night Music was about to open in Boston, Prince got a wire from Anouilh’s agent saying that Anouilh had reconsidered and they could now have the rights to Ring Round the Moon.

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