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re: "Charlie Girl" and "Salad Days" - both long West End runs - why not Broadway?
Posted by: keikekaze 07:52 pm EDT 07/10/21
In reply to: "Charlie Girl" and "Salad Days" - both long West End runs - why not Broadway? - PlayWiz 07:47 am EDT 07/10/21

If you're asking why Salad Days wasn't produced on Broadway in the Fifties, and why Charlie Girl didn't come to Broadway in the mid-Sixties, I think I can make some guesses.

Salad Days is a very small musical with a very small--and terminally quaint--plot. It's about a magic piano that causes everyone that hears it to dance, with no very compelling consequences that I recall from the cast album. (I've never seen a staged production.) The score is pleasant and amiable. Perhaps the entire show is that, too. But on Fifties Broadway, a hit musical was Guys and Dolls or My Fair Lady or West Side Story--something that was a lot more than just pleasant and amiable, something big, bold, and with a very compelling story. Even off Broadway in 1958, where a show of its size belonged, Salad Days only managed a short run. I can't imagine it having been a hit on Broadway at that time.

In my opinion, Charlie Girl is a stronger show, and there's no intrinsic reason why it couldn't have been a hit on Broadway in, say, 1966 or '67, right after the very British Half a Sixpence had just been a Broadway hit. I think the scores of Charlie Girl and Half a Sixpence are about comparable. But who would have played Charlie Girl on Broadway? The two leads are really the two middle-aged ladies who play the mothers of the show's bride- and groom-to-be (until that plan gets kiboshed). Anna Neagle of the London cast was not a Broadway star, and I doubt that this show would have made her one, as Half a Sixpence did for Tommy Steele. Angela Lansbury and Bea Arthur might have been ideally cast--but they were otherwise engaged in 1966-67! ; ) Without surefire star casting, I imagine it was thought that the show just wasn't quite strong enough to risk the transfer.
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