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re: Why didn't they replace Dean Jones pre-opening?
Posted by: ablankpage 07:46 am EDT 08/20/21
In reply to: Why didn't they replace Dean Jones pre-opening? - bobby2 12:59 am EDT 08/20/21

From Wikipedia:

Dean Jones left the show on May 28, 1970. He was replaced by his understudy, Larry Kert, who had created the role of Tony in West Side Story. According to Prince, Jones' departure was planned. In 2001, he recalled the circumstances. Jones was wrestling with a troubled marriage—which Prince did not know at the time—and New York City, in Prince's words, “spooked him.” He went to Jones and said, “You can't stand being in New York City, facing a show that may keep you here for a year.” Jones replied, “Oh, you are so right.” Prince asked that if he promised to replace Jones very quickly, he would give him the opening night “that we deserve and that you are capable of giving.” Prince warned Kert, and a few weeks later, “We kept our promise. Dean Jones went home.” Mark Evanier and Canadian journalist Jaime Weinman are among those who have also reported this version of events.

In his September 2, 2015 obituary for Jones in The New York Times, Mike Flaherty reported that “he quit the production, citing stress and depression related to the recent collapse of his own marriage.” Flaherty quotes Jones' 1982 autobiography, Under running laughter, in which he wrote of Company: “It was a clever, bright show on the surface, but its underlying message declared that marriage was, at best, a vapid compromise, insoluble and finally destructive.”


And just me surmising here, but Dean Jones was coming off of a string of mega box office hits, including That Darn Cat! and The Love Bug. It was probably good business sense to open the show with a name attached, even if he would depart soon after.
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