While Broadway is playing musical chairs, the return of a 68-year-old musical to the Gay White Way on 18 December 2008 has a whiff of MAE WEST.
• • Which names would you cast in the principal roles in Rodgers & Hart's "Pal Joey"?
• • The Hollywood Reporter reminded readers this has never been a creampuff of a show.
• • According to the Hollywood Reporter: For all its legendary status today, the reviews for the original production — — it opened December 25, 1940, at the Barrymore and made a star of Gene Kelly — — were decidedly mixed. It lasted less than a year (374 performances), with the 1952-53 revival (540 performances) being much more warmly received. Later revivals were done with the title role played by Bob Fosse (1963) and Christopher Chapman (1976).
• • Meanwhile, Columbia bought the film rights early on, but for various reasons — — including hassles from the Production Code Office because of the "Joey" story line and lyrics of several of its songs — — it took 17 years before cameras turned.
• • Along the way, however, several interesting casting ideas for it were announced: Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth, the latter playing the young love interest, in the 1940s; Marlon Brando and Mae West as the older woman in the early 1950s; as well as Jack Lemmon and Marlene Dietrich — — Dietrich eventually turning it down because, at the time, she'd never heard of Lemmon.
• • It was finally done in 1957 with Frank Sinatra as Joey and the older woman played by Hayworth, who at 39 was three years younger than her boy toy. . . .
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• • Published in: Reuters/ Hollywood Reporter
• • Published on: 5 December 2008
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •