Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy [Belated] Birthday, Frank Wildhorn!

Frank Wildhorn (Twitter)
This past week, the Broadway community celebrated the birthday of a composer whose work has not only been on Broadway, but has also had particular popularity in Asia. I wrote a piece on Frank Wildhorn for BroadwayWorld.com, so make sure to check out the full thing here! My favorite fun fact about Wildhorn is that he is one of the only composers (I think Andrew Lloyd Webber is the other one) to have three show running on Broadway simultaneously.

Below, check out the piece I wrote and watch clips from his Broadway and international shows, including one of my favorite Broadway shows ever, The Scarlet Pimpernel!

JEKYLL & HYDE
Broadway run: April 28, 1997-January 7, 2001
Stars: Robert CuccioliLinda EderChristiane Noll
JEKYLL & HYDE is based on the Robert Louis Stevenson book in which Dr. Jekyll's (Cuccioli) experiment to find a cure for his father's illness goes wrong, and he instead unleashes Jekyll's evil alter-ego, Mr. Hyde. The show received four Tony nominations, including Best Actor in a Musical for Cuccioli. It incidentally featured the Broadway debut of THE KING AND I's Kelli O'Hara. Below, watch Noll and Eder perform, "In His Eyes" on the Today Show.

Side note: a performance of this starring David Hasselhoff was taped, and at one point was on Netflix.



THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Broadway run: November 9, 1997-January 2, 2000
Stars: Douglas SillsTerrence MannChristine Andreas
The second of Wildhorn's literary-based musicals, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, takes place during the Reign of Terror in late 18th-century France. Percy Blakeny (Sills) is a shallow nobleman by day, and by night, a Robin Hood-like character named The Scarlet Pimpernel who leads a band of men to save French aristocrats from going to their death at the guillotine. It marked Sills' Broadway debut, earning him a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award. Below, watch the cast perform the rousing, "Into the Fire" on the Tony Awards.
Side note: I've had this show memorized forever, so it holds a dear place in my heart. That being said, The Scarlet Pimpernel was really a flop that overstayed its welcome on Broadway, unfortunately. It held together mostly because of Sills who ad-libbed profusely. Some of his added humor was used in later versions of the script.

THE CIVIL WAR
Broadway run: April 22, 1999-June 13, 1999
Stars: Michel BellGilles Chiasson, and Cheryl Freeman
Told from the perspective of Union and Confederate soldiers as well as slaves during the American Civil War, this show featured multiple music genres, including Gospel, Folk, Country, Rock, and R&B. It received two Tony Award nominations, including Wildhorn's first Best Score nomination. Below, watch the cast perform "Freedom's Child" on the Tony Awards.

Side note: I think this show came along at the height of Wildhorn's popularity.


DRACULA THE MUSICAL
Broadway run: August 19, 2004-January 2, 2005
Stars: Tom Hewitt and Melissa Errico
DRACULA is based on Bram Stoker's intriguing novel about Count Dracula (Tom Hewitt) from Transylvania who seduces multiple women for their blood. It received no award nominations, though both of the show's stars went on to receive a Tony nomination. Watch Errico and Darren Ritchie sing "Over Whitby Bay," below.

Side note: Can we just take a moment... There was really a Dracula musical... It was not received well by critics, so I have no idea why it ran for so long without transferring theatres or anything!

WONDERLAND
Broadway run: April 17, 2011-May 15, 2011
Stars: Janet DacalDarren RitchieKate Shindle
WONDERLAND is a new musical adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It featured Wildhorn's first pop score and earned choreographer Marguerite Derricks an Astaire Award nomination. Watch highlights from the show below!

Side note: This show was absurd. Unfortunately, it was Wildhorn Flop #1 of 2011 alone.


BONNIE & CLYDE
Broadway run: December 1, 2011-December 30, 2011
Stars: Jeremy JordanLaura Osnes
BONNIE & CLYDE is based on the true story of how an aspiring actress, Bonnie Parker (Osnes) desires to be more famous than Clara Bow and falls in love with an aspiring criminal, Clyde Barrow (Jordan), who wants to be more notorious than Al Capone. Together, the two become bank robbers and ultimately murderers. Though this show closed very quickly, it enabled Jordan to star in the Broadway hit, NEWSIES, for which he received a Tony nomination. BONNIE & CLYDE received two Tony nominations, including Best Actress in a Musical for Osnes. Below, watch highlights from the musical!

Side note: Honestly, this was one of Wildhorn's best in a long time, evidenced by the fact that Wildhorn received his second Best Score nomination. So why did it have the second-shortest run of any of his shows? No idea. Oh, and super fun fact!! In that same year, there just so happened to be another Bonnie and Clyde musical, written by Hunter Foster, that was slated to debut in Atlanta. When it was clear that Wildhorn's show would be on Broadway that season, they quickly changed the name to Clyde 'n' Bonnie.

So let's run the numbers really quick:
Total Tony nominations for Wildhorn personally (Best Score): 2
Total Tony nominations for Wildhorn shows: 10

Happy birthday, Frank Wildhorn!

Sally Henry www.BroadwayWorld.com/author/Sally-Henry // Twitter: www.twitter.com/bwayginger // Facebook: www.facebook.com/singularsensationbway

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