(Applause Books). When Evita opened on Broadway during the 1979-1980 season, it was (as one of its songs said) "High Flying Adored." But in the 1970-71 season, the producers of Lolita, My Love saw their show (as one of its songs said) "Going, Gone, Gone" after its torturous Philadelphia and Boston tryouts. It didn't even try to brave Broadway, although the bookwriter-lyricist of My Fair Lady had written it. It happens every season. Broadway has one, two, or a few hit musicals, but many, many more flops. Here's a look at the extreme cases from each season of the past half-century. The musicals that everyone knew would be hits The Sound of Music , The Phantom of the Opera , The Producers and were. The tuners that sounded terrible from the moment they were announced Via Galactica , The Civil War , Lestat and turned out to be even worse than anyone expected. The shows that were destined to succeed Breakfast at Tiffany's , 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue , Merrily We Roll Along but didn't. The ones that didn't have a chance Man of La Mancha , 1776 , Grease but went on to household-name status. Yes, Broadway is the oldest established permanent non-floating crap game in New York, and Peter Filichia takes a look at 100 shows that met either the most glorious or the most ignominious fates.
About the Author
PETER FILICHIA is the theater critic emeritus for both the Newark Star-Ledger and its television station, News 12 New Jersey. He writes a weekly column for Musical Theatre International. He has served four terms as president of the Drama Desk, the New York Association of Drama Critics and is now head of the voting committee and the emcee of the Theatre World Awards. A frequent contributor to theater publications and the writer of many cast-album CD liner notes, he lives in New York City.