Home Sweet Homer (musical)

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Home Sweet Homer
Music Mitch Leigh
Lyrics Charles Burr
Forman Brown
Book Roland Kibbee
Albert Marre
Basis Homer's Odyssey
Productions 1976 Broadway

Home Sweet Homer is a musical with a book by Roland Kibbee and Albert Marre, lyrics by Charles Burr and Forman Brown, and music by Mitch Leigh.

Originally called Odyssey, it is one of the most notorious flops in Broadway theatre history. Loosely based on Homeric legend, it focuses on Odysseus and Penelope, awaiting his return to Ithaca.

The show was designed as a vehicle for Yul Brynner, who was anxious to duplicate his success in The King and I more than two decades earlier. The original book and lyrics were by author Erich Segal, and a fairly modest production with a small cast began a national tour in December 1974.

The tour was plagued with problems from the start. Both Brynner and co-star Joan Diener frequently were ill and missed performances, and in April 1975, the two, together with Diener's husband Marre and Brynner's wife Jacqueline, filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against Trader Vic's in Manhattan, alleging shortribs they ate there shortly before the start of the tour were poisonous and had left them "ill, weak, and infirm." In each city the show received consistently bad reviews, and when it reached Los Angeles, Segal asked that his name be removed from the credits. Marre, whose career was littered with bombs like Cry for Us All and Shangri-La, not only revamped the book and lyrics, but fired choreographer Billy Wilson and took over the musical staging as well.

In August, an unhappy Brynner sued to terminate his contract but backed down when he was threatened with a $1 million countersuit. By November, the producers decided to close the show at the end of the tour and forgo a Broadway opening. Brynner threatened to quit if they didn't proceed to New York City as planned.

After eleven previews, the show, now an extravagant production retitled Home Sweet Homer, opened at the Sunday matinee on January 4, 1976 at the Palace Theatre. The closing notice was posted as soon as the curtain fell. In addition to Brynner and Diener, the cast included Martin Vidnovic and Russ Thacker.

Song list[edit]

  • The Sorceress
  • The Departure
  • Home Sweet Homer
  • The Ball
  • How Could I Dare to Dream
  • I Never Imagined Goodbye
  • Love Is the Prize
  • Penelope's Hand
  • He Will Come Home Again
  • Did He Really Think
  • I Was Wrong
  • The Rose
  • Tomorrow
  • The Contest


Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops by Ken Mandelbaum, published by St. Martin's Press (1991), pages 31–33 (ISBN 0-312-06428-4)

External links[edit]