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Chaplin (2006 musical)

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Chaplin: The Musical
Broadway promotional poster
MusicChristopher Curtis
LyricsChristopher Curtis
BookChristopher Curtis
Thomas Meehan
Productions2006 New York Musical Theatre Festival
2012 Broadway

Chaplin: The Musical, formerly titled Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin, is a musical with music and lyrics by Christopher Curtis and book by Curtis and Thomas Meehan. The show is based on the life of Charlie Chaplin. The musical, which started at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2006, debuted at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2010, and then premiered on Broadway in 2012.



English-language productions


The musical originally ran at the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2006.[1][2][3]

The musical was next produced at the La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, California, from September 19, 2010, to October 17, 2010. Direction was by Warren Carlyle and Michael Unger, with scenic design by Alexander Dodge, costume design by Linda Cho, lighting design by Paul Gallo, projection design by Zachary Borovay, and sound design by Jon Weston. The music director was Bryan Perri and the orchestrator was Douglas Besterman. The cast featured Rob McClure (Charlie Chaplin), Ashley Brown (Oona), LJ Benet (Young Sydney), Jenn Colella (Hedda Hopper), Eddie Korbich (Karno), Brooke Sunny Moriber (Mildred), Ron Orbach (Mr. Chaplin), Roland Rusinek (Alf), Jake Evan Schwencke (Young Charlie/Jackie), and Matthew Scott (Sydney). The cast also included Aaron Acosta, Courtney Corey, Matthew Patrick Davis, Justin Michael Duval, Sara Edwards, Ben Liebert, Alyssa Marie, Jennifer Noble, Kürt Norby, Carly Nykanen, Jessica Reiner-Harris, and Kirsten Scott.[4]

The musical premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on August 21, 2012, in previews and officially on September 10, 2012, with direction and choreography by Warren Carlyle. Scenic design is by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by Ken Billington, and projection design by Jon Driscoll.[5] The cast features Rob McClure as Chaplin, Jim Borstelmann as Alf Reeves, Jenn Colella as Hedda Hopper, Erin Mackey as Oona O'Neill, Michael McCormick as Sennett/ McGranery/Emcee, Christiane Noll as Hannah Chaplin, Zachary Unger as Young Charlie/Jackie and Wayne Alan Wilcox as Sydney Chaplin.[6][7] The musical closed on January 6, 2013, after 24 previews and 136 performances.[8]

Chaplin! received its first regional production in the United States in Henderson, Kentucky. Produced by Brilliantly Different Productions, the show featured direction by J. Farley Norman, choreography by Alexa Callaham, music direction, technical direction, and scenic design by Collin Mayes, and costume design by Colleen Ohler. The production ran for three performances, August 5–7, 2016, and featured a cast of 17 performers, all of whom were under the age of 25. In honor of the production, August 1–7, 2016 was declared "Chaplin the Musical Week" by the City of Henderson.[9]

Chaplin received its first High School production in the United States in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was produced by The Albuquerque Academy, and performed at the Simms Center for the Performing Arts.

Other languages


A Russian production of Chaplin premiered on September 13, 2013, and closed on December 30, 2015, at the Musical Comedy Theatre in St. Petersburg. Starring Yevgeniy Zaitsev as Chaplin, this Russian-language replica production featured lyrics translated by Constantine Rubinsky. The show won three awards out of the four nominations it received at the 2015 Golden Mask: Yevgeniy Zaitsev for best actor in a musical/operetta, Maria Lagatskaya for best actress in a musical/operetta, and the musical itself for best musical/operetta.[10]

A non-replica Brazilian production made major changes to the set and costume designs of the original Broadway production. It featured a new script and 7 new songs. The show premiered in Brazil in 2015 and the run was extended 5 times.

A Dutch Production played in Belgium and in the Netherlands with Nordin de Moor as Charlie Chaplin.

Directed by Stanislav Moša, a non-replica version premiered in the Czech Republic at the City Theatre Brno in January 2017.

The Israel production of Chaplin is a collaboration of Haifa Theater and Tel Aviv Theater and premiered in July 2019.


Character La Jolla (2010) Broadway (2012)
Charlie Chaplin Rob McClure
Hannah Chaplin Janet Metz Christiane Noll
Young Charlie Chaplin / Jackie Coogan Jake Schwencke Zachary Unger
Sydney Chaplin Matthew Scott Wayne Alan Wilcox
Alf Reeves Roland Rusinek Jim Borstelmann
Mack Sennett Ron Orbach Michael McCormick
Charlie Chaplin Sr. William Youmans
Hedda Hopper Jenn Colella
Oona O'Neill Ashley Brown Erin Mackey

Musical numbers


The musical numbers from the 2016/2018 new version are as follows:



In its review of the La Jolla production, the Los Angeles Times reviewer wrote: "The songs sauté this simplistic summary in a light and lemony schmaltz... The most that can be said is that the cast is marshaled efficiently and the clichés are greeted with a tip of Chaplin's bowler and a clown's forgiving smile... the schematic production... offers up Chaplin's early years as an explanation for everything but his notorious penchant for underage women... The production moves swiftly on Alexander Dodge’s versatile set that is at its lively best when Zachary Borovay’s projections usher us back to the cinematic past... The score hurtles us along with sufficient cheer and generic good will."[11] The Variety reviewer wrote: "The enormous career of film legend Charles Chaplin has resisted numerous chronicling efforts... The latest casualty is "Limelight," a La Jolla Playhouse collaboration between freshman tunesmith Christopher Curtis and vet librettist Thomas Meehan ... that has its moments but falls into the usual trap of trying to cover too much ground. In the process, the tuner turns glib and superficial."[12]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 Tony Award Best Leading Actor in a Musical Rob McClure Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Christiane Noll Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Drew Levy and Scott Lehrer Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Ken Killington Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations Larry Hochman Nominated
Outstanding Projection Jon Driscoll Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Musical Nominated
Outstanding Book of a Musical Thomas Meehan and Christopher Curtis Nominated
Outstanding New Score Christopher Curtis Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Rob McClure Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Warren Carlyle Nominated
Outstanding Choreographer Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Ken Billington Nominated
Astaire Awards Outstanding Choreographer in a Broadway Show Warren Carlyle Nominated
Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show Rob McClure Nominated
Theatre World Award Theatre World Award Won


  1. ^ " 'Behind The Limelight Listing" Archived August 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine nymf.org, accessed June 17, 2012
  2. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "La Jolla's Limelight Will Shine on Musical About Charlie Chaplin" Archived July 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, May 6, 2010
  3. ^ Lipton, Brian Scott and Portantiere, Michael."NYMF 2006 Roundup #2" theatermania.com, September 21, 2006
  4. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Limelight Musical, Starring Robert McClure and Ashley Brown, Opens at La Jolla Sept. 19" playbill.com, September 19, 2010
  5. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Silent Film Legend Chaplin Tramps Onto Broadway; Previews Begin Aug. 21" Archived August 23, 2012, at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, August 21, 2012
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Broadway's Chaplin Will Lean On Christiane Noll, Erin Mackey, Michael McCormick, Jenn Colella; Cast Announced" Archived July 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Playbill.com, July 11, 2012
  7. ^ Brantley, Ben. "'Chaplin: The Musical’ at the Ethel Barrymore Theater" The New York Times, September 10, 2012
  8. ^ Gioia, Michael. "'Chaplin' Will Take His Final Bow; Broadway Musical to Close in January 2013" playbill.com, December 3, 2012
  9. ^ The Gleaner- Brilliantly Different producing ‘Chaplin’ musical
  10. ^ "Мюзикл "ЧАПЛИН" официальная группа | VK".
  11. ^ McNulty, Charles."Theater review: 'Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin' at La Jolla Playhouse" latimes.com, September 20, 2010
  12. ^ Verini, Bob. "Regional. 'Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin' variety.com, September 20, 2010