Chaplin (2006 musical)

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Chaplin: The Musical
The Story of Charlie Chaplin
Music Christopher Curtis
Lyrics Christopher Curtis
Book Christopher Curtis
Thomas Meehan
Productions 2006 New York Musical Theater Festival
2010 La Jolla Playhouse
2012 Broadway
2013 St. Petersburg
2014 Theatro NET SP - Brazil

Chaplin: The Musical, formerly titled Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin, is a musical with music and lyrics by Christopher Curtis and a 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.


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, La Jolla, 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 Schwenke (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]

The musical has undergone several title changes, called initially Behind The Limelight, and is titled (as of 2012) Chaplin: The Musical. (This is also the title of another musical, written by Ernest Kinoy, with lyrics by Lee Goldsmith and music by Roger Anderson.)

Musical numbers[edit]

The musical numbers from the 2012 Broadway production 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."[9] 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."[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The musical received one Tony Award nomination, for Rob McClure as Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical.[11]

The show received six Drama Desk Award nominations: Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Noll); Outstanding Orchestrations; Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical (Scott Lehrer and Drew Levy); Outstanding Costume Design; Outstanding Lighting Design; and Outstanding Projection Design.[12]


  1. ^ " 'Behind The Limelight Listing", accessed June 17, 2012
  2. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "La Jolla's Limelight Will Shine on Musical About Charlie Chaplin", May 6, 2010
  3. ^ Lipton, Brian Scott and Portantiere, Michael."NYMF 2006 Roundup #2", September 21, 2006
  4. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Limelight Musical, Starring Robert McClure and Ashley Brown, Opens at La Jolla Sept. 19", September 19, 2010
  5. ^ Gioia, Michael. "Silent Film Legend Chaplin Tramps Onto Broadway; Previews Begin Aug. 21", August 21, 2012
  6. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Broadway's Chaplin Will Lean On Christiane Noll, Erin Mackey, Michael McCormick, Jenn Colella; Cast Announced", 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", December 3, 2012
  9. ^ McNulty, Charles."Theater review: 'Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin' at La Jolla Playhouse", September 20, 2010
  10. ^ Verini, Bob. "Regional. 'Limelight: The Story of Charlie Chaplin', September 20, 2010
  11. ^ Gans, Andrew. Nominations Announced for 67th Annual Tony Awards; 'Kinky Boots' Earns 13 Nominations", April 30, 2013
  12. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Nominations Announced for 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards; 'Giant' and 'Hands on a Hardbody' Lead the Pack", April 29, 2013

External links[edit]