Platinum (musical)

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Music Gary William Friedman
Lyrics Will Holt
Book Will Holt
Bruce Vilanch
Productions 1978 Broadway
2010 FringeNYC (Revised)

Platinum is a musical with a book by Will Holt and Bruce Vilanch, music by Gary William Friedman, and lyrics by Holt. Set in a Hollywood recording studio, it centers on Lila Halliday, a star of 1940s and 1950s movie musicals who is attempting a comeback. In the process, she falls for a young rock star named Dan Riley.

Production history[edit]

Platinum was originally titled Sunset when it had its world premiere in 1977 at the Studio Arena Theater in Buffalo, New York. The production, with a book by Louis LaRusso II, was directed by Tommy Tune.[1] When the musical evolved into Platinum and moved to Broadway, only the songwriters, Alexis Smith, Lisa Mordente, and ensemble member Christine Faith remained with the production.

Directed and choreographed by Joe Layton, the Broadway production of Platinum opened on November 12, 1978 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, where it closed on December 10, 1978 after 33 performances and 12 previews. Despite its short run, it garnered Tony Award nominations for Smith and Richard Cox and Drama Desk Award nominations for Cox and Mordente. (A revised version of the original Sunset was presented off-Broadway at the Village Gate in November 1983. Starring Tammy Grimes and directed by Andre Ernotte it closed after one performance and 13 previews.)[2]

In August 2010, a newly revised version of Platinum developed by UnsungMusicalsCo. Inc. played the New York International Fringe Festival. It was directed by Ben West with choreography by Rommy Sandhu.[3]

2010 FringeNYC production[edit]

1978 Broadway production[edit]

1977 world premiere production[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

1978 Tony Award nominations
  • Best Actress – Alexis Smith
  • Best Featured Actor – Richard Cox
1978 Drama Desk Award nominations
  • Best Featured Actress – Lisa Mordente
  • Best Featured Actor – Richard Cox

1978 critical reception[edit]

Douglas Watt, reviewing in the New York Daily News said the musical was "full of electricity and sends you into the night charged up." Platinum was "the first big fat hit" of the Broadway season, and Smith was "vibrant and smashing looking." He singled out the songs "Destiny" and "Movie Star Mansion." In all, the show was "a triumphant piece of musical staging" that achieved "pure excitement." [4]

Martin Gottfried called Friedman's music, "excellent - melodic, ambitious, ingenious, and decidedly theatrical", and Holt's lyrics "clean and crafty." [5]

On the flip side, Walter Kerr said, "I have a feeling that if Platinum could just get rid of its book, its songs, its microphones and its almost arrogantly messy setting, it would be light miles ahead." [6]

Contemporary Literary Critique[edit]

In his 2015 reference compilation The Complete Book Of 1970's Broadway Musicals, author Dan Dietz said that the lyrics by Will Holt and the Music by Gary William Friedman "offered an array of clever and melodic songs, and their Platinum score is one of the most underrated of the era." [7]


  1. ^ "'Platinum'/'Sunset production notes", retrieved June 5, 2010
  2. ^ "'Sunset,' at Village Gate, Closes After First Night"The New York Times, November 9, 1983
  3. ^ Bacalzo, Dan."FringeNYC Announces 2010 Line-Up", June 2, 2010
  4. ^ Dietz, Dan, The Complete Book of 1970's Broadway Musicals. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2015. ISBN 978-1442251656 , p. 416
  5. ^ Dietz, Dan, The Complete Book of 1970's Broadway Musicals. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2015. ISBN 978-1442251656 , p. 416
  6. ^ Lewis, David H, Broadway Musicals: A Hundred Year History. McFarland 2002. ISBN 0-7864-1269-0, p. 106
  7. ^ Dietz, Dan, The Complete Book of 1970's Broadway Musicals. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2015. ISBN 978-1442251656 , p. 416


  • Mandelbaum, Ken, Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops. St. Martin's Press 1991. ISBN 0-312-08273-8
  • Suskin, Steven, More Opening Nights on Broadway: A Critical Quotebook Of The Musical Theatre from 1965 Through 1981. Schirmer Books 1997. ISBN 0-02-864571-5
  • Mordden, Ethan, One More Kiss: The Broadway Musical in the 1970s. Palgrave Macmillan 2004. ISBN 0-312-23953-X
  • Sunset Playbill, Studio Arena Theatre, Buffalo, New York, 1977

External links[edit]