Original cast recording
|Basis||1959 film Some Like It Hot|
Sugar is a musical with a book by Peter Stone, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Bob Merrill. It is based on the film Some Like It Hot, which was adapted by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond from a story by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan. It premiered on Broadway in 1972 and was staged in the West End twenty years later.
Two unemployed musicians, bass player Jerry and saxophone player Joe, witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago. In order to escape gangster Spats Palazzo and his henchmen, they dress as women and join Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopaters, an all-female band about to leave town for an engagement at a Miami Beach hotel.
Complications arise when Joe, now known as Josephine, falls in love with beautiful band singer Sugar Kane, who has a slight drinking problem that tends to interfere with her ability to choose a romantic partner wisely. More than anything, Sugar wants to marry a millionaire, prompting Joe to disguise himself as the man of her dreams.
Meanwhile, wealthy and elderly Osgood Fielding, Jr. is pursuing Daphne, unaware she really is Jerry in drag. As much as he knows he needs to reveal his true gender to his over-amorous paramour, Jerry is beginning to enjoy all the expensive gifts bestowed upon him on a regular basis.
Total chaos erupts when Spats and his gang descend upon the hotel and realize who Josephine and Daphne really are.
Produced by David Merrick and directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, Sugar opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre on April 9, 1972 after 14 previews and closed on June 23, 1973 after 505 performances. The opening night cast included Robert Morse as Jerry/Daphne, Tony Roberts as Joe/Josephine, Elaine Joyce as Sugar Kane, Cyril Ritchard as Osgood Fielding, Jr., Sheila Smith as Sweet Sue, and Steve Condos as Spats Palazzo. Scenic design was by Robin Wagner, costume design by Alvin Colt, and lighting design by Martin Aronstein. Elaine Joyce was replaced by Pamela Blair later in the run.
A 2002-03 United States national tour starred Tony Curtis as Osgood Fielding, Jr. in a revised production, titled Some Like It Hot: The Musical. Curtis had played Joe in the original film. This national tour wardrobe is on display at the Costume World Broadway Collection in Pompano Beach, Florida.
In February/March 2011 Pimlico Opera presented a new production in Great Britain at Send Prison in Surrey. The cast included professional actors and inmates.
On March 6, 2011, Musical Theatre West in Long Beach, California presented a staged concert version of the show, as part of the Reiner Reading Series with Larry Raben (Forever Plaid), Bets Malone (The Marvelous Wonderettes) and Nick Santa Maria (The Producers (musical)).
A Danish production of the show ran in 2011 at Folketeateret in Copenhagen under the title "Ingen er Fuldkommen" ("Nobody's Perfect"). The show opened in October and starred Danish musical actress Maria Lucia.
In his review of the Broadway production, Time theatre critic T.E. Kalem thought the musical "has been so thoroughly processed, refined and filtered that it has lost the natural energy that makes a good musical strong and healthy." He added, "If hummable songs are a plus, Jule Styne's songs are hummable, though you may not know quite which homogenized number you are humming. As for Bob Merrill's lyrics, they are the labored products of a man hovering over a rhyming dictionary. Sugar is almost a textbook case of a musical born after its time. It may well enjoy great wads of audience favor. But in the past three years, Company and Follies have altered the critical perspective by providing a musical form that is spare, intelligent, ironic, mature and capable of sustaining three-dimensional characters." He concluded, "This is not to say that the big, old-fashioned musical is irrevocably doomed, but it must have a singular mood, manner and meaning all its own. Otherwise, all that remains, as Sugar indicates, is a sterile display of high-gloss techniques."
Dyan McBride, director of a 2012 San Francisco production of the musical, noted in an interview that "Written in 1972, Sugar really has one of the last Golden Age of Broadway scores.... You can feel contemporary Broadway starting to come.... This is not a rock 'n' roll score; this is really a jazzy score. But you can start to hear things changing; there's a little bit of lounge, and you can hear some Bob Goulet."
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1973||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Robert Morse||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Gower Champion||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Robert Morse||Won|
|Theatre World Award||Elaine Joyce||Won|
- "Prince Edward Theatre listing" thisistheatre.com
- Tour information owendaly.com
- Garcia, John."ReviewDallas", talkinbroadway.com, July 21, 2002
- Perry, Claudia."Some Like It Hot", Aisle Say, Philadelphia, April 2002
- " 'Sugar' at Westchester Broadway Theatre" theatermania.com, accessed March 12, 2012
- "Pimlico In Prison" grangeparkopera.co.uk, accessed March 12, 2012
- "' Sugar" listing" musical.org, accessed March 12, 2012
- "SUGAR @ Folketeatret" (in Danish). Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- "Sugar". 42nd Street Moon. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
- Time review, April 24, 1972
- Janiak, Lily (4 April 2012). "Sugar Director Dyan McBride Talks About Making Some Like It Hot a Musical". SFWeekly. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Sugar at the Internet Broadway Database
- Sugar synopsis at tamswitmark.com
- "Some Like It Hot Plays Newark's NJPAC, a Stone's Throw From NYC, Feb. 4-9", Playbill.com article with production history, February 4, 2003