Two Gentlemen of Verona (musical)
|Two Gentlemen of Verona|
Original Cast Recording
|Basis||William Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona|
1973 West End
2005 Shakespeare in the Park
2011 St. Louis
|Awards||Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book
Drama Desk Outstanding Book
Drama Desk Outstanding Music
Drama Desk Outstanding Lyrics
|This section requires expansion. (January 2009)|
Lifelong friends Proteus and Valentine leave their rural hometown to experience life in urban Milan. Valentine falls in love with Sylvia, whose father has betrothed her against her will to the wealthy but undesirable Thurio, and plots to win her hand. Disregarding his loyalty to Valentine and Julia, his sweetheart back home, Proteus also sets his sights on Sylvia. He plans to expose his friend's intentions to her father, have Valentine banished from Milan, and claim her for himself.
After tryouts at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in the summer of 1971 and twenty previews, the Broadway production, directed by Mel Shapiro and choreographed by Jean Erdman, opened on December 1, 1971 at the St. James Theatre, where it ran for 614 performances. The cast included Raul Julia, Clifton Davis, Jonelle Allen and Diana Davila in the leads; Stockard Channing and Jeff Goldblum were in the chorus.
A West End production was mounted at the Phoenix Theatre beginning on April 26, 1973 and ran for 237 performances. Shapiro directed and Erdman choreographed. The original London cast included B. J. Arnau (Silvia), Ray C. Davis (Proteus), Jean Gilbert (Julia), Derek Griffiths (Thurio), Benny Lee (Launce), Michael Staniforth (Speed), and Samuel E. Wright (Valentine).
The musical was revived by the Public Theater in their Shakespeare in the Park series for a limited run, from August 28, 2005 to September 11, 2005 at the Delacorte Theater. Kathleen Marshall directed and choreographed, and the cast featured Norm Lewis (Valentine), Oscar Isaac (Proteus), Rosario Dawson (Julia), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Silvia), Paolo Montalban (Eglamour), Mel Johnson Jr. (Duke of Milan) and John Cariani (Speed).
Critic Ben Brantley, in The New York Times, compared the "festive production" to "a fruity sangría", praising the cast but concluding that the work has not held up well. He wrote that the play's "wayward" characters were "not without parallels among the lotus-eating youth of the post-Woodstock years – a comparison that Messrs. Shapiro, Guare and MacDermot made canny use of. They also scaled down Shakespeare's passages of poetic pain for an approach that emphasized an easygoing, multicultural exuberance over wistful poetry and nonsense over sensibility.... [But] MacDermot's songs... lack the variety of his score for Hair.... And the lyricism Mr. Guare is known for as a playwright is rarely in evidence in his clunky work here as a lyricist".
† This number was replaced in the original London production by the song "Howl", due to concerns that the lyric to "Mansion" was too New York-centric, with references to rent control, sublets, and other uniquely urban concerns. For 1971 Broadway audiences, which were more New Yorkers than tourists (the reverse of Broadway audiences today), these references would have been both commonly understood and very funny in this faux-Shakespearean context. Theaters producing the show now have a choice between using "Howl" or "Mansion."
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1972||Tony Award||Best Musical||Won|
|Best Book of a Musical||John Guare and Mel Shapiro||Won|
|Best Original Score||Galt MacDermot and John Guare||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Clifton Davis||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical||Jonelle Allen||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Mel Shapiro||Nominated|
|Best Choreography||Jean Erdman||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Theoni V. Aldredge||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Book of a Musical||John Guare and Mel Shapiro||Won|
|Outstanding Performance||Raul Julia||Won|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Mel Shapiro||Won|
|Outstanding Choreography||Jean Erdman||Won|
|Outstanding Lyrics||John Guare||Won|
|Outstanding Music||Galt MacDermot||Won|
|Outstanding Costume Design||Theoni V. Aldredge||Won|
|Theatre World Award||Jonelle Allen||Won|
- Two Gentelmen of Verona Internet Broadway Database, accessed January 16, 2009
- Kenrick, John. "History of The Musical Stage, The 1970s: Part I" Musicals101.com, The Cyber Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre, TV and Film, accessed January 16, 2009/
- Green, Stanley. The World of Musical Comedy, p. 348 (1984) ISBN 0-306-80207-4
- Tony Awards official site, accessed January 16, 2009
- Over the Footlights listing of 1973 West End musicals http://www.overthefootlights.co.uk/1973musicals.pdf
- Klein, Alvin. "A Most Fitting Maiden Voyage into Musicals", The New York Times, June 2, 1996
- "'Two Gentlemen of Verona' 2005" lortel.org, accessed November 14, 2015
- Brantley, Ben. "Shakespeare in the Park Review; Enter 'Two Gentlemen' For a Sexy Sip of Sangría", The New York Times, August 29, 2005
- Two Gentlemen of Verona - Original London Cast, 1973
- Inside Two Gents by Scott Miller