Monday 11 October 2010


'From Page to Stage', the sixth programme in my BBC Radio 2 series, The Musical (tonight at 10:00 pm), is hosted by Sheila Hancock and looks at musical shows that have been based on some of the world's greatest works of literature from Cevantes Don Quixote to Dickens' Oliver Twist.

Amongst the talk of hit shows, there is also a few sobering tales of flops and fiascos from Ruthie Henshall recalling Marguerite (based on the novel by Alexander Dumas) and Patti Lupone remembering the "descent into hell" that was The Baker's Wife from French novella by Jean le Bleu.

Another classic-to-musical translation that was anything but a failure is Victor Hugo's Les Miserables that was musicalised by Claude-Michel Schonberg with a libretto by Alain Boublil and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and which is now in its twenty-sixth year and the world's longest-running musical...

If you miss tonight's broadcast, The Musical can be heard as a 'Listen Again' option on BBC Radio's iPlayer for the next seven days.


Sheila said...

This was another fascinating episode. I found the discussion on flops vs successes particularly interesting. Although it was made clear that the music isn't enough to carry a musical on its own, listening to some of the music from the flops after hearing snatches from Oliver and Guys and Dolls went some way to explaining why some succeed and some don't.

Brian Sibley said...

That's true, although it is tempting (and, I admit, pointless!) to speculate about how we would react to, say, some of Mr Bart's numbers if they weren't, by now, totally ingrained in our communal psyche?