Ethel Barrymore Theatre, (9/10/2012 - 1/06/2013)

First Preview: Aug 21, 2012
Opening Date: Sep 10, 2012
Closing Date: Jan 06, 2013
Total Previews: 24
Total Performances: 135

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Philip J. Smith: Chairman; Robert E. Wankel: President)

Produced by Rich Entertainment Group, John & Claire Caudwell, Roy Gabay, Viertel Routh Frankel Baruch Group, Chunsoo Shin/Waxman-Dokton and Broadway Across America; Produced by special arrangement with Bubbles Incorporated, S.A. and Roy Export, S.A.S.; Associate Producer: Richard & Emily Smucker and Jon Luther

World Premiere produced by La Jolla Playhouse (Christopher Ashley: Artistic Director; Michael S. Rosenberg: Managing Director)

Book by Christopher Curtis and Thomas Meehan; Music by Christopher Curtis; Lyrics by Christopher Curtis; Music orchestrated by Larry Hochman; Music arranged by Bryan Perri and Christopher Curtis; Musical Director: Bryan Perri

Directed by Warren Carlyle; Choreographed by Warren Carlyle; Associate Choreographer: Tanya Birl

Scenic Design by Beowulf Boritt; Costume Design by Amy Clark and Martin Pakledinaz; Lighting Design by Ken Billington; Sound Design by Scott Lehrer and Drew Levy; Hair and Wig Design by Paul Huntley; Make-Up Design by Angelina Avallone; Video and Projection Design by Jon Driscoll; Moving Light Programmer: Timothy F. Rogers; Associate Scenic Design: Edward Pierce and Nick Francone; Associate Costume Design: Amanda Seymour; Associate Lighting Design: John Demous; Associate Hair and Wig Design: Giovanna Calabretta; Associate Wig Design by Edward J. Wilson; Associate Sound Design: Alex Hawthorn; Associate Projection Design: Gemma Carrington and Michael Clark

General Manager: Roy Gabay Productions; Company Manager: Bruce Kagel

Technical Supervisor: Chris "Smitty" Smith; Production Stage Manager: Kim Vernace; Stage Manager: Megan J. Schneid

Musical Coordinator: Howard Joines; Associate Conductor/Keyboard: David Gardos; Piano: Bryan Perri; Reed 1: Charles Pillow; Reed 2: Alden C. Banta; Trumpet: Dan Urness; Horn: David Peel; Bass: Michael Blanco; Drums/Percussion: Shannon Ford; Violin: Erin Benim; Cello: Tara Chambers

Vocal Coach: Beth McGuire; Dialect Coach: Beth McGuire; Flying Effects: Flying by Foy; Marketing: Serino Coyne; Digital Outreach & Website: Serino Coyne; Advertising: Serino Coyne; Press Representative: Boneau / Bryan-Brown; Casting: Telsey + Company and Patrick Goodwin, C.S.A.; Photographer: Joan Marcus

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Opening Night Cast

Rob McClureCharlie Chaplin
Michael McCormickMcGranery
Charlie Chaplin Sr.
Mack Sennett
Jim BorstelmannAlf Reeves
Jenn ColellaHedda Hopper
Erin MackeyOona O'Neill
Christiane NollHannah Chaplin
Zachary UngerYoung Charlie Chaplin
Jackie Coogan
Wayne Alan WilcoxSydney Chaplin
Justin BowenEnsemble
Emilee DupréJoan Barry
Sara EdwardsEnsemble
Lisa GajdaEnsemble
Timothy HughesEnsemble
Ethan KhusidmanEnsemble
Ian LibertoEnsemble
Renée MarinoEnsemble
Michael MendezEnsemble
Sarah O'GlebyEnsemble
Hayley PodschunEnsemble
Mildred Harris
Adam RogersEnsemble
William RyallEnsemble
Mr. Karno
Emily TyraEnsemble

Swings: Leslie Donna Flesner and Eric Santagata

Understudies: Justin Bowen (Charlie Chaplin), Emilee Dupré (Hannah Chaplin), Leslie Donna Flesner (Hannah Chaplin, Hedda Hopper, Oona O'Neill), Lisa Gajda (Hedda Hopper), Ethan Khusidman (Jackie Coogan, Young Charlie Chaplin), Ian Liberto (Sydney Chaplin), Michael Mendez (Alf Reeves), William Ryall (Charlie Chaplin Sr., Mack Sennett, McGranery), Eric Santagata (Alf Reeves, Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin Sr., Mack Sennett, McGranery, Sydney Chaplin) and Emily Tyra (Oona O'Neill)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2013 Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical [nominee] 

Rob McClure

Drama Desk Award

 2013 Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical [nominee] 

Christiane Noll

 2013 Outstanding Orchestrations [nominee] 

Larry Hochman

winner 2013 Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical [winner] 

Sound Design by Scott Lehrer and Drew Levy

 2013 Outstanding Costume Design [nominee] 

Amy Clark

 2013 Outstanding Costume Design [nominee] 

Martin Pakledinaz

 2013 Outstanding Lighting Design [nominee] 

Ken Billington

 2013 Outstanding Projection Design [nominee] 

Projection Design by Jon Driscoll

Theatre World

winner 2013 Award [recipient] 

Rob McClure


ACT 1 Sung By
Look At All the PeopleHannah Chaplin
What'cha Gonna Do?Hannah Chaplin, Young Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin and Ensemble
If I Left LondonCharlie Chaplin
Sennett SongMack Sennett
Look At All the People (Reprise) Charlie Chaplin and Hannah Chaplin
Tramp Discovery Charlie Chaplin and Hannah Chaplin
Tramp Shuffle Part 1Charlie Chaplin, Mack Sennett and Usher
Tramp Shuffle Part 2Reporters, Charlie Chaplin, Usher and Ensemble
Life Can Be Like the MoviesCharlie Chaplin, Sydney Chaplin, Mildred Harris and Ensemble
The Look-a-Like ContestCharlie Chaplin and Ensemble
ACT 2 Sung By
Just Another Day in HollywoodCharlie Chaplin, Hedda Hopper and Ensemble
The Life That You Wished ForCharlie Chaplin
All Falls DownHedda Hopper
Man of All CountriesHedda Hopper and McGranery
What Only Love Can SeeOona O'Neill
Pre-ExileHedda Hopper, McGranery and Ensemble
The ExileHedda Hopper and Ensemble
Where Are All the People?Charlie Chaplin
What Only Love Can See (Reprise) Oona O'Neill and Charlie Chaplin
This ManFull Company
Tramp Discovery (Reprise) Full Company


AP: "'Chaplin,' a musical about the Little Tramp, falls flat by trying too hard to charm"

The new musical “Chaplin” opens with the sight of the Little Tramp balanced on a tightrope high above the stage. It’s a fitting metaphor for the show itself — a wobbly, high stakes attempt to avoid gravity. Guess what happens? Gravity wins.

What opened Monday at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre tries hard to be something to everyone and in the process becomes less than anything. The great Charlie Chaplin deserves better.

It’s technically a musical, but one without a single memorable song. It’s also a play that veers into the psychological — apparently Chaplin had more mommy issues than Oedipus — but the drama is interrupted by silly dance breaks. It’s another hammy attempt on a Broadway stage to describe a famous life through the lens of a camera, a device that even its creators seem half-hearted about.

Rob McClure in the title role certainly deserves more than this to work with. He has clearly put his heart and soul into playing Chaplin — he not only sings and acts with feeling, he also tightropes, roller-skates blindfolded, does a backflip without spilling any of his drink, and waddles with a cane like a man who has studied hours of flickering footage.

But save for one sublime scene in which the various inspirations behind Chaplin’s decision to embody the Little Tramp is revealed, the show McClure leads is equal parts flat, overwrought and tiresome.

The story by Thomas Meehan and Christopher Curtis is a linear, two-hour biography that takes us from Chaplin’s poor childhood in London to his staggering stardom and then self-imposed exile thanks to accusations of un-American activities. Spinning newspaper headlines projected on the back wall baby feed you the plot in case you doze off.

Professionally, Chaplin confronts the challenge of talkies and then color. Personally, he confronts his own reckless fondness for young women and inability to get past being abandoned by his parents.

It touches on his relationship with his brother (Wayne Alan Wilcox) several lovers (including a sweet Erin Mackey as his third wife, Oona O’Neill) and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Jenn Colella, another bright spot), who destroys Chaplin by painting him a Commie.

 “I’m gonna wipe the smile/From the famous little clown,” she sings. If she had a mustache, she’d twirl it.

All the while, there are excruciating flashbacks of a young Chaplin begging for his mother’s love from a valiant Christiane Noll. But then, suddenly, a bunch of Chaplins in little mustaches will hit the stage to dance furiously while balancing bowler hats on canes. All night, the show zooms incoherently from anguish to zany. The nadir has to be a mock boxing match between Chaplin and his ex-wives. Nothing funnier than domestic violence, huh?

The musical ends with Chaplin getting a standing-ovation at the 1972 Academy Awards. “I’ve come to realize that life is not a movie,” he concludes in words he never actually said during the real show. “You can’t go back and edit it.” Such arrogance to reality is unforgivable. It’s also pretty trite. Someone needs to go back and edit this.

So ponderous is the staging — the director and choreographer is Warren Carlyle — that it took a full 30 minutes for the first real cheer to emerge from the audience. For a story about a man who delighted millions without having the benefit of sound? Unacceptable.

Add to this unhappy story the fact that Curtis, who also wrote the music and lyrics, has been unable to create anything approximating an original, hummable tune.

In the last, predictable scene, a child playing Chaplin meets the adult Chaplin and gives him a rose. The circle is complete. All is good in the world. “The world’s bound to love him/When they see the Little Tramp,” the cast sings.

Not if the world see this.


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