Jan 2016 — NAPLES, FL — THEATRE ZONE: Eye-candy star Tony Curtis was pilloried for taking the role of Sidney Falco in the 1957 film “The Sweet Smell of Success.” But the character of the wanton publicity agent who gets sucked into the poisoned orbit of a king maker became one of his most famous, and the film became such a tantalizing classic, it spawned a 2002 musical with one of Marvin Hamlisch’s more thoughtful scores.
Naples, Florida TheatreZone! MUSICAL: SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. Congratulations on this Production. To the Cast and Production team: THANK YOU! A Special thank you to Mark Danni, Artistic Director at TheatreZone! Terre Blair Hamlisch and Team Marvin Hamlisch.
This musical noir was performed at TheatreZone, during January 2016. The Musical is Set in the 1950s, when newspapers and gossip columnists in New York held the entertainment world hostage, “Sweet Smell of Success” is a back-street ride with scary characters.
“She wants to have her cake and eat it, too,” said Lana Neuman of the ingénue she plays, Susan Hunsecker, stifled younger sister of Broadway columnist J.J. Hunsecker.
“All the characters want that. That’s the mindset, the underbelly of this story.”
VIDEO: 2min – Excerpt – Hamlisch’s Broadway Musical “Sweet Smell of Success” American Masters: Marvin Hamlisch.
If Neuman could have her choice, she said, she would always gravitate toward nuanced characters like Susan — Maggie in “City of Angels,” Sibella in “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and Lola in “Damn Yankees.”
“I love, love these femme fatale parts that include the dark side of people, because we all have it in us,” she said. “The music by Marvin Hamlisch is phenomenal — every note value has a meaning to it.”
Stage director Mark Danni said: “This is edgy. It’s heavy in the sense that it’s slimy in the way ‘Chess’ is — the politics are everywhere. The desperation is thick.”
Music director Charles Fornara mentions that the musical was nominated for seven Tony awards including best original score. (John Lithgow won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performances as JJ Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success)
LISTEN TO MUSIC SAMPLE BY 2002 BROADWAY CAST:
“You’re not going to sing ‘Welcome to the Night’ in a cabaret evening or in concert,” Danni said. Actually, that song crosses at least four bars on a drinking spree while Hunsecker is gauging Falco’s nerve. The staging is fierce for the backstage crew, choreographer Karen Molnar and the ensemble, he said — “Someone is a waiter in one bar and suddenly all the action has moved across the stage and he’s the singer in another place. The trick is how to create that flow, but when it’s done, it’s wonderful to see.”
A TheatreZone favorite, Gerritt VanderMeer, professor of theater at FGCU, plays J.J. Hunsecker, the ironwilled, narcissistic columnist who despises the jazz musician his sister loves and means to wreck the romance. Daniel Schwab (“Little Women,” “Grand Hotel” and “110 in the Shade”) plays Sidney Falco; Tim Russell, a playhouse veteran who has appeared at Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, is Dallas, the slandered jazz star; and Carolann Sanita (“High Society”) returns to TheatreZone as Rita, Falco’s long-suffering girlfriend.
The audience were encouraged to bring their fedoras and clutch bags; the set and costuming are period-perfect.
“We’re keeping with the film noir look that it had. We’ve gone back to 1952 — it’s very gray, black, silver and white,” Danni said.
What: Dramatic musical, scored by Marvin Hamlisch, based on the 1957 film noir that is considered a classic New York tale. It’s produced here by TheatreZone, with Mark Danni, stage director; Charles Fornara, music director; and Karen Molnar, choreographer.
Where: G&L Theatre at The Community School of Naples, 13275 Livingston Road, Naples
RELATED CONTENT: The Music of Marvin Hamlisch:
MUSIC FOR FILM: