This volatile, stage-trained comic actor made his film debut playing dual roles in "Du Barry Was a Lady" (1943). Mostel's solid, bulky build and heavy-lidded eyes made him a convincing heavy, but his...
With the huge Broadway success of Mel Brooks' The Producers, it looks like you can bring the movies to the stage.
On Monday, Brooks' musical stage adaptation of his classic movie received 15 Tony nominations, including nods for best musical, for stars Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, and for Brooks for best book and score. Brooks based the show on his 1968 film, which starred Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. A down-on-his-luck Broadway show producer and his accountant decide to produce the worst show ever, after raising thousands of dollars in investments, and watch the money roll in when the show flops miserably. Of course, the fictional musical, Springtime for Hitler, becomes a smash success, thereby ruining them both. Broderick's character is much different from Wilder's original character, but the film poses a perfect scenario for a real-life Broadway musical.
The Americanized stage adaptation of the 1997 English hit The Full Monty also got a nomination for best musical. Instead of blue-collar workers from Northern England, the musical features blue-collar workers from Buffalo, N.Y., who not only strip but must sing for their suppers, bringing a whole new meaning to stage presence.
Even though the book was first produced as a Broadway play in the 1960s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is best known for its Academy-Award winning film starring Jack Nicholson. This year saw a critically acclaimed revival of the play, staged by the famed Steppenwolf Theatre Co. and starring Gary Sinise as McMurphy, the unconventional convict who turns a mental ward upside-down. The play and Sinise each received a Tony nomination. [for complete list of nominations, go to http://www.broadway.com]
Is this a trend for future shows?
If it's a trend, then it's a "fake trend," said Jed Bernstein, president of the League of American Theatres and Producers.
The success of a show is based on a good story and compelling characters, regardless of its source, he said.
"Whether the material is original or from a movie or from a comic book, if it's a great story, people will gravitate towards it," he said.
Here's a look at some other movies turned into or likely to become stage productions:
That Thing You Do!: Tom Hanks' 1996 directed and scripted film is now being considered for a Broadway musical, with Hanks' production company, Playtone, putting the deal together. They are looking for a top-notch musical director, with Des McAnuff (The Who's Tommy) on the list. The stage production would follow the quick rise and fall of the Wonders, a fictional mop-top 1960s band from Erie, Pa., whose swinging title song (written by Adam Schlesinger) propels them to the top of the pop charts. The idea to turn the film into a stage musical came from the numerous requests to the production company by local high schools eager to mount their own productions.
The Witches of Eastwick: The musical version of the 1987 film, based on the novel by John Updike, is currently playing to rave reviews in London. Starring Lucie Arnaz as Alexandra (played by Cher in the film), the story remains pretty much the same. In the tiny New England town of Eastwick, R.I., three modern-day witches innocently plot to bring the perfect man to them, over several weak martinis and peanut butter brownies. But when their longings are made flesh in the arrival of one Darryl Van Horne, all hell breaks loose.
Saturday Night Fever: Based on the smash 1977 film, the musical seemed to be a natural fit for the stage, with the cool 1970s tunes-and the dancing. The story was the same: Tony Marino dreams of making it big in the world of dancing, but at the same time he must deal with two women in his life--one who wants him and one he wants. The stage musical wasn't able to capture the hearts of theatergoers quite the same way as the film did for its audience. The musical opened on Broadway in 1999 and closed quickly. There also was a British tour that closed in February 2000.
Sunset Blvd.: Andrew Lloyd Webber's staged musical is based on the Academy-Award winning 1950 film starring the incomparable Gloria Swanson and William Holden. The musical opened in London in 1993 and went to Broadway quickly after, starring the larger-than-life Glenn Close. Once again, the stage production did not live up to its hype and couldn't capture the magic of Billy Wilder's exquisite film. Webber also collaborated with Jim Steinman on a musical adaptation of the 1961 film Whistle Down the Wind, based on the Mary Hayley Bell novel. It closed in January after running for 2 ½ years in London, but it has failed to make it to Broadway.
Also, there have been a few other flops, such as the stage production of Big, based on the hit 1988 Tom Hanks film, which opened on Broadway in April 1996 and closed in October 1996. Footloose, based on the just-as-silly 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon, also flopped on Broadway but continues to tour nationally.
The Tony Awards will air June 3 on PBS and CBS.
Reteamed with Kazan for the stage drama "Flight into Egypt"
Heard posthumously as the voice of Kehaar the seagull in the animated film "Watership Down"
Severely injured left leg when he was struck by a bus (January)
Delivered a well-received stage turn as Tevye the milkman in the musical "Fiddler on the Roof", adapted from the stories of Sholom Aleichem; production directed by Jerome Robbins; garnered third career Tony Award
Debut as a stand-up comic at Cafe Society in NYC; given nickname 'Zero' by club's press agent because he was "a guy starting from nothing"
Starred in the variety program "Zero Hour" (ABC)
Final stage performance as Shylock in "The Merchant", Arnold Wesker's reworking of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice"
Recreated another stage role in the film adaptation of "Rhinoceros"
Offered what is perhaps his best recalled film performance as outsized impresario Max Bialystock in "The Producers"
Broadway debut in the revue "Keep 'Em Laughing"
Recreated his stage role as Pseudolus in the film adaptation of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"
Final Broadway appearance recreating role of Leopold Bloom in "Ulysses in Nighttown"; earned Tony nomination
Briefly served in the US Army
Last film for nearly a decade, "The Model and the Marriage Broker"
Made stage comeback in "Ulysses in Nighttown", directed by Burgess Meredith
Appeared in the stage musical "Beggar's Holiday"
Had featured role in "Panic in the Streets", helmed by Elia Kazan
Headlined one-person special "Zero Mostel"
Appeared in "The World of Sholom Aleichem" (syndicated)
Hired by the Federal Arts Program to teach drawing and painting
Appeared alongside Woody Allen in "The Front", about the Hollywood blacklist, scripted by Walter Bernstein and directed by Martin Ritt
Returned to Broadway after long recovery to star in Ionesco's "Rhinoceros"; received Tony Award
Acted in "Zero", adapted from a Samuel Beckett play; screened at Venice Film Festival but never released theatrically in the USA
Last TV appearance, a guest spot on the syndicated series "The Muppet Show"
Called to testify before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities; was blacklisted
Acted alongside wife Kate in two Moliere plays, "The Imaginary Invalid" and "The Doctor in Spite of Himself", at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Raised on NYC's Lower East Side
Co-starred in "The Angel Levine"
Acted in the caper comedy "The Hot Rock"
Seen in footage of the documentary "Best Boy"
Enjoyed hit as the star of the vaudeville-like musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"; received second Tony Award
In the early 1940s, began to be hired as an entertainer at private parties
Feature film debut in "DuBarry Was a Lady"
This volatile, stage-trained comic actor made his film debut playing dual roles in "Du Barry Was a Lady" (1943). Mostel's solid, bulky build and heavy-lidded eyes made him a convincing heavy, but his promising film career (e.g., "Panic in the Streets" 1950) was cut short when he was blacklisted following his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1951. His fortunes revived in the early 1960s with his maniacally comic Broadway performance in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1962) and, as Tevye, in "Fiddler on the Roof" (1964). Mostel turned in a landmark screen performance as bamboozling Broadway producer Max Bialystock in Mel Brooks' "The Producers" (1967), and continued making regular film appearances into the late 1970s. One of his most notable later roles was in the Martin Ritt drama, "The Front" (1976), as a man facing the blacklist.
former Rockette; of Irish ancestry; when Mostel married her, his parents stopped talking to him
born on December 21, 1946
born on September 29, 1948
married in 1939; separated in 1941; divorced in 1944