Wednesday, July 10, 2013
But it brings up the question, would American audiences accept a stage version of CHEERS without Ted Danson and Shelley Long? These actors are so etched into our minds as those characters that it might be hard getting past other actors in the roles. And if you use other actors, would you want their interpretation to be different and unique to them or a more faithful mimic of the characters you know?
There have been numerous movie adaptations of TV series – the latest being the Lone Ranger. I can’t answer that one because the reviews have been so horrendous I’ve been afraid to see it. I hear, however, that they portray the Lone Ranger as kind of an idiot. I’ll hold out till the reboot of WILD BILL HICKCOCK.
Some reboots have been successful. I liked THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE, although that was more of a spoof. And how hard is it to fill the role of Carol Brady? (Ironically, it was Shelley Long who played her.) And some of the Tom Cruise MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movies worked. I liked the cast of the STAR TREK prequel (although some of you did not).
And then of course there are TV reboots. Don’t get me started on HAWAII FIVE-O. Oprah would be a better Steve McGarret too.
I once had the pleasure of seeing a live version of Neil Simon’s ODD COUPLE play that starred the TV Felix & Oscar -- Tony Randall & Jack Klugman. That was fun although I felt like I was attending the world’s best but longest network runthrough.
I think a new stage version of CHEERS could be done. The first ten minutes might be a little disconcerting, (“Afternoon everybody.” “Norm????”), but if you got terrific young actors and the writing was CHEERS-caliber, I think the audience would go along with you. And just to make sure, sit the audience as far back as I was for YES MINISTER. (“Is that Oprah playing Cliff?”)
I myself am lucky. None of the shows I co-created lasted long enough for the characters to become engrained in anyone’s minds. In fact, if I do a stage version of BIG WAVE DAVE’S there’s a good chance the play will have a longer run than the series.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM