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The Star-Spangled Girl

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Star-Spangled Girl is a comedy written by Neil Simon. The play is set in San Francisco in the 1960s.

Production

The Star-Spangled Girl opened on Broadway at the Plymouth Theatre on December 21, 1966 and closed on August 5, 1967 after 261 performances. The original cast featured Anthony Perkins as Andy, Richard Benjamin as Norman and Connie Stevens as Sophie.[1] The scenic design was by Oliver Smith, the lighting was by Jean Rosenthal and the costumes were by Ann Roth.[2][3]

The production was directed by playwright George Axelrod.[3]

In an interview, Neil Simon was asked whether The Star-Spangled Girl would have been better with direction by Mike Nichols. Simon replied: "Yes. He would have given the actors a different attitude; we would have gone much more for reality than the superficial comedy that came out. That's not to knock George Axelrod....He couldn't do it because he was busy with 'Virginia Woolf' but it isn't true that he advised me not to do it; as a matter of fact he came to Philadelphia, and he liked it. He gave me some advice on it which helped."[4]

Plot overview

The story is a love triangle, mixed with politics. Andy and Norman are roommates and radicals who barely make a living working on their magazine, Fallout, which is dedicated to fighting "the system" in America. Sophie, a former Olympic swimmer, is an all-American Southern girl who moves into the apartment next door. It's love at first sight (or, as the play has it, first smell) for Norman, but his feelings are not reciprocated. Norman's obsession with Sophie makes Andy hire her just to keep the magazine going. Then Sophie falls for Andy, though they are at odds politically, threatening to destroy the magazine and the men's friendship.

History and reception

Simon said that he based the play on a "spirited political conversation he overheard between author Paddy Chayevsky and the wife of an astronaut."[5] While it features Simon's lively comic style—still on display on Broadway in Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple when The Star-Spangled Girl debuted—it was not well received.

Louis Botto and Robert Viagas called the play "...a stultifying evening of vapidity...".[6]

Critic Walter Kerr in his The New York Times review wrote : "Neil Simon, your friendly neighborhood gagman, hasn't had an idea for a play this season, but he's gone ahead and written one anyway." [7]

In an interview, Simon said that The Star-Spangled Girl "was written 'from an emotional identity rather than personal identity...I knew this one didn't have the body of the others. I knew it never had a chance to be a powerful comedy....I didn't make it'".[8]

Film

The play was adapted into a movie in 1971. Jerry Paris directed and the screenplay was by Arnold Margolin and Jim Parker. The cast starred Tony Roberts as Andy, Todd Susman as Norman and Sandy Duncan as Amy (renamed from Sophie). According to tcm.com, "The film received almost universally poor notices."[9] The New York Times reviewer wrote: "Time and Hollywood have not done wonders for his exuberant but still essentially lightweight comedy....The uninspired adaptation of Simon's antic is a basically contrived affair that may get a share of chuckles but not many hearty laughs."[10]

The movie also features Davy Jones singing "Girl," which he also sang in an episode of The Brady Bunch.

References

  1. ^ "Simple Simon - TIME". www.time.com. December 30, 1966. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  2. ^ Simon, Neil. Script The Star-Spangled Girl (1967) (books.google.com), Dramatista Play Service, Inc., ISBN 0-8222-1073-8, pp.1-4
  3. ^ a b The Star-Spangled Girl Playbill, October 17, 2017
  4. ^ Barthel, Joan. "Life for Simon -Not That Simple", The New York Times, February 25, 1968, p.D1
  5. ^ " The Star-Spangled Girl Notes" tcm.com, retrieved October 18, 2017
  6. ^ Botto, Louis and Viagas, Robert (ed). "Plymouth Theatre", At this Theatre: 100 Years of Broadway Shows, Stories and Stars, Hal Leonard Corporation, 2002, ISBN 1557835667, p. 115
  7. ^ Kerr, Walter. "The Theater: Neil Simon's 'Star-Spangled Girl': Comedy Has Premiere at the Plymouth Anthony Perkins Stars Staged by Axelrod" The New York Times December 22, 1966, p. 37
  8. ^ Funke, Lewis. "News of the Rialto Simon Says", 'I've Learned', The New York Times, January 1, 1967, p. 57
  9. ^ " Star Spangled Girl Film Overview" tcm.com, retrieved October 18, 2017
  10. ^ Weiler, A. H., " 'Star Spangled Girl' on the Screen", The New York Times, December 23, 1971, p. 20

External links

This page was last edited on 5 September 2018, at 21:06
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