The magic of cinema has a way of captivating audiences, immersing them in a world of fantasy, romance, and drama. One film that became a Hollywood classic is Billy Wilder's 1959 masterpiece Some Like It Hot. The film, starring silver screen legends Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, weaves a compelling tale of mistaken identity and sultry jazz. Set in the Roaring Twenties, the movie transports viewers to a time of swing music and speakeasies, all the while leading a captivating narrative that has stood the test of time.
Now, imagine the thrill of seeing the iconic scenes and hearing the unforgettable dialogue of Some Like It Hot play out live on the Broadway stage. This is no longer a mere fantasy, as the beloved Hollywood classic was recently reborn on the NYC stage. The journey of transforming this cinematic masterpiece into a stage production is a fascinating one, filled with passion, creativity, and an unyielding dedication to preserving the original film's spirit while infusing it with the unique energy of live performance.
Some Like It Hot: The Movie
Recognized for its innovative plot, engaging performances, and witty dialogue, the original film quickly became a hit upon its release. Over six decades later, it continues to be lauded as one of the greatest comedies in Hollywood history. The film's success extends far beyond the box office; it made a significant cultural impact, pushing boundaries with its themes of gender, identity, and sexuality. It was bold for its time, challenging societal norms and conventions with humor and grace. Some Like It Hot is more than just a film; it is a cultural landmark that helped to shape the landscape of cinema and continues to be a reference point for many modern comedies. With its enduring appeal and timeless charisma, it comes as no surprise that this Hollywood classic is now making its way to the Broadway stage.
The Journey to Broadway
The decision to adapt Some Like It Hot into a Broadway show was a carefully considered one, sparked by both a deep admiration for the original film and a strong demand from fans for a stage version. This monumental endeavor has been years in the making, a testament to the dedication and commitment of the creative team to do justice to the beloved classic.
The adaptation process was an intricate one, requiring a delicate balance between honoring the film's legacy and introducing elements specific to the theatre. The script had to be meticulously crafted to retain the film's mood and humor while also taking into account the dynamics of a live performance.
The Broadway adaptation of Some Like It Hot tells the same captivating story as the film with some slight changes. The plot revolves around two male musicians who disguise themselves as women to escape the mob after accidentally witnessing a crime. The duo ends up joining an all-female band, leading to a series of comedic situations and romantic entanglements. The show retains the essence of the film by preserving the wit and comedic timing that made the original a classic, while incorporating the immediacy inherent in live theatre.
While the basic plot remains the same, the stage adaptation introduces certain changes to help 21st-Century audiences connect with the story. Perhaps one of the most exciting additions is the inclusion of an on-stage band, which adds a dynamic element to the show and allows the jazz music that forms the backdrop of the story to take center stage.
Broadway’s Some Like It Hot boasts a stellar cast, bringing together seasoned performers and rising stars. A much-anticipated shift in Broadway productions has been the embrace of diverse casting. The casting process was open to actors of all genders and backgrounds, a move that breaks away from traditional casting norms and adds a layer of authenticity to the characters' experiences. Furthermore, the production team has taken steps to ensure that the narrative is sensitive, respectful, but most of all, fun to be a part of for both the audience and the cast.
This commendable transition paved the way for the phenomenal Adriana Hicks (SIX), to step into the lead role of Sugar Kane. Hicks brings a wealth of experience to her role, ranging from Broadway credits like SIX, The Color Purple revival, and Aladdin.
Reflecting the evolution of societal norms since the film's release in 1959, the show embraces the film's themes of gender fluidity and identity, exploring them in a more explicit and nuanced manner. The brilliant J. Harrison Ghee can’t be overlooked as a powerhouse non-binary performer, who plays the role of Jerry/Daphne. In the musical adaptation, this character undergoes a profound transformation. Ghee's role begins as Jerry, a performer who, after witnessing a crime, adopts the guise of a woman. As the narrative unfolds, it becomes evident that Daphne is not merely a disguise, but rather, Jerry's most authentic self. Ghee was just recently awarded the 2022 Tony for Leading Actor in a Musical.
Christian Borle, a two-time Tony Award® winner revered for his performances in Something Rotten! and Peter and the Starcatcher, brings the multi-faceted character of Joe/Josephine to life. Joe's complexity lies in his evolution from a self-serving player into a more empathetic individual. For the first time, he learns to listen to women, rather than viewing them as conquests. His transformation is further deepened by his newfound willingness to step back and let Jerry/Daphne take the lead. Borle's portrayal of this intricate journey adds a fresh and compelling layer of depth to the show.
SLIH is helmed by renowned director Casey Nicholaw, known for his successful Broadway productions of The Book of Mormon and Aladdin. His knack for balancing humor with heart promises to make this adaptation a memorable one. Rounding out the creative team are screenwriters Matthew Lopez (The Inheritance) and Amber Ruffin (Late Night With Seth Meyers), plus composer/lyricists Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray), making for a formidable creative force.
Unique Aspects of the Show
The stage version of SLIH is an exciting amalgamation of unique elements that breathe new life into this beloved classic. One of the most distinguishing aspects of the show is its music. Unlike the film, the stage version features a live on-stage jazz band, creating a vibrant, immersive atmosphere that adds an extra layer of authenticity to the Roaring Twenties setting. This musical feature allows the audience to feel more connected to the era and the story, as live music becomes an integral part of the narrative.
Further enhancing the overall experience, the set design and costumes have been meticulously crafted to transport audiences to the glamor and decadence of the 1930s. The attention to detail in every element is a testament to the dedication of the creative team to recreate the world of the film on stage.
Reception and Accolades
The Broadway adaptation of Some Like It Hot has been met with significant acclaim, earning recognition from both audiences and critics alike. In May 2023, the show made waves in the theatre community by topping the Tony Award® nominations list for the 2022 season. It received a staggering 13 nominations. Among the nominations, the show was recognized in the prestigious Best Musical category, demonstrating its overall excellence and the impact it has made on Broadway. Further adding to its list of achievements, the show took home four Tony Awards. The talented J. Harrison Ghee, who so brilliantly portrays Jerry/Daphne, received the award for Best Leading Actor. Additionally, the show was recognized for its dynamic and engaging choreography, orchestrations, and design.
In 2023, the relevance of Some Like It Hot as a Broadway adaptation is remarkably potent. This beloved story, first introduced to audiences in the 1950s, continues to resonate due to its timeless themes of identity, acceptance, and freedom. The Broadway adaptation also reflects modern sensibilities and conversations, particularly around gender and inclusivity.
Why You Should Watch Some Like It Hot on Broadway
Whether you are a fan of the original film, a Broadway enthusiast, or someone new to the world of theatre, the show promises an unforgettable experience. The timeless story, the humor that transcends generations, and the beloved characters have been lovingly reimagined for the stage, making it a must-watch for all.
So, if you're in the mood for a night of laughter, music, and stellar performances, make sure to catch Some Like It Hot on Broadway. This show is more than just a musical – it's an experience, a journey back to the 30s, and a celebration of the enduring power of storytelling. Don't miss the chance to experience this memorable theatrical event.
If you're interested in exploring more about Some Like It Hot on Broadway, make sure to visit Broadway Inbound's website. You'll find detailed information about the show, including performance dates, venue details, and convenient online ticketing options with group tickets available.
And for those who wish to dive deeper into the history and cultural impact of the original film, the book Some Like It Wilder: The Life and Controversial Films of Billy Wilder offers an in-depth look at the director's work, including the making of Some Like It Hot.