Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Living Legend In Lights

With "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark" set to end its Broadway run in January and relocate to Las Vegas, let's take a look at another Marvel project that almost landed on the great white way:

This ad first appeared in Marvel comics published in March of 1985, and you may remember when it made the rounds in blogs and the news when the Spider-Man musical was making headlines in 2011-2012. The only real info available on it comes from an April, 1985 column by Enid Nemy of The New York Times featuring Broadway theatre news:

"Captain America" boasts a hero-sized $4 million budget.

IT'S going to be a big one, if everything works out as befits a musical named "Captain America." Big, in this case, means a budget of $4 million--a lot of money, even for a superhero fighting for the American dream, the flag and the woman he loves.

The superhero will not, in fact, be particularly super when the curtain goes up. The book by Mel Mandel and Norman Sachs (who are also responsible for music and lyrics) has Captain A. going through a mid-life crisis. Fortunately, the action speeds up - his girlfriend, a candidate for President, is captured by terrorists and held hostage at the Lincoln Memorial. That's enough of the plot - when you invest millions, as are Shari Upbin, James Galton and Marvel Comics and some as yet untapped sources, you're entitled to a few secrets.

The plan is to take the production, which will be directed by Philip Rose, out of town this fall and to Broadway toward year's end. John Cullum, Ken Howard, Richard Kiley and Hal Linden are the names being mentioned for our hero, and Linda Lavin and Cloris Leachman are being talked about to play the woman who is obviously going to be rescued from those baddies.

Gosh, did Steve Rogers ever reach mid-life? That would be a prerequisite for having a mid-life crisis, wouldn't it? Apparently, however, there was another crisis with the show that took precedence, as the project quietly fizzled and nothing more was heard or written of it (at least to my knowledge).

Here were the proposed male leads, in order of their mention above:

I have this odd curiosity of wondering which songs they were planning to have "Cap" belt out.


Anonymous said...

I saw this ad in comics when I was a kid, and I was more than a little puzzled by it. I think they might have jumped the gun (maybe a little) by advertising for a play that hadn't been cast, or written.
But, it's not the worst idea I've ever heard for a play.
Depending on how the Captain America character is portrayed in film from here forward, it's just possible somebody could do something with it.

Comicsfan said...

I doubt that this project would ever see the light of day again (at least in its original form--all you'd have to put in your publicity notices are the words "Cap goes through a mid-life crisis" to limit your audience draw), but never say never. ;)