While “Beauty and the Beast” director Bill Condon is, no doubt, celebrating his film’s record-breaking opening weekend, his thoughts will soon turn to his next project: a stage version of the 1954 film classic, “A Star is Born” that earned Oscar nominations for stars Judy Garland and James Mason.
This classic cautionary tale of Hollywood tells the story of a band singer who becomes a movie star with the help of a one-time matinee idol on the decline. They fall in love and marry but even she can’t save him from himself and his addictions.
Both Garland and Mason earned their first Oscar nominations. While Mason went down to defeat as expected to Marlon Brando who headlined the Best Picture champ “On the Waterfront,” Garland was tipped to win. As she was unable to attend the ceremony, having just given birth to her son, the academy set up a camera in her hospital room. After Grace Kelly prevailed for “The Country Girl,” Groucho Marx called it “the biggest robbery since Brinks.” Garland was nominated again for her supporting role in 1961’s “Judgment at Nuremberg” but lost to future EGOT-recipient Rita Moreno for “West Side Story.”
“A Star is Born” also lost its other four Oscar bids, with “20,000 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (which also starred Mason) taking Art Direction (Color) and “The Gates of Hell” winning Costume Design (Color) while Best Picture nominee “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” claimed Best Score.
And the title tune “Three Coins in the Fountain” won Best Song over, among others, the Harold Arlen/Ira Gershwin classic “The Man That Got Away,” which Garland introduced in the movie and then made part of her concert repertoire (watch above). That song, as well as the others featured in the film, are to be part of this upcoming production from Warner Bros. Theatre Venture.
Condon won an Oscar in 1998 for the script for his film “Gods and Monsters” and reaped a bid in 2003 for his adaptation of the Broadway musical “Chicago.” And he directed the 2006 film version of the tuner “Dreamgirls” that won Jennifer Hudson an Oscar. He first tried his hand at directing for the theater when he oversaw the critically acclaimed 2014 revival of “Side Show,” the 1997 musical by “Dreamgirls” songwriters Bill Russell and Henry Krieger.
Be sure to make your Tony Awards predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Broadway insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our Tony odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on May 2. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Tony Awards taking place right now in our theater forums.