edited July 2011 in Theater
Just found a nice site that features unknown (little known?) musicals. Here's their link to Smile: http://hipstermusicals.tumblr.com/


  • I really wish I could see this show. Too bad I'll probably never get the opportunity.
  • Never say never. High schools do produce the show as do regionals and I hope for a revival...someday...
  • I hope that that revival happens! :)
  • @Tacowiz - It was filmed for the Lincoln Center Video Archives in NY. The version that played Broadway was no where near as strong as the version that is licensed, but its still an excellent production and the performances are FANTASTIC. I highly recommend it. I only wish it could be watchable outside of the library somehow!!
  • Here's a link to some photos from our recent production of 'Smile'.
    As you can see, there are puppets as some of the characters:) We are a youth company, so we used puppets for all the adults. We did the show at the Fringe Festival. Will be adding more photos soon, just having some slow computer issues;)

  • Never did see Smile (I probably don't even know what I'm missing). Anyways, based on Howard's biography, I am under the assumption that the song "Disneyland" from this musical was what got the Disney corporate heads to notice his talent and adopt him (and his partner Menken) into the company. Is this true, or how was it that got Howard his big Disney break? Was it a series of phone calls? A business meeting with representatives? FEED ME... answers.
  • From what I can tell from Waking Sleeping Beauty and the section on Howard in "Beyond Beauty", David Geffen, who was one of the producers on Little Shop, told Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the heads of Disney animation of the time, about Howard, saying that he knew more about Jeffrey's line of work than Jeffrey did. According to Alan Menken in an episode of Theater Talk, Howard was offered 3 projects: a live action adaptation of "I, Tina" (which became "What's Love Got to Do With It?"), the live-action film The Thief of Baghdad (which somewhat mutated and evolved into Aladdin), and the animated film, The Little Mermaid.

    That's all I personally know from what I've seen and heard.
  • Hi Mikhail,
    To my knowledge, Disneyland (the song) was just an interesting coincidence. James B Stewart's book, Disney Wars has a pretty good rundown of how and why Howard went to Disney.
    And for Jusin,
    Disney bought the rights to I, Tina at Howard's request. Howard was an enormous fan of hers, even back in the Ike and Tina days, and was thrilled to meet her and write the screenplay. It was so rewritten by the time it was filmed, though, that he is not credited for the film (which is fair, it really wasn't his screenplay that was eventually filmed).
  • I just happened to find this video and had to post it here:

    Finding archival footage like this is like digital archaeology. I had no idea that 60 minutes did a bit for Smile. And the interviews (especially with Marvin) are the icing on this particular cake.
  • Thank you for posting. Howard was a little in love with (or at least intrigued by) Diane Sawyer, I think.
  • edited September 2013
    Hey fellow Ashman fans

    Just wanted to make sure everyone knew about some upcoming productions of Smile in NYC

    Musicals Tonight (http://www.musicalstonight.org/) will be presenting SMILE from October 22-November 3

    NYU, New Studio on Broadway (http://drama.tisch.nyu.edu/object/dr_studios_nsbnew.html) will be presenting SMILE from Dec 4th-8th

    Best of all (for me) is I am music directing NYU's production! I started working at NYU last year. My 2nd production with them was Nine, which they picked because of the amount of women they currently have in the program. I suggested Smile as a future option also with many female roles, and they took the suggestion and hired me as MD. We just finished casting this past week and I think we have a pretty solid set of students lined up! I'm so thrilled to get to share a lesser-known but brilliant show with this group of young minds. I can't wait for rehearsals to begin.
  • Great news! I would love to see Encores! do SMILE someday (and another unappreciated musical from the 1980s, THE RINK), but this season they're doing two of my favorite shows ever...LITTLE ME and MOST HAPPY FELLA (Well, maybe not LITTLE ME as a show, but the score is great.) so I'll settle for that for now.

    Sarah, speaking of LITTLE ME (and not entirely off the topic of SMILE)...did Howard have anything to say about Carolyn Leigh's work? I don't mean her work on SMILE before she passed away, but I mean on shows like LITTLE ME and PETER PAN. She was a real wit (for me, at least) and I can name about a dozen favorite lyric lines from LITTLE ME.
  • And good luck, Logan, with your NYU production!
  • Howard adored Carolyn Leigh's work - both Peter Pan (in childhood) and Little Me (in adolescence) were favorites. BTW, he was also in total awe of Frank Loesser (who isn't). We have tried to entice Encores with Smile but alas...
  • Logan, I don't think I knew about the NYU production. They did it a few years ago as a black box production and I liked it very much.
  • I don't get the reasoning behind some of the choices of this Encores! "administration." (I believe Ted Chapin used to run it before Jack Viertel.) I'm sure there are about three of us on here who know (or care) about what I mean, but some of their choices seem really "safe." But then again, they have a subscription audience to please, and I think MOST HAPPY FELLA (which I adore) is a more pleasing (okay...better) show than SEESAW (which a friend of mine-- far older than me-- really wants to see done someday). I think SMILE would be a great choice (and could result in that long-deserved recording), as would my request, THE RINK, despite being not quite 30 years old.

    And yes, who ISN'T in awe of The Great Loesser? Like Howard, he died too young (though not quite as tragically). I would have loved to see his theatrical reaction to the Sondheim-Prince shows of the 70s. (He was a big champion of Sondheim's, supposedly.)
  • Thanks for reminding me of SeeSaw, John. When I moved to NY, my roommate and I named our cat, Gittle. What better name for a cat living with two Jewish girls trying to survive in NYC?
  • Anyone else going to see this production? http://www.newyorkcitytheatre.com/theaters/liontheater/smile.php

    It's going right now, through November 3. I'm actually going on November 2 -- SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!! If anyone is going to be in New York City, I would love to get together and meet some of you in person. Hopefully, my husband won't be too bored with our conversation, LOL -- he likes musicals and such but he's not the Howard fanatic I am. ;)
  • I'm actually going to be there this Friday afternoon (at 2pm-- they have Friday matinees, oddly enough) so if Sarah, or anyone from this little "Feed Me" group wants to say "Hi" sometime then, let me know if you'll be there. I'll give a post-show report for people like Andi who are going after me. I'm really excited that it's getting done twice in NYC this fall/winter. I might check in on the NYU staging, too-- time permitting. (I'm in the BMI Workshop and I think Dec. 4-8 is the week I'm presenting my assignment before our "Holiday Recess", so it COULD be slightly nuts then...I hope not!)
  • Oooh, can't wait to see your report. Hope it's good!!! :) Also, even if anyone isn't seeing the show, but lives in or near New York City and wants to meet up, let me know. Leave me a message on here, or email me (andi1235 at gmail.com). I would love to meet some fellow fans. :)

    Wish I could see the NYU production, but I'm lucky enough to be seeing this one!
  • Because the "Musicals Tonight" series is less about staging and more about the book and score (and because its budget is not nearly as big as something like Encores!) there isn't much staging. (At least, I didn't think so.) And while the show is good (the show itself, I mean) it lacks *something* without a lot of staging and movement. There are no real "stand alone" songs except for "Disneyland" and "Do it For Me" where the actor can stand there and sing. SMILE is a lot about blending book and song seamlessly, which I think, calls for a great director...or stager. So while standing there and singing a Cole Porter song from the 1930s and bringing back memories of MEXICAN HAYRIDE, etc. (Whatever memories are left...), I don't think that type of treatment works for SMILE. It really needs an Encores! production if it's going to get the "concert treatment." Or a full revival. But it was good to hear the score.
  • edited October 2013
    I try to be nice but I was pretty disappointed in this, even as a reading.
  • Aww, how disappointing! I'm not hearing good things about this production from multiple places, sadly. Someone on another message board I'm on disliked it so much they left at intermission. I'm still looking forward to seeing it, but now I really wish I could make the other production, since it sounds like this one isn't doing the show justice. :(
  • It's been slowed down to a crawl so please keep in mind the pacing is off. One good thing - you can hear all the lyrics!
  • Yeah, I THOUGHT the tempos were slow, but then again, composers tend to play through their stuff fast, and being familiar with the demo on the PS Classics CD, I thought the actual written score may had had slower tempo marks. But now I know! This is not meant to knock the score or book, but I really think a full production is somewhat necessary since song and dialogue flow almost seamlessly, unlike Ethel Merman stepping to the footlights and bellowing a Cole Porter tune (I'm repeating myself). I'm keeping fingers crossed for the NYU production, which I'm going to try to see if I can.
  • John and any others that want to see the NYU production--please contact me if you want tickets. They are free, but the space is small and they will go fast. I can hook you up though, since I'm on the inside (does that make me sound bad ass enough?).
  • I should add, by the way, that we perform Dec 4-6 at 8pm, Dec 7 at 2 and 8 and Dec 8 at 1 and 7
  • Damn, I'm going to be out of town that week. Break a leg to all.
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