Showstopper: “The Beauty That Drives Men Mad”

Since Some Like It Hot is one of the funniest films of all time, you’d think that a musical comedy adaptation would follow suit. Well, it didn’t but that didn’t keep Sugar from being enjoyable. Jule Styne and Bob Merrill supplied the score; Gower Champion was the director. Robert Morse and Tony Roberts starred as the down-on-their-luck musicians on the run. Elaine Joyce had the least desirable job of the seeing – trying to live up to the legacy of Monroe. The show had trouble out of town and opened in NY to mixed reviews. Styne and Merrill’s score wasn’t very original or exciting, but it was tuneful and engaging. But on the strength of the original property and the Tony-nominated lead performance of Morse, the show ran 505 performances at the Majestic. The show continues to be licensed and is occasionally revived under the film’s title.

In 1998, Morse and Roberts donned the drag one more time for the Carnegie Hall special My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies where they opened the show with their first act show-stopper “The Beauty That Drives Men Mad.” They were the only men on the bill that evening (and continuing in the gender bending theme that got things started, they were introduced by Julie Andrews in her Victor/Victoria tux.


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