The voices of telephone operators ring out in the dark. “Grand Hotel Berlin, at your service.” The telephone operators promise prompt service for The Grand Hotel’s illustrious clients. As the sound grows to a loud din, The Doctor, in a room of his own injects some morphine into his arm to ease the pain caused by wounds he suffered in the First World War. He smiles, knowing today, will be another exciting day, where people come and people go, and people’s lives change, in The Grand Hotel. One by one, people enter the lobby of the hotel, during (“The Grand Parade”).
Baron Felix Von Gaigern enters the lobby of the hotel, while being vigorously hounded by a gangster, who thinly veils himself as a chauffeur. The Baron avoids paying The Chauffeur the money he owes, by claiming to be very busy, “breathing”. Meanwhile, Erik, the front desk operator, waits on news of his son’s birth, while still attempting to attend to his duties as front desk operator. One of those duties includes dealing with the dancing diva who is Elizaveta Grushinskaya, who enters the lobby with a flourish, along with her company manager Witt, a theatre impresario Sandor, and Grushinskaya’s dresser Raffaela. Grushinskaya has just come from a disappointing performance during which she stumbled. She swears, “I cannot dance any more! Grushinskaya retires!” Her bevy of assistants follow her off to her room to convince her otherwise, while Rafaela runs to the phones at the side of the lobby.
Rafaela tries to sell some of Grushinskaya’s jewelry to pay for the shows that Grushinskaya wants to cancel. Next to her is a woman, Frieda Flamm, who has taken the stage name Flaemmchen. She is an aspiring actress, who is afraid that she might be pregnant. Next to her is Preysing, a general manager of a textile mill, who is waiting nervously to hear from Boston to see if his company is going to merge with a Boston company, or if his company is going to become bankrupt. The final man at the phones is Otto Kringelein, who is mortally ill, and has decided to spend his last days extravagantly at The Grand Hotel.
Erik discovers that his wife is in great pain while giving childbirth. The Doctor dismisses her pain as insignificant to that which he suffers everyday. He tells a bellhop that he may be checking out today, but the bellhop dismisses the claim, “Sir, you said that yesterday.” Kringelein tries desperately to check into the overbooked, Grand Hotel, but the general manager, Rohna, can not find a room for him. Kringelein works himself into a fury, and passes out. The Baron comes to his aid, and uses his pull to make sure that Kringelein can spend his final days in style. Kringelein is overjoyed and sings of the pleasures he’ll find (“At the Grand Hotel”).
At the coffee bar, two black American entertainers, The Jimmys, sing to the crowd, (“Maybe My Baby”). Flaemmchen waits nervously for Preysing, as she has agreed to be his typist for the evening. The Jimmys tell Flaemmchen all about America, and she wonders if perhaps America is the place where she can find fame and fortune.
Witt and Sandor successfully convince Grushinskaya that she must dance, by quoting old reviews of her dancing, that glowingly referred to her as, (“Fire and Ice”). While Grushinskaya finds the strength in past glory to continue to practice, Raffaela sings of her passion for Grushinskaya, and how she wishes they could just retire to a (“Villa on a Hill”).
The Baron and Flaemmchen cross paths near the coat room, and playfully flirt. She enjoys The Baron’s interest in her, and it gives her the confidence to wonder if she could be a movie star in Hollywood, and be the (“Girl in the Mirror”).
Preysing’s attorney Zinnowitz, hounds him to tell his shareholders that the merger is on with the Boston company, and to restore calm to the shareholders. Preysing stands by his morals, saying that he can’t tell his shareholders things that aren’t true. Zinnowitz tries unsuccessfully to get Preysing to change his mind by claiming that (“Everybody’s Doing It”). Preysing meets with Flaemmchen, and they head off to his room, so that she can type his notes for the meeting. Just then Preysing receives the devastating news that the Boston merger is off. Realizing that his company, and therefore his life, is in ruins, Preysing, considers lying to his shareholders, and walking down, (“The Crooked Path”).
The Chauffeur catches up with The Baron again, and offers him a solution to his debt problems. The Chauffeur describes a necklace in Grushinskaya’s room, that The Baron could steal. The Baron claims that he would never steal, only as a last resort. The Chauffeur jams a gun into The Baron’s ribs, to remind him that his last resort is approaching very quickly.
The Baron heads off to The Yellow Pavilion to forget about his worries. There he runs into Flaemmchen, whom he courts. She is ecstatic that a Baron would take such an interest in her. She sings to The Baron, (“Who Couldn’t Dance with You”). The Baron sees Kringelein alone off to the side of the dance hall, and asks Flaemmchen if she would dance with him. She obliges, and life returns to the fading Kringelein. Preysing interrupts, and demands that Flaemmchen help him type up his notes for the shareholders’ meeting. Kringelein, who used to work for Preysing, tries to hold onto his dream dance with Flaemmchen, and is infuriated that Preysing would want to end the dance, and also that Preysing doesn’t even seem to remember who Kringelein is.
Preysing heads off to the shareholders’ meeting, and the shareholders excitedly sing, (“Music Is On”). The pressure becomes too much for Preysing, and he erroneously exclaims, “The Boston merger is definitely - on!”
The Baron approaches Kringelein in the lobby, and tries to convince him to buy stock because, “It’s crazy not to own stocks today.” As The Baron ushers Kringelein off to a broker’s room, The Chauffeur corners The Baron again, and reminds him to steal Grushinskaya’s necklace.
Meanwhile Grushinskaya dances in her concert, but the audience is hardly appreciative of her. Grushinskaya refuses to go back out on stage, and instead rushes back to the hotel for solace. However, upon entering her room, Grushinskaya finds The Baron, standing beside her precious necklace. The Baron quickly improvises that he is in her hotel room because he is her biggest fan, and has been following her all across Europe. The two jaded romantics, quickly fall for each other, while trying to convince themselves that (“Love Can’t Happen”). They are overwhelmed by their emotions, while Raffaela sits alone in her room, singing of her love for Grushinskaya in (“What You Need”).
Elsewhere in the hotel, Erik tries to sneak off the job to see his wife, but Rohna stops him, and threatens to fire Erik if he doesn’t get back to work. Preysing, facing certain destruction once his lie is found out, decides to go to Boston, and force the Boston company to merge with his company. Preysing also manages to convince Flaemmchen to come along with him, “to take care of him.”
The next morning, The Baron awakes next to Grushinskaya, and finds he is in love with her as he was the night before. He confesses to her that he was in her room to steal her necklace, but now he wants only to be with her. Grushinskaya offers The Baron money to travel with her to Vienna, but The Baron responds, “I am not a gigolo!” He leaves to find the money on his own, and Grushinskaya basks in her new found love and sings, (“Bonjour Amour”).
While The Jimmy’s sing (“The Grand Charleston”) at the hotel bar, The Baron sees Flaemmchen, and tells her of his new love for Grushinskaya, thus ending their serial flirting. Kringelein bursts into the lobby and informs The Baron, that his advice on the stocks was correct! “I made more last night than I ever made in an entire year!” Kringelein buys drinks for he and The Baron, and they sing along with The Jimmys, (“We’ll Take a Glass Together”). Kringelein gets so worked up, that he passes out, and drops his wallet. The Baron sees the wallet, bursting with money, and picks it up before helping Kringelein off to his room.
The Doctor, who has been observing all of the on goings at The Grand Hotel, sits in his room, alone. He injects himself with more morphine, and laments, (“I Waltz Alone”). During his singing, Preysing corners Flaemmchen in his room, and makes her undress for him. Down the hall in Kringelein’s room The Baron helps Kringelein to his bed. Kringelein realizes that his wallet is missing, and The Baron is struck by his own conscience and returns the wallet to Kringelein. Kringelein, realizing what has transpired, gives his friend a wad of money, as a thank you for all of his help. The Baron is ecstatic, and runs off, as he now has enough money to go to Vienna with Grushinskaya. As soon as he runs into the hall however, he is confronted by The Chauffeur. The Chauffeur takes the wad of money, and tells The Baron to go to room 420, “a certain randy businessman will be next door playing with his little blonde secretary. I saw his wallet, stuffed with fifty-mark notes.” The Chauffeur hands The Baron a gun, to make sure he gets the job done.
Back in Preysing’s room, Preysing is pushing Flaemmchen further and further, until finally she changes her mind and wants to leave. Preysing tries to force her to stay. The Baron sneaks in next door, and is about to rob Preysing when he hears Flaemmchen’s cries from the next room. He runs next door, and confronts Preysing, who in turn, accuses The Baron of being there to rob him. The fight escalates until The Baron takes out his gun, which Preysing grabs, and shoots The Baron dead.
The Ghost of The Baron moves to the railway station, where he was to meet Grushinskaya before going to Vienna. He sings what were his final thoughts, (“Roses at the Station”).
News of The Baron’s death spreads through the hotel, and all of Grushinskaya’s friends agree not to tell her the news until they are in Vienna. Raffaela is tortured, wondering (“How Can I Tell Her”).
The police take away Preysing to prison for killing a Baron. Kringelein asks Flaemmchen what she was doing with someone like Preysing. She tells him, that regretfully she was with him for the money, so she could start a new life for herself in America. Kringelein reminds her that he has money, and he will always take care of her.
Erik finds out that everything is okay with his son and wife. Witt, Sandor, and Raffaela usher Grushinskaya out the lobby of the hotel, hoping that she will not hear of The Baron’s death. The Doctor, looks through the lobby of the hotel, and notes, “Grand Hotel, Berlin. Always the same – people come, people go – One life ends while another begins – one heart breaks while another beats faster – one man goes to jail while another goes to Paris – always the same.” And while the Company sings (“Grand Waltz”) The Doctor decides, “I’ll stay – one more day.”
While it's true that most musicals take a long time to get to Broadway, GRAND HOTEL's journey was particularly long--almost 30 years!
Menschen im Hotel marked the beginning of the career of popular Austrian novelist Vicki Baum in 1929. She dramatized the novel for the Berlin stage later in the same year. The play became a hit, and its English-language adaptation enjoyed success in New York in the early 1930s and was made in to the blockbuster 1932 Academy Award-winning film, Grand Hotel, starring John Barrymore, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford.
At the Grand
Davis, Wright, and Forrest first adapted Baum's story in 1958 under the title At the Grand, changing the setting from 1928 Berlin to contemporary Rome and transforming the ballerina into an opera singer closely resembling Maria Callas to accommodate Joan Diener, who was scheduled to star under the direction of her husband Albert Marre. All of them had collaborated on the earlier musical Kismet and anticipated another success, but Davis' book strayed too far from the story familiar to fans of the film. When Paul Muni agreed to portray Kringelein, the role was changed and expanded, with the character becoming a lowly hotel employee whose stay in a hotel suite is kept secret from the management. Flaemmchen became a dancing soubrette, Preysing and his dramatic story line were eliminated completely, and two deported American gangsters were added for comic relief.
At the Grand opened to mixed reviews and good business in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but when an unhappy Muni refused to extend his preliminary contract and left the production, producer Edwin Lester decided to cancel the Broadway opening scheduled for September 25, 1958, and everyone moved on to other projects.
Three decades later, Davis, Wright, and Forrest decided to dust off their original material and give the show another try. This time it was placed in the hands of director/choreographer Tommy Tune, who envisioned it as a two-hour, non-stop production comprising dialogue scenes, musical numbers, and dance routines overlapping and at times competing with each other, thereby capturing the mood of a bustling hotel where something is happening at all times. Seven songs from At the Grand were incorporated into what was now called Grand Hotel, although two were dropped during the Boston tryout.
The creative team proved to be too attached to the original material and resisted every change that Tune proposed. "Bluntly stated, the show didn’t work. With the exception of the choreography and the physical trappings, the show was deadly," Tune recalled in his memoir Footnotes. Frustrated, he finally fired Wright and Forrest and brought in Maury Yeston in 1989, with whom he had worked in Nine, to compose six new songs and revise others (including rewriting over half the lyrics in the show). He also hired Peter Stone to doctor Davis' book, although Stone refused official credit for his work. Tune later commented, "I hate it when it gets ugly on a show. It always does though, and you've gotta be hearty to survive. If it's not the writers, then it's the producers or the cast. There is always turmoil, but if you're lucky some good can come of it all. I have always tried to be kind to everyone, but please don’t mistake my kindness for weakness."
Broadway and subsequent productions
After thirty-one previews, Grand Hotel opened on November 12, 1989 at the Martin Beck Theatre, and later transferred to the George Gershwin to complete its total run of 1,017 performances. The show is played without an intermission. The original cast included Liliane Montevecchi as Elizaveta Grushinskaya, Michael Jeter as Otto Kringelein (garnering much praise and several awards), David Carroll as the Baron, Timothy Jerome as Preysing, John Wylie as Otternschlag, Bob Stillman as Erik, and Jane Krakowski as Flaemmchen. Replacements later in the run included Cyd Charisse (in her Broadway debut at age 70) and Zina Bethune as Elizaveta, Austin Pendleton and Chip Zien as Otto, and John Schneider, Rex Smith, and Brent Barrett as the Baron. The production captured 12 Tony nominations, winning five awards, including best direction and choreography for Tommy Tune.
The release of the much in-demand original cast recording was delayed nearly two years due to legal disputes with Wright and Forrest. By the time the situation was resolved, Carroll was seriously ill with AIDS, and died from a pulmonary embolism while in the bathroom of the recording studio early in the session. Brent Barrett, who had appeared as the Baron both on Broadway and in the national tour, sang the role for the cast album released by RCA Victor. As an homage to Carroll the cast album features a bonus track of his performance during a 1991 cabaret fundraiser for Equity Fights AIDS, singing the Baron's major song, "Love Can't Happen".
The first West End production opened on July 6, 1992 at the Dominion Theatre, where it ran for slightly less than four months. In 2004, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio starred as Elizaveta in a small-scale production directed by Michael Grandage at the Donmar Warehouse.
The Grand Parade (Yeston)
Some Have, Some Have Not (Wright/Forrest)
As It Should Be (Wright/Forrest)
At the Grand Hotel (Yeston)/Table With a View (Wright/Forrest)
Maybe My Baby Loves Me (Wright/Forrest)
Fire and Ice (Wright/Forrest)
Twenty Two Years (Yeston)/Villa On a Hill (Wright/Forrest)
I Want To Go To Hollywood (Yeston)
Everybody's Doing It (Yeston)
As It Could Be (Wright/Forrest)
The Crooked Path (Wright/Forrest)
Who Couldn't Dance With You? (Wright/Forrest)
No Encore (Wright/Forrest)
Fire and Ice (Wright/Forrest)
Love Can't Happen (Yeston)
What You Need (Wright/Forrest)
Bonjour Amour (Yeston)
We'll Take A Glass Together (Wright/Forrest)
I Waltz Alone (Wright/Forrest)
Roses at the Station (Yeston)
What You Need (Wright/Forrest)
How Can I Tell Her? (Wright/Forrest)
At the Grand Hotel (Reprise)
As It Should Be (Wright/Forrest)
The Grand Parade/Some Have, Some Have Not (Reprise)
The Grand Waltz (Wright/Forrest)
Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Grand Hotel
Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel (1992-07-Dominion Theatre-London)Type de série: Original London
Théâtre: Dominion Theatre (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 3 mois 3 semaines Nombre : 136 représentationsPremière Preview : Inconnu
Première: 06 July 1992
Dernière: 31 October 1992Mise en scène : Tommy Tune • Chorégraphie : Tommy Tune • Producteur : Star(s) : Avec: Brent Barrett (Baron von Gaigern), Liliane Montevecchi (Ballerina Grushinskaya), Debbie de Coudreaux (Raffaela) , K.C. Wilson (Director Preysing), Barry James (Otto the accountant), Lynnette Perry (the Typist), Kieran Mcllroy (Erik Front Desk), Barry Foster, Eric Flynn, Adam Caine, Nigel Francis.Commentaires : Based on the 1928 novel by Vicki Baum and originally produced in New York on Nov 12th 1989 where it ran for 1.018 performances. The show was given without an interval, and since it lasted just over two hours this was the source of much comment. Although the production was greatly praised, for its performers, staging and direction, it only managed to run for four months.
Grand Hotel (2004-11-Donmar Warehouse-London)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Donmar Warehouse (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 2 mois 2 semaines Nombre : Première Preview : 19 November 2004
Première: 29 November 2004
Dernière: 12 February 2005Mise en scène : Michael Grandage • Chorégraphie : Producteur : Star(s) : Avec: Mary-Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Elizaveta Grushinskaya) - Helen Baker (Flaemmchen) - Julian Ovenden (Baron Felix von Gaigern) - Daniel Evans (Otto Kringelein) - Gillian Bevan (Raffaella) - Martyn Ellis (Herman Preysing) - Gary Raymond (Colonel-Doctor) - Sara Annis - Hattie Bayton - David Birrell - John Conroy - Elizabeth Cooper-Gee - Paul Hazel - David Lukas - Graham Macduff - Joseph Noble - Sevan StephanCommentaires : Michael Grandage’s scaled-down production in the Donmar was much better received than the original short-run, lavish Dominion Theatre production twelve years earlier - though the book itself was still considered to be a handicap. This time there was much praise for the intimacy of the performances and the emotional appeal of the score.Presse : NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Well-sung production...how utterly entranced and moved I was....worth a four-star rating"
PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says, "Michael Grandage's splendid studio-sized version at the Donmar Warehouse hits you with a thrilling, complicitous immediacy."
CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "It's a stylish and enjoyable production, but... Grandage can't quite disguise the fact that Grand Hotel is often second-rate."
MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "It isn't a classic Berlin musical. But it manages to suggest that a hotel offers a microcosm of human experience; and, when the cast lines up against the back wall economically to evoke a disgruntled shareholders' meeting or a depleted ballet-audience, you know you are in the hands of a master director."
BENEDICT NIGHTINGALE for THE TIMES says, "If you ignore many of the lyrics — “here’s the place where the great ones walk, here’s the place where the smart ones talk” — you should enjoy tunes that have a Weimar lilt in keeping both with the period, which is 1928.....But there’s still too much dud dialogue and, if you’ll permit the paradox, too much overblown banality."
ALSTAIR MACAULAY for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, "A much-needed reminder that a musical can be musically thrilling - and can count as true music drama, too. This new production at the Donmar Warehouse also leaves an intensely stylish visual impression."
LISA MARTLAND for THE STAGE says, "Intimate as the Donmar.....drawing the audience in so close that it is almost impossible not to experience the guests’ feelings of passion, hope and despair."
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