My fantastic boyfriend surprised me this Saturday by making our “date night” a classic Broadway experience. To be honest, I didn’t even know there was a Broadway adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the works, so I squealed with delight when I saw the sign from 6th. I have a long history of loving the original movie and the Truman Capote novella that inspired it, so I was eager to see which way this adaptation was going to lean. Fortunately, it was a good mix of the two which gave a story I had heard many times a freshness that I would not have expected. For the fans, let’s start by tallying the differences vs. the similarities. Starting with the Novella….the time period is the 1940′s, complete with the look of the times…glossy waves, red lips and glamorous gowns. This is in stark contrast with the 1960′s Givenchy look that made the film an instant classic. In line with the original tale, Mag Wildwood has a large role and that of “Paul / Fred” is a bit more alternative and a tad less romantic. It is not the same feeling as the movie…so don’t expect a rain soaked kiss at the end. The mystery surrounding the character of Holly is dialed up a notch and the relationships are a bit less easily defined.
If you know both the novella and the ’61 film, I think you would agree that the film is a bit toned down for the PG-13 crowd. Not so for this production. There is even a much publicized nude scene.
For film fans, there is still a lot you will recognize. Actually, quite a bit of the dialogue is exactly as it is in the film. Also present is Holly’s over the top extravagant speech patterns and random sprinkling of French phrases. The cat is the same, except perhaps 5 lbs heavier….Cat is MASSIVE in the production. I suppose it must take a lot of treats to get a cat to perform in front of a live audience. Emilia Clarke is a convincing Holly if you are thinking of the Hollywood version. She manages to give the sort of performance that does not pale in comparison to the iconic Hepburn version, which is a miracle all by itself. Cory Michael Smith’s portrayal of the male lead is flawless. He seems quite a bit younger and more innocent than the film version. Though his infatuation is perhaps of a different sort, he plays the role with the same mix of alternating intensity and detachment. Very well done.
Sorry, I had to interject with a photo of the fat kitty. I cannot help myself.
Honestly, my only possible criticism is that we are still not quite seeing the Holly Golightly envisioned by the brilliant Truman Capote. The original muse that inspired Capote….Marilyn Monroe…is nowhere to be seen. The stage version is still clearly more in line with the Hollywood version when it comes to the portrayal of Holly. As with the Hepburn version, Holly does get rattled at key moments, but it is easy to believe that despite what is coming out of her mouth, she is still quite confident. The vulnerability is missing. You get the idea that, if anything, Holly is faking lack of refinement….rather than the other way around.
The character, from beginning to end, is a bit of a love letter from Capote describing his own fascination. Norma Jeane becomes Marilyn Monroe with the help of gentlemen friends, remains a bit of a enigmatic mess for the rest of her life….bouncing from complete control to absolute disaster over and over again. Too bad she never got a chance to play the role herself.
On a side note, I absolutely adore the film’s reference to Holly’s “hillbilly” accent, which is more likely a reference to Capote (a southern boy from New Orleans) than Monroe. Being a Georgia girl transplanted to NYC….that takes French lessons on occasion….it really makes me smile. Unfortunately the lessons do not, for the record, diminish the southern accent at all.
In conclusion….go see it! Great script, wonderful actors and brilliant production. A fantastic way to spend and evening on Broadway!