September 19, 2011

'Candide' at the Huntington: Then and Now

contributed by Charles Haugland

Candide is one of three shows we have done twice at the Huntington – along with Heartbreak House (1986 and 2001) and As You Like It (1994 and 2003). Candide was seen on the B.U.T. stage in 1989. At the post-show conversations, people have been asking what was different about that production. So, I did some digging in the archive! Here's a few things I learned. 
What was different? A few major differences:
  • Larry Carpenter directed the 1989 version. Mary Zimmerman, of course, directs the current adaptation.
  • The 1989 production was the 1982 “Opera House” version. The book was by Hugh Wheeler. Unlike the 1973 Broadway version, it was in two acts. For the new production, Mary Zimmerman went back to the Voltaire, restructed the musical, and rewrote some major sections.
  • In the 1989 version, Maxmillian, Cunegonde’s brother, ends up in the New World with Paquette, the maid from their home in Westphalia. The Governor’s song “My Love” is sung to him, not Cunegonde, while he is in drag.
  • The song “Bon Voyage” was also sung by the Governor after he swindled Candide out of his riches, as there was no character of Mrs. Vanderdender in that version.
  • Voltaire was a character, double cast with the actor who played Dr. Pangloss.
  • Peter Altman was artistic director of the Huntington, and the theatre was closing its seventh season.
1989 production of 'Candide' at the Huntington
What’s stayed the same?
  • Most of the major songs were in that version: “The Best of Possible Worlds,” “Oh Happy We,” “Make Our Garden Grow,” “Auto da Fe,” and “I Am Easily Assimilated”
  • Daniel Pelzig was the choreographer for both productions.
  • Michael Maso was the Managing Director, and current Huntington costume shop staffers Denise Wallace and Anita Canzian were also on duty already. We are now opening our thirtieth season.

2011 production of 'Candide' at the Huntington
Long-time subscribers: Did you see the 1989 production? We’d love to hear about it. Post about your experience below.

The Huntington Theatre Company's CANDIDE plays September 10 thru October 16, 2011 at the B.U. Theatre. Get tickets and information or call our Box Office at 617 266-0800.

1 comment:

Richard Sampson said...

My wife and I saw the last Huntington Candide As well as two others including the first revival at UCLA in 1965. This was by far the best using verve and energy to overcome the difficult book. We saw it with the understudy playing Cunegunda and doubt that the role could be better performed. Comgratulations