On a Clear Day You Can See Forever is an original musical play with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Burton Lane. The Broadway production opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on October 17, 1965 and played for 280 performances. It starred Barbara Harris, John Cullum, Clifford David, Titos Vandis, William Daniels, and Rae Allen. In the Tony Awards for 1966 Harris and Cullum were nominated in the best actor category, and Lane and Lerner as best composer and lyricist. Notably, Linda Lavin replaced Barbara Harris as Daisy Gamble.
The Paramount film adaptation (1970), directed by Vincente Minnelli, starred Barbra Streisand, Yves Montand, Jack Nicholson, Larry Blyden, and Bob Newhart, with the music arranged and directed by Nelson Riddle.
Quirky Daisy Gamble sees herself as an unremarkable person, even though she can (1) make plants grow remarkably, (2) predict when a telephone will ring, and (3) tell where to find an object that someone else is looking for. Her current problem, though, is her nasty smoking habit, which will interfere in her fiancé's chances for a job with great benefits. She seeks help from a psychiatrist to stop smoking. When he hypnotizes her, it becomes evident that she could have lived a previous life ca. 1800 as "Melinda," who died in her late twenties from circumstances beyond her control. News leaks out about this case of possible reincarnation at the psychiatric research clinic, and Daisy accidentally discovers that she is the "Melinda" at the center of the growing controversy. In her angry confrontation with the psychiatrist about the matter, she realizes at last how special she really is.
Versions of the musical
The summary of the plot above is necessarily sketchy, because this particular musical is available in at least three noticeably different published versions; nevertheless, the basic plot-line remains the same.
- One version is that presented in Lerner's play (with lyrics), printed in 1966. The musical numbers recorded in the original Broadway cast album of 1965 correspond to this version.
- A second version of the stage show is evident in the piano-vocal score from 1967. Here several vocal numbers from the above version are missing ("Ring Out the Bells," "Tosy and Cosh", "Don't Tamper with my Sister"), as is the introduction to the song "Hurry, It's Lovely Up Here," which is recorded on the cast album. Also, the Greek millionaire's solo, "When I'm Being Born Again" is given completely different lyrics ("When I Come Around Again") and sung instead by Daisy's friends. (It should be noted that the overture recorded on the cast album combines the "overture" and "entr'acte" printed in the vocal score.)
- By comparison, the screen version incorporates rather drastic rewriting of the stage musical:
- As for the plot, the psychiatrist, Mark Bruckner -- who grew up in Austria -- becomes the Frenchman, Marc Chabot; the period of Melinda's life is shifted ahead by a decade or two; Melinda's family background is changed; the character of Daisy's "ex-brother-in-law" (played by Jack Nicholson) is added; independent proof of Melinda's existence is positively verified; the cause of Melinda's death is changed from drowning at sea to unjust execution; and the future relationship between Daisy and her psychiatrist is altered.
- As for the musical numbers, in the final cut of the film, several songs from the stage version (including ensemble numbers) are removed, leaving only Daisy and Marc to sing, except for an off-camera chorus during the opening credits (this latter feature is borrowed from the overture of the stage version); some of the stage lyrics are rewritten or supplemented (especially "He Isn't You"); some spoken lines are reassigned; two new vocal numbers are added.
- Beyond these adjustments, the film makes elaborate use of cinematic techniques to switch between Daisy's present and former lives (not to mention the self-to-self duet in the clever new number "Go to Sleep" and Streisand's visually comic scenes during "Come Back to Me").
(Note: Titles in bold-face are sung only in the play, although some of these are used as background instrumental music in the film.)
In the published libretto and vocal score:
- "Hurry! It's Lovely Up Here!"
- "Ring Out the Bells"
- "Tosy and Cosh"
- "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever"
- "On the S.S. Bernard Cohn"
- "Don't Tamper with My Sister"
- "She Wasn't You" / "He Isn't You"
- "When I'm Being Born Again" (or ) "When I Come Around Again"
- "What Did I Have? (...I Don't Have Now)"
- "Wait Till We're Sixty-Five"
- "Come Back to Me"
In the libretto alone:
In the piano-vocal score alone:
- "The Solicitor's Song", during Daisy's first regression-scene
In the film alone:
- "Go to Sleep"
- "Love with All the Trimmings"
- ↑ Internet Broadway Database
- ↑ Tony Awards for 1965-1966 at Past Winners Database
- ↑ On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. [Videotape of motion picture] 6927. Paramount Pictures, c1970, 2000.
- ↑ On a Clear Day You Can See Forever: a musical play, by Alan Jay Lerna. Music by Burton Lane. New York: Random House, c1966.
- ↑ On a Clear Day You Can See Forever: the original Broadway cast recording. RCA Victor. LSOD-2006 Stereo, LP. c1965. (also on CD)
- ↑ On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Vocal score. Piano reduction by Robert H. Noeltner. New York: Chappell & Co., Inc., 1967.