Pipe Dream is a musical adaptation of John Steinbeck's book Cannery Row. It has the distinction of being Rodgers and Hammerstein's only financial failure.
Pipe Dream, with its cast of longshoremen and "ladies of the evening," is a poignant story about friendship and romance among the loners and runaways who gravitate to the wharf in Monterey, California.
Pipe Dream premiered on Broadway in 1955. It opened at the Shubert Theater on November 30. The original cast included operatic soprano Helen Traubel. The show also marked the Broadway debut of film actor George D. Wallace, who played Commando Cody in the 1952 serial Radar Men from the Moon.
The main characters in Pipe Dream include Fauna, madam of the Bear Flag Cafe; Doc, a marine biologist and a loner; and Suzy, a young and vulnerable runaway. Suzy and Doc are brought together by Fauna.
Pipe Dream features the following songs: All At Once You Love Her, Sweet Thursday and Everybody's Got A Home But Me.
In the original 1955 production, Fauna was played by Traubel, Doc was played by Bill Johnson, and Suzy was played by Judy Tyler.
The original production ran for eight months and 245 performances, giving it the distinction of having the shortest run of any Rodgers and Hammerstein show. Within a year of the final performance, two cast members — Johnson and Tyler — died. Traubel began to wear charms and garlic to ward off an alleged "Pipe Dream Curse."
In his autobiography, Richard Rodgers intimated that if anything had doomed Pipe Dream, it was Traubel. Rodgers himself took blame for miscasting the operatic soprano in the role of Fauna.
Julie Andrews auditioned for Pipe Dream, but was told by Richard Rogers that she should pursue the other show she was being courted for - My Fair Lady. Andrews did, and the role subsequently made her a star.
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