Breakfast at Tiffany's
Please welcome guest blogger, Melissa Spinner. Melissa is a Digital and Creative Communications Specialist in Philadelphia and loves the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. She made a special trip up to New York just to see the latest Broadway adaptation of one of her favorite movies, and because I know how much she loves the film, I asked her to share her perspective on this stage version.
It takes a brave woman to portray the character of Holly Golightly on stage after Audrey Hepburn's spotless performance in the film version of Breakfast at Tiffany's. Emilia Clarke of HBO's Game of Thrones was just the woman for the job in this new stage adaptation of Truman Capote's classic novel. Starring in the play alongside Clarke as Holly Golightly is Cory Michael Smith (Cock, The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World) as Fred, and Cheers star George Wendt as bartender Joe Bell.
If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, allow me to give you a brief synopsis: Breakfast at Tiffany's is the story of a country girl-turned-New York City café society woman. The story begins when Fred, a young writer and the narrator of the story, meets Holly Golightly in their brownstone apartment building. Everyone seems to fall in love with Holly, including poor Fred. Holly has no job though, and provides for herself by socializing with wealthy men who give her money for the powder room and cabs. One of these men is the future president of Brazil, Jose Yberra-Jaegar, whom she tries to marry. Another man, Sally Tomato, provides for Holly in exchange for her weekly "weather report," which she gives to him in Sing Sing prison. Even her husband, Doc, whom she married as a teenager, eventually returns to her life.
In October of 2002, the intention to bring Breakfast at Tiffany's to Broadway with an adaptation by Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg (Take Me Out) was first announced. While Capote's 1958 novel and the 1961 film adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn were both extremely successful, the story of Breakfast at Tiffany’s has not always been such a hit. In 1966, the story was turned into a musical starring Mary Tyler Moore only to fail after a mere four Broadway previews. [It never officially opened.] Three years later, ABC attempted a TV pilot, which was never picked up. In 2009, the story was once again unsuccessfully turned into a West End play. This time, however, director Sean Mathias is determined to make the Broadway play a success.
Unlike the film adaptation, Greenberg's script is based on Capote's novel, which is quite different from the movie. “It’s not the movie, it’s not Audrey Hepburn, but it is Capote’s words and Capote’s beautiful characters,” said Clarke in a recentEW interview. The play stays true to Capote's novel, which takes place during the war in the 1940s. It is no longer the simple romantic comedy in which a man rescues a woman.
While the return to the characters and narrative of Capote's book is refreshing after the beloved movie, there was one major disappointment. The famous scene from the movie where Holly sits on her fire escape singing the Oscar-winning song “Moon River” did not make the cut in its entirety in this adaptation. The scene itself remained intact, with Clarke sitting on a fire escape, yet it lacks “Moon River.” Instead, Clarke sings a different, quite forgettable, song that leaves us missing the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Whether it was intentional to set both Clarke and the play apart from the movie, or simply a legal issue in obtaining the rights to the song, this was the largest and possibly only let down of the evening, unless of course you have an issue with seeing either Emilia Clarke or Cory Michael Smith nude in a bathtub.
The play, similarly to the novel, is extremely deep and dark. Emilia Clarke portrays Holly Golightly not simply as a fun-loving adorable girl but as a woman who has several pained layers resulting from being abandoned as a child, a teenage bride, her involvement with gangsters and finding herself pregnant and unwed. On stage, Clarke transforms into the scared and lonely Holly Golightly, who refuses to be owned by anyone, just as she projects onto Cat, but is at the same time fearful of being alone. Breakfast at Tiffany's is truly a tragic story, with an ending that feels realistic and entirely possible for either the 1940s or today.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is playing at the Cort Theatre. Visit breakfastattiffanysonbroadway.com for more information and to purchase tickets.