In case you haven’t heard already, in the revival of Gigi on Broadway, Honoré Lachaille does not open the musical with the famous Lerner and Loewe song “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” as Maurice Chevalier does in the 1958 film, playing that role. Instead the tune, which adapter Heidi Thomas deemed a little inappropriate coming from an aging playboy, is sung by the title character’s grandmother (Victoria Clark) and great-aunt (Dee Hoty) while reflecting on their own youth.
“Heidi Thomas, our writer, did such a phenomenal job of keeping the heart and soul of the original Gigi but making it accessible to modern-day audiences,” says the show’s star Vanessa Hudgens at the opening-night party at Tavern on the Green in New York on Wednesday night.
Even though the story, based on a 1944 Colette novella, follows a young courtesan-in-training who is wooed by a much older playboy, Thomas focused on the love story, wanting to make it more romantic rather than potentially predatory. In the film and in the 1973 Broadway flop, the age gap between man-about-town Gaston and Gigi was much larger, though Thomas confirms that she hasn’t changed the original intention by shrinking the age divide.
“It’s still a big gap in terms of experience, because he’s a young man of the world and she has been very sheltered,” explains Thomas, who is most recognized stateside for her work on the popular British series Call the Midwife. “So I feel that that gap in experience plays in the same way without actually imposing the profound level of distaste for that relationship and for this property as a musical.”
Read the entire article here