"Celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song!" -- claims a shamefully misleading pitch put out by the American Musical Theatre of San Jose. Actually, other than using the original songs, the San Jose group is not presenting the Flower Drum Song created by Rodgers and Hammerstein at all, but the callously deconstructed, rewritten, reduced and reconfigured version by Henry David Hwang, a brazen assault on the original work that got critically blasted in a flop New York revival in 2001.
San Jose and the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization demonstrate brazen disrespect for the legacy of two musical theatre giants by misleading the public. This, in fact, constitutes one of the most deceitful marketing campaigns I have yet encountered.
San Jose's Flower Drum Song has nothing to do with the original or the novel by C.Y. Lee upon which the original show was based -- nothing, that is, if we are to regard plot and character as essential elements that distinguish any dramatic work. The original show was a hit on Broadway in 1958 and enjoyed an equally successful, equally long-running national tour. Evidently, they would now rather mount in regional theatre land a flop than a hit. They're funny that way.
When will the apparently expedient R&H Organization ever learn? Have they not a clue why the current revival of South Pacific in NY is such a huge hit? Could it be because this South Pacific is not a rewrite, but exactly what Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote and gave the world?
Shame on both of you, San Jose and Rodgers and Hammerstein!