Billy Wilder’s 1959 hit Some like it hot, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, has been named Best Comedy Film multiple times. The film follows two musicians who, after witnessing a mob hit, disguise themselves as women to join a group of girls in an attempt to escape the city. This beloved classic takes the top spot on the charts”The 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time“list and BBC Culture”The 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time” list, maintaining its mark in the history of cinema for more than 60 years.
The film was also rented for his progressive approach to gender and sexuality, as he defied strict Hollywood censorship rules and enlightened audiences on the perception of women through the male gaze. However, some have criticized the decision to put the film on Broadway, arguing that men wearing dresses don’t have the same comedic effect as in the 1950s, calling it “a tired trope” by today’s standards.
I got to see the first glimpse of Some Like It Hot: The Musical on November 1, and without saying too much, it was very different from the movie. It follows the same general plot as the film, but still manages to add a refreshing twist to the film’s themes. The musical’s cast and crew have expressed how different the stage adaptation is from the film.
There’s not much on stage that resembles the original.
Playwright Matthew López, co-author of the book adaptation of Some Like It Hot: The Musical
The role of Sugar, played by Monroe in the film, was written in the musical to be played by a black woman. Adrianna Hicks plays Sugar in the musical and has done a phenomenal job of taking on such an iconic character, while reinventing him and making him his own. She said her character portrays different struggles as opposed to Monroe’s character, allowing the musical to educate audiences about the experiences and challenges of being a black woman. The role of Jerry/Daphne, played by Tony Curtis in the film, is played by a non-binary black actor, J. Harrison Ghee, who like Hicks, managed to reinvent the character. The musical embraces diversity and representation in more ways than one, transforming the already beloved classic film into something new.
So, does the greatest comedy movie of all time work as a Broadway show? Absolutely!
Tickets for Some Like It Hot: The Musical are available at https://somelikeithotmusical.com/ or at the Shubert Theater box office.
The 100 Greatest Comedies of All Time. (2017, August 21). BBC. Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20170821-the-100-greatest-comedies-of-all-time
Saporito, J. (nd). How did “Some Like it Hot” defy genre norms and censorship rules of the time? | Lily. The catch. Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://the-take.com/read/how-did-some-like-it-hot-challenge-gender-norms-and-censorship-rules-of-the-era Schama, C. (2022, October 31). On Broadway, Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Staging “Some Like It Hot”. vogue. Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://www.vogue.com/article/some-like-it-hot-broadway