Why is taking over a role a career killer?

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antoniod
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Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by antoniod »

I read that the Actors who replaced Cook, Moore, Bennett, and Miller In BEYOND THE FRINGE were warned(well, one of them was warned, anyway)that if they took FRINGE, they'd never do anything else.Lo and behold, they didn't. Why was this?(The new cast included Music Hall historian Peter Honri).

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Simon Coward
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Re: Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by Simon Coward »

antoniod wrote:I read that the Actors who replaced Cook, Moore, Bennett, and Miller In BEYOND THE FRINGE were warned(well, one of them was warned, anyway)that if they took FRINGE, they'd never do anything else.Lo and behold, they didn't. Why was this?(The new cast included Music Hall historian Peter Honri).
At the very least, it must surely depend on how well known or unknown the replacements are at the time they take over.

William Hartnell aside, but he was quite ill anyway, those taking over the lead role in Doctor Who don't seem to have so badly afterwards.
We all have to eat a peck of dirt before we die.

antoniod
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Re: Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by antoniod »

I was thinking more about Stage work than Films or TV. Perhaps the FRINGE replacements were compared unfavorably to the true originals who also wrote the material. I read that Bette Midler felt she had no future in show business when she was in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF on Broadway, perhaps because she hadn't originated the role.

stanbutler
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Re: Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by stanbutler »

It's not always the case. Phil Silvers turned down A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum which went to Zero Mostel (who won a Tony award). Realising his mistake Silvers said yes to the 1972 revival which was also very successful and won him a Tony award.

Then there are the many shows where there have been so many different productions that no one actor is necessarily thought of as the main player any more; Agatha Christie productions, Sherlock Holmes etc. There have been many successful revivals of Aldwych, Brian Rix, Ray Cooney farces with new players (Run For Your Wife has been done many times, most of them successfully).

You mention Fiddler On the Roof, Chaim Topol did the UK production of it but Alfie Bass successfully took over later. And of course many London casts do just as well as the original Broadway casts and vice versa when they are mounted with different casts too.

I guess there are a number of factors; is anyone inextricably linked to the role as the originator, how good is the replacement/revival, how up for a revival are the general public etc.

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Simon Coward
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Re: Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by Simon Coward »

BtF is trickier with the original performers being its writers as well, as antoniod suggests.

You might argue that two of the original four in BtF didn't have startlingly successful careers as comedy performers themselves, so the acting part wasn't an immediate passport in that regard, although obviously by being performers it gave them, as writers, much more visibility than say Frederic Raphael and Leslie Bricusse would have had in similar circumstances.

I suppose the situation with BtF is different to stanbutler's suggestion of AFTHotWttF because the latter was a revival with all the attendant publicity that such things garner. BtF would have already had its media hype and anyone taking over a role mid-run, unless they were already very well-known in their own right, wouldn't really be news. And if it was news, the news story would end up being "so-and-so leaves the production of..." rather than "such-and-such joins...", and unless the production you take over in is The Mousetrap or one of the impossibly-long-running London musicals, someone's going to end up being one of the stars of... when it closed.

I think once you already have a name for yourself, like Phil Silvers or Alfie Bass, you're not going to disappear overnight and their roles in the plays to which stanbutler refers are more central or showy than any one of the Fringe roles, it being more of an ensemble piece.
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Ross
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Re: Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by Ross »

Beyond the Fringe was a fairly unique thing, though: a Cambridge review. I presume the second cast were all Cambridge students too, in which case it might not be that odd that they never worked in showbiz again.

Mind you, the school play I was in was a career killer.... ;-)

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Juswuh
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Re: Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by Juswuh »

George Lazenby might have done better sticking to Big Fry...

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Ross
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Re: Why is taking over a role a career killer?

Post by Ross »

I think Lazenby would admit that it was his behaviour that killed his career (as a star, at least) rather than the role.

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