|Basis||Big Deal on Madonna Street|
Big Deal is a musical with a book by Bob Fosse using songs from various composers such as Ray Henderson, Eubie Blake, and Jerome Kern. It was based on the 1958 film Big Deal on Madonna Street by Mario Monicelli. The musical received five Tony Award nominations, with Fosse winning for Choreography.
Production and background
Fosse said that by using existing songs: "I can pick the perfect songs that will say the right things, and they're known. We'll have the greatest score in the world because they're all hit songs." Fosse said of the main character, Charlie: "That's my part! A swaggering bumbler who thinks he's a ladies' man, and he's not."
Big Deal opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theatre on April 10, 1986 and closed on June 8, 1986 after 69 performances and six previews. Directed and choreographed by Fosse, with Christopher Chadman as assistant choreographer, the musical featured Cleavant Derricks as Charley, Loretta Devine as Lilly, Wayne Cilento, Cady Huffman, Valarie Pettiford, and Stephanie Pope.
In Chicago in the 1930s a group of small-time unemployed African-American men plan to rob a pawn shop. Their leader, Charlie, is a former boxer. But the hapless would-be thieves run into many obstacles along the way.
Frank Rich in his review for The New York Times wrote: "Big Deal, the new Fosse musical at the Broadway, contains exactly one of those show stoppers, and attention must be paid. If only for 10 minutes or so just before the end of Act I, Mr. Fosse makes an audience remember what is (and has been) missing from virtually every other musical in town. The number is set to the old song Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar, and it unfolds in a Chicago ballroom of the 1930s called (need I tell you?) Paradise...The disappointment of Big Deal is that even Mr. Fosse, one of the form's last magicians, can conjure up that joy so rarely. There are some other pleasurable passages in this musical - period songs (or snatches of them) agreeably sung or danced by talented performers - but this is a mostly lackluster effort that often seems to be lumbering clumsily about."
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1986||Tony Award||Best Musical||Nominated|
|Best Book of a Musical||Bob Fosse||Nominated|
|Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Cleavant Derricks||Nominated|
|Best Direction of a Musical||Bob Fosse||Nominated|
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Musical||Nominated|
|Outstanding Actor in a Musical||Cleavant Derricks||Nominated|
|Outstanding Director of a Musical||Bob Fosse||Nominated|