Breakfast at Tiffany's, the musical's broadway poster
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the broadway poster.

Despite having a book by playwright Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Finding the Sun), a score composed by Bob Merrill (People, Don’t Rain on My Parade), and a host of theatrical bluebloods with bold-face names behind the scenes, Breakfast at Tiffany’s—the musical—never actually opened on Broadway.

Originally titled Holly Golightly, the production closed after just four previews. The cast was directed by Joseph Anthony (The Rainmaker, The Best Man) and included Mary Tyler Moore (Dick Van Dyke Show, Ordinary People, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Richard Chamberlain (Shōgun, Thorn Birds), Sally Kellerman (MASH, Enemy of the People), Larry Kert (West Side Story, Company), and Priscilla Lopez (Chorus Line, In the Heights). It was designed by Oliver Smith (Hello, Dolly! My Fair Lady), choreographed by Michael Kidd (Guys and Dolls, Can-Can) with assistance from Tony Mordente, and produced by David Merrick (Gypsy, Promises Promises).

How could a production with so much talent behind it go so wrong? We may never fully know. (It also could be that the show simply turned out to be a dog.)

Merrick closed the show in previews because—being unusually forthcoming—he said, “We’re closing rather than subject the drama critics and the public to an excruciatingly boring evening.”

One of the original posters, printed prior to the show’s scheduled opening—with the word “SMASH!” covered in yellow tape—hangs on “The Flop Wall” at my favorite theatre district eatery, Joe Allen Restaurant in New York 10019.

Restauranteur, the late Joe Allen, and the Wall of Shame.