Mack and Mabel

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A comedy musical production called Mack and Mabel

A comedy musical production called Mack and Mabel features a text by Stewart as well as music and lyrics by Herman. The plot of the play centers on a romance between Sennett and Normand (Mack and Mabel, respectively), in which Mack, the director, sees potential in Mabel, the waitress, and trains him to become one of the production's main stars. Despite Mabel falling for Sennett, she is unsure if he feels the same way. The behavior of Sennett and denial to produce a dramatic musical where she stars makes her leave for another film producer Taylor who is attracted to her, and introduces her to drugs. Mack’s efforts to reconnect with Mabel are too late since at the time not only had she become an addict, which ruined her reputation, she is also a prime suspect in the murder of Taylor and shortly after succumbed to Tuberculosis. The production takes place in the original Broadway both in America, and Europe starred by Preston and Peters who represent Mack and Mabel.

The history of the performance of the show

The history of the performance of the show indicates that the market in Europe was higher than that of the United States. Most of the staged shows in the theatres in America only lasted for short periods, and eventually, the sales went down. However, for the Europe market, especially in Nottingham Britain, the musical became very successful with many people demanding for the same leading to re-releasing in 1984 at the BBC television and reached number six in the score charts. The pre-Broadways tryouts took place in the year 1974 June up to August of the same year in San Diego and Los Angeles. Later between October and end of November of the same year, the Broadway opened the show at the Majestic theater with a total of 66 performances during the period. Lastly, the music and lyrics part though receiving a warm reception did not get any nominations for awards while on the other hand, the show received eight nominations though did not win any.

The reception of the film

The reception of the film is widely described as fair. In the U.S., most of the criticism indicated that the musical lacked the cohesion of the plot, music, and choreography. For example, the Los Angeles review notes that the age difference between the roles of Mack and Mabel was is significant which reduces the chemistry between the two in displaying a love affair. Also, the somber mood of the story with a sad ending makes the story contrast with the performance of the musicals. The excessive use of comics also makes the musical not to march the uneven book. Kerr notes that the show involves talented characters who are dispirited, no emotional line in the plot, the choreographer being stingy and sluggish with footwork, and minimal values displayed. Bloom sees it as one of the significant failures due to the inability to respond to the needs of the era such as rock musicals. However, in subsequent productions such as in Nottingham, most of the criticisms are addressed in the production which accounts for the huge success in Europe and its west end. For example, most of the roles in the leading characters are replaced with younger one with a smaller age gap. Additionally, the ending is changed from a sad one to lively moments of what could have been the relationship between Mack and Mabel. Lastly, the change of choreographing enhances an energetic performance that created demand for the musical in later productions.


All Musicals. 2016. "Mack & Mabel Review". Allmusicals.Com.

Billington, Michael. 2015. "Mack & Mabel Review – A Flawed Show, Flawlessly Done". The Guardian.

Everything Explained. 2017. "Mack And Mabel Explained". Everything.Explained.Today.

Marks, Peter. 1998. "THEATER REVIEW; Of Song And Dance, Of Life At The Piano". Nytimes.Com.

Norman, Neil. 2015. "Review: Mack And Mabel At The Chichester Festival Theatre". Express.Co.Uk.

Purdum, Todd. 2017. "ARTS IN AMERICA; Broadway's Revered Flop, Resurrected With Love".Nytimes.Com.

The New York Times Archives. 1975. "Tony‐Award Nominee From Queens". Nytimes.Com.

Wolf, Matt. 2015. "One Musical Knockout After Another". Nytimes.Com.

April 13, 2023

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Comedy Play Audience

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