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Over the years, Broadway has continued to have an unforgettable legacy of flopped shows that still earned a huge cult following on the Great Bright Way. One of those shows was the musical adaptation of the classic 1990 film Cry-Baby.
For those who may not know, CRY-BABY is set in 1954’s Baltimore. The story tells the classic tale of the rebellious leader of the drapes himself “Wade Walker” who goes by his nickname “Cry-Baby” because of his ability to shed a single tear that impresses the girls. One day, he ends up falling in love with squeaky clean square “Allison Vernon-Williams”. However their romance takes a huge effect on their town leading to extreme chaos. Based on the 1990 film directed by John Waters (which starred Johnny Depp), the musical features an original score by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger and a book by the late Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan. Notable songs include WATCH YOUR A**, SQUEAKY CLEAN, NOBODY GETS ME, A WHOLE LOT WORSE, SCREW LOOSE, GIRL CAN I KISS YOU, YOU CAN’T BEAT THE SYSTEM, A LITTLE UPSET, ALL IN MY HEAD, and NOTHING BAD’S EVER GONNA HAPPEN AGAIN.
FUN FACT: It’s the 2nd musical of a John Waters film produced on Broadway after the success of the Tony winning smash hit Hairspray.
The musical had its world premiere pre-Broadway tryout in California at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2007. From there the following year of 2008, it made its way to our New York City backyard.
CRY-BABY played the Marquis Theatre running for 45 previews and 68 regular performances. Under the direction of Mark Brokaw with choreography by Rob Ashford, the cast was led by….
James Snyder in his Broadway Debut as rebel “Wade “Cry-Baby Walker”,
Tony nominee Elizabeth Stanley as Good Girl turned Bad “Allison Vernon-Williams”,
Alli Mauzey in her showstopping performance as the crazy obsessed stalker “Lenora”,
Tony Award winner Harriet Harris as the overprotected “Mrs. Vernon-Williams”,
Chester Gregory as soulful drape “Durpee”,
Christopher J. Hanke as the leader of the squares “Baldwin”,
Carly Jibson as the pregnant drape “Pepper”,
Courtney Balan (later Tory Ross) as the tough and deformed “Mona “Hatchet-Face” Malnorowski”,
Lacey Kohl as sexy laid back drape “Wanda Woodward”,
Richard Poe as “The Judge”.
CRY-BABY earned mixed to negative reviews. The story itself was criticized but the performers were praised. The show would still go on to be nominated for 4 Tony Awards in 2008 including BEST MUSICAL. However, it lost the categories. It also still would go on win its only Drama Desk Award category for OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY (for Rob Ashford).
With its life after Broadway, CRY-BABY would NOT record its original cast album until 7 YEARS later. It was released in 2015 from Broadway Records featuring majority of the Broadway cast. In celebration, they also reunited with an album release concert of the show at Feinstein’s/54 Below.
CRY-BABY would also go on today to be performed in Schools, Community, and Regional Theaters everywhere.
Who remembers this show?!!
Anyone see CRY-BABY?!!!
Mike Haber
Author: Mike Haber

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