NABOKV-L post 0010459, Fri, 29 Oct 2004 10:41:09 -0700

Fwd: RE: Edward Albee's LOLITA stage adaption -- secrets revealed
I am one of the precious few people who actually saw this cursed production.
It played for only two weeks (in about 1980) at Broadway's Brooks Atkinson
Theatre, a nice venue. There were, at the time, many horror stories about
the production, among them: the sets, during the Boston tryout, were black
panels on which were projected lots of images (of what, I know not). By the
time the production arrived in New York, the projections had been scrapped,
so the set consisted largely of very uninteresting black panels (though I do
seem to recall a hideous garishly carpeted staircase in the Haze home).
Albee had already at that time a long history of failed adaptations: James
Purdy's "Malcolm," Carson McCullers's "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe," Truman
Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (as a MUSICAL) and Giles Cooper's play
"Everything in the Garden" (a VERY free American adaptation) had all failed
disastrously -- with the exception of the McCullers adaptation, which failed
slowly but surley. This one, though, was the clincher, ending permanently
(at least to date) Albee's mania for adaptation. The playwright was
apparently so unhappy with the production that he very publicly disowned it
before the Broadway opening. One could hardly blame him. As I recall, there
was no director credited, so s/he, too, must have jumped ship before New
York. In the cast were Blanche Baker (daughter of Carroll, best remembered
as the star of Tennessee Williams's film "Baby Doll"; appropriate), quite a
cute guy named Kevin Conroy as Dick Schiller, Clive Revill (replacing at the
last minute another actor, I believe John Heffernan, as Quilty -- a truly
bizarre performance, outmugging even Peter Sellers, Donald Sutherland -- an
actor I greatly admire -- as a peculiarly long-haired and even more
peculiarly effeminate Humbert, and -- worst -- or best? -- of all, Shirley
Stoller, who will long be remembered for her roles in "The Honeymoon
Killers" and "Seven Beauties", as a truly grotesque Charlotte Haze. (A
friend once said of her acting ability, "She can say any line you give her."
That about sums it up.)

But "Lolita" may not be meant for the theatre. Lest we forget, a musical
adaptation (and not a bad one) was attempted a few years prior to the Albee
debacle, book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, who, one imagines, knew
something about the craft of adaptating literary classics for the theatre.
But no luck: it closed in Boston ("for rewrites") on its way to Broadway,
then closed again, definitively, in Philadelphia. Well, we will always have
Nabokov's screenplay...

Christopher Berg

-----Original Message-----
From: Vladimir Nabokov Forum [mailto:NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU]On
Behalf Of Donald B. Johnson
Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 1:03 AM
Subject: Fwd: Edward Albee's LOLITA stage adaption.

Another shorter and vaguer sighting to report: While I was googling some
information about " Who is Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and E. Albee, I came
across a curious information. It seems that Albee, like so many others, also
wrote a version of Lolita for the stage. Does anyone know more about this?

-----Mensagem Original-----
De: "Donald B. Johnson" <>
Enviada em: Terça-feira, 26 de Outubro de 2004 00:25
Assunto: Robert Alter : Pentateuch :: VN : Pushkin's Onegin ?

----- End forwarded message -----