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Alfred E. Green
Arthur Kipps, an orphan apprenticed to a tyrannical owner of a mercantile, has a sudden abrupt change of life when his wealthy grandfather dies and leaves him a pile of money. Written by
Suzanne Houghton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original Broadway production of "Half a Sixpence" opened at the Broadhurst Theater in New York on April 25, 1965, ran for 511 performances and was nominated for the 1965 Tony Award for the Best Musical. Tommy Steele was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor and recreated his stage role in the film version. Grover Dale also recreated his stage role in the film version. See more »
In the song, "Money to Burn", where Kipps (Steele) is playing the banjo, it's obvious that he's simply playing along to an audio track. But the sound begins several times before he does the strumming to make it happen. This should have been watched/caught in the editing process. See more »
Half A Sixpence is a musical adapted from the H.G. Wells story Kipps which Michael Redgrave played the title role back in a 1941 film version. I'm sure his interpretation of the role differed quite a bit from the boisterous styling of Tommy Steele in this film. They're so different in personality types.
It wasn't Wells the interpreter of the scientific future who wrote Kipps, but rather the Wells who was the Fabian Socialist. In a way this should be seen back to back with Pygmalion or My Fair Lady if you will. Some of the same themes were also done American style in The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
George Bernard Shaw when he wrote Pygmalion did the exact reverse of what Wells did in Kipps. That other noted Fabian Socialist took the flower girl Eliza and had her schooled in manners by the overbearing Henry Higgins to improve her station. Her economic status doesn't improve any, unless you figure she might marry well like the Freddy Eynsford-Hill character. She speaks well enough to fit in with his crowd.
But the exact opposite happens to Arthur Kipps. He's of illegitimate birth, apprenticed as a draper's assistant and living in the basement of his employer's store with other apprentices. But one fine day, Arthur's ship comes in, a grandfather leaves him an inheritance and a guaranteed annual income.
But unlike Audrey Hepburn, Tommy Steele is still at heart from the lower classes. So the story of Half A Sixpence is his personal struggle to find his place. That could be with a girl of his own class, Julia Foster or the previous unattainable Penelope Horner. Give you one guess where Steele winds up.
Half A Sixpence ran on Broadway for 511 performances in the 1965-66 season with Tommy Steele in the title role there. Steele's infectious style of performing is awfully hard to resist. Though he started out as a rock and roll singer, a British answer to Elvis Presley, Steele is really from the great tradition of Music Hall performers in the United Kingdom.
The socialist polemics are kept to a minimum here, I can't speak for how Wells originally wrote Kipps or how Michael Redgrave played it back in the day. But his points do come across and come across most entertainingly.
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