Pipe Dream Description
Release date: 1955.
Type: Broadway musical.
Pipe Dream is the seventh musical by the team of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II; it premiered on Broadway on November 30, 1955. The work is based on John Steinbeck's short novel Sweet Thursday—Steinbeck wrote the novel, a sequel to Cannery Row, in the hope of having it adapted into a musical. Set in Monterey, California, the musical tells the story of the romance between Doc, a marine biologist, and Suzy, who in the novel is a prostitute; her profession is only alluded to in the stage work. Pipe Dream was a flop and a financial disaster for Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Broadway producers Cy Feuer and Ernie Martin held the rights to Sweet Thursday and wanted Frank Loesser to compose a musical based on it. When Loesser proved unavailable, Feuer and Martin succeeded in interesting Rodgers and Hammerstein in the project. As Hammerstein adapted Sweet Thursday, he and Rodgers had concerns about featuring a prostitute as female lead and setting part of the musical in a bordello. They signed operatic diva Helen Traubel to play Fauna, the house madam.
As the show progressed through tryouts, Hammerstein repeatedly revised it, obscuring Suzy's profession and the nature of Fauna's house. Pipe Dream met with poor reviews, and rapidly closed once it exhausted its advance sale. It had no national tour or London production, and has rarely been presented since. There was no film at the time; the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization (which licenses their works) once hoped for a film version featuring the Muppets with Fauna played by Miss Piggy.