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Best Books by Fay Kanin

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    Grind is a musical with a book by Fay Kanin, music by Larry Grossman, and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh. Grind is a portrait of a largely African-American burlesque house in Chicago in the Thirties. The reviews were mixed at best. In his New York Times review, Frank Rich wrote: "...the show has become a desperate barrage of arbitrary musical numbers, portentous staging devices, extravagant costumes..., confused plot twists and sociological bromides..." "Grind" fared poorly at the box office; "The production was a disaster; the show lost its entire $4.75 million investment, and Prince and three other members of the creative team were suspended by the Dramatists Guild for signing a "substandard contract." 1985 was a bad year for Broadway musicals, and only one hit (Big River) had emerged by the time Tony nominations were submitted. Since there was little decent competition, "Grind" received a Tony nomination for Best Musical. Ken Mandelbaum wrote of the season: "The original Big River came along at the end of a dismal season for new musicals, and Leader of the Pack, Quilters, and the fascinating but unworkable Grind posed virtually no competition. Even critics who hated Grind were
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    Though Akira Kurosawa's film Rashomon is the most famous instance, Akutagawa's stories have also been adapted for the stage. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's two short stories "Rashomon" (1915 - AKA "The Rashomon Gate") and "In a Grove" (1921 - AKA "The Cedar Grove") were famously fused and adapted as the basis for Akira Kurosawa's award-winning film Rashomon (1950), screenplay by Akutagawa and frequent collaborator Shinobu Hashimoto. In 1951 the film won an honorary International Academy Award, following the success of the film in winning a Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in the same year. The Kurosawa and Hashimoto screenplay deviates from Akutagawa's original stories in a number of ways, most notably by allowing a note of hope to triumph over Akutagawa's dark pessimism. This 1959 Broadway adaptation by Fay and Michael Kanin ran for six months (January-June) at the Music Box Theatre, New York, starring husband and wife Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom. The Kanins' production was nominated for three Tony awards; for more details see the Internet Broadway Database entry. The Kanins' somewhat sentimental script sticks closely to the film, including elements added by Kurosawa that do
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    The Gay Life

    The Gay Life is a musical with a book by Fay and Michael Kanin, lyrics by Howard Dietz, and music by Arthur Schwartz. Based on a cycle of seven short plays by Arthur Schnitzler, published in 1893 and first staged in 1910, The Gay Life focuses on womanizing playboy Anatol Von Huber. The score is a mixture of traditional Broadway show tunes and operetta. The Gay Life started pre-Broadway try-outs at the Fisher Theater in Detroit and the O'Keefe Centre in Toronto. The production opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on November 18, 1961 and closed on February 24, 1962 after 113 performances and three previews. Directed by Gerald Freedman and choreographed by Herbert Ross, the cast included Walter Chiari as Anatol, Barbara Cook as Liesl, and Jules Munshin as Max, with Elizabeth Allen as Magda. Because of the new meaning which the term "gay" had acquired since the show's original staging, its title was changed to The High Life when it was presented in concert by the off-Broadway Musicals Tonight! in October 2005. In Vienna in 1904, Anatol Von Huber is to marry Liesl, but his former mistress is discovered with him on his wedding day. In flashback Anatol remembers how he arrived at
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