By Alexandra, Concierge
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella by author Truman Capote, one of the most iconic and successful writers of the 20th century. The story was made iconic by the 1961 movie adaptation of the same name that starred Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. The tale has now been adapted for the stage by Richard Greenberg, and the show opens on Broadway this month.
The story begins in Autumn 1943, as recollected by an unnamed narrator. This handsome young man has just moved to New York City to pursue a career as an author. When he meets the sensational tenant who lives below his tiny studio apartment one evening – a young lady named Holiday Golightly, or ‘Holly’ – his life is forever changed. When Holly meets the narrator she happily exclaims that he looks just like her brother Fred, who is overseas fighting in World War II, and she proceeds to call him by the same name for the remainder of their year-long friendship.
Holly Golightly is a country girl turned New York City socialite. While she has no official job, she makes her living by socializing with wealthy men who take her out on the town, give her money freely, and present her with expensive gifts. Fred is fascinated by her vivacious personality, stunning beauty and extravagant lifestyle. Though the nature of Fred’s sexuality is brought into question throughout the play, he quickly falls head over heels in love with Holly. Meanwhile, Holly continues her affairs with wealthy men, intent on marrying one of them and being set for life. However, this does not stop her from confiding in Fred her deepest secrets, and they become very close friends. Still, Holly keeps Fred at bay – even admitting that she never knows what is really hers until after she has thrown it away.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a visually decadent and delicious experience. Brilliant costume designer Colleen Atwood (who has won Academy awards for her work on Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland) truly captured the elegance of the era and the personality of the characters with her costume design. Expect glamorous silk gowns, playful matching skirt suits, tailored trench coats and lots of fedoras and fascinators. Meanwhile, the rotating stage features the New York skyline, beautiful interiors, neon lights and a full bar – all setting the mood perfectly.
Highlights of the show include when Holly, played by Emilia Clarke, plays guitar and beautifully sings “I Am a Traveling Creature” on a fire escape, and the few scenes throughout the show with Holly’s cat, played by a live orange tabby. Fun fact: the cat in the show wasn’t cast until four days before the opening performance, but makes a fantastic (and very cute!) addition to the play. Just as an aside to anyone considering taking children to the show – there is brief full nudity by both lead actors.
Stars in the show include Broadway newcomer Emilia Clarke (famous for her lead role as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO hit show Game of Thrones) and George Wendt (most famous for playing Norm Peterson on the long-running TV sitcom Cheers, among other notable roles). Actor Cory Michael Smith makes his Broadway debut as narrator ‘Fred’.
While the iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s was a romantic comedy with a happy ending, the new Broadway production follows Capote’s original novella more closely than the film script. Those familiar with the film adaptation will find the Broadway show portrays a darker tale, wrought with tragedy and heartbreak. The characters, while beautiful and vivacious, have heavy hearts and many flaws. (For example much criticism has been noted of Holly’s exploits, but Capote insisted that she is not a prostitute but an “American geisha.”) Fans of the film will likely enjoy the show – but shouldn’t expect the same script and lightheartedness. Also, the famous song “Moon River” which Hepburn performed in the film is replaced with the traditional folk song “I Am a Traveling Creature” on stage.
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Take a sneak peek at the show: