Picking Daisies: Michael Mayer Will Direct New Version of On a Clear Day

News   Picking Daisies: Michael Mayer Will Direct New Version of On a Clear Day Michael Mayer will direct a reading of a revised version of the 1965 Alan Jay Lerner-Burton Lane musical, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, in late April at New York Theatre Workshop.

Michael Mayer will direct a reading of a revised version of the 1965 Alan Jay Lerner-Burton Lane musical, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, in late April at New York Theatre Workshop.

Mayer, currently helming the dawning Thoroughly Modern Millie, told Playbill On-line that playwright Paul Selig (Mystery School) has penned a new libretto for the singular musical about an eccentric woman with extrasensory perception and the psychiatrist who becomes fascinated by her. The show is widely considered to have a dream of a score and a problematic book (by the late Lerner, who also penned the lyrics).

"It's a heavenly score," Mayer told Playbill On-Line, saying the show has been "reconceived" for a future production. He said Lerner and Lane songs from the 1970 film version that starred Barbra Streisand will be used in the stage script.

A 280-performance disappointment that starred John Cullum and Barbara Harris, the show nevertheless produced a cast album and inspired a film and has achieved a cult status. Vincente Minnelli directed the movie, which has Streisand as quirky Daisy Gamble and Yves Montand as a shrink who has difficulty believing there is more to her than science could explain. The title song has become well-known, and the lament "What Did I Have That I Don't Have?" is a favorite for cabaret divas. The score includes "Come Back to Me," "Melinda," "Hurry! It's Lovely Up Here," "On the S.S. Bernard Cohn," "Tosy and Cosh," "Don't Tamper With My Sister," "She Wasn't You," "Wait 'Til We're Sixty-Five," "When I'm Being Born Again." The film also has the additional songs "Love With All the Trimmings" and "Go to Sleep," the latter a unique counterpoint duet Daisy sings with herself.

In February 2000, Encores! presented a concert revival starring Kristin Chenoweth and Peter Friedman, with Brent Barrett as a lover from one of Daisy's many past lives. Mayer did not elaborate on casting for the upcoming reading and a timetable for production has not been announced.

Robert Lewis directed the original Broadway production. The show's original title was I Picked a Daisy. In the musical (a rare story not based on source material), neurotic modern-day Daisy has many powers, including the ability to make flowers grow by talking to them. This is in contrast with her 19th-century other half, the elegant and luscious Melinda, who catches the eye of the shrink.

Lerner and Lane's other major project was the Fred Astaire movie musical, "Royal Wedding."

— By Kenneth Jones