VINTAGE PLAYBILL: Nick & Nora, 1991

By Megan Dekic
08 Dec 2013

Nick & Nora, the legendary musical flop with a book by Arthur Laurents and a score by Charles Strouse and Richard Maltby, Jr., opened on this date 22 years ago. The Playbill Vault looks back at the musical's bumpy road to Broadway.



Directed by Laurents and choreographed by Tina Paul, Nick & Nora focused on the married amateur sleuth characters from "The Thin Man" film series, based on Dashiell Hammett's novel of the same name. Instead of an out-of-town tryout, which producers canceled for financial reasons, the musical had a long preview period that saw several script and song rewrites, a cast change and a much-delayed opening.

The production finally opened at the Marquis Theatre on Dec. 8, 1991, after 71 previews. The opening-night cast featured several Broadway notables, including Faith Prince, Christine Baranski and Debra Monk. Barry Bostwick and Joanna Gleason starred as husband-and-wife detectives Nick and Nora.

The show had received bad publicity during its troubled preview period and was met with equally harsh reviews after its official opening. Frank Rich of the New York Times called it "an almost instantly forgettable mediocrity." Despite its talented cast and creative team, Nick & Nora could not overcome the negative audience and critical response and closed after just nine performances. 

Read the opening-night Nick & Nora Playbill here.