VINTAGE PLAYBILL: Harold and Maude on Broadway, 1980 | Playbill

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News VINTAGE PLAYBILL: Harold and Maude on Broadway, 1980 On this date in 1980, the stage adaptation of Harold and Maude premiered on Broadway.

In the years following its 1971 debut at the box office, the film "Harold and Maude" gained a substantial fan following. In the late 1970s, writer Colin Higgins adapted his screenplay for the stage.

The play was originally set to star Glynis Johns in her first Broadway role since a Tony-winning turn in A Little Night Music. But she was mysteriously replaced by Janet Gaynor, the former silent-film star who notably won the first Academy Award for Best Actress.

The play premiered Feb. 7, 1980, to a chorus of bad reviews. "The multi-scened mess at the Martin Beck is not only soporific in its wistful stabs at zany philosophizing," wrote Walter Kerr in his New York Times review, "it is downright grisly whenever it decides to make a joke."

The production posted its closing notice just two days later.

Read the opening night Harold and Maude Playbill in the Vault. This vintage Playbill includes production photos on page 1 and features a satirical poem called "A Musical" on page 10.

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