Your theater history factoid of the week: Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” based on the Voltaire novella, opened on Broadway 56 years ago today, Dec. 1, 1956. It had a book by Lillian Hellman and lyrics by Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche, and it was a flop that closed in less than two months. It’s brilliant musical score–especially Bernstein’s concert version of the show’s overture–kept it alive through numerous revisions and revivals until it finally became a hit.
“Candide” has been staged in Chicago frequntly, most recently with yet another new version of the book, this one adapted by director Mary Zimmerman. It opened this year’s Goodman Theatre season before moving on to the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., where it continues through Jan. 9.