Here’s a fascinating story that may encourage you to dust off a project of your own that’s been languishing. It’s inspired by a movie I just caught on TV based on a play called “The Matchmaker.” Written by Thornton Wilder, it traveled a long and rocky history to success. Here goes:
Borrowing the story line from a mid-nineteenth century farce, Wilder wrote a play called “The Merchant of Yonkers.” It was a bomb and only played for five weeks before fizzling out. Fifteen years later, he decided to rework the story for a new production. He renamed it “The Matchmaker” and tweaked it a bit, adding a longer monologue for the lead character Dolly and a speech at the end.
This slightly improved version was performed in England and Scotland with great success and then hopped over to New York, where it also prospered. Eight years later, it was reincarnated as the musical, “Hello, Dolly!” and became a huge hit. For years, the show earned Wilder a sizable fortune — more than all his other writings combined.
Fascinating isn’t it: How a flop at one point in time can turn into a popular play years later and then metamorphose into a highly profitable hit musical. What a crazy history! You just never know, do you? Write on!