NOTE: this is an unrevised version of an entry from my old blog from August 12th, 2016
I have become fascinated by a 60s TV special that you were part of — an adaptation of John Collier’s Evening Primrose. Collier was one of the greatest short story writers of the 20th century, and you, well I suspect that you don’t want to be flattered, but you are quite good yourself.
This should have been the first big feather in your cap. You completely understood the story and used bits of Collier’s dialogue to great effect. But there is a falling off after the first number. It isn’t you of course. The screen play is trash. I don’t want to spoil it for everyone else, but the brilliant sideways love story gets — well you know what happens. The very end is fine but the queer genius of the story is thrown out entirely and replaced with something barely plausible and trite. I don’t think that the screen writer (or maybe some officious producer) knew what the story was about, and ruined it, or, if he did understand, he might have thought that it was too edgy for viewers.
These are old complaints I am sure. And I know that you are 86 and semi-retired. Nineteen sixty-six must seem like a thousand years ago, but, for the sake of the rest of us, would you mind writing a few songs to go along with the proper plot of the story? If you like, go right ahead and someone else can tidy up the script. Certainly I want that person to be me, but anyone on earth would do it if you asked (remember though, if by any chance they do turn you down, you have a volunteer).
Collier’s story has the quality of earthy unreality that you handle so well. You did it in Into the Woods, and Sweeney Todd. Please do it here. I heard a rumor that you were doing another version of Road Show. I love that production. Leave it as it is. The public should come around eventually.
Just give us, not the Primrose that we have, and certainly not the Primrose we deserve, but the Primrose that only you can deliver.
With great admiration,
Thomas Olivieri, August 2016