Cactus Flower (play)
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Rare Broadway poster including the name of Joseph Campanella, who was replaced by Barry Nelson before opening night.
|Written by||Abe Burrows|
|Date premiered||8 December 1965|
|Place premiered||Royale Theatre, New York City|
Based on the play Fleur de cactus by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy, the comedy focuses on the relationship between young, wild Toni and her older, married lover Julian, a dentist. Convinced the two have no future together, Toni attempts suicide, and a guilt-ridden Julian rashly proposes he leave his wife so the couple can be together. However, Julian has never revealed to Toni that his "marriage" is actually an elaborate lie concocted to keep Toni at arm's length. Toni refuses to break up his household without first meeting and talking with Julian's soon-to-be-ex, so Julian enlists the aid of his shy spinster assistant Stephanie to pose as his non-existent wife. Complications arise when Toni decides the two must find her a new beau so everyone concerned can live happily ever after.
After two previews, the Broadway production, directed by Burrows, opened on December 8, 1965 at the Royale Theatre, where it ran for two years and nine months before transferring to the Longacre, for a total run of 1234 performances, ending on November 23, 1968. The original cast included Lauren Bacall, Barry Nelson, Brenda Vaccaro, and Burt Brinckerhoff. Lloyd Bridges, Kevin McCarthy, and Betsy Palmer were replacements later in the run.
Both Vaccaro and Brinckerhoff were nominated for Tony Awards for their featured performances. Later adapted for film as: Cactus Flower with Walter Matthau, Ingrid Bergman and Goldie Hawn (for which Hawn won an Academy Award) and again in 2011, as Just Go With It starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Brooklyn Decker.