MusicAl Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
LyricsAl Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
BookAl Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
BasisNovel David Copperfield
by Charles Dickens
PremiereApril 16, 1981 (1981-04-16): ANTA Playhouse
Productions1981 Broadway

Copperfield is a 1981 musical with a book, music, and lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn, who were nominated for the 1981 Tony Award for Best Original Score. It is based on the classic 1850 novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

The Broadway production was directed and choreographed by Rob Iscove. It began previews at the ANTA Playhouse on March 25, opened on April 16, and closed on April 26 after 39 performances, including 26 previews.

Principal cast

Principal production credits

Song list

Critical reception

In his review in The New York Times, Frank Rich said,

This is the kind of musical that sends you out of the theater humming every score other than the one you've just heard . . . of course, derivativeness is nothing new in Broadway musicals that aspire to be pure commercial entertainments. The real problem with Copperfield is that its authors are not good mimics. From the music to the scenery to the cast, everything about this show looks tacky in comparison to its prototypes. And when the writers actually attempt to come up with fresh ideas - well, look out! The show's book manages to miss the human comedy, the tears and even the point of Dickens's novel. This is no longer the story of a boy's hard-won growth to emotional manhood, but a clunky, often incoherently told melodrama in which all the villains literally wear black . . . the title character seems an almost peripheral figure in the proceedings. He's played by two decent singers - one boy, one man - who are nothing if not chips off the same block. The block is made of wood . . . Some of the music is mildly tuneful, after its many fashions, but the lyrics are, at best, unintentionally funny . . . Rob Iscove's choreography departs from the show's norm, in that it seems to have been culled from flops rather than hits . . . it could be argued that Copperfield might be entertaining for young children, whose innocent minds aren't sullied by memories of the superior shows that this one dimly recalls. But it's hard to imagine what parent - short of an evil Dickensian one - would take the family to the ANTA when Annie, Barnum and The Pirates of Penzance are in town."[2]


  1. ^ "Copperfield (Broadway, August Wilson Theatre, 1981)". Playbill. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  2. ^ Rich, Frank (April 17, 1981). "Stage: Dickens Sings Again in 'Copperfield'". The New York Times. p. C-3. Retrieved March 28, 2022.