Bob Holiday, Broadway's First Superman
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Linda Lavin and Patricia Marand

Who Would You Cast as Lois Lane?

Linda Lavin as
"You've Got Possibilities"

Patricia Marand as
Lois Lane
"I'm Not Finished Yet"

Sydney (Linda Lavin) Approaches Clark Kent's (Bob Holiday) Desk

A few days ago, a member of the Facebook page dedicated to Bob Holiday* mused that Linda Lavin would have made a good Lois Lane. Certainly the initials fit!

Linda Lavin was cast as Sydney (no last name) in the original Broadway production of "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©". Sydney was villain Max Mencken’s secretary, and she was madly in love with Max. Cad that he was, Max either overworked Sydney or ignored her. Sydney finally decided that it was time to move on.

On the prowl for a new man in her life, Sydney notices Clark Kent diligently working at his Daily Planet typewriter. Suddenly she realizes that “underneath there’s something there” and sets her cap for the most eligible bachelor at the Planet. Clark and Sydney start a relationship that seems to consist of kissing around every corner, every chance they get. After Max Mencken figures out that Clark Kent is Superman’s secret identity, we hear him sing, “She doesn’t know who’s kissing her, it’s Superman!” Sydney is also critical to the plot of the show; Max convinces her to bring her new boyfriend Clark Kent to the spot where the villains of the show unite to ambush Superman.

Linda Lavin was a powerful performer, and her interpretive belting of “You’ve Got Possibilities” sold that song as the breakout hit of the show. So why wasn’t Linda cast as Lois Lane?

Sydney Sings and Clark Kent

Lois Lane’s casting in "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©" does not have a clear history. Joan Hotchkis, who came to fame as Myra Lake in the soap opera The Secret Storm, was the first actress cast as Lois Lane; she appears in many of the early publicity photos for "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©". During the run of the Philadelphia tryouts, Ms. Hotchkis was replaced by Patricia Marand.

No one seems to remember why this casting change was made. I’ve asked three people from the show, including Bob Holiday, and there just is no story there. But at some point, Patricia Marand stepped into the iconic role of Lois Lane.

Patricia’s entry into show business was meteoric. Upon graduating high school, she was cast in the musical Wish You Were Here—opposite Jack Cassidy, no less! (One wonders if he suggested Patricia when the powers-that-be went looking for a new Lois Lane.) Patricia then played Laurey in Oklahoma and had roles in Kismet and Pajama Game. As she once said, “I didn’t find out until later that the theatrical life wasn’t all that easy.” Still, when Broadway needed Lois Lane, it was Patricia Marand who got the call.

Lois Lane and Superman

I loved Linda Lavin in "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©", but I loved Patricia Marand even more. Here’s why Ms. Marand was such a fabulous Lois Lane. Number one? She and Bob Holiday had real chemistry. As I’ve stressed many a time, there was never a romance between the two of them, but there was deep respect and a wonderful friendship. Bob told me that he, Patricia, and Patricia’s husband truly enjoyed each other’s company and hung out together quite frequently. Beyond that, Patricia Marand’s Lois Lane just worshipped Bob Holiday’s Superman. As Bob says in his autobiography, “When [Patricia] looked at me playing Superman and said, ‘I love you,’ I believed her.” And what’s more important than Superman—and the audience—believing that Lois Lane loves him? r.: Bob Holiday as Superman; Patricia Marand as Lois Lane; Shirley Jones, wife of Jack Cassidy; and Jack Cassidy as Max Mencken

I've seen every "major" Lois Lane. Some actresses portrayed the character better than others. Some played her as high and mighty. Some played her as vulnerable. Some were able to let the audience know that Lois Lane had a spine of steel. Patricia Marand hit just the right note, showing strength, vulnerability, humor, bravery, and longing—the whole package. And let's not forget what a gorgeous singing voice she had! Patricia Marand remains my favorite Lois Lane of all time.

But didn’t Sydney love Clark Kent? Well, I don’t think so. There was a lot of kissing going on between Sydney and Clark, but neither seemed really serious about the other. It looked more like two people who wanted to find love, and this was as close as they could get to the real thing. Chalk that opinion up to the great acting chops of Linda Lavin and Bob Holiday, that even an eleven-year old could see this.

Two great actors, Bob Holiday and Jack Cassidy, made for a great Broadway show. But the show would have been nothing without the two great actresses Patricia Marand and Linda Lavin. They were each perfectly cast.

* If you’d like to join the "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©" discussion on Facebook, please PM @Toni VallesKey Collins and request an invitation.

Bob Holiday as Superman Bob Holiday as Clark Kent