DENVER — In a rehearsal room here, the librettist-lyricist Dick Scanlan and the director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall were watching their cast read through a scene when someone flubbed a recently altered line. “I know it’s hard when we change everything, but that’s the gig,” Mr. Scanlan told the weary-looking ensemble.
Changes are, after all, a hallmark of the rehearsal process of a new musical. Except the musical Mr. Scanlan and Ms. Marshall are overseeing is not technically new — it’s “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” which opened on Broadway in 1960 and was turned into a Debbie Reynolds movie.
While the title is the same, the show is about as changed as a revival can be. Just a few lines of Richard Morris’s original book, inspired by the real-life Titanic survivor Margaret Brown, remain. Only seven of Meredith Willson’s songs are untouched. The rest of the score is made up of “Molly Brown” stage and film songs with additional lyrics by Mr. Scanlan and trunk songs from the Willson catalog (two with original lyrics, four with Mr. Scanlan’s lyrics, four a hybrid).