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Beaches With Idina Menzel And Nia Long Is A Lifetime Achievement

Beaches With Idina Menzel And Nia Long Is A Lifetime Achievement


Lifetime’s remake of Beaches aired Saturday night. The classic 1988 tearjerker stared Broadway star Idina Menzel and Big Momma’s House Nia Long as entertainer C.C. Bloom and her aristocratic BFF Hillary Whitney. This two roles on screen were made famous by Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.

This made-for-TV movie stayed true to most of plot points and did Garry Marshall film and Iris Rainer Dart’s original book proud.

Here are some of the biggest changes. Spoilers ahead!

1. Different beginnings: Both stories begin before Hillary’s death, and flashback to their first meeting. The 1988 film opened with C.C. at the Hollywood Bowl, rehearsing her Lite FM-cover of  The Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk.” She then gets a note about Hillary being hospitalized. She leaves the gig to be by her friends side.

Lifetime’s version: Opens with C.C. and an very sick Hillary on their beach deck, trying to complete a crossword puzzle. flashback of Hillary forcing C.C. to sing Christmas carols during their first holiday together.

2. C.C. and Hillary meet in a totally different place:  Yes, it’s still on the beach it’s Venice Beach, California, not Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hillary’s not lost and looking for C.C. to give her directions back to her hotel. Instead, she just stumbles upon C.C. on the boardwalk singing “Glory of Love” to a crowd for money while dressed like a poor-man’s Punky Brewster.

3. C.C. doesn’t doesn’t have an over-bearing stage mother: Leona (My Big Fat Greek Wedding‘s Lainie Kazan) is now runs a stand on the boardwalk that sells chotchkies.

4. Hillary is shipped off to boarding school on the east coast. Lifetime sends Hillary to a Connecticut boarding school. And college. And grad school. And basically and they kept in touch via email and text.

5. Save for “Wind Beneath My Wings,” the music’s not the same. Midler sang Cole Porter’s “I’ve Still Got My Health.” Menzel sings Peggy Lee’s “I Can Hear the Music.” C.C.’s breakthrough role in John’s original musical has two totally different tunes. Menzel sings her original tune “Last Time” (off her 2016 album Idina) and a cover of The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You.” Midler wow’d with “Baby Mine” (from Dumbo)  and Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today.”

 6. John the director who gives C.C. her big break, first meets the singer in the 1988 film, as she’s working as a singing telegram girl — dressed like a bunny rabbit while singing him “Happy Birthday.” In the Lifetime version C.C. is performing at a bar mitzvah, where John just happens to be a guest.

7. C.C. and John don’t get married.

8. One of the movie’s best numbers is C.C.’s cheeky song in her hit stage review, Sizzle 76. It’s called “Otto Titsling,” about the creator of the first bra. That song — and that show — don’t make it into the TV show. For Lifetime C.C. joins a cheesy sitcom about promiscuous nuns called Pretty Sinners.

9. C.C. never wins her Tony.

10. C.C. finds Hillary after her fall. In the film Hillary’s daughter, Victoria, finds her passed out on the floor, Lifetime has C.C. ready to save the day. It allows Hillary to decide then and there to live out her last days by the place where she and her best friend met: the beach.

11. Hillary’s funeral isn’t shown. Here C.C. and Victoria spreading her ashes into the ocean.


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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