217. What's Up 1943
Musical Comedy in Two Acts and Nine Scenes
Music by Frederick Loewe. Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. Book by Alan Jay Lerner and Arthur Pierson. Orchestrations by Van Cleave. Vocal arrangements by Bobby Tucker
George Balanchine
Produced by Mark Warnow. Book directed by Robert H. Gordon. Staged and choreographed by George Balanchine. Scenery by Boris Aronson. Costumes by Grace Houston. Scenery executed by Studio Alliance, Inc.; costumes executed by Eaves Costume Company. Lighting by Al Alloy
November 11, 1943, National Theatre, New York. Conductor: Will Irwin. (Out-of-town preview: October 22, Playhouse, Wilmington, Delaware.)
Rawa of Tanglinia, Jimmy Savo; Sgt. Moroney, Johnny Morgan; Virginia Miller, Gloria Warren; and others. Featured dancers included Phyllis Hill, Don Weissmuller, Sondra Barrett, Kenneth Buffett, Honey Murray, Robert Bay, Jack Baker. JOSHUA (Act I, Scene 3): Ensemble of men and women, followed by a tap dance solo for Don Weissmuller. BALLET (Act I, Scene 4): Jimmy Savo, Phyllis Hill. HOW FLY TIMES (Act I, Scene 4): Singers; Weissmuller in second tap solo. YOU WASH AND I’LL DRY (Act II, Scene 1): Singers; Dancers: trio danced by Sondra Barrett, Kenneth Buffett, Honey Murray; duo danced by Marjorie Beecher [Marge Champion] and Rodney McLennan. THE ILL-TEMPERED CLAVICHORD (Act II, Scene 3): Ensemble of men and women. Dance specialty (tap): Robert Bay. REPRISE: YOU’VE GOT A HOLD ON ME (Act II, Scene 3): Hill, Jack Baker
Performance Type
Musical Theater
63 performances. The first public collaboration of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Among the dance numbers were two dream ballets (still a novelty at the time): In Joshua, U.S. Army Air corpsmen in pajamas dance with schoolgirls in nightgowns after the wall separating their two rooms comes ‘tumbling down’), combining ballet, tap, and the waltz; in the Ballet, a pas de deux, the mime-comedian Jimmy Savo, small, pursued a large ballerina, his dream-girl. Reviewers also mentioned a jitterbug and acrobatics.
Christopher Caines, Marge Champion