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217. WHAT'S UP


Musical Comedy in Two Acts and Nine Scenes


Music And Book: 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.

Choreography: By George Balanchine.

Production: 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.

Premiere: November 11, 1943, National Theatre, New York. Conductor: Will Irwin. (Out-of-town preview: October 22, Playhouse, Wilmington, Delaware.)

Cast: 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.

Note: 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.

Source notes:    show...
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