Musical (1926)

Musique: George Gershwin
Paroles: Ira Gershwin
Livret: Guy Bolton • P.G. Wodehouse
Production à la création:

Act I
It is 1926, the Jazz Age and the era of Prohibition. Jimmy Winter is very popular among the young ladies, and they are cleaning the living room of his Long Island, New York, estate, declaring that "The Woman's Touch" is exactly what his home needs. Jimmy has been away but is coming home that evening. In his absence, some English bootleggers, the Duke of Durham, his sister, Lady Kay, and their thick-headed American assistants, "Shorty" McGee and Larry Potter, have stashed their illegal booze in Jimmy's house. When they hear that Jimmy is returning, the Duke cancels that night's rum run and plans to remove their hundreds of cases of liquor from the cellar. Dolly and Phyllis Ruxton, two of the young ladies, happen to be identical twins. They join Larry in an extemporaneous song and dance ("Don't Ask").

Revenue Officer Jansen arrives, convinced that a crime is in progress, but departs when Jimmy returns home. Jimmy is accompanied by his serious and overbearing second wife, Constance, to whom he has just been married. His first marriage followed a drunken college prank, and the couple has now been separated for many years. He applied for an annulment so he could marry Constance. Shorty passes himself off as the new butler, having sent away the butler and maid that Jimmy had ordered. As butler, Shorty can make sure the rum in the basement is safe.

Jimmy receives a telegram from his lawyer saying that the annulment has not been completed, so Jimmy and Constance are illegally married. Constance furiously leaves for the nearest inn. Jimmy tells Shorty about a beautiful girl who saved him from drowning last summer. He is interrupted when the young ladies who cleaned his house return to welcome him home. He declares that each is a "Dear Little Girl". They leave, and Jimmy prepares for bed as a storm rages outside. Lady Kay, clad in oilskin and clutching a revolver, enters pursued by revenue officers. She turns out to be the girl who rescued Jimmy the previous summer. Jimmy hides her in his bedroom when Officer Jansen arrives at the house to question Jimmy. Jansen leaves but then returns and sees Kay and Jimmy together. Kay says she is Jimmy's wife, and since the just-married suitcases are still scattered around the living room, the revenue officer believes her and leaves. Kay cannot go out in the terrible storm, so she will have to stay the night in Jimmy's room ("Maybe").

The Duke and Larry arrive at Jimmy's house the next morning searching frantically for Kay. The pretty girls also drop in, and Larry leads a minstrel-style song and dance ("Clap Yo' Hands") to cheer up the Duke. Kay hides in Jimmy's bedroom until all the guests leave. The revenue officer returns, and Jimmy and Kay pretend to be newlyweds ("Do, Do, Do"). The Duke, Constance and Constance's father, Judge Appleton, all show up, and Kay hides in the bedroom again. Now that Jimmy's annulment is final, the Judge plans to preside over an official marriage ceremony that afternoon. Constance hears noises from the bedroom and opens the door. Kay, now dressed as an English maid, introduces herself as Jane, wife of Shorty the butler. Kay realizes she is in love with Jimmy and resolves to prevent his marriage to Constance.

Act II
Wedding photographs of the "Bride and Groom" are being taken, and Kay, still disguised as a maid, tries to convince Jimmy that she would be a better wife than fussy Constance. She tells her rag doll that she needs "Someone to Watch Over Me". Larry is supposed to be ferrying the booze out of the cellar, but he ends up demonstrating the dancing ability of his "Fidgety Feet" instead. The revenue officer shows up briefly and is confused when Kay is introduced as Shorty's wife, not Jimmy's wife. The Judge and Constance demand lunch, and Shorty and Kay must serve them. The meal becomes increasingly chaotic, and the Judge and Constance are severely offended and leave. Jimmy declares that spending time with the lovely ladies who frequent his house is "Heaven on Earth".

The revenue officer returns and is shocked to hear that Jimmy is getting married that afternoon, since he saw him with his wife the previous night. Kay is trying on one of Constance's gowns, and, since she does not look like a maid anymore, she and Shorty convince the revenue officer that she is Jimmy's wife. She just looks like Jane the maid; Dolly and Phyllis demonstrate that two people can look alike.

Kay and Shorty plot to stop the wedding. When Jimmy sees Kay in Constance's dress, she is so beautiful that he kisses her. The wedding begins, and as the Judge reads the service, he is interrupted by Shorty, disguised as a revenue agent, who is executing Kay's plan. He says that Jimmy is under arrest for hiding alcohol in his house. The real revenue officer arrives, arrests the Duke and Kay, and charges Jimmy with harboring a criminal. He reveals that he found Kay in Jimmy's pajamas the night before masquerading as Jimmy's wife. The bootleggers and Jimmy are placed under arrest and locked in the cellar as the booze is trucked away. They soon discover, however, that the basement has been left unlocked, and they can leave.

That night, Jimmy gives a party for his friends and the bootleggers. His friends all praise Kay, declaring "Oh, Kay, You're OK with Me". The revenue officer arrives and confesses that he is really the Blackbird, a famous pirate, and he has just stolen all their liquor! But it turns out that the truck drivers were working for Shorty and Larry. Blackbird swears that he will have his revenge. Since he thinks Kay does not have a United States visa, he wants her deported. However, Jimmy arrives with their new marriage license, proving that Kay is a U.S. citizen.

Producers Alex A. Aarons and Vinton Freedly imagined Oh, Kay! as a Princess Theatre-style show, with a contemporary setting, simple sets, and a farcical story. Gertrude Lawrence, who had been featured in the André Charlot revues of 1924 and 1925, was chosen as the star before the songs or story had been written. In accordance with the typical creative process for early American musicals, George and Ira Gershwin wrote the score to Oh, Kay! before the librettists, Bolton and Wodehouse, began work on the book. When the book was completed, eight songs from the Gershwins' score were cut because they could not be easily inserted into the libretto. The show's Philadelphia previews ran more than three hours, and so the producers cut the prologue (where the leading lady was introduced), thus losing the first 4 songs, and also the Act II "Finaletto", which became obsolete in the reshuffling. This highlighted the farcical elements of the plot at the expense of the romantic ones, since the title character does not appear until 40 minutes into the show.

The story aptly captured the spirit of the Roaring Twenties, featuring settings and characters familiar to theatre audiences: a decadent Long Island mansion and notorious (but comic) bootleggers. During rehearsals, George Gershwin purchased a rag doll in a Philadelphia toy store. The ballad, "Someone to Watch Over Me", was staged with Lawrence alone on stage, clutching the doll and singing to it. It was the hit song of the show and became a Gershwin standard.

Oh, Kay! premiered on November 8, 1926, at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway and ran for 256 performances. In London, it played at His Majesty's Theatre, opening on September 21, 1927, and ran for 213 performances.

It was revived at the Century Theatre in 1928. It was revived Off-Broadway in 1960, and a 1990 revival played at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre with an all-black cast. In 1997 a Discovering Lost Musicals concert version played at the Barbican Centre in London, using the original script (with Louise Gold in the title role). There have been other British productions, including a 1984 production at Chichester, directed by Ian Judge and starring Jane Carr as Kay and Michael Siberry as Jimmy. Jane How, Edward Hibbert and Gareth Valentine were also featured.

Oh, Kay! was made into a silent film of the same name in 1928 but never into a sound motion picture. A recording of the musical made in 1995, with Dawn Upshaw, restored the songs The Moon Is On the Sea, When Our Ship Comes Sailing In and Ain't It Romantic, cut from the original production, and returned Someone to Watch Over Me to its original spot, early in Act I.

Act I
The Woman's Touch – Molly Morse, Mae and Ensemble
Don't Ask – Larry Potter, Phyllis Ruxton and Dolly Ruxton
Dear Little Girl – Jimmy Winter and Girls
Maybe – Jimmy and Kay
Clap Yo' Hands – Larry, Molly, Daisy, Mae, Peggy and Ensemble
Do, Do, Do – Jimmy and Kay

Act II
Bride and Groom – Constance Appleton, Jimmy, Judge Appleton and Guests
Someone to Watch Over Me – Kay
Fidgety Feet – Larry, Phyllis and Ensemble
Heaven on Earth – Jimmy, Molly, Mae and Ensemble
Oh, Kay! – Kay and Boys

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Oh, Kay!

Version 1

Oh, Kay! (1926-11-Times Square Theater-Broadway)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Times Square Theater (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 6 mois 3 semaines
Nombre : 256 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : lundi 08 novembre 1926
Dernière : mercredi 01 juin 1927
Mise en scène : John Harwood
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Avec : Gertrude Lawrence (Kay), Victor Moore ("Shorty" McGee), Oscar Shaw (Jimmy Winter), Adrienne Armond (Ensemble), Sascha Beaumont (Constance Appleton), Marcia Bell (Ensemble), Bonnie Blackwood (Ensemble), Dowell Brown (Ensemble), Constance Carpenter (Mae), Grace Carroll (Ensemble), Jean Carroll (Ensemble), Melville Chapman (Ensemble), Betty Compton (Molly Morse), Ted Daniels (Ensemble), Eugene Day (Ensemble), Frances DeFoe (Ensemble), Harland Dixon (Larry Potter), Ann Ecklund (Ensemble), Madeleine Fairbanks (Dolly Ruxton), Marion Fairbanks (Phil Ruxton), Kappie Fay (Ensemble), Al Fisher (Ensemble), Jack Fraley (Ensemble), Amy Frank (Ensemble), Elsie Frank (Ensemble), Frank Gardiner (Judge Appleton), Bob Gebhardt (Ensemble), Janette Gilmore (Peggy), Anita Gordon (Ensemble), Sara Jane Heliker (Ensemble), Peggy Johnstone (Ensemble), Grace Jones (Ensemble), Dot Justin (Ensemble), Lionel Maclyn (Ensemble), Pansy Maness (Ensemble), Maxine Marshall (Ensemble), Tom Martin (Ensemble), Burton McEvilly (Ensemble), Gloria Murray (Ensemble), Elsie Neal (Ensemble), Blanche O'Donahue (Ensemble), Marie Otto (Ensemble), Caroline Phillips (Ensemble), Peggy Quinn (Ensemble), Dorothy Saunders (Ensemble), Harry T. Shannon (Revenue Officer Jansen), Gerald Oliver Smith (The Duke), Alan Stevens (Ensemble), Frances Stone (Ensemble), Jacques Stone (Ensemble), May Sullivan (Ensemble), Betty Vane (Ensemble), Betty Waxton (Ensemble), Claire Wayne (Ensemble), Jean Wayne (Ensemble), Amy Weber (Ensemble), Justine Welch (Ensemble), Ted White (Ensemble), Polly Williams (Ensemble), Paulette Winston (Daisy)

Version 2

Oh, Kay! (1927-09-His Majesty's Theatre-Londres)

Type de série: Original London
Théâtre: Her Majesty's Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 6 mois
Nombre : 215 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : mercredi 21 septembre 1927
Dernière : samedi 24 mars 1928
Mise en scène :
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Avec : Gertrude Lawrence (Kay Denham), Harold French (Jimmy Winter), John Kirby (Shorty McGee), Claude Hulbert (Duke of Datchet), Beth & Betty Dodge (Phil & Dolly Ruxton), Eric Coxon (Larry Potter), April I larmon (Constance Appleton), Percy Parsons (Revenue Officer), Rita McLean (Molly Morse)
Commentaires : Gertrude Lawrence became the first English actress to originate a role on Broadway before playing it in London. The Broadway production opened in November 1926 and ran for 256 performances, with Gertrude Lawrence playing opposite Oscar Shaw and Victor Moore. It was the first of two Gershwin musicals specially written Gertie Lawrence. (The second, “Treasure Girl”, was a flop.)
Presse : Times found the plot “incomprehensible” and the music “commonplace,” but declared: “What might [Gertrude Lawrence] not do with really good material!”

Version 3

Oh, Kay! (1928-01-Century Theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Century Theatre (Londres - Angleterre)
Durée : 1 semaine
Nombre : 16 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : lundi 02 janvier 1928
Dernière : samedi 14 janvier 1928
Mise en scène : Harry Howell
Chorégraphie :
Producteur :
Avec : Helen Arden (Mae), Eva Ball (Ensemble), Lynn Black (Ensemble), Dorothy Blaine (Ensemble), Helen Bowers (Ensemble), Charles Brown (The Duke), Billy Burnett (Ensemble), Norma Byrne (Molly Morse), (Ensemble), Shep Camp (Revenue Officer Jansen), Edith Cardell (Phyllis Ruxton), Marion Cardell (Dolly Ruxton), Viola Clerans (Ensemble), Cullen Clewis (Ensemble), Doris Coleman (Ensemble), Frank Crumit (Jimmy Winter), Angela Cummings (Ensemble), Bessie DeBraw (Ensemble), Dorothy Dow (Ensemble), Deena Drew (Ensemble), Mickey Dugan (Ensemble), Kathryne Frobosh (Ensemble), Wallace Furie (Ensemble), Frank Gardiner (Judge Appleton), Fred Harper (Larry Potter), Marion Harvey (Ensemble), Maggie Henely (Ensemble), Wanda Joyce (Ensemble), Mary Lane (Ensemble), Flora Lee (Ensemble), Gloria Lee (Ensemble), Helen Mahoney (Ensemble), Rose Malvin (Ensemble), Rita Martin (Ensemble), Allen McKenzie (Tom Powers), Beverly Miller (Ensemble), Rose Miller (Ensemble), Eddie Murray (Ensemble), Barton Myers (Ensemble), Marie O'Donnell (Ensemble), Charlie Phillips (Ensemble), Eddie Pierce (Ensemble), Harry Quinn (Ensemble), Lew Ritter (Ensemble), Marjorie Ross (Ensemble), Rita Rosso (Ensemble), Julia Sanderson (Kay Jones), Tommy Schmidt (Ensemble), Robert Silva (Ensemble), Beatrice Swanson (Constance Appleton), Charles Thurman (Ensemble), Mary Valerin (Ensemble), Ann Wallace (Ensemble), Martha Wallace (Ensemble), Hazel Wandova (Ensemble), May Wynn (Peggy), John E. Young ("Shorty" McGee)

Version 4

Oh, Kay! (1990-11-Richard Rodgers Theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Richard Rodgers Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 5 mois 1 semaine
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : jeudi 01 novembre 1990
Dernière : lundi 01 avril 1991
Mise en scène : Dan Siretta
Chorégraphie : Dan Siretta
Producteur :
Commentaires : This revised revival of the classic Gershwin musical is re-set in Jazz Age Harlem and features an all-black cast. Prohibition-era nightclub hijinks and bootlegging bring together a millionaire and a mysterious woman named Kay.

This production played 19 previews and 77 performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre; when it transferred to the Lunt-Fontanne, it played an additional 16 previews and closed prior to its re-opening date of April 18, 1991.

Deux lieux:
Richard Rodgers Theatre (1/11/1990 - 5/1/1991)
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (14/4/1991 - 14/4/1991)

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