Rodgers and Hart brought a sophistication and a bittersweet quality to their scores of the late 1930s. Babes in Arms, which showcased young performers in a version of the revue format, introduced Alfred Drake, Mitzi Green, Robert Rounseville and Dan Dailey, among others. There is scarcely a song in it that did not become an American standard: I Wish I Were in Love Again, Johnny One Note, The Lady is a Tramp, and My Funny Valentine are among the best remembered. Pal Joey's success is all the more remarkable because the cynical and amoral universe in which it is set. The musical, which made a star of Gene Kelly, includes I Could Write a Book and Den of Iniquity.

Rodgers and Hart

Rodgers, Richard. Where or When. Words by Lorenz Hart.
Babes in Arms
New York: Chappell & Co., Inc., 1937.
Sheet Music Collection

Rodgers, Richard. Pal Joey; the libretto by John O'Hara, lyrics by Lorenz Hart.
New York: Random House, 1952
Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays

Rodgers, Richard. Bewitched. Words by Lorenz Hart.
Pal Joey
New York: Chappell & Co., Inc., 1941
Sheet Music Collection

Hot Mikado

Mike Todd's Hot Mikado with Bill Robinson. Souvenir Book
Illustration: Harold K. Senior.
Charles L. Cooke adapted the Gilbert and Sullivan Music
New York: Strand, [1939].
Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays

Mike Todd's Hot Mikado competed with The Swing Mikado, another jazzed up version of the Gilbert and Sullivan play that was open at the same time. This version benefited from the dancing of the legendary Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. The play was later transferred to the New York World's Fair.

Pins and Needles

Pins and needles : [program] : presented by Labor Stage with the I.L.G.W.U. Players.
Music by Harold Rome; 2 variant copies.
New York : Strathmore Press, [1938].
Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays

The first of several editions of this revue, performed by amateur actors whose day jobs were in the garment trade, appeared in 1937. It was militantly pro-labor, and many of its topical sketches were strident in tone. Its topicality, along with the score by Harold Rome, kept it going for over a thousand performances. Perhaps the best-known song from this unusual work is Rome's Sing Me a Song With Social Significance.


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