is a musical
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...
with a book by Howard Lindsay
Howard Lindsay was an American theatrical producer, playwright, librettist, director and actor. He is best known for his writing work as part of the collaboration of Lindsay and Crouse, and for his performance, with his wife Dorothy Stickney, in the long-running play Life with...
and Russel Crouse
Russel Crouse was an American playwright and librettist, best known for his work in the Broadway writing partnership of Lindsay and Crouse.-Life and career:...
and lyrics and music by Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin was an American composer and lyricist of Jewish heritage, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history.His first hit song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", became world famous...
It focuses on U.S. President
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....
Stephen Decatur Henderson, who loses his bid for re-election following a disastrous trip to the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....
. Bored with life as a civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...
, he decides to return to political
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...
life as a Senator
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...
After four previews, the Broadway
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...
production, directed by Joshua Logan
Joshua Lockwood Logan III was an American stage and film director and writer.-Early years:Logan was born in Texarkana, Texas, the son of Susan and Joshua Lockwood Logan. When he was three years old his father committed suicide...
and choreographed by Peter Gennaro
Peter Gennaro was an American dancer and choreographer.-Biography:Gennaro was born in Metairie, Louisiana. He made his Broadway debut in the ensemble of Make Mine Manhattan in 1948. He followed this with Kiss Me, Kate and Guys and Dolls...
, opened on October 20, 1962 at the St. James Theatre
The St. James Theatre is located at 246 W. 44th St. Broadway, New York City, New York. It was built by Abraham L. Erlanger, theatrical producer and a founding member of the Theatrical Syndicate, on the site of the original Sardi's restaurant. It opened in 1927 as The Erlanger...
, where it ran for 265 performances. The cast included Robert Ryan
Robert Bushnell Ryan was an American actor who often played hardened cops and ruthless villains.-Early life and career:...
, Nanette Fabray
Nanette Fabray is an American actress, comedienne, singer, dancer, and activist. She began her career performing in vaudeville as a child and then became a musical theatre actress during the 1940s and 1950s, winning a Tony Award in 1949 for her performance in Love Life...
, Anita Gillette
Anita Gillette is an American actress, most notable for her work on Broadway and as a celebrity guest on various game shows....
, and Baayork Lee
Baayork Lee is an Asian-American actress, singer, dancer, choreographer, theatre director, and author.-Early life and career:Lee was born in New York City's Chinatown to an Indian mother and Chinese father...
In a season dominated by hits like Oliver!
Oliver! is a British musical, with script, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart. The musical is based upon the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens....
, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart....
, and Stop the World - I Want to Get Off
Stop the World – I Want to Get Off is a musical with a book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.Set against the backdrop of a circus, it focuses on Littlechap, whose first major step towards improving his lot is to marry Evie, his boss's daughter...
, critics found the show to be old-fashioned and the score missing the magic of earlier Berlin works. It received lukewarm reviews, ran a respectable 265 performances, and proved to be Berlin's last musical.
The out-of-town premiere at the National Theatre
The National Theatre is located in Washington, D.C., and is a venue for a variety of live stage productions with seating for 1,676.Despite its name, it is not a governmentally funded national theatre, but operated by a private, non-profit organization....
in Washington, DC, was attended by President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....
and his wife Jackie Kennedy. The first couple afterward congratulated Berlin on a hit. Kennedy later sent his aides, Kenneth P. O'Donnell and David Powers
David Francis Powers was Special Assistant and assistant Appointments Secretary to President of the United States John F. Kennedy. Powers served as Museum Curator of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum from 1964 until his retirement in May 1994. Powers was a military veteran who had served in...
, the two toppers in Kennedy's "Irish Mafia," to apologize for his having to leave the performance early. (This day of Kennedy's presidency is the one featured in an exhibit at the JFK Museum and Library.)
In 1964, former President Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...
made an opening night cameo appearance in a production of the show at the Starlight Theatre
Starlight Theatre is a 7,947-seat outdoor theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, United States that stages touring Broadway shows and concerts. It is one of three remaining self-producing outdoor theatres in the U.S.-History:...
in Kansas City. He left by ambulance at intermission due to an appendicitis
Appendicitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the appendix. It is classified as a medical emergency and many cases require removal of the inflamed appendix, either by laparotomy or laparoscopy. Untreated, mortality is high, mainly because of the risk of rupture leading to...
In 2001, Gerard Alessandrini
Gerard Alessandrini is an American playwright, parodist, actor and theatre director best known for creating the award-winning off-Broadway musical theatre parody revue Forbidden Broadway...
extensively revised the book and converted the plot into a spoof
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...
of the 2000 Presidential election debacle. After thirty previews, it opened on August 2, 2001 at the off-Broadway
Off-Broadway theater is a term for a professional venue in New York City with a seating capacity between 100 and 499, and for a specific production of a play, musical or revue that appears in such a venue, and which adheres to related trade union and other contracts...
Douglas Fairbanks Theater where, hampered by reviews worse than those received by the original, it closed after ten performances.
- Let's Go Back to the Waltz
- In Our Hide-Away
- The First Lady
- Meat and Potatoes
- I've Got to Be Around
- The Secret Service
- It Gets Lonely in the White House
- Is He the Only Man in the World?
- They Love Me
- Pigtails and Freckles
- Don't Be Afraid of Romance
- Laugh It Up
- Empty Pockets Filled with Love
- In Our Hide-Away (Reprise)
- Glad to Be Home
- Laugh It Up (Reprise)
- You Need a Hobby
- Don't Be Afraid of Romance (Reprise)
- The Washington Twist
- Pigtails and Freckles (Reprise)
- The Only Dance I Know
- Meat and Potatoes (Reprise)
- Is He the Only Man in the World? (Reprise)
- I'm Gonna Get Him
- This Is a Great Country
Awards and nominations
- Tony Award
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...
for Best Actress in a Musical (Fabray, nominee)
- Tony Award for Best Conductor and Musical Director (nominee)
- Tony Award for Best Stage Technician (winner)