is a musical comedy
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 the book, based on Owen Davis's play The Nervous Wreck
, written by William Anthony McGuire, music by Walter Donaldson and lyrics by Gus Kahn. The musical premiered on 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...
in 1928, and introduced the hit song "Love Me or Leave Me
"Love Me or Leave Me" is a U.S. popular song from the 1920s.The music was written by Walter Donaldson and the lyrics by Gus Kahn. The song was introduced in the Broadway play, Whoopee!, which opened in December 1928...
", sung by Ruth Etting
In California Sheriff Bob Wells and the daughter of a rancher Sally Morgan are getting married. She, however is in love with Wanenis, whose part-Indian heritage presents difficulties. Sally abandons Sheriff Bob and their wedding, catching a ride with Henry Williams. Henry has problems of his own, being a hypochondriac, but Sally adds to his problems when she leaves a note saying they have eloped. A chase ensues, with the jilted Bob; Mary, who is Henry's nurse and is in love with him; and a cast of others. Along the way they arrive at the Indian Reservation where Wanenis lives. The movie star Leslie Daw enters the proceedings and expresses the torchy sentimental "Love Me, or Leave Me."
- It's a Beautiful Day Today
- Here's to the Girl of My Heart
- Red, Red Rose
- Gypsy Joe
- Makin' Whoopee
- Until You Get Somebody Else
- Come West, Little Girl, Come West
- The Movietone of the Gypsy Song
- The Song of the Setting Sun
- Love Is the Mountain
- Red Mamma
- Love Me, or Leave Me
- Hallowe'en Whoopee Ball
opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre
The New Amsterdam Theatre is a Broadway theater located at 214 West 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues in the Theatre District of Manhattan, New York City, off of Times Square...
on December 4, 1928 and closed on November 23, 1929 after 407 performances. It was produced by Florenz Ziegfeld
Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. , , was an American Broadway impresario, notable for his series of theatrical revues, the Ziegfeld Follies , inspired by the Folies Bergère of Paris. He also produced the musical Show Boat...
, directed by Seymour Felix, dialogue staged by William Anthony McGuire, and dances and ensembles staged by Seymour Felix. The musical starred Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor was an American "illustrated song" performer, comedian, dancer, singer, actor and songwriter...
as Henry Williams, Ruth Etting as Leslie Daw, Frances Upton
Frances Upton was a Broadway actress and comedienne. She starred with Eddie Cantor in Whoopee! and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1928. She also had a featured role in the early talkie Night Work...
as Sally Morgan, Jack Rutherford as Bob Wells, Paul Gregory as Wanenis, Ethel Shutta
Ethel Shutta was an American actress and singer, who came to prominence through her performances on Jack Benny's radio show, her role in the early Eddie Cantor musical Whoopee!, and her Broadway comeback in Follies at the age of 74.By age 7, she was known as "the little girl with the big voice"...
as Mary and featured Buddy Ebsen
Buddy Ebsen was an American character actor and dancer. A performer for seven decades, he had starring roles as Jed Clampett in the long-running television series The Beverly Hillbillies and as the title character in the 1970s detective series Barnaby Jones, and played Barnaby Jones in the movie...
A revival, based on a Goodspeed Opera House production, was presented at the ANTA Playhouse from February 14, 1979 to August 12, 1979, for 204 performances and 8 previews. Directed by Frank Corsaro
Frank Corsaro is one of America's foremost stage directors of opera and theatre. His Broadway productions include The Night of the Iguana ....
with choreography by Dan Siretta, the cast featured Charles Repole
Charles Repole is an American actor, theatre director, and college professor.Repole made his Broadway debut in Very Good Eddie in 1975, earning a Tony Award nomination and a Theatre World Award for his performance...
(Henry Williams) Beth Austin (Sally Morgan), Carol Swarbrick (Mary) and Susan Stroman
Susan Stroman is an American theatre director, choreographer, film director, and performer. She has won the Tony Award for both her choreography and direction, notably for the stage musical The Producers.-Early years:...
(Leslie Daw). This revival added Kahn/Donaldson songs not in the original 1928 show: "My Baby Just Cares For Me" (from the 1930 film version), "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby", and "You" (lyrics by Harold Adamson). Also, "Love Me or Leave Me" is sung by Mary and Henry rather than the essentially unrelated Leslie.
Whoopee is a 1930 "All-Talking All-Color" musical comedy film photographed in two-color Technicolor. The plot of the film closely followed the stage show produced by Florenz Ziegfeld in 1928.-Production:...
was filmed in 1930
-Events:* November 1: The Big Trail featuring a young John Wayne in his first starring role is released in both 35mm, and a very early form of 70mm film and was the first large scale big-budget film of the sound era costing over $2 million. The film was praised for its aesthetic quality and realism...
as a musical comedy film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...
, closely following the version produced by Ziegfeld on the stage.
Justin Brooks Atkinson was an American theatre critic. He worked for The New York Times from 1925 to 1960...
, the theatre critic for The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...
, reviewed the 1928 Broadway production, and called it "a gorgeous spectacle" with "long stretches of excellent comedy". He especially praised the comedic abilities of Eddie Cantor, "a comedian of deftness and appealing humor. He is sad; he is preoccupied; he is apprehensive or insinuating with those floating eyes...In the past he has been funny, clever and ludicrious. But he has never been so enjoyable." As to the music, "Walter Donaldson has composed an appropriate score worthy of better singing than it falls heir to.
The New York Times
critic, Richard Eder, called the 1979 Broadway revival a "frequent delight though not an unmitigated one...Most strikingly, it is a superabundance of songs. There is not a poor song in it, and its best ones — the lovely and musically witty "Makin' Whoopee", the jiggly "My Baby Just Cares for Me", and of course the irresistible "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" — are magnificent." Walter Kerr
For the RN admiral see Lord Walter KerrWalter Francis Kerr was an American writer and Broadway theater critic. He also was the writer, lyricist, and/or director of several Broadway plays and musicals.-Biography:...
, then the Times' Sunday critic, also reacted favorably to the show while calling attention to its nonsensical frivolity: he deemed it "light as a breeze, and just plain out of its head." Brendan Gill
Brendan Gill wrote for The New Yorker for more than 60 years. He also contributed film criticism for Film Comment and wrote a popular book about his time at the New Yorker magazine.-Biography:...
of The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...
, however, panned the show.
Repole received a nomination for Drama Desk Award
The Drama Desk Awards, which are given annually in a number of categories, are the only major New York theater honors for which productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway compete against each other in the same category...
, Outstanding Actor in a Musical, and Dan Siretta was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Choreography
-1940s:* 1947: Agnes de Mille – Brigadoon / Michael Kidd – Finian's Rainbow* 1948: Jerome Robbins – High Button Shoes* 1949: Gower Champion – Lend An Ear-1950s:* 1950: Helen Tamiris – Touch and Go* 1951: Michael Kidd – Guys and Dolls...