Animal Crackers (musical)

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This article is about the musical. For the 1930 film, see Animal Crackers (film).
Animal Crackers
Animal Crackers 2 (203x260).jpg
Sheet Music for a song from the 1928 original Broadway production
Music Bert Kalmar
Harry Ruby
Lyrics Bert Kalmar
Harry Ruby
Book George S. Kaufman
Morrie Ryskind
Productions 1928 Broadway
1982 Washington, D.C.
1992 Connecticut
1993 New Jersey
1999 West End
2009 Chicago

Animal Crackers is a musical with music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby and a book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. The musical starred the Marx Brothers.

Productions and background[edit]

Animal Crackers opened on Broadway on October 23, 1928 at the original 44th Street Theatre, and ran for 191 performances and then toured. The 44th Street Theatre was demolished in 1945. The musical was produced by Sam H. Harris, staged by Oscar Eagle, and starred the four Marx Brothers and Margaret Dumont in the Brothers' second Broadway hit. Hermes Pan appeared as a chorus boy.

The musical was filmed in 1930 with the principal leads repeating their roles from the stage production.

The musical was revived in 1982 at the Arena Stage, Washington, D.C., directed by Douglas C. Wager and choreographed by Baayork Lee.

It was also revived in 1992 by Goodspeed Musicals, Connecticut and in 1993 at the Paper Mill Playhouse, New Jersey.

It was produced in the West End at the Lyric Theatre, opening on March 16, 1999, and closing on May 15, 1999 after touring in the UK. Starring were Ben Keaton (Spaulding), Toby Sedgwick (the Professor), Joseph Alessi (Emanuel Ravelli), and Jean Challis (Mrs Rittenhouse).[1]

Animal Crackers was produced to open the 2009-2010 season at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, opening September 18, 2009, and closing on November 1. The revival starred Joey Slotnick (Spaulding), Molly Brennan (the Professor), Jonathan Brody (Emanuel Ravelli), and Ora Jones (Mrs. Rittenhouse). In addition, with a cast of only nine, several of the roles were doubled up by actors.[2]

Animal Crackers also ran from May 6, 2011 to June 4, 2011 at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston.

"Animal Crackers" opened the 2013 season at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, running from June 26, 2013 to July 13, 2013.

After The Cocoanuts ran for almost three years at the Lyric Theatre, the "anarchic" Animal Crackers became the third and last Broadway show for the Marx Brothers (I'll Say She Is was the first). It would be their last stage show, after which they focused on film. Vaudeville's heyday was finishing, as talking movies were beginning to become popular. While the Marx Brothers performed in Animal Crackers in the evenings, they were busy during the day filming The Cocoanuts at Paramount's Astoria Studios in Astoria, Queens.

Song list[edit]


  • "Three Little Words" † ‡
  • "Oh By Jingo!" (by Lew Brown and Albert von Tilzer)†
  • "Show Me a Rose" ‡
  • "The Social Ladder" †
  • "I Wanna Be Loved by You" ††
  • "Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You)" ††
  • "The Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" †††
  • "Everyone Says I Love You" †††

† added for Goodspeed production
‡ added for Arena Stage and Paper Mill productions
†† added for Paper Mill production
††† added for the Goodman production

Original 1928-9 Broadway cast[edit]

Character Actor
Hives Robert Greig*
Mrs. Rittenhouse Margaret Dumont*
Arabella Rittenhouse Alice Wood
Roscoe W. Chandler Louis Sorin*
Wally Winston** Bert Mathews
Mrs. Whitehead Margaret Irving*
Grace Carpenter Bobbie Perkins
M. Doucet** Arthur Lipson
John Parker Milton Watson
Mary Stewart** Bernice Ackerman
Horatio Jamison Zeppo Marx*
Jeffrey T. Spaulding Groucho Marx*
Emanuel Ravelli Chico Marx*
The Professor Harpo Marx*

*Reprised the role in the film adaptation. **Character not in the film adaptation.


  1. ^ This Is London, 3/16/99
  2. ^ "Cast of Animal Crackers", Playbill, October–November 2009: 3 
  3. ^ Original program
  4. ^

External links[edit]