Between the Devil
|Between the Devil|
Sheet music cover (cropped)
Production and background
The musical opened in pre-Broadway tryouts in New Haven and Philadelphia in October 1937. The original plot had the leading man, Jack Buchanan, as an Englishman who married two women at the same time. The plot was changed to have Buchanan marry the second wife only because he thought his first wife had died. Produced by Lee Shubert and J. J. Shubert, the Broadway production opened on December 22, 1937, at the Imperial Theatre and closed on March 12, 1938, after 93 performances. The production was staged by Hassard Short, the book was staged by John Hayden, and dances and principals' numbers were staged by Robert Alton. The cast starred Jack Buchanan as Peter Anthony and Pierre Antoine, Evelyn Laye as Natalie Rives, Adele Dixon as Claudette Gilbert, and Charles Walters as Freddie Hill.
The show was only a moderate success but introduced the songs "By Myself" and "Triplets", both of which were used 16 years later in the 1953 film, The Band Wagon, which also starred Buchanan. The song "By Myself" was also covered by Leonard Nimoy 14 years after the movie (and included on his second album Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy) in 1968. It was also recorded by Polly Bergen in 1958.
In his New York Times review, Brooks Atkinson praised the performers, with Buchanan distinguishing himself in the solo 'By Myself', Miss Laye "still retains her ranking as a blonde goddess", and Miss Dixon "stimulating in a more earthly style of conquest". He wrote of the musical: "If it were not for the book, 'Beyond the Devil' would probably look and sound as frisky as it pretends to be. But, oh these bigamists! Oh, these wicked Parisian chanteuses! Oh, these improper situations! Oh!"
- "Theatre: New Musicals in Manhattan: Jan. 3, 1938"Time Magazine, January 3, 1938
- Atkinson, Brooks. "The Play", The New York Times, December 23, 1937, p. 24