Lady, Be Good (musical)

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Lady, Be Good
Swiss-Miss-from-Lady-be-Good-1.png
Fred and Adele Astaire perform "Swiss Miss" in the London production
Music George Gershwin
Lyrics Ira Gershwin
Book Guy Bolton
Fred Thompson
Productions 1924 Broadway
1926 West End

Lady, Be Good (title sometimes presented with an exclamation point) is a musical written by Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson with music by George and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was first presented on Broadway in 1924; the West End production followed in 1926. The story of the musical is about a brother and sister who are out of money; both are eager to sacrifice themselves to help the other. This was the first Broadway collaboration of the Gershwin brothers, and the Astaire siblings play a brother-sister dance team.

Productions[edit]

Lady, Be Good premièred on Broadway at the Liberty Theatre on December 1, 1924 and closed on September 12, 1925, after 330 performances. The musical was staged by Felix Edwardes with musical staging by Sammy Lee and scenic design by Norman Bel Geddes. It starred brother and sister performers Fred and Adele Astaire.

The musical opened in the West End at the Empire Theatre on April 14, 1926, again starring Fred and Adele Astaire.[1] It played strongly there, running for 326 performances.[2] The best-known songs from the score are "Oh, Lady be Good!" and "Fascinating Rhythm."

The Ohio Light Opera produced 11 performances of "Lady, Be Good!" as part of their 2013 Summer Festival Season.

Synopsis[edit]

Act I

The brother/sister dance team of Dick and Susie Trevor are so broke that they can't pay the rent and have been evicted from their childhood home. They crash the garden party of wealthy Jo Vanderwater for a free meal. Dick loves Shirley Vernon but is ashamed to pursue her because of his financial situation. Jo is interested in Dick, and it turns out that she was behind the eviction, as a ploy to get his attention. Meanwhile Susie tries to talk herself into liking the affluent Jeff White, but she finds herself falling for Jack, a charming "hobo"; Jack leaves town.

Jack's uncle dies, and he is apparently a millionaire. Lawyer Watty Watkins is looking for Jack Robinson on behalf of his client, the flamboyant Manuel Estrada, who says that his sister married Mr. Robinson in Mexico. Watty offers Susie $50,000 to help him, by pretending to be Robinson's widow, to get the money from the Robinson estate. Meanwhile Dick proposes to Jo, since he thinks he can never afford to court his true love Shirley.

Act 2

Dick finally tells Shirley that he loves her, while Watty and Susie (in disguise) execute their plan. Jack finally hears that he has inherited the fortune and returns, still dressed as a hobo. He is amazed to find Susie claiming the money as his "widow". Susie does not know that her Jack is the now-wealthy Mr. Robinson, nor that she is being used by Estrada, whose sister never really married Jack.

In the end, Dick and Shirley are reunited, Jack saves Susie from disgrace by declaring his love, and Jo and Watty pair off happily. All wed happily ever after.

Songs[edit]

Principal characters[edit]

  • Dick Trevor: In Love with Shirley
  • Susie Trevor: Dick's sister
  • Shirley: Loves Dick
  • Josephine Vanderwater: Also loves Dick
  • Jack Robinson: Disguised as a Hobo, in love with Susie
  • Buck Benson: A go getter for Life Magazine
  • Sammy Cooper: Photographer
  • Watty Watkins: A Slick Lawyer
  • Estrada:
  • Mr. Parke: Trustee
  • Jess:The Butler
  • Bertie Bassett: Assistant to the Sheriff
  • Sheriff’s Assistant: Assists the Sheriff
  • Policeman*
  • Man*
  • Flunkey (Jenkins)*
  • Boy*

Film versions[edit]

Two films under this title were produced: a 1928 silent film and a 1941 film. The former film is now considered a lost film. The latter film, starring Eleanor Powell, uses only the title number and the songs "Oh, Lady Be Good!" and "Fascinating Rhythm" from the musical.[3]

Legacy[edit]

The title was used on an American B-24D Liberator bomber which flew for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II out of north Africa, disappeared on an April 4, 1943 raid on Naples, Italy and was found virtually intact in the Libyan desert in 1958. [4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Play Pictorial, vol 48, 1926, no 291 Lady, Be Good", The Play Pictorial, library.kent.ac.uk, accessed February 20, 2011
  2. ^ "Lady Be Good". The Guide to Musical Theatre, accessed May 10, 2010
  3. ^ Lady Be Good, 1941 listing imdb.com, accessed February 16, 2010
  4. ^ Lady_Be_Good_(aircraft)

External links[edit]