Mexican Hayride (musical)
|Mexican Hayride (musical)|
Sheet music cover (cropped)
|Book||Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields|
Produced by Michael Todd, out of town tryouts began at the Shubert Theatre, Boston on December 29, 1943. The production opened on Broadway on January 28, 1944 at the Winter Garden Theatre, moved to the Majestic Theatre on December 18, 1944 and closed on March 17 1945 after 481 performances.
The production was staged by Hassard Short, who also was the lighting designer, with choreography by Paul Haakon, set by George Jenkins and costumes by Mary Grant. Various segments were separately directed. Dan Eckley directed the opening dance; Lew Kesler directed the songs "Girls" and "Abracadabra"; and Virginia Johnson and Dan Eckley directed the dance "Good-Will Movement". The cast featured Bobby Clark (Joe Bascom), June Havoc (Montana), George Givot (Lombo Campos) Wilbur Evans (David Winthrop) and Paul Haakon (Paul).
After successfully fighting a bull in Mexico, Montana, a lady bullfighter, is about to throw the ear to David, the American chargé d'affaires. When she spots the fugitive, Joe, she angrily throws the ear at him, as he is her brother-in-law. Since he has caught the ear, he becomes a hero and an honored guest. Joe joins with a speculator to form a national lottery. Mexican authorities go after them and they are forced to flee. They show up in various disguises, as mariachi players, as tortilla vendors, or as an Indian squaw. They are finally snared and Joe has to return to the U.S. to face trial. Montana and David are reunited.
Life Magazine called the musical "Broadway's flashiest and most opulent show of the moment" but wrote that "despite its colossal aspects, it ends up as a showcase for the talents of two performers: loping, braying Bobby Clark and hoydenish, streamlined June Havoc. Clark clowns his way through the part of a U.S. confidence man...Miss Havoc, in the role of an American girl who becomes one of Mexico's most famous bullfighters, emerges as a personality more engaging than her better-known sister, Gypsy Rose Lee. Both she and Clark are wonderful enough to make audiences forgive 'Hayride' its sleazy book and a Cole Porter score that is a sad reminder that the composer of 'Night and Day' seems, at least temporarily, to have written himself dry." 
"The production was lavish, with a large cast and a delectable chorus line. One critic felt that the production itself was the star." The Journal-American reviewer wrote:"Broadway in general, and the drama critics in particular, can continue their custom of writing the word 'fabulous' in front of the name of Mike Todd. For the truth is that last night the fabulous Todd produced a musical comedy so funny, so tuneful, so beautiful, that you could hardly believe your ears and eyes."
- "'Mexican Hayride' production, Synopsis, Scenes and settings and Musical Numbers" guidetomusicaltheatre.com, accessed January 11, 2011
- "'Mexican Hayride' listing" sondheimguide.com, accessed January 11, 2011
- "'Mexican Hayride'" Life Magazine, February 21, 1944, p. 83
- Greenspan, Charlotte. "Chapter:Librettos Instead of Lyrics" Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields and the American Musical, Oxford University Press US, 2009, ISBN 0-19-511110-9, pp. 117-118