Born Yesterday

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For the 1950 film version, see Born Yesterday (1950 film). For the 1993 remake, see Born Yesterday (1993 film). For the album by The Everly Brothers, see Born Yesterday (album).
Born Yesterday
Written by Garson Kanin
Date premiered February 4, 1946 (1946-02-04)
Place premiered Lyceum Theatre
New York City
Original language English
Genre Comedy
Setting Washington, DC. September 1945.

Born Yesterday is a play written by Garson Kanin which premiered on Broadway in 1946, starring Judy Holliday as Billie Dawn. The play was adapted into a successful 1950 film of the same name.


An uncouth, corrupt rich junk dealer, Harry Brock, brings his showgirl mistress Billie Dawn with him to Washington, D.C. When Billie's ignorance becomes a liability to Brock's business dealings, he hires a journalist, Paul Verrall, to educate his girlfriend. In the process of learning, Billie Dawn realizes how corrupt Harry is and begins interfering with his plans to bribe a Congressman into passing legislation that would allow Brock's business to make more money.


1946 Original Broadway[edit]

Born Yesterday opened on February 4, 1946 on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre[1] and ran there until November 6, 1948; the play transferred to Henry Miller's Theatre on November 9, 1948 and closed on December 31, 1949, after a total of 1642 performances.[2] Judy Holliday starred as Billie, with Paul Douglas as Harry Brock and Gary Merrill as Paul Verrall. Written and directed by Garson Kanin, the scenic design was by Donald Oenslager and costume design by Ruth Kanin.[3]Jean Arthur was originally hired to play Billie but left during tryouts.[4]

For his performance as Harry Brock, Paul Douglas was awarded the 1946 Clarence Derwent Award for the most promising male performance.[5]

Original Broadway cast

1989 Broadway revival[edit]

The play was revived on Broadway in 1989. It opened at the 46th Street Theatre in previews on January 18, 1989, officially on January 29, 1989,[6] and closed on June 11, 1989 after 153 performances.[7] It was directed by Josephine R. Abady and starred Edward Asner and Madeline Kahn,[6] who received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play.[8]

1989 revival cast

Source:New York Times[6]

  • Edward Asner – Harry Brock
  • Madeline Kahn – Billie Dawn
  • Franklin Cover – Ed Devery
  • Daniel Hugh Kelly – Paul Verrall
  • Joel Bernstein – Eddie Brock
  • Charlotte Booker – Manicurist
  • Peggy Cosgrave – Mrs. Hedges
  • Heather Ehlers – Helen, a maid
  • Paul Hebron – Another Bellhop, Barber, Waiter
  • Gregory Jbara – Bellhop, Bootblack
  • Ron Johnston – The Assistant Manager
  • John Wylie – Senator Norval Hedges

2011 Broadway revival[edit]

The second Broadway revival opened at the Cort Theatre for previews 31 March 2011, performances began on April 24, 2011. The show closed on 26 June 2011 after 28 previews and 73 performances. Produced by Frankie Grande and directed by Doug Hughes, the play starred Jim Belushi as Harry Brock, Nina Arianda as Billie Dawn and Robert Sean Leonard as Paul Verrall.[9]

The 2011 revival was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play and Best Costume Design of a Play (Catherine Zuber).[10]

2011 revival cast
  • Jim Belushi as Harry Brock
  • Nina Arianda as Billie Dawn
  • Frank Wood as Ed Devery
  • Robert Sean Leonard as Paul Verrall
  • Michael McGrath as Eddie Brock
  • Liv Rooth as A Manicurist
  • Patricia Hodges as Mrs. Hedges
  • Jennifer Regan as Helen, a maid
  • Fred Arsenault as Bellhop #1
  • Danny Rutigliano as Bellhop #2/Bootblack
  • Bill Christ as A Bellhop #3/Barber
  • Andrew Weems as The Assistant Manager
  • Terry Beaver as Senator Norval Hedges

Film adaptations[edit]

The 1950 film adaptation, made by Columbia Pictures with direction by George Cukor starred Judy Holliday and William Holden.[11] A 1993 remake directed by Luis Mandoki and released through Buena Vista Pictures, starred Melanie Griffith as Billie Dawn and 'updated' the plot.[12]


  1. ^ Nichols, Lewis "The Play In Review; 'Born Yesterday,' Comedy at Lyceum, Shows Political Slant" New York Times (abstract), February 5, 1946, p. 30
  2. ^ Calta, Louis."'Born Yesterday' To End Run Dec. 31; Kanin Comedy, on Boards Since 46, Will Leave Local Scene After 1,642 Performances" New York Times (abstract), December 24, 1949, p. 10
  3. ^ Born Yesterday, 1946 Internet Broadway Database, accessed June 16, 2011
  4. ^ Bordman, Gerald Martin and Hischak Thomas S. "Born Yesterday" The Oxford Companion to American Theatre, Oxford University Press US, 2004, ISBN 0-19-516986-7, p. 86
  5. ^ "The Clarence Derwent Award, 1946", accessed June 18, 2011
  6. ^ a b c Rich, Frank."Review/Theater; Right-Thinking Ingenuousness Cleans Up a Nation" New York Times, January 30, 1989
  7. ^ "'Born Yesterday' Closing" New York Times, June 10, 1989
  8. ^ Born Yesterday, 1989 Internet Broadway Database, accessed June 16, 2011
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth."A New Dawn for Billie: 'Born Yesterday', With Nina Arianda, Robert Sean Leonard, Jim Belushi, Opens" Archived July 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., April 24, 2011
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth and Gans, Andrew."2011 Tony Nominations Announced; Book of Mormon Earns 14 Nominations" Archived September 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., May 3, 2011
  11. ^ "'Born Yesterday', 1950", accessed June 18, 2011
  12. ^ "'Born Yesterday', 1993" Internet Movie Database, accessed June 18, 2011

External links[edit]