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Original Recording
Music Frank Loesser
Lyrics Frank Loesser
Book Lesser Samuels
Frank Loesser
Basis Novel by B. J. Chute
Productions 1960 Broadway

Greenwillow is a musical with a book by Lesser Samuels and Frank Loesser and music and lyrics by Loesser. The musical is set in the magical town of Greenwillow. It ran on Broadway in 1960.


Based on the novel by B. J. Chute, the musical is a fantasy, set in the magical town of Greenwillow. In Greenwillow, the eldest in each generation of Briggs men must obey the "call to wander", while the women they leave behind care for the home and rear their children in the hope that some day their husbands will return. Gideon loves his girlfriend, Dorrie, and would like nothing better than to settle down with her, and finds in the town's newest inhabitant, the Reverend Birdsong, an ally who will try to help him make his dream come true.


The musical had a pre-Broadway try-out at the Shubert Theatre in Philadelphia. The musical opened on Broadway on March 8, 1960, at the Alvin Theatre. Hampered by lukewarm reviews, it closed on May 28, 1960, after 97 performances. The director was George Roy Hill and choreographer was Joe Layton, scenery by Peter Larkin and costumes by Alvin Colt. The cast included Anthony Perkins as Gideon Briggs, Cecil Kellaway, Pert Kelton, Ellen McCown as Dorrie Whitbred, William Chapman and Marian Mercer.[1][2]

This play was being rehearsed in New York while Anthony Perkins was simultaneously filming the Alfred Hitchcock classic shocker Psycho (1960) in Los Angeles. Over the years in interviews about the infamous shower scene in that film, Anthony Perkins has always said that during the whole week of filming required for that scene, his stand-in was used, because he was in New York rehearsing for a Broadway play. Greenwillow was that play.

The musical was presented by the York Theatre Company (New York City) in its "Musicals-in-Mufti" series in 2004. Peter Filichia said that the score was "grand" and noted that, in reviewing the original production, Brooks Atkinson in The New York Times wrote that 'Loesser has provided a warm and varied score that captures the simple mood'".[3]

Song list[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The musical received six Tony Award nominations:[2]

  • Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Pert Kelton)
  • Best Scenic Design (Musical) (Peter Larkin)
  • Best Costume Design (Alvin Colt)
  • Best Choreography (Joe Layton)
  • Best Conductor and Musical Director (Abba Bogin)
  • Best Stage Technician (James Orr)

Cecil Kellaway won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.[2]


Barbra Streisand recorded "Never Will I Marry" for The Third Album in 1964,[4] and sang it live in her early club act.

Nancy Wilson also recorded "Never Will I Marry" on Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley.

Judy Garland performed "Never Will I Marry" frequently in the 1960s, including for her aborted 1962 album "Judy Takes Broadway" and on "The Judy Garland Show".


  1. ^ Dietz, Dan.Greenwillow "The Complete Book of 1960s Broadway Musicals" (2014) (, Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 144223072X, p.12
  2. ^ a b c " Greenwillow on Broadway", accessed July 12, 2014
  3. ^ Filichia, Peter. "Greater Loesser", October 17, 2004
  4. ^ Barbra Archives: Records/The Third Album

External links[edit]