Mr. President (musical)

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Mr. President
Original Cast Recording
Music Irving Berlin
Lyrics Irving Berlin
Book Howard Lindsay
Russel Crouse
Productions 1962 Broadway

Mr. President is a musical with a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and lyrics and music by Irving Berlin.

It focuses on U.S. President Stephen Decatur Henderson, who loses his bid for re-election following a disastrous trip to the Soviet Union. Bored with life as a civilian, he decides to return to political life as a Senator.

Performance history[edit]

After four previews, the Broadway production, directed by Joshua Logan and choreographed by Peter Gennaro, opened on October 20, 1962 at the St. James Theatre, where it ran for 265 performances. The cast included Robert Ryan, Nanette Fabray, Anita Gillette, and Baayork Lee.

In a season dominated by hits like Oliver!, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Stop the World - I Want to Get Off, critics found the show to be old-fashioned and the score missing the magic of earlier Berlin works. It received lukewarm reviews, ran a respectable 265 performances, and proved to be Berlin's last musical.

The out-of-town premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, DC, was attended by President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie Kennedy. The first couple afterward congratulated Berlin on a hit. Kennedy later sent his aides, Kenneth P. O'Donnell and David Powers, the two toppers in Kennedy's "Irish Mafia," to apologize for his having to leave the performance early.[1] (This day of Kennedy's presidency is the one featured in an exhibit at the JFK Museum and Library.)

In 1964, former President Harry S. Truman made an opening night cameo appearance in a production of the show at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City. He left by ambulance at intermission due to an appendicitis attack [1].

In 2001, Gerard Alessandrini extensively revised the book and converted the plot into a spoof of the 2000 Presidential election debacle. After thirty previews, it opened on August 2, 2001 at the off-Broadway Douglas Fairbanks Theater where, hampered by reviews worse than those received by the original, it closed after ten performances.

Musical mumbers[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1963 Tony Award Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Nanette Fabray Nominated
Best Conductor and Musical Director Jay Blackton Nominated
Best Stage Technician Solly Pernick Won


  1. ^ "Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye" 1970, Kenneth P. O'Donnell; David Powers; Joe McCarthy

External links[edit]