Plain and Fancy
|Plain and Fancy|
1956 West End
Plain and Fancy is a musical comedy with a book by Joseph Stein and Will Glickman, lyrics by Arnold Horwitt, and music by Albert Hague. One of the first depictions of an Amish community in American pop culture, it includes a traditional barn raising and an old-fashioned country wedding. The musical ran on Broadway in 1955-56, and has been produced yearly at the Round Barn Theatre in Indiana since 1986.
The Broadway production, directed by Morton DaCosta and choreographed by Helen Tamiris, opened on January 27, 1955, at the Mark Hellinger Theater. It was produced by Richard Kollmar. It transferred to the Winter Garden Theatre on February 28, 1955, where it remained until November 7, 1955 before returning to the Mark Hellinger on November 9, 1955, closing on March 3, 1956 after a total of 461 performances. The cast included Richard Derr as Dan, Shirl Conway as Ruth, Will Able as Jacob, Gloria Marlowe as Katie, Douglas Fletcher Rodgers as Ezra, Barbara Cook as Hilda, and David Daniels as Peter. Bea Arthur understudied Conway and Carol Lawrence was among the chorus members. Lawrence recorded her version of the song "This is All Very New to Me" from the album "Tonight at 8:30" (1960)
The West End production opened on January 25, 1956, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where it ran for 315 performances. The cast included Jack Drummond, Joan Hovis, Malcolm Keen, Grace O'Connor, Michael Craze, and Virginia Somers.
Since 1986, The Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres in Nappanee, Indiana has staged Plain and Fancy every year as part of its repertory program. To date it has been performed by the company more than 3,500 times. Richard Pletcher, founder and producer, dedicated the theatre's stage to Joseph Stein in 1996 following its production of The Baker's Wife.
In 2006, the York Theatre Company in New York City worked with librettist Joseph Stein to reduce the show to a 13-character musical, and this new version was produced as part of the company's Mufti Theatre concert series directed by David Glenn Armstrong. It starred Cady Huffman, Charlotte Rae, Nancy Anderson, Jack Noseworthy, Erick Devine, Jordan Leeds, and Sara Delaney.
New York City sophisticates Dan King and Ruth Winters travel to Bird-in-Hand in the Amish country of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to sell a piece of property to Jacob Yoder, who intends to present it to his daughter Katie and her intended Ezra as a wedding gift. While there, they become involved with the local villagers, including Hilda Miller, who mistakes Dan's kindness for romantic overtures, and Ezra's banished brother Peter, who returns to claim the hand of his childhood sweetheart - Katie.
Original cast recordings of both the Broadway  and London productions were released.
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|1956||Theatre World Award||Shirl Conway||Won|
- Chestnut, Chuck. "Review. Plain and Fancy Proves Enjoyable Excursion Into Amish Community Provides Unique Entertainment", The Stanford Daily, October 17, 1955
- "Plain and Fancy at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane", ovrtur.com, accessed August 12, 2015
- "The Round Barn Theatre at Amish Acres", amishacres.com, accessed August 12, 2015
- Arrambide, Henry. "Review. Plain and Fancy a little of both in 2012 production", South Bend Tribune, August 11, 2012
- Kenrick, John."Musicals101 Review of York Theatre Company", musicals101.com, October 2006, accessed August 12, 2015
- Gans, Andrew. "York's "Mufti" Season to Include Take Me Along, Plain and Fancy and Carmelina", Playbill, August 10, 2006
- Ruhlmann, William. "Original Broadway Cast Recording" allmusic.com, accessed August 13, 2015