Skyscraper (musical)

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Original Recording
Music Jimmy Van Heusen
Lyrics Sammy Cahn
Book Peter Stone
Productions 1965 Broadway

Skyscraper is a musical that ran on Broadway in 1965 and 1966. The book was written by Peter Stone, and the music by Jimmy Van Heusen with lyrics by Sammy Cahn. Based on the 1945 Elmer Rice play Dream Girl, the Broadway production starred Julie Harris in her first musical.[1]


Skyscraper opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 13, 1965 and closed on June 11, 1966 after 248 performances and 22 previews. The musical was directed by Cy Feuer and choreographed by Michael Kidd. The cast included Julie Harris, Peter Marshall, and Charles Nelson Reilly.[2]

An original cast album was released by Capitol Records.

Plot overview[edit]

The story is of Georgina, an antiques dealer who is determined to save her midtown Manhattan brownstone from the bulldozer. The girders of a new skyscraper are stalking her, and she has been offered $165,000 for her Rutherford B. Hayes-era building. When she can manage to stay on track, Georgina is bright in her thinking and staunch in her beliefs. But far too often she strays into a Walter Mitty-like dream world full of funny fantasies with her effete shop assistant.


Critical reception[edit]

The columnist Dorothy Kilgallen attended a preview performance—a benefit for charity—in October 1965. Despite a long Broadway tradition of refraining from reviewing shows still in previews, Kilgallen panned the show in one of her columns, calling it a "turkey".[3] She died shortly after the column ran, amid an uproar from the theatrical community.

Skyscraper officially opened, five days after Kilgallen's death, to mixed reviews. Despite stiff competition from Hello, Dolly!, Mame, Man of La Mancha, and Sweet Charity, the production ran for 248 performances and was nominated for five Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Actress in a Musical.[4]

The New York Times reviewer wrote that Georgina's daydreams "have become broadly comic cartoons of romance, among the funniest moments in a brash, fast-moving musical. ... Not all the songs have wit and melodic grace... [the] book is smart and timely. ... Julie Harris moves Georgina as well as herself into a musical with commanding confidence."[5]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1966 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Julie Harris Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Cy Feuer Nominated
Best Choreography Michael Kidd Nominated
Best Scenic Design Robert Randolph Nominated


  1. ^ Skyscraper, Life Magazine (google books), February 4, 1966, Vol. 60, No. 5 ISSN 0024-3019, pp.91-92
  2. ^ "Jimmy Van Heusen, 'Skyscraper'",, accessed December 31, 2011
  3. ^ Filichia, Peter. Strippers, Showgirls and Sharks: a Very Opinionated History of the Broadway Musicals That Did Not Win the Tony Award St. Martin's Press, New York, 2013, p. 134.
  4. ^ "Skyscraper". Internet Broadway Database. 
  5. ^ Taubman, Howard. "Julie Harris Stars in Lunt-Fontanne Show" (article preview), The New York Times, November 15, 1965, p.48

External links[edit]