The Dancing Years

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The Dancing Years
Music Ivor Novello
Lyrics Christopher Hassall
Book Ivor Novello
Productions 1939 West End

The Dancing Years is a musical with book and music by Ivor Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. The piece is one of Novello's most popular musicals. Like many of Novello's musicals, The Dancing Years was given an expensive, spectacular production, with several scene changes and a large cast including many extras and dancers.

It was first produced in London's West End on 23 March 1939.


Novello starred in the lead part. The story, set in Vienna in pre-1914, shifting to 1938, follows the life of a penniless composer and his love for two women. The women are completely different in their social classes, one being an innkeeper's daughter and the other an opera singer. The background of Nazi persecution was very topical in 1939 when the musical was first played. The opening night was 23 March 1939 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. After a closure at the start of the Second World War in September 1939, it reopened at the Adelphi Theatre on 14 March 1942 and ran there until July 1944, for a total of 969 performances. It was the most popular show of WW2, having similar attraction as Chu Chin Chow had in the First World War. It earned an estimated £1,000,000.[1]



  • Waltz of My Heart
  • Wings of Sleep
  • My Life Belongs to You
  • Three Ballet Tunes
  • I Can Give You the Starlight
  • My Dearest Dear
  • Primrose
  • Leap Year Waltz


The musical was turned into a popular film in 1950. A televised production was aired by United Kingdom channel ITV in the 1980s.


  1. ^ "Composer Left £160,000 Estate.". The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954). Hobart, Tas.: National Library of Australia. 9 June 1951. p. 8. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 

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