After many years of restoration work, Rodgers & Hart’s 1939 Broadway hit TOO MANY GIRLS entertained 2013 audiences at the Irving Arts Center.
Lyric Stage was proud to present the premiere of the restored TOO MANY GIRLS April 26-May 5 in the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall. Performances were April 26, 27, May 2, 3 and 4 @ 8:00 pm and April 28 and May 5 @ 2:30 pm.
Immortalized as the film on which Lucille Ball met Desi Arnaz, TOO MANY GIRLS has music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart and a book by George Marion, Jr. The light-as-a-feather plotline finds four Ivy League football players hired by the wealthiest man in America to escort his daughter to Pottawatomie College. The girls far outnumber the boys on campus, which is sheer joy for the four “protectors.” Complications arise when one of the boys falls for the heiress, thus violating the “antiromantic” clause of his contract with her father.
Lyric Stage’s production featured the Lyric Stage orchestra playing the original Broadway orchestrations. The delightful Rodgers & Hart score includes “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “I Like to Recognize the Tune,” “Give It Back to the Indians” and “You’re Nearer.”
TOO MANY GIRLS was directed and choreographed by Ann Nieman with music direction by Lyric Stage Music Director Jay Dias. Scenic design was by Randel Wright with costumes by Drenda Lewis and lighting design by Julie Simmons. Sound design was by Bill Eickenloff.
The TOO MANY GIRLS cast included Drew Aber, Mary McElree, John Campione, America Barcenas, Daron Cockerell, Michael Whitney, Tanner Hanley, James Williams, Jon Morehouse, Jonathan Bragg, Carlee Cagle, Maranda Harrison, Cathy Pritchett, Joseph Holt, Emily Ford, Colleen LeBleau, Jessica Lemmons, Mallory Michaelann, Jessica Taylor, Lexie Showalter, Katie Moyes Williams, Brendon Gallagher, David Ray, Dominic Pecikonis, Dustin Simington, Johnny Lee, Parker Fitzgerald, Peter DiCesare and Zak Reynolds.
Rodgers & Hart
Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) wrote their first shows together when both were still students attending Columbia University. After writing a series of musical comedies for the University’s Varsity Shows and other charities, they made their professional debut with the song “Any Old Place With You,” featured in the 1919 Broadway musical comedy A LONELY ROMEO.
Their breakthrough came with the score for a 1925 charity show, THE GARRICK GAITIES, which introduced the classic valentine to their hometown, “Manhattan.” From 1920 to 1930 Rodgers & Hart wrote an astonishing array of musical comedies for Broadway and London’s West End. At their pinnacle the team was writing an average of four new shows a year, and among these were: DEAREST ENEMY, BETSY, PEGGY-ANN, THE GIRL FRIEND, CHEE-CHEE and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE.
In 1930 the team relocated to Hollywood, where they contributed songs and wrote the scores for several movie musicals, including the landmark LOVE ME TONIGHT starring Maurice Chevalier; THE PHANTOM PRESIDENT starring George M. Cohan; HALLELUJAH, I’M A BUM starring Al Jolson; and MISSISSIPPI starring Bing Crosby and W.C. Fields.
They were lured back to New York by legendary Broadway producer Billy Rose in 1935 to write the songs for his circus musical spectacular, JUMBO. Their score introduced “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World,” “My Romance” and “Little Girl Blue,” and Rodgers & Hart were back on Broadway.
From 1936 to 1943 Rodgers & Hart wrote a series of Broadway musical comedies, each of which seemed to top the one before in terms of innovation and box office success. ON YOUR TOES (1936), BABES IN ARMS (1937), I’D RATHER BE RIGHT (1937),I MARRIED AN ANGEL (1938), THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE (1938), TOO MANY GIRLS (1939), HIGHER AND HIGHER (1940), PAL JOEY (1940), and BY JUPITER (1942) dazzled Broadway in spectacular succession, and collectively offered such classic songs as “There’s A Small Hotel,” “I Wish I Were In Love Again,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Where Or When,” “The Lady Is A Tramp,” “Spring Is Here,” “Falling In Love With Love,” “Sing For Your Supper,” “This Can’t Be Love,” “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “It Never Entered My Mind,” “Bewitched,” “I Could Write A Book,” “Nobody’s Heart,” and “Wait Till You See Her.”
The partnership disbanded temporarily early in 1943 when Rodgers collaborated with Oscar Hammerstein II on OKLAHOMA! The Rodgers & Hart partnership resumed with a revision of their 1927 musical comedy A CONNECTICUT YANKEE, and the new production (which featured six new songs including “To Keep My Love Alive”) opened on Broadway November 17, 1943. Already ill at the time, Lorenz Hart died less than a week later.