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Musical (1927)

Musique: Jerome Kern
Paroles: Otto Harbach
Livret: Bert Kalmar • Harry Ruby • Otto Harbach

Lucky was a luckless hodgepodge that lasted less than two months on Broadway, a short run that never came close to allowing the musical to recoup its enormous production costs. Jerome Kern composed some of the songs, and like his score for Criss Cross earlier in the season, his contributions to Lucky were disappoint ing and failed to produce an enduring standard.

Poor Lucky lives in Ceylon with her unpleasant and underhanded father, Barlow (Paul Everton), and she works for him as a pearl diver (Burns Mantle in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle noted that Eaton’s “shimmering whiteness” indicated she did “all her diving in a glass-enclosed boudoir”). She meets Jack Mansfield (Joseph Santley), a young man in the pearl business, and when everyone decides to go to New York for the second act she discovers that the young and handsome fellow is also a millionaire. And it turns out that the treacherous thief Barlow isn’t her father at all, and that her real father died at sea and left her and her brother $2 million. Moreover, Lucky has become the darling of the cabaret set and becomes a famous singer and dancer.

The plot stretched credibility even for a musical, but the show might have had a chance with a strong score and one or two hit songs. Unfortunately, none of the numbers hit the mark, and there wasn’t a unifying vision behind the music because like the story itself the score was a smorgasbord of styles. Some of the music was by Kern, with lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby; other songs were by Kalmar and Ruby, sans Kern; one or two lyrics were by Otto Harbach; one (“Once in a Blue Moon”) was an interpolation from Kern’s 1923 musical Stepping Stones; a few songs were from earlier Ziegfeld Follies productions; and for Ruby Keeler, who was fresh from the still-running Bye Bye, Bonnie, there was a retread of Fred Fisher’s 1905 hit “If the Man in the Moon Was a Coon.” The production even included George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” courtesy of Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, who made a late second-act cameo appearance (conveniently, the orchestra was playing at Paul Whiteman’s, a nightclub on West 48th Street, just a few blocks from the New Amsterdam). Whiteman’s specialty act also included “Sam, the Accordion Man,” “In a Little Spanish Town,” and “Sunday.” All this, and there were even a few songs for which no one has been able to pinpoint authorship. The program’s title page read “Lucky by Otto Harbach, Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, Jerome Kern,” and to a casual reader the song list gave the impression that the four credited gentlemen had written all the songs heard in the production.

Because of the program’s vagueness, most critics assumed Kern had written the complete score, but Kern’s biographer Gerald Bordman notes that only two songs (“When the Bo-Tree Blossoms Again” and “That Little Something”) were “definitely” by the composer, and three (“Cingalese Girls,” “The Same Old Moon,” and “Dancing the Devil Away”) were by Kalmar and Ruby (although Otto Harbach may have had a hand in the latter song). Some sources speculate that the ballet “The Pearl of Ceylon” might have been composed by Kern. Note that “Dancing the Devil Away” was interpolated into the The Cuckoos, which was the film version of The Ramblers.

The New York Times said the score was “always pleasant, always infectious and sometimes more than a little reminiscent,” but had “catchy and lilting qualities”; Time said the score “pleases” and Variety found the “serviceable” music “charming, original and never tiring.”

Whiteman and his orchestra were the real sensation of the evening. But Keeler, the Albertina Rasch troupe, and the Elida Webb Girls also impressed with their dances, and Richard “Skeets” Gallagher and Walter Catlett were around for the comedy, Joseph Santley was the stalwart hero Jack, and Ivy Sawyer (Mrs. Santley offstage) added pepper to the role of his snobbish sister.

Otherwise, the costumes and James Reynolds’s lavish décor were visual showstoppers, and the Times suspected Lucky was as “opulent” a musical as Dillingham had ever produced and said the Ceylon setting gave an “excuse for as novel and beautiful settings and costumes as the prodigal New Amsterdam has beheld” during its existence. Further, the first act finale was “an orgiastic frenzy of color and action during which a whole stage full of dancing girls is transformed into a conclave of Buddhist gods and pagan evil spirits.”

Charles Brackett in the New Yorker said the musical had a “weak framework,” and although Eaton was “as pretty as a pink cake iced with gold trimmings” he found her “as tasteless as some such confections I have eaten.” Otherwise, the show was an “impressive structure” with “gorgeous” sets and costumes and “superb divertissements” such as Whiteman and his orchestra, the Albertina Rasch dancers, and the Keller Sisters. Time said the show offered up “a chromatic scale of splendors to even greater heights of extravagance, splashing the theatre with explosions of scenic brilliance.” As for the “agreeable” Eaton, she had “no magic to make this opulence personally charming.”

Arthur Pollock in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle found “beauty,” “color,” and “engaging sound” in the production, but noted “it would be trite to say that the book of Otto Harbach is not altogether funny.” Variety said the musical was “a whale of an entertainment” with “a splendiferous riot of color and pageantry” in the first act and “equally artistic and fetching” décor in the second. The trade paper surmised that Lucky was the “highest priced musical comedy ever mounted,” its weekly payroll was “huge,” with a “terrific overhead,” and at capacity could probably gross over $50,000 each week. Frederick F. Schrader in the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that opening-night seats fetched a whopping $13.50, and thereafter all orchestra seats would cost $6.60, the “first time that such a charge has been made for the entire orchestra of a musical production.”

Lucky was a luckless hodgepodge that lasted less than two months on Broadway, a short run that never came close to allowing the musical to recoup its enormous production costs. Jerome Kern composed some of the songs, and like his score for Criss Cross earlier in the season, his contributions to Lucky were disappointing and failed to produce an enduring standard.

The show was literally all over the map. The first act took place in Ceylon and dealt with pearl smugglers and the hunt for a sunken treasure, and for the second half most of the characters moved to New York City to enjoy the world of cabarets and speakeasies. The title role in the Cinderella story was played by Mary Eaton, here groomed for stardom by producer Charles Dillingham as another Marilyn Miller (who had starred in his hit Sunny). But Eaton was no Miller, and Lucky wasn’t very Sunny. Eaton had been featured in Dillingham’s hit Eddie Cantor vehicle Kid Boots, but unfortunately Lucky was a conspicuous failure and didn’t place her in the top echelon of Broadway royalty. Later in the year, however, she enjoyed a solid success as The 5 O’Clock Girl, and with Oscar Shaw introduced the hit ballad “Thinking of You.”

Act One:
Opening: “The Treasure Hunt” (Ensemble); “Cingalese Girls” (lyric and music by Otto Harbach, Bert Kalmar, and Harry Ruby) (Joseph Santley, The Albertina Rasch Girls, Ensemble); Quartette: “Without Thinking of You” (Ivy Sawyer, Ruby Keeler, Walter Catlett, Richard “Skeets” Gallagher); “Entrance of Lucky” (Ensemble); “Lucky” (Mary Eaton, Ensemble); Duet: “That Little Something” (lyric by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, music by Jerome Kern) (Mary Eaton, Joseph Santley); Finaletto (Ensemble); “Cocoanut Dance” (The Albertina Rasch Girls); Duettino: “When the Bo-Tree Blossoms Again” (lyric by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, music by Jerome Kern) (Mary Eaton, Joseph Santley); Specialty: The Keller Sisters and Al Lynch; “Dancing the Devil Away” (lyric and music by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby) (Mary Eaton, Ensemble); Specialty: The Elida Webb Girls; Finale (Mary Eaton, Ensemble)

Act Two:
Opening; “Pearl of Broadway” (Ruby Keeler, Ensemble); “Spring Is Here” (Mary Eaton, Walter Catlett, Richard Gallagher, Male Ensemble); “The Same Old Moon” (lyric and music by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby) (Ivy Sawyer, Joseph Santley); “If the Man in the Moon Was a Coon” (lyric and music by Fred Fisher) (Ruby Keeler, Show Girls); “Shine On, Harvest Moon” (from the national tour of [Ziegfeld] Follies of 1908; lyric and music attributed to Jack Norworth and Nora Bayes) (The Keller Sisters and Al Lynch); “By the Light of the Silvery Moon” (attributed to the Ziegfeld Follies of 1909; lyric by Edward Madden, music by Gus Edwards) (Walter Catlett, Richard “Skeets” Gallagher, Dancers); “Once in a Blue Moon” (Stepping Stones, 1923; lyric by Anne Caldwell, music by Jerome Kern); Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra (selections included “Rhapsody in Blue,” music by George Gershwin; “Sam, the Accordion Man,” lyric and music by Walter Donaldson; “In a Little Spanish Town,” lyric by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young, music by Mabel Wayne; “Sunday”; and medley of songs from Lucky); Ballet: “The Pearl of Ceylon” (music probably by Jerome Kern) (Mary Eaton, The Albertina Rasch Girls, Ensemble)

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Lucky

Version 1

Lucky (1927-03-New Amsterdam theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: New Amsterdam Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 1 mois 4 semaines
Nombre : 71 représentations
Première Preview : mardi 22 mars 1927
Première : mardi 22 mars 1927
Dernière : samedi 21 mai 1927
Mise en scène : Hassard Short
Chorégraphie :
Avec : Kumara Singha (Cyngie), Henry Mowbray (Chuck Dugan), Bert Gould (A Pearl Thief), Martin Berke ley (Finch), Paul Everton (Barlow), Joseph Santley (Jack Mansfield), Kathryn Hamill (Notoya), Richard “Skeets,” aka “Skeet,” Gallagher (Teddy Travers), Joan Clement (First Tourist), Jeanne Fonda (Second Tourist), Al Ochs (Long Ling), Walter Catlett (Charlie Simpson), Princess White Deer (Strawberry), Ivy Sawyer (Grace Mansfield), Ruby Keeler (Mazie Maxwell), Mary Eaton (Lucky), Hugh Francis Murphy (Of ficer), Charles Gibney (The High Priest); Mendicant Monks: Fred Wilson, Stanley McClelland, Hal Clovis, and Emile Cote; Fred Lenox (First Waiter), George Ferguson (Second Waiter), Al Wyart (Third Waiter), Charles Eaton (Page), Richard Farrell (Wilton), Charles Mitchell (Shellbach); Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra; Specialty Act: The Keller Sisters and Al Lynch; The Albertina Rasch Girls: Marian Dickson, Martha Wilbert, Eda Vittollo, Julia Barashkova, Lenore Shearer, Elvira Gomez, Betty Keen, Dorothy Belle, Dulce Bentley, Nita Rosso, Leonore Blair, Regina Tuahinska, Aili Halmemaa, Emily Slater, Katharine Lambly, Maxine Demmler; Show Girls: Kathleen Krosby, Olga Marye, Patricia Preston, Dorothy Phillips, Lillian Morehouse, Trude Marr, Kathryn Hamill, Pauline Hall; Dancers: Rosemary Farmer, Mary Brady, Virginia Clark, Peggy Cunningham, Alma Drange, Ethel Forrest, Lily Kimari, Myrtle Lane, Edna Locke, Josephine Mostler, Chere Pelham, Nickie Pitell, Anna Rex, Phyllis Reynolds, Louise Starck, Peaches Tortoni, Teddy Ward, Dorothy Wyatt, Pearl Bradley, Eleanor Elden, Elizabeth Ryder, Betty Block; The Elida Webb Girls: Elida Webb, Billie Cain, Rose Gaillard, Hyacinth Curtis, Bessie Allison, Vivian Harris; Gentlemen of the Ensemble: Max Hugo, Alfred Arnold, Walter Arnold, Charles Bannister, Dick Bennett, Albert Birk, Charles Conkling, Jack de Lys, Milton Halpern, Jack Hughes, Ray Justus, Don Lee, Bob Max well, Bob Morris, Don Oltarsh, Hugh Sorenson, Jack Talbot, Ayres Tavitt, Archibald Thompson, George Vigouroux, Bill O’Donnell, Alfred Hall
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