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Musical (1929)

Musique: George Gershwin
Paroles: Gus Kahn • Ira Gershwin
Livret: William Anthony McGuire

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Ziegfield Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 3 mois
Nombre : 111 représentations
Première Preview : mardi 02 juillet 1929
Première : mardi 02 juillet 1929
Dernière : samedi 05 octobre 1929
Mise en scène : William Anthony McGuire
Chorégraphie :
Avec : Jimmie (later known as Jimmy) Durante (Sombre Eyes, Snozzle), Calvin Thomas (Colonel Witherby, Stage Manager), Althea Heinly (Aunt Jennie, Estelle), Barbara Newberry (Virginia Witherby, Sunshine), Matthew Smith (Robert Adams), Blaien Cordner (Steve), Andy Jochim (Frank, Mr. Wright), Wanda Stevenson (Bessie), Noel Francis (Peggy Ritz), Lou Clayton (Gypsy), Eddie Jackson (Deacon, Tony Morato), Joseph Macaulay (Alvarez Romano), Doris Carson (Raquel), Frank McHugh (Jimmy Doyle), Howard Morgan (Matt Brown), Ruby Keeler (also billed as Ruby Keeler Jolson) (Dixie Dugan), Caryl Bergman (Anna, Sylvia), Eddie Foy Jr. (Denny Kerrigan), Kathryn Hereford (Bobby), Nick Lucas (Rudy), Austin Fairman (John Milton), Sadie Duff (Mrs. Dugan); Duke Ellington and His Cotton Club Orchestra; The Albertina Rasch Dancers: Mildred Turner, Vera Frederick, Virginia Whitmore, Lucille O’Connor, Agatha Johann, Virginia Allen, Ruth Hayden, Dorothy Morgan, Evelyn Nichols, Dona Dene Curry, Sunny Van, Ruth Love, Viola Hage, Eddie Belmont, Dorothy Ryan, Louise Raymond; Show Girls: Althea Heinly, Blanche Satchel, Gertrude Dahl, Mary MacDonald, Ada Landis, Edna Bunte, Betty Bassett, Mildred Schwenke, Moreen Holmes, Dorothy Carrigan, Dolores De Fina, Doris Downes, Caja Eric, Georgia Payne, Camilla Lanier, Mildred Klaw, Leonia Pennington; Dancers: Pat O’Keefe, Virginia Frank, Cleo Cullen, Bobby Brodsley, Jean Althan, Selma Althan, Jane Barry, Peggy Carthew, Beatrice Powers, Dolores Grant, Pamela Bryant, Janet Gibbard, Dorothy Bow, Lois Peck, Vivian Porter, Florence Allen, Virginia Case, Katherine Downer, Juliette Jones, Doris May, Patricia McGrath, Orine Bryne, Rena Landeau, Claire Wayne, Jean Wayne, Alma Drange, Mildred De Fina, Lottie Marcy, Dolores Ray, Hazel Bofinger, Kae English, Marcia Bell, Emily Burton, Billie Cortez, Wanda Stevenson, Violet Dell, Dore Nodine
Presse : J. Brooks Atkinson in the Times noted that Ziegfeld had given the show a “lustrous splendor,” but the “task of blending materials that are episodic and individual” made the new musical “the least notable” of Ziegfeld’s recent shows. Throughout the evening you were “constantly aware of banalities and awkward transitions” and you missed “the stately flow of the best Ziegfeld pageants.” Keeler was now “on her way to fame on Broadway” and was an “enjoyable” performer “without pretentions and affectations,” and while Durante’s “personality” managed to batter “through all barriers,” his “sizzling energy” and “spluttering, insane material” didn’t “melt gracefully into a musical comedy book.” Gershwin’s contributions had “moments of vividness or melody,” but he hadn’t composed “a first-rate score.”

Charles Brackett in the New Yorker found the adaptation “soggily” written, and noted it was Gershwin’s “weakest” score, and Burns Mantle in the Tampa Tribune said the “elaborate and bountifully decorated” show was “the nearest thing” to a financial “miss” that Ziegfeld had produced during the past five years (perhaps he’d forgotten about Betsy).

But Percy Hammond in the Oakland (CA) Tribune said Show Girl was “as satisfactory a musical show as I have ever seen,” and while he noted that Jolson’s “Liza” was a “priceless moment,” it nonetheless “detracted a little” from Keeler’s “brilliant success.” Grace Cutler in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle said that for the “entertaining” show Urban had “outdone himself in scenic effects” and Keeler excelled “in voice, in gesture, [and] routine tap-dancing.” But Gershwin’s music was (with the exception of “Do What You Do!”) a “little disappointing,” Durante was “hampered” by his fellow comics, and Foy “by no means” made the most of his part.

Frederick F. Schrader in the Cincinnati Enquirer said “the most pleasing feature” of the musical was Urban’s décor; otherwise, Gershwin’s score was “breezy” and “sometimes original.” Variety decided the show’s “main trouble” was the “music and the lack of it in a popular way,” but noted Durante got a “peach spot” for two of his specialties, including the “bear” of a song “So I Ups to Him” (the critic reported that the “house rocked” with Durante’s “snapper” line that someone was a “fairy”).

Ward Greene in the Indianapolis Star noted that Whoopee made Keeler famous, “especially when she walked out on the show,” that her marriage to Jolson “hit the front pages of a hundred cities,” and “as a dancer not even Marilyn Miller in her gayest days excels Ruby.” But in regard to Jolson’s “Liza” moment, Greene suspected Jolson might not “continue to give this little surprise party to his darling wife,” who “in time” might “appreciate it less and less.”