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Musical (1930)

Musique: Richard Rodgers
Paroles: Lorenz M. Hart
Livret: Ed Wynn

Type de série: Original Broadway
Théâtre: Ziegfield Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 3 mois 3 semaines
Nombre : 135 représentations
Première Preview : mardi 18 février 1930
Première : mardi 18 février 1930
Dernière : samedi 14 juin 1930
Mise en scène : Zeke Colvan
Chorégraphie :
Avec : Paul Stanton (Bert Blue, and later Bluebeard), Alfred P. James (Fingy), Will Ahearn (Jack Horner), Bobbe Arnst (Gilly Flower, and later Jill and Jazz), Ed Wynn (Simon), Anthony Hughes (Policeman), Doree Leslie (Elaine King, and later Cinderella), Lennox Pawle (Olee King, and later Old King Cole), Hugh Cameron (Otto Prince), Master George Offermann (Jonah, and later Genii), Gil White (Popper), Alan Edwards (Tony Prince, later Prince Charming), Ruth Etting (Sal), Helen Walsh (Jewel Pearce, Red Riding Hood), Hazel Forbes (Gladys Dove, Rapunsel), Douglas Stanbury (Captain in Dullna Army), Joseph Schrode and Pete La Della (The Horse), Frank DeWitt (The Giant Head), William J. Ferry (The Frog), Harriet Hoctor (Premiere Danseuse, Snow White), Dolores Grant (Little Boy Blue, Bo-Peep), Clementine Rigeau and Elaine Mann (The Wolf, aka Wolff), Agnes Franey and Virginia McNaughton (Goldylocks), Patsy O’Day (Puss in Boots), Elsie Behrens (Hansel), Mable Baade (Gretel), Marie Conway (Cat and the Fiddle), Gladys Pender (The Cow), Dorothy Patterson (The Dog), Lois Peck (The Dish), Neva Lynn (The Spoon), Frieda Mierse (Old Lady in the Shoe), Georgia Payne and Caja Eric (Miss Muffett), Blanche Satchell and Marion Dodge (Fairy Goddesses), Pirkko Alquist (Snow Queen); Ladies of the Ensemble: Caja Eric, Georgia Payne, Vili Milli, Marion Dodge, Helen Walsh, Pirkko Alquist, Frieda Mierse, Blanche Satchell, Neva Lynn, Mildred Ivory, Dolores Grant, Marie Conway, Mary Coyle, Elsie Behrens, Patsy O’Day, Elaine Mann, Mable Baade, Gladys Pender, Dorothy Patterson, Cleo Cullen, Clementine Rigeau, Agnes Franey, Virginia McNaughton, Lois Peck, Hazel Forbes, Howard, O’Laughlin; Gentlemen of the Ensemble: Messrs. Roberts, Alan Edwards, Fowler, Siegel, Uray, Sager, Doctoroff, Mandes, Butterworth, Lewis, Hervey, Costello, Simmons, Hall, Carswell, Gil White, Barry
Presse : J. Brooks Atkinson in the New York Times reported that Ziegfeld had set Wynn “amid the resplendence of a vast, though unsteady, musical extravaganza.” Wynn was “one of the two or three great comedians of the day,” an “artist who lifts his tomfoolery into the realms of fantasy,” and in Simple Simon he had “never seemed so indisputably great.” He was a “historical event” in “the full ripeness of his art.” But the book struggled “ineffectually” to combine a fairy tale with weak satire about the Puritanism of reformers, and the song cues were “more distressing than usual.” And while Rodgers’s “dappled” melodies “echoe[d] his style without improving it,” Hart’s lyrics were “more sprightly” than the music. Atkinson noted that Etting had “been rushed out of the limbo” of Nine Fifteen Revue and sang “I Still Believe in You” and a “melancholy ballad” from atop a piano (“Ten Cents a Dance”).

Robert Benchley in the New Yorker said the book was “of such banality as to affront even the children for whom it was written,” but Wynn offered “a riot of rich comedy” that was “nothing short of legerdemain.” The “Hunting Ballet” was the season’s “top” dance sequence, Urban had “let himself go with his paintbrush with spectacular effect,” and Rodgers and Hart had provided a “potpourri of pleasant tunes” (but he noted they had delved “slightly into their files” [see below]).

An unsigned review in Time suggested that “I Still Believe in You” was “one of the best” songs ever written by Rodgers and Hart, and mentioned that children would “hugely enjoy” the evening and their elders would “profitably join them.” Richard Lockridge in the New York Sun said Ziegfeld had “perhaps never produced a musical extravaganza which held more to delight the eye.” Arthur Ruhl in the New York Herald Tribune praised the “large, radiant and altogether attractive show” and said Wynn was “almost a whole show in himself.” And the headline for Gilbert W. Gabriel’s review in the New York American announced that Simple Simon was “Superlatively Fanciful, Colorful and Innocent.”