The musical was written as a political satire, specifically spoofing political and police corruption that the Seabury Commission was investigating. It also satirized show business, showing the far-fetched economies, such as seeing 4 films with a room and bath for 10¢. The musical did not ignore the Depression but rather found humor in it. There were many titles considered, among them Nickels and Dimes, but Berlin came up with the final title.
Producer Hal Reisman desperately seeks backers for his Broadway show. Because of the Great Depression, once-rich investors are "Lunching at the Automat". Kit Baker, a former musical-comedy star and her boyfriend Pat Mason are now out of work and poor ("Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee"). In his search, Reisman meets crooked policemen who need to get rid of their illegal money before they are found out. The corrupt police chief Martin van Buren Meshbesher and his eccentric wife Myrtle become investors in the show, expecting it to be a failure. In the show-within-the-show, Rodney St. Clair sings "My Beautiful Rhinestone Girl". However, when risqué material is added the show is raided and the government tries to close it. The flop becomes a hit because of the publicity.
Brooks Atkinson, reviewing the original 1932 production for The New York Times, called the musical a "bountiful merry-go-round" of songs and "gibes", writing that it is "bold satire", but has familiar musical comedy numbers, such as the "stunning mirror dance... expressionistic Times Square ballet...and "Dear Old Crinoline Days which is guffawing burlesque."
An unnamed reviewer, quoted in the Brown biography Moss Hart, wrote "It's a worthy successor to Of Thee I Sing [but] it doesn't entirely measure up to it. It resorts to slapstick instead of satire. It becomes merely burlesque. All of which doesn't mean that Face the Music isn't a howl. It most emphatically is."
Lunching at the Automat – Ensemble
Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee – Pat Mason, Jr. and Kit Baker
Torch Song – Streetwalker
You Must Be Born with It – Pickles and Joe
On a Roof in Manhattan – Pat Mason, Jr. and Kit Baker
My Beautiful Rhinestone Girl – Rodney St. Clair
Soft Lights and Sweet Music – Pat Mason, Jr. and Kit Baker
I Say It's Spinach (And the Hell with It) – Pat Mason, Jr. and Kit Baker
A Toast to Prohibition (Drinking Song) – Rodney St. Clair and Boys
Dear Old Crinoline Days (later reprised in the show as "The Nudist Colony" in an attempt to get the show more publicity) – Kit Baker
I Don't Want to Be Married – Pickles and Joe
Manhattan Madness – Pat Mason, Jr.
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Face the Music (1932-02-New Amsterdam Theatre-Broadway)Type de série: Original
Théâtre: New Amsterdam Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis) Durée : 4 mois 3 semaines Nombre : 165 représentationsPremière Preview : InconnuPremière : mercredi 17 février 1932Dernière : samedi 09 juillet 1932Mise en scène : Hassard Short • Chorégraphie : Albertina Rasch • Producteur : Avec : Thomas Arace (Detective), Ward Arnold (Postman), Jack Barnes (Ensemble), Virginia Bethel (Ensemble), Mary BolandMary Brooks (Ensemble), Dave Burns (Louis), Charles Burrows (Stage Doorman), Katherine Carrington (Kit Baker), Dorothy Claire (May), Charles Coleman (Clerk of the Court), Aida Conkey (A Sister Team), Leslie Cornell (Ensemble), Ed Crosswell (Ensemble), Guy Daly (Ensemble), Maxine Darrell (Ensemble), Peggy Dell (Ensemble), Martin Dennis (Ensemble), Nancy Dolan (Ensemble), Bert Doughty (Ensemble), Elsie Duffy (Ensemble), Clyde Fillmore (Sheriff), George Ford (Ensemble), Edward Gargan (Mr. O'Rourke), Jack Good (Joe), Frances Halliday (Mme. Elise), Rita Horgan (Ensemble), Elizabeth Houston (Mme. Elise's Assistant), Valerie Huff (Ensemble), Jay Hunter (Ensemble), Vernon Jayson (Judge Furioso), Alice Kellerman (Ensemble), Irene Kelly (Ensemble), Mary Kennedy (Ensemble), Phil King (Ensemble), Dorothy Lamb (Ensemble), Jeanette Lea (Ensemble), Betty Lee (Ensemble), Margaret Lee (Pickles), Clark Leston (Ensemble), Bob Long (Ensemble), Helen Lyons (Miss Eisenheimer), Joseph Macauley (Rodney St. Clair), Ruth Martin (Ensemble), Vida McLain (Ensemble), Howard Morgan (Ensemble), Harry Murray (Ensemble), J. Harold Murray (Pat Mason, Jr.), Fred Nay (Ensemble), Dorissa Nelova (Ensemble), Evelyn Nielson (Ensemble), Chester O'Brien (Ensemble), Emmett O'Brien (Ensemble), Mortimer O'Brien (Ensemble), Hugh O'Connell (Martin van Buren Meshbesher), Pat O'Keefe (Ensemble), Oscar Polk (Rivington), Wilma Roeloff (Ensemble), Etna Ross (Ensemble), Jack Ross (Ensemble), Jimmy Ryan (Ensemble), Jean Sargent (A Lady of the Evening), Peter Sargent (Mrs. Meshbesher's Footman), Martin Shepard (Mr. Delaney), Stuart Steppler (Ensemble), Helen Thompson (Ensemble), Andrew Tombes (Hal Reisman), Kathleen VanNoy (Ensemble), Mary Grace Van Noy (Ensemble), Dorothy Waller (A Sister Team), Teddy West (Ensemble), Jack Wolfe (Ensemble), Dan Wyler (Ensemble)
Face the Music (1933-01-44th Street Theatre-Broadway)Type de série: Reprise
Théâtre: 44th Street Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis) Durée : 3 semaines Nombre : 31 représentationsPremière Preview : InconnuPremière : mardi 31 janvier 1933Dernière : samedi 25 février 1933Mise en scène : Hassard Short • Chorégraphie : Albertina Rasch • Producteur : Avec : Mary Boland (Mrs. Meshbesher), Joan Abbey (Girl), Margot Adams (Miss Eisenheimer), George Anderson (Mr. O'Rourke), Kay ApgarThomas Arace (Detective), James Babbitt (Boy), Bob Baldwin (Bartender), John Barker (Pat Mason, Jr.), Janet Biesantz (Girl), Alice Brent (Girl), Janet Carver (The Albertina Rasch Dancers), Carol Clyde (Girl), Frank Conway (Boy), Don Costello (Louis), Ed Crosswell (Boy), Guy Daly (Boy), Peggy Dell (The Albertina Rasch Dancers), Martin Dennis (Boy), Frank Dobson (Sheriff), Bert Doughty (Boy), Dorothy Drum (Mme. Elise), John W. Ehrle (Rodney St. Clair), Betty Eisner (The Albertina Rasch Dancers), Margaret Fitzpatrick (Girl), Vera Fredericks (The Albertina Rasch Dancers), Marie Gale (Girl), Inez Goetz (A Sister Team), Jack Good (Joe), Bob Grey (Boy), E.D. Howell (Boy), Robert Emmett Keane (Hal Reisman), Charles Lawrence (Martin van Buren Meshbesher), Margaret Lee (Pickles), Bob Long (Boy), Virginia Mandracia (Girl), George Marshall (Stage Doorman), Nancy McCord (Kit Baker), Martha Merrill (The Albertina Rasch Dancers), Howard Morgan (Boy), Ed Murray (Boy), Fred Nay (Boy), Pat O'Keefe (May), Oscar Polk (Rivington), Thomas Reynolds (Judge Furioso), Marty Rhiele (Boy), Jack Richards (Boy), Vivian Roscoe (Girl), Ray Santos (Boy), Peter Sargent (Mrs. Meshbesher's Footman), Daniel Sullivan (Postman), Louise Taylor (Girl), Martha Tibbetts (Mme. Elise's Assistant), Colleen Ward (A Sister Team), Dolly Widell (Girl), Jack Wolfe (Boy)
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