Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday! Today, we’re continuing our series of alphabetically ordered posts on forgotten musicals from the ’10s – ’40s. Over the next 25 weeks (note that I will not be doing a post for the letter X), I’ll be covering a different forgotten musical. The only criteria, it has to begin with that specific letter of the alphabet. A was for Are You With It? (1945). B was for Best Foot Forward (1941). C was for The Cat And The Fiddle (1931). D was for Du Barry Was A Lady (1939). E was for Ever Green (1930). F was for Funny Face (1927). G was for Great Day! (1929). H was for Hot-Cha! (1932). I was for Irene (1919). J was for Jumbo (1935). K was for Knickerbocker Holiday (1938). L was for Leave It To Jane (1917). M was for Me And My Girl (1937). N was for The Night Boat (1920). O was for On Your Toes (1936). P was for Park Avenue (1946). Q is for…
Q. Queen High (09/08/26 – 07/23/27)
Though there are only a few musicals from this time period that begin with Q, I didn’t have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to choose today’s musical, for Queen High, which likely hasn’t been performed in over 75 years, features a truly infectious score by Lewis E. Gensler and B.G. DeSylva. Based on a play entitled A Pair Of Sixes, Queen High starred Charlie Ruggles as a man who loses a poker game with his friend (Frank McIntyre), and as a condition of the bet, is forced to become his butler. While their friendship is strained as a result of this development, the latter’s daughter and the former’s son fall in love and hope to reunite the feuding friends. While the story may seem thin today, audiences of the ’20s were enthralled, and Queen High enjoyed a healthy run in New York and was later adapted for the screen with Ruggles and Ginger Rogers (in the Mary Lawlor role), although the stage score was jettisoned.
Unquestionably, a lot of the show’s initial success was due to the score, which yielded a major song hit in “Cross Your Heart,” a memorable tune with a disarming simplicity. The rendition above is by Gregg Edelman and Rebecca Luker.
Unfortunately, there have been no full recordings of this score, and many of the numbers haven’t been heard publicly since the original run. What we do have access to, however, is simply marvelous. Case in point: “Everything Will Happen For The Best,” which is played above by Percival Mackey’s Orchestra.
The Broadway-By-The-Year Concert Series at Town Hall featured several numbers from the score in their tribute to the works of 1926. Above is Eddie Korbich with the juvenile’s “It Pays To Advertise,” a peppy little throwaway tune that perfectly demonstrates some of the riches that these forgotten ’20s shows can sometimes offer. Below are Nancy Anderson, Nancy Opel, and Sutton Foster in an homage to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the premiere stage adaptation of which open shortly after Queen High, performing a song of the same title.
Now that we’ve had a little taste of this delightful and little recorded show, what do you think? Isn’t it time for a Queen High studio recording?
Come back next Monday for R! And tune in tomorrow for the best from the final season of The Odd Couple!