Thou Swell, Thou Witty, Thou Rodgers & Hart in the ’20s (II)

Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday and the continuation of our two month series on the 1920s book musicals of Rodgers and Hart, a team whose ’30s and ’40s work has been fairly well represented here in the past. But the only ’20s work of theirs covered has been Dearest Enemy (1925). We’re rectifying that now, and last week we kicked things off with The Girl Friend (1926). Today…

 

II. Lido Lady (12/01/26 – July 1927)

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Rodgers and Hart ventured across the pond to compose the score for an original musical comedy starring the British musical comedy team of Cicely Courtneidge and Jack Hulbert. The book, by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, Guy Bolton, and Ronald Jeans, concerned a female tennis champ who hopes to turn her beau into the ideal athlete to please her demanding father. Also in the cast were Phyllis Dare and Harold French. (Naturally, there were a B couple and C couple as well.)  The score was supplemented with interpolations by other composers, and “Here In My Arms” from Dearest Enemy was brought over. But for Lido Lady, Rodgers and Hart composed a delightfully British sounding score (several songs from which were later used in future New York shows). Courtneidge and Hulbert duetted on my favorite number from the score “Try Again Tomorrow,” which was also used in She’s My Baby (1928).

The pair also got “A Tiny Flat Near Soho Square,” which was retitled and also used in She’s My Baby.

Here are Dorothy Loudon and Danny Meehan with “Morning Is Midnight,” a number written for this show and later intended for She’s My Baby. It was finally put to use in the 1964 Music Fair circuit revival of I Married An Angel (1938).

And we close today’s post with another indication of this score’s superior quality. Here’s Frederica von Stade with “Atlantic Blues,” which was also later retitled and used in Present Arms (1928).

 

 

Come back next Monday for another Rodgers and Hart musical! And tune in tomorrow for the best from the final season of The Bob Newhart Show!

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