Welcome to a new Musical Theatre Monday and the continuation of our series of posts on the musical comedy works of lyricists B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown with composer Ray Henderson. Their most famous show is Good News! (1927), which we covered here two years ago, but following that production’s success, the trio went on to several other full collaborations (before breaking off and each going on to other interesting works). We’re highlighting those other forgotten, but absolutely charming, scores — and so far we’ve featured Manhattan Mary (1927) and Hold Everything (1928). Today . . .
III. Follow Thru (01/09/29 – 12/21/29)
In the same season as the songwriting trio’s successful musical about prizefighting, the men crafted a score around another sport — golf. Memorably subtitled “a musical slice of country club life,” the plot concerned two women (Irene Delroy and Madeline Cameron) competing not only for the golf championship, but also for the object of their mutual affection (John Barker). Zelma O’Neal (fresh off of Good News!, where she introduced the famous “Varsity Drag”) and Jack Haley (a decade before he was the Tin Man) were the kooky secondary couple, while Eleanor Powell had a small role — and a tap solo. The book was typical late ’20s fun and audiences were delighted. (For a copy of the libretto, subscribe and comment below.) A film adaptation commenced in 1930 with O’Neal and Haley reprising their roles, and although only a few numbers from the stage show made the transition, the motion picture otherwise offers a fairly straightforward representation of the original production and is recommended. From the film, here’s a clip of O’Neal and Haley with Follow Thru‘s big hit, “Button Up Your Overcoat,” which has eclipsed the rest of the score in popularity.
Here’s O’Neal again, in a recording with Al Goodman’s Orchestra (they were the show’s orchestra), with the delightfully ’20s “I Want To Be Bad.”
The main lovers got a cute duet of their own with “You Wouldn’t Fool Me, Would Ya?” The rendition below is by Annette Henshaw.
Meanwhile, the secondary couple got a slightly more earnest duet in “I Could Give Up Anything But You,” taken below from a Bagley album.
The only major revival of the show occurred at Goodspeed in 1984. (For access to a live audio of this production, subscribe and comment below.) From that production, here’s the romantic “My Lucky Star.”
And we’ll close today’s post with another treat from the Goodspeed audio — the bouncy title tune, one of my favorites!
Come back next Monday for another D-B-H musical! And tune in tomorrow for another Sitcom Tuesday!