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 work is Good News! (1927), which we covered here two years ago, but following that show’s success, they went on to several other full collaborations (before breaking off and each going on to other works). We’re highlighting those other forgotten, but absolutely charming, scores — starting last week with Manhattan Mary (1927). Today . . .
II. Hold Everything (10/10/28 – 10/05/29)
This prizefighting musical has gone down in history for the star-making performance of Bert Lahr, whose turn as the show’s primary comic (the character was named Gink Schiner) made him a bonafide Broadway sensation. But Lahr wasn’t the only great headliner Holding Everything; the primary lovers were Jack Whiting and Ona Munson (a DeSylva-Brown-Henderson regular by this point), while Betty Compton (Jimmy Walker’s honey) was the third point in their triangle, and Victor Moore was around to do his usual shtick (as boxer Whiting’s manager). The Broadway production was a smash, and a 1930 film adaptation, which survives now only in audio form, was released — but with Joe E. Brown in place of Lahr. Likely because of the script’s reliance on star performances, Hold Everything has never been revived — not even, to my knowledge, in concert form. This should be seen as no reflection on the score, which though not considered on the same level as Good News!, has always been delightful and standard-yielding. Again, as always, it’s the book.
But because of the show’s relative obscurity, so much of the score has remained locked away as well. The only tune that the casual Broadway fan has heard is “You’re The Cream In My Coffee,” a D-B-H standard that has been interpolated into Good News! for years. The rendition above comes from the cast recording of the the 1993 Good News! revisal. Below is the show’s other moderate hit of the time — the title tune, cleverly named “Don’t Hold Everything.” This hot period rendition is by the High Hatters.
As with most of this trio’s score, there are also a few more genuine tunes, although these sentimental numbers generally never come across as well as those from Good News!. To wit, here’s an instrumental version of “Too Good To Be True,” performed below by Dick Robertson and Al Goodman’s Orchestra.
And we’ll close today’s post with the romantic “To Know You Is To Love You,” taken from a surviving Vitaphone disc of the film’s soundtrack.
Come back next Monday for another D-B-H musical, Follow Thru (1929)! And tune in tomorrow for more Cheers!