The First is a musical with a book by critic Joel Siegel. The music was composed by Robert Brush, and Martin Charnin wrote the lyrics. The show is based on the life of Brooklyn Dodgers second baseman Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play major league baseball in the 20th century.

The musical premiered on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on November 17, 1981 and closed on December 12, 1981 after 37 performances and 33 previews. Directed by Martin Charnin and choreographed by Alan Johnson, the original cast included David Alan Grier as Jackie Robinson, and Lonette McKee as his wife Rachel.



The Golden Apple is a musical adaptation of both the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, with music by Jerome Moross and lyrics by John Treville Latouche. The show was one of the first musicals produced at the Off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre (in March 1954) and moved up to Broadway on April 20, 1954 at the Alvin Theater where the cerebral and through-sung musical played for only 125 performances despite rave reviews. The original production starred Kaye Ballard as Helen, and Stephen Douglass as Ulysses. The production won the Best Musical award from the New York Drama Critics Circle, and the lyrics are much praised.

The musical is entirely through-composed and exhibits features similar to more operatic musicals like Porgy and Bess, Candide, and The Most Happy Fella. Jerome Moross was a classical composer of concert music, ballets, as well as a highly appreciated film score. The musical has developed a cult following, even though the full score has never been commercially recorded and the show has never been revived on Broadway. The play is remembered in part for introducing the standard "Lazy Afternoon" sung by Ballard, portraying a character based on Helen of Troy, and the fantastical, suggestive settings by William and Jean Eckart.

The piece continues to receive occasional productions. For example, a 1990 production in New York featured Muriel Costa-Greenspon. The work was produced in 1995 by Light Opera Works in Chicago, Illinois and in 2006 by the 42nd Street Moon Company in San Francisco, California. The Shaw Festival has also produced it. The complete piano-vocal score was published for the first time in 2009, by Alfred Music Publishing.

Recording of Kaye Ballard singing "Lazy Afternoon":


Golden Boy is a musical with a book by Clifford Odets and William Gibson, lyrics byLee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse.

Based on the 1937 play of the same name by Odets, it focuses on Joe Wellington, a young man from Harlem who, despite his family's objections, turns to prizefighting as a means of escaping his ghetto roots and finding fame and fortune. He crosses paths with Mephistopheles-like promoter Eddie Satin and eventually betrays his manager Tom Moody when he romantically becomes involved with his girlfriend Lorna Moon.

Producer Hillard Elkins planned the project specifically for Sammy Davis, Jr. and lured Odets out of semi-retirement to write the book. The original play centered on Italian American Joe Bonaparte, the son of poverty-stricken immigrants with a disapproving brother who works as a labor organizer. Elkins envisioned an updated version that would reflect the struggles of an ambitious young African American at the onset of the Civil Rights era and include socially relevant references to the changing times.

In Odets' original book, Joe was a sensitive would-be surgeon fighting in order to pay his way through college, but careful to protect his hands from serious damage so he could achieve his goal of saving the lives of blacks ignored by white doctors. In an ironic twist, the hands he hoped would heal kill a man in the ring.

After twenty-five previews, the Broadway production, directed by Arthur Penn and choreographed by Donald McKayle, opened on October 20, 1964 at the Majestic Theatre, where it ran for 568 performances. In addition to Davis, the cast included Billy Daniels as Eddie Satin, Kenneth Tobey as Tom Moody, and Paula Wayne as Lorna Moon, with Johnny Brown, Lola Falana, Louis Gossett, Baayork Lee, and Theresa Merritt in supporting roles.

Recording of the overture:


Golden Rainbow is the title of a Broadway musical that opened in 1968. It starred Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé for its entire run until it closed in early 1969. The previews for Golden Rainbow began at the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia on November 28, 1967, moving to its new location in New York City at the Shubert Theatreon Broadway on December 27, 1967. The musical officially opened on February 4, 1968 at the Shubert, where it played until November 17, 1968. On November 19, 1968, its run resumed at the George Abbott Theatre on Broadway, where Golden Rainbow played until it closed on January 11, 1969.

The stars of Golden Rainbow, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé, were already well-known from their extensive work in music, film and television during the 1950s and 1960s. The musical is perhaps best remembered for the song "I've Gotta Be Me", released as a single in the late 1960s by both Lawrence and Sammy Davis, Jr. (Davis' version reached #11 on the pop chart and #1 on the easy listening chart). The show details the lives of a group of people in and around Las Vegas, Nevada. Author William Goldman wrote a gossipy and unflattering book that detailed this musical, The Season, while it was still running on Broadway.

The music and lyrics for Golden Rainbow were by Walter Marks; the book was by Ernest Kinoy; and the musical was based on the film adaptation (by screenwriter Arnold Schulman) of the play A Hole in the Head. Although the musical did not win any Tony Awards, actor Scott Jacoby was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and Robert Randolph was nominated for Best Scenic Design.

Goldilocks is a musical with a book by Jean and Walter Kerr, music by Leroy Anderson, and lyrics by the Kerrs and Joan Ford. A parody of the silent film era when directors made quickie one-reelers overnight, it focuses on Maggie Harris, a musical comedy star retiring from show business in order to marry into high society, until producer-director Max Grady arrives to remind her she has a contract to star in his film Frontier Woman. The two battle and slapstick situations ensue as the movie evolves into an epic about Ancient Egypt and filming extends well beyond the amount of time Grady promised it would take to make the movie.

Following tryouts in Boston and Philadelphia, the Broadway production, directed by Walter Kerr and choreographed by Agnes de Mille, opened on October 11, 1958 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, where it ran for 161 performances, closing on February 28, 1959. The cast included Elaine Stritch, Don Ameche, Russell Nype, Margaret Hamilton, Pat Stanley, and Patricia Birch.

Jean Kerr later recounted the trials and tribulations of creating a new musical in her books Please Don't Eat The Daisies, The Snake Has All the Lines, and Penny Candy.

Got Tu Go Disco Broadway’s “first disco musical,” this one boasted two directors, three writers, three choreographers, 11 composers, a cast of 36 and a dance floor that filled with 3,000 gallons of water. So many creative types yet no one revised the title. Cost $2-4 million. Opened June 25, 1979 for 8 performances.  Read the New York Times review (PDF).






Hairspray is a musical with music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and a book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, based on the 1988 John Waters film Hairspray. The songs include 1960s-style dance music and "downtown" rhythm and blues. In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad's dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show. When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show. Hairspray is a social commentary on the injustices of parts of American society in the 1960s
The musical's original Broadway production opened on August 15, 2002 and won eight Tony Awards out of thirteen nominations. It ran for over 2,500 performances and closed on January 4, 2009. Hairspray has also had U.S. national tours, a London West End production and numerous foreign productions and was adapted for a 2007 musical film. The London production was nominated for a record-setting eleven Laurence Olivier Awards, winning for Best New Musical and in three other categories.

According to interviews included as an extra feature on the 2007 film's DVD release, theatre producer Margo Lion first conceived of Hairspray as a stage musical in 1998 after seeing a television broadcast of the original film. She contacted John Waters, who gave her his blessing, then acquired the rights from New Line Cinema. Lion contacted Marc Shaiman, who expressed interest in the project only if his partner Scott Wittman could be included, and Lion agreed. The two submitted three songs – one of which, "Good Morning Baltimore," eventually became the show's opening number. Based on their initial work, Lion was confident that she had hired the right team.

Lion contacted Rob Marshall about directing the musical. At the time he was involved in negotiations to direct the screen adaptation of Chicago, but he agreed to become involved in the early development stages of Hairspray with the stipulation he would drop out if assigned the film. Marshall remembered Marissa Jaret Winokur from her brief appearance in the film American Beauty and arranged a meeting with Shaiman and Wittman. The two immediately felt she was right for the role of Tracy Turnblad but were hesitant to commit without seeing any other auditions. They hired Winokur to work with them on the project with the understanding she might be replaced later. One year later, Winokur was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Certain she would lose the role if the creative team learned about her condition, she underwent chemotherapy and a hysterectomy without telling anyone but her immediate family. The treatment and surgery were successful, and Winokur returned to the project. Meanwhile, Marshall had started work on Chicago, and Jack O'Brienand Jerry Mitchell were hired by Lion to direct and choreograph, respectively. Winokur was one of the first to audition for the role of Tracy Turnblad and spent two years preparing with voice and dance lessons. Tracy's mother had been portrayed by Divine in the original film, and Shaiman liked the idea of maintaining the tradition of casting a male as Edna Turnblad. Harvey Fierstein auditioned for the role with a "half hour vocal audition" of "an entire concert". He thought they were "pacifying" him, but he was told "they don't want anyone but you".

According to Shaiman, one song, "I Know Where I've Been", became controversial during the genesis of the score:
“This was... inspired by a scene late in the [1988] movie that takes place on the black side of town. It never dawned on us that a torrent of protest would follow us from almost everyone involved with the show. ‘It’s too sad.... It’s too preachy.... It doesn’t belong.... Tracy should sing the eleven o’clock number.’ We simply didn’t want our show to be yet another show-biz version of a civil rights story where the black characters are just background. And what could be more Tracy Turnblad-like than to give the ‘eleven o’clock number’ to the black family at the heart of the struggle? Luckily... the audiences embraced this moment, which enriches the happy ending to follow, and it is our proudest achievement of the entire experience of writing Hairspray”.

After a tryout at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre, Hairspray opened on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre on August 15, 2002. The production was directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, with set design by David Rockwell, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Kenneth Posner, sound design by Steve C. Kennedy, and the many distinctive wigs in the show by Paul Huntley. The original Broadway cast included Marissa Jaret Winokur and Harvey Fierstein in the lead roles of Tracy and Edna respectively. The cast also featured Matthew Morrison, Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Linda Hart, Mary Bond Davis, Corey Reynolds, Clarke Thorell, Danelle Eugenia Wilson, Jackie Hoffman, Joel Vig and Dick Latessa.

Hairspray received Tony Award nominations in 12 categories, winning eight, including for Best Musical.
The production ran for more than six years and 2,642 performances, closing on January 4, 2009. Original star Fierstein returned to the cast on November 11, 2008 and Winokur returned on December 9 for the final performances.

The Tony Award clip:


Happy as Larry, a musical fantasy with music by Mischa Portnoff and Wesley Portnoff and book by Donagh MacDonagh (based on his play). It starred  Gene Barry, Irwin Corey, and Burgess Meredith. It opened January 6, 1950 and ran for 3 performances.








 

Henry, Sweet Henry is a musical with a book by Nunnally Johnson and music and lyrics by Bob Merrill. Based on the novel The World of Henry Orient by Johnson's daughter Nora and the subsequent film of the same name, the plot focuses on Valerie and Marian, two wealthy, love-struck teenagers who stalk an avant-garde composer and aging philanderer.

After twelve previews, the Broadway production, directed by George Roy Hill and choreographed by Michael Bennett, opened on October 23, 1967 at the Palace Theatre, where it ran for 80 performances. The cast included Don Ameche, Neva Small, Robin Wilson, Carol Bruce, Louise Lasser, Baayork Lee, Priscilla Lopez, Alice Playten, and Pia Zadora.

The stage musical was never filmed: however, during its brief Broadway run, Alice Playten and the chorus performed one song from the score -- "Poor Little Person" -- on The Ed Sullivan Show; this video recording survives.

The show is one of those tracked by William Goldman in his 1968 book The Season, which describes the ins and outs of a season on Broadway. He contends that Henry, Sweet Henry was well-received by audience members (getting "every bit as good a reaction as Mame gets", referring to a smash hit of the time) but couldn't survive a bad review from Clive Barnes in the New York Times, who was then on a crusade to bring pop music into Broadway scores. Goldman also describes how the show was intended as a vehicle to propel its young lead Robin Wilson to stardom, but instead accidentally allowed second lead Alice Playten to steal the show.  Link to the New York Times review (PDF).

Here is the song "Here I Am":



Here's Where I Belong is a musical with a book by Alex Gordon and Terrence McNally, lyrics by Alfred Uhry, and music by Robert Waldman.

Based on John Steinbeck's classic novel East of Eden, the allegorical tale centers on the Trasks and the Hamiltons, two families drawn to the rich farmlands of Salinas, California in the early 20th Century. While Steinbeck traced the two clans through three generations, the musical limits the action to the period between 1915 and 1917 and focuses primarily on the Cain and Abel aspects of the work.

McNally asked that his name be removed from the credits prior to opening night.

After twenty previews, the Broadway production, directed by Michael Kahn and choreographed by Tony Mordente, opened on March 3, 1968 at the Billy Rose Theatre, where it closed after one performance. The cast included James Coco, Graciela Daniele, and Ken Kercheval.


Hit the Trail, a musical. Book by Frank O'Neill; Lyrics by Elizabeth Miele; Music by Frederico Valerio. Setting: Virginia City, Nevada, during the late 19th Century.
Opening: Dec 2, 1954  Closing: Dec 4, 1954   Total Performances: 4



House of Flowers
 is a musical by Harold Arlen (music and lyrics) and Truman Capote (lyrics and book), based on his own short story, first published in Breakfast at Tiffany's as one of three extra pieces besides the titular novella. This was Capote's only musical, and is the first theatrical production outside of Trinidad and Tobago to feature the new Caribbean instrument - the steel pan.

After a Philadelphia tryout, the show opened on Broadway on December 30, 1954 at the Alvin Theatre and played for 165 performances. The director was Peter Brook. The cast included Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, Juanita Hall, Ray Walston, and Geoffrey Holder. Although the show received generally poor reviews, the dance-rhythm infused score has been praised for its mix of blues and calypso. Most of the original orchestral score by Ted Royal has been lost, but the piano score survives. Oliver Messel won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design, the show's only nomination.

The story concerns two neighboring bordellos that battle for business in an idealized West Indies setting. One of the prostitutes, Ottilie, turns down a rich lord to marry a poor mountain boy named Royal. Her madam plots to keep her by having Royal sealed in a barrel and tossed into the ocean. Royal escapes the watery death by taking refuge on the back of a turtle. The lovers are eventually married and live happily ever after.

There was an unsuccessful Off-Broadway revival in 1968 at Theater de Lys. In 2003, there was an Encores! production, starring Tonya Pinkins and Armelia McQueen as the battling bordello madams and Maurice Hines as Captain Jonas, the smuggler. The virginal Ottilie was played by Nikki M. James, and the mountain boy, Royal, was played by Brandon Victor Dixon. Roscoe Lee Browne played the voodoo priest, Houngan.

In 2003, Columbia Masterworks reissued the original cast recording. In addition to such tunes as “A Sleepin’ Bee” and “Don’t Like Goodbyes,” the CD also included bonus tracks of “Mardis Gras Waltz” (Percy Faith and His Orchestra), “Two Ladies in the Shade” (Enid Mosier), “Ottilie and the Bee” (Truman Capote) and “A Sleepin’ Bee” (a demo recording by Harold Arlen).

Recording of the original production:

 

Hot September is based on the 1953 play Picnic by William Inge. The play premiered at the Music Box Theatre, Broadway on 19 February 1953 in a production by the Theatre Guild, directed by Joshua Logan and ran for 477 performances. The original cast featured Ralph Meeker, Eileen Heckart, Arthur O'Connell, Janice Rule, Reta Shaw, Kim Stanley and Paul Newman. Inge won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the work, and Logan received a Tony Award for Best Director. The play also won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Play of the season. Picnic was Paul Newman's Broadway debut.

Paul Osborne was chosen to turn Picnic into a musical in the 1960’s. It was called Hot
September and instead of going to the Alvin Theatre on Broadway in October of 1965, the musical premiered in Boston and closed within a few weeks.

Hurry, Harry, a musical with book by Jeremiah Morris, Lee Kalcheim and Susan Perkis; music by Bill Weeden; lyrics by David Finkle. It opened October 12, 1972 and ran 2 performances.


 


 

I Love My Wife is a musical with a book and lyrics by Michael Stewart and music by Cy Coleman, based on a play by Luis Rego. A satire of the sexual revolution of the 1970s, the musical takes place on Christmas Eve in suburban Trenton, New Jersey, where two married couples who have been close friends since high school find themselves contemplating a ménage-à-quatre.

The pre-Broadway tryout opened at the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia on March 21, 1977. The Broadway production opened at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on April 17, 1977 and closed on May 20, 1979, after 857 performances and seven previews. Directed by Gene Saks and choreographed by Onna White, the cast included James Naughton as Wally, Joanna Gleason as Monica, Lenny Baker, as Alvin, Ilene Graff as Cleo, Michael Mark (Guitar) as Stanley, Joseph Saulter (Drummer) as Quenton, John Miller (bass) as Harvey, and Ken Bichel (Piano) as Norman. During the show's run, cast replacements include Tom and Dick Smothers, Tom Wopat, Janie Sell and, in an African American version, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs and Hattie Winston. The show won Tony Awards for direction and featured actor in a musical (Baker).

Original director and choreographer Joe Layton was replaced due to injuries sustained in a fall.

The West End production opened on October 6, 1977 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, where it ran for 401 performances. It was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Musical of the Year. The show originally starred Porridge and Rising Damp star Richard Beckinsale, who was replaced as the lead mid-run by Confessions of a Window Cleaner actor Robin Askwith.

The band consisted of four on-stage musicians who were among the friends and acted in the opening scene. The show was filled with their shenanigans in the background during the songs. They sang along with some of the numbers and sometimes one of them took a solo and sang alone.

Clive Barnes, reviewing for The New York Times wrote that the musical is "bright, inventive, amusing and breezy." He noted that what Coleman and Stewart did regarding the band "is breathtakingly simple, but none...has ever done it before. They have taken the band and put it up on stage...The musicians are welded into the play, as a kind of Greek chorus." He especially noted that "It is a gorgeous cast-just right." Finally, he called the musical "mildly sexy, vastly diverting and highly amusing."

Clip from original Broadway production: