re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS

allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05

This will take a few days, so I'll keep bumping it up to the top as I add stuff.

"On Your Toes" was conceived by Rodgers and Hart as a vehicle for Fred Astaire, but he was nervous about the ballet numbers and so he passed.

R&H brought it back to Broadway and turned it into a stage musical with Ray Bolger (made him a big star), Tamara Geva, Luella Gear and Monty Wolley.

The show was a huge hit in New York at the Imperial and the Majestic Theater, then was transferred to London with an identical production starring Jack Whiting, the Matthew Broderick of his day.

It was a huge... failure. It only ran 81 performances. The show was just too avant garde for London audiences of the day (marking the last Rodgers and Hart London transfer before the war).

It's a shame because Whiting was very good and the female star was the young and beautiful Vera Zorina.

The two good things to come out of the London production are the only period recordings of the hit songs with the original pit orchestra and this wonderful magazine supplement in "Play Pictorial" which absolutely captures the feel of a big American musical of the 30s and the amazing scenery designed by Jo Mielziner (and reproduced for the British production).

Oh and the score is amazing.






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Updated On: 4/20/08 at 03:04 AM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:06am

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:07am

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:14am

One of my favorite photos from the original New York production. This was clearly taken for publicity purposes before the costumes were finished as it's a hodge poge of costumes from several numbers. Tamara Geva is the main dancer and apparently, Ray Bolger is about to do the bolero number that must have been cut later.

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Updated On: 4/20/08 at 03:14 AM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:25am

Here's the amazing cover of the Broadway souvenir program from the original run, complete with nude dancers.

I may not scan all of this as it's pristine mint and I don't want to damage it.

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:34am

Here's Tamara Geva (real name Tamara Gevergeyeva) the star of the OBC.

She was one of the many wives of the choreographer of the show, George Balanchine. Eventually, he married Vera Zorina as well.

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Updated On: 4/19/08 at 03:34 AM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:45am

Here's a review of the OBC from "Cue Magazine"

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:46am

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:50am

And just a few pages away I discovered THIS neat photo. It's Vera Zorina, who will play Vera Barnova in "On Your Toes" a few months later in London, Sono Osato, who will play Ivy Smith, the dance lead in "On The Town" in 1944 and Alexandra Danilova, an amazing dancer and yet ANOTHER wife of Balanchine.

That man got around!

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 03:59am

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:05am

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:09am

Strangely enough, the original program has no photos from "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" the big ballet that caps the show. (Yes, "On Your Toes" had two big ballets which advance the story fully five years before "Oklahoma" which is always listed as the first show to incorporate ballets.

Here's a candid photo taken from the wings during the ballet...

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Updated On: 4/19/08 at 04:09 AM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:11am

I also got a copy of the pre-Broadway tryout (big shout out to Paul Ydstie at Broadway!!! on eBay).

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:12am

Notice all the sludge at the beginning of the show. This is before George Abbott came to Boston and turned the show from a flop to a big hit by using his big red pen on the script and score.

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Updated On: 4/19/08 at 04:12 AM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:13am

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:17am

Here's an amazing photo from the rehearsals. That's Ray Bolger being menaced by Montey Woolley. Monty was actually a director and a college professor who was given his first professional acting role because of his great beard. He went on to star in many hits including "The Man Who Came to Dinner"

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Updated On: 4/19/08 at 04:17 AM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:20am

Another amazing rehearsal photo. The cast are bravely pretending this is a completed number, save for the fact it's against the wrong set and the costumes are a hodge podge from several scenes. This is the title number.

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:23am

Another rehearsal photo. Right set, wrong costumes. Tamara Geva on point, Dimitrios Vilain on his knee. Curiously and humorously enough, the striped tights were worn by the MALE dancers in this number "La Princess Zenobia" Ballet.

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Updated On: 4/19/08 at 04:23 AM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 04:32am

Here's the finished product from the photocopy London production. Same set, different costumes.

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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 09:34am
These pictures are SO FANTASTIC!!! Thanks for posting them.

I saw the terrific revival of "On Your Toes" in the early '80s, with Tony-winner Natalia Makarova, Lara Teeter, Christine Andreas, Dina Merrill and George S. Irving. Directed by George Abbott (who was nearly 100 then). Much of the Balanchine choreography was recreated and embellished a bit.

It was a wonderful production. I remember the number "On Your Toes" stopped the show, literally! Some of the best choreography I've seen on Broadway ever. It was a "duel of styles" with ballet dancers and hoofers squaring off, mingling, adopting each other's styles and ultimately morphing into this incredible hybrid of tap and the barre. You have a photo from the original of this number with them all standing in a circle.

The score is incredible! "There's a Small Hotel" and "Quiet Night" being my favorites. Also "The Heart is Quicker Than the Eye," and "It's Got to Be Love." But the music that Rodgers penned for the Slaughter on Tenth Avenue ballet is unbeatable.

I love these vintage photos, particularly of a pre-Oz Ray Bolger in the Broadway show that made him a star.

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 10:47am
Thanks best12bars. More coming tonight.

I love this show SO MUCH. And I agree "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" is so utterly haunting. I also saw the revival, which was probably the last of the great "original masters of Broadway" revivals.

The Kennedy Center was able to get the three great creative minds behind the original production, 97 year old George Abbott who directed the show, 80 year old George Balanchine who choreographed and 90 year old Hans Spialek who scored the music to recreate their work exactly as it was in the original production (although all three elements were "enhanced" a bit to make the show vibrant and modern).

In particular, the orchestrations are, with exception of a stronger percussion section and some up-tempo, exactly what audiences in the 30s heard in the original show.

And they are as fresh as they day they were penned.

I have much more to put up tonight.

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folkyboy
Broadway Legend
joined:1/31/06
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 12:01pm
i concur! these pictures are AMAZING! i love those old still of Ray Bolger and the elaborate dance shots! wowza!
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 06:28pm

Opening page of the Broadway souvenir program

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Updated On: 5/30/11 at 06:28 PM
allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 06:30pm

Luella Gear was always described as "droll" and her songs were often described as "smutty." Bet she was a hoot at a party.

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 06:30pm

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allofmylife
Broadway Legend
joined:3/8/05
re: ON YOUR TOES 1936-1937 WITH PHOTOS
Posted: 4/19/08 at 06:39pm

These were very expensive tickets for 1936, which was still in the Depression. $2.20 for the front of the Balcony is a sure sign the show was a hit.



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Updated On: 4/19/08 at 06:39 PM

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