Downtown Music Productions and the HOWL Fest Present PINS AND NEEDLES
Mimi Stern-Wolfe's Downtown Music Productions will appear in a revival of Harold Rome's witty satire "Pins and Needles," music direction by Stern-Wolfe and stage direction by Eleanor Reissa, October 14 & 15 at Theater 80 St. Mark's, as part of the HOWL Festival. With its critically acclaimed score and lyrics, "Pins and Needles" is a unique call for social justice and equity. The large repertory of songs includes "Sitting on Your Status Quo," "Sing Me A Song of Social Significance," "Chain Store Daisy," and "Four Little Angels of Peace" (representing Eden, later changed to Chamberlain, Mussolini, the Japanese, and Hitler). Skits spoofed everything from Fascist European dictators to bigots in the DAR.
Connecticut-born composer/lyricist Harold Rome (1908-1993) later went on to write several other Broadway hits, including "Wish You Were Here" (1952) "Fanny," (1954), "Destry Rides Again" (1959), and "I Can Get It For You Wholesale," (1962).
The title, "Pins and Needles" was created by Max Danish, longtime editor of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU)'s newspaper called "Justice." The union sponsored the creation of the revue, which was premiered in 1937 at the Princess Theatre on 39th Street. It ran for over 1100 performances, breaking all Broadway records and continuing until 1941. The original cast was an ensemble called the ILGWU Players - cutters, dressmakers, embroiderers, sewing machine operators, etc. - who rehearsed after working hours and gave weekend performances. The play was so enthusiastically received that the cast quit their day jobs and the production expanded to a full schedule of eight performances a week. New songs and skits were introduced every few months to keep the show topical.
Revivals have been seen in 1978 by the Roundabout Theatre Company, in 2003 by the Jewish Repertory Theatre, and in December 2010 at the Cock Tavern Theater in Kilburn, London (the show's first production in England).