Opening night: 2ndFebruary 1950
Composer: Morton Gould
Book: Herbert / Dorothy Fields, Rouben Mamoulian
Performers: Nanette Fabray, Georges Guetary,Pearl Bailey
A Girl With A Flame
That's What I Told Him Last Night
I Like It Here
That's My Fella
A Cow, A Plough And A Frau
Nothin' For Nothin'
He Will Tonight
Plantation In Philadelphia
You Kissed Me
I'll Never Learn
There Must Be Somethin' Better Than Love
Mister Washington! Uncle George!
I'm Scared (cut)
Johnny Cake (cut)
Little Old Cabin Door (cut)
source of Arms and the Girl was a play called The Pursuit of Happiness,
written by husband and wife team Lawrence Langner and Armina Marshall
(under the pseudonyms Alan Child and Isabelle Louden). The couple
were also the cofounders of the Theatre Guild and tried to produce
a musical version in 1948. Harry Warren was approached to write
the music, but he was only interested if Rouben Mamoulian would
direct (they had just worked together on the movie musical Summer
At the time, Mamoulian was not interested, but when Langner and
Marshall resurrected the project a year later, Mamoulian was hired,
but with Burton Lane as composer and Dorothy Fields as lyricist.
Burton Lane did not remain long on the project - he disliked the
book the Fields had written and withdrew. In fact the Fields duo
had experienced great difficulty with the book, constantly rewriting
the adaptation of the American Revolution story. Morton Gould stepped
in and he and Dorothy produced a tuneful score.
Creative team : Herbert Fields, Rouben Mamoulian, Dorothy Fields.
The story concerned a romance between a Hessian soldier and an independently-spirited
American girl. One aspect of the story which attracted interest
was the depiction of the colonial bundling custom. It
seems unmarried couples would get into bed together, fully dressed,
and separated by a wooden board. Strange.
Dorothy's lyrics received some praise, but the show also included
the song often cited as the low point of her achievements: an attempt
at depicting a rural paradise in A Plough,
a Cow and a Frau. ( A Frau? Well the character's German.)
individual who came away from Arms and the Girl with most credit
was Pearl Bailey in a supporting role as a former slave. She had
two show-stopping numbers Nothin' is Nothin'
and There Must Be Something Better Than
Poor reviews hastened this show's closure after only four months.
The show was recorded (see picture) on four ten-inch 78s. In 2003
the tracks were combined witha recording of Up
in Central Park and released on CD.
Sheet music cover for the song You Kissed
Thanks to Sally Plowright for the information on Harry Warren's
invitation to write the score.
Anyone interested in the French performer Georges Guetary who starred
with Nanette Fabray in the show (he has a very distinctive voice!)
can find out more at the Guetary