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Biography : The 1940s

Dorothy returned to songwriting only in 1944, when she and Herb started a new project with showman Mike Todd, who had produced the last two Cole Porter shows mentioned above. It was for a show called Up in Central Park .

The story concerned the Boss Tweed scandal in New York in the 1870s. The composer was another old friend – Sigmund Romberg of operetta fame. The show was a solid commercial success and yielded one lovely standard Close As Pages In a Book .

In 1945 Dorothy had a good idea. That idea was to star Ethel Merman in a musical about Annie Oakley. A round of visits to Broadway's great and good began, in order to sell the idea. Merman was enthusiastic. Mike Todd was not interested, but Rodgers and Hammerstein agreed to produce it.

Jerome Kern agreed to write the music, but died before he was able to start the score; a devastating personal and professional blow to Dorothy.

Finally Irving Berlin was hired for the score, while Dorothy and Herb wrote the book. The show, which opened in May 1946, was a sensational smash hit.

Ethel Merman, Irving Berlin, Dorothy Fields


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