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re: No, No, Nanette ...
Posted by: flaguy 08:27 am EDT 04/14/17
In reply to: No, No, Nanette With Helen Gallagher - raydan 10:26 pm EDT 04/13/17

I saw the revival back in what, 1971 or 72?, several times. But for me (and for a lot of folks) it was all about Ruby Keeler, and her big "I Want To Be Happy" tap number, which needless to say stopped the show cold. She was really something to see. Couldn't sing or act much, but she had a style of tapping that was all her own, like she had bricks tied to her feet. And suddenly she was young again when she danced before us, and we were all transported back to her heyday of the 1930s (though the musical was actually set in the 1920s, of course.)

I later saw this musical when her understudy went on in the role, and didn't enjoy the evening nearly as much.

The Raoul Pene Du Bois costumes and sets (a different, single set for each of the THREE acts, as I recall), and the entire cast were all lovely. But when Ruby and Patsy Kelly left, and Martha Raye took over the part of Pauline the Maid (previously played by Kelly), it seemed the entire show suddenly shifted focus and now centered around Pauline (who also took over Ruby's big tap number.) And, oddly enough, I think the whole damn thing played better/funnier with Martha!

Anyway, I loved it all. And Helen Gallagher, Bobby Van, Susan Watson, Roger Rathburn and Jack Gilford were all exquisite in their parts. What a gorgeous production.

I remember first reading about this revival, before it opened out-of-town, and I thought "Oh, my God. What are they thinking? This sounds like the biggest flop-in-the-making EVER!" But Burt Shevelove turned out to be a master showman, indeed.
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