Dames at Sea

Dames at Sea
Dames at Sea
Original Cast recording
Music Jim Wise
Lyrics George Haimsohn
Robin Miller
Book George Haimsohn
Robin Miller
Productions 1966 Off-Off-Broadway
1968 Off-Broadway
1969 West End
1985 Off-Broadway
1989 West End revival

Dames at Sea is a musical with book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller and music by Jim Wise.

The musical is a parody of large, flashy 1930s Busby Berkeley-style movie musicals in which an understudy steps into a role on Broadway and becomes a star. It originally played off off-Broadway in 1966 at the Caffe Cino, starring newcomer Bernadette Peters and then played off-Broadway beginning in 1968 for a successful run. The show has enjoyed a London run, a television adaptation and a number of revivals.


Production history

The musical was originally a short sketch, based loosely on the Gold Diggers movies, written by George Haimsohn, Jim Wise, and Robin Miller. The character of "Ruby" was suggested by the Ruby Keeler-type from those early movies. It was lengthened to a 50-minute production, and director Robert Dahdah prepared it for its first staging. After the original actress who was to play "Ruby" withdrew during rehearsals, choreographer Don Price recommended newcomer Bernadette Peters for the role. The show opened in May 1966 as Dames at Sea, or Golddiggers Afloat at the Caffe Cino, a small coffee house/performance space in New York City's Greenwich Village, where it continued for 148 performances. [1]

Retitled simply Dames at Sea, the musical re-opened at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre on December 20, 1968, and transferred to the larger Theater de Lys on April 22, 1969, running for a total of 575 performances, through May 10, 1970. [2] Directed by Neal Kenyon, Peters reprised the role of Ruby as did David Christmas, co-starring as Dick.

On August 27, 1969, the show opened at London's Duchess Theatre, [3] where it ran for 127 performances.

Peters appeared in a regional production at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey in early 1973. [4] Subsequent revivals have been staged at the Lamb's Theatre in Manhattan (1985)[5], the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, London (1989) [6], and at the theatre where the musical first played off-Broadway, the Bouwerie Lane Theatre, produced by Jean Cocteau Repertory and directed by David Fuller, from September 3, 2004 to November 28, 2004.[7]

The show is popular for High Schools and Middle Schools alike.

In some cases, the show is fleshed out to include chorus boys and girls, and other sailors. Some productions also omit the song "Singapore Sue".[citation needed]

Plot synopsis

In the early 1930s, a Broadway musical is in rehearsal. Mona Kent is its temperamental diva star, Joan a wise-cracking chorus girl, and Hennesy the producer/manager/director. The naive Ruby arrives from Utah, with "nothing but tap shoes in her suitcase and a prayer in her heart" [8], determined to be a Broadway star. She promptly faints into the arms of Dick, a sailor and aspiring song writer ("It's You"). Ruby gets a job in the chorus, but Hennesy informs the cast that the theater must be torn down, and they must find another place for the show. Joan and Lucky, another sailor and her former boyfriend, renew their romance ("Choo-Choo Honeymoon") while Ruby admits her feelings for Dick ("The Sailor of My Dreams"). Dick and Lucky persuade their Captain to volunteer the use of their ship ("Dames at Sea"). Mona recognizes the Captain as a former boyfriend ("The Beguine"). When Mona kisses Dick, to persuade him to give her one of his songs, Ruby sees and is despondent ("Raining In My Heart"). Dick explains the misunderstanding and the couple make up ("There's Something About You"). While rehearsing on the actual ship, Mona becomes sea sick ("The Echo Waltz"); Ruby steps in to save the show and becomes a star ("Star Tar"). The three couples decide to marry ("Let's Have A Simple Wedding").

Other elements

The music is a mixture of parody, such as the torch song ""That Mister Man", pastiche ("Raining in My Heart"), and the real thing. [9] The joke was that, while spoofing the large, lavish movie musicals, Dames at Sea did it with a cast of six, 2 pianos and percussion, and a tiny stage. [10]

Musical numbers (1968)


Act I
  • "Overture"
  • "Wall Street"--Mona
  • "It's You"--Dick and Ruby
  • "Broadway Baby"--Dick
  • "That Mister Of Mine"--Mona and Chorus
  • "Choo-Choo Honeymoon"--Joan and Lucky
  • "The Sailor of My Dreams"--Ruby
  • "Singapore Sue"--Lucky and Company
  • "Broadway Baby" (reprise)--Hennesy
  • "Good Times Are Here To Stay"--Mona, Joan and Company
Act II
  • "Dames At Sea"--Company
  • "The Beguine"--Mona and Captain
  • "Raining In My Heart"--Ruby and Chorus
  • "There's Something About You"--Dick and Ruby
  • "Raining In My Heart" (reprise)--Ruby
  • "The Echo Waltz"--Mona, Joan, Ruby and Company
  • "Star Tar"--Ruby and Company
  • "Let's Have A Simple Wedding"--Company

Critical response

In his December 22, 1968, review in the New York Times, Clive Barnes wrote, "Dames At Sea is a real winner, a little gem of a musical. The show is wonderfully helped by its cast. The star I suppose is Bernadette Peters as the wholly sweetly silly small-town chorine who taps her way from the bus station to stardom in 24 hours." [13] Walter Kerr, in his Sunday Times feature article, added "You'll find the show cheerful and ingratiating, I think... Miss Peters is a real find... She is extremely funny, and endearing on top of that." [14] The Time Magazine review noted that the show had "three thoroughly engaging stars and some of the most ingenious staging currently on or off Broadway. Tamara Long, as the slinky heavy, brandishes a flaming Morganitic torch for her Mister Man, and Sally Stark, as Ruby's peroxided pal, belts a note almost as plangent as the great Merman's. The comic delight of the show, though, is Bernadette Peters, whose Ruby can simultaneously sing and dance up a storm that puts all New York (including Queen Mane of Rumania) at her feet."[15]

In the GAY CITY NEWS review (September 2004):

Director David Fuller has filled his production with such subtle touches, which make the show seem intriguingly contemporary, and far from the saccharine and serious treatments this chestnut usually receives, he’s restored the true Off-Broadway spirit that used the establishment’s own forms to tweak its foibles. First staged during the Vietnam War era, the musical seems more relevant than ever as it takes precise aim at the sunny outlook that comes from near-psychotic denial of reality.

The cast does a great job. They work well together, and in particular the production number “Raining in My Heart” is sweet and stops the show. Individually, Kathleen White as Ruby is deliciously comic, with expressions and physical comedies that recall Lucille Ball. She has an occasional dazed look that’s not so much self-conscious commentary on the plot as the real confusion of a young woman whose life is suddenly spinning out of control.

Chrysten Peddie as Joan has the tough dame attitude down cold. She’s got a warm presence, is a great dancer and has a strong voice. It’s a performance that reminds you of Ann Miller, especially when she turns up the brass, and that’s no accident. Peddie is a fine performer we should see more of. Andy Meyers is charming as Dick, and often very funny. The part is a little low for his voice, but when he nails it, he’s great. Joey Stocks as Lucky plays the classic second banana to Peddie’s Joan with tremendous good humor. The stock version of this character needs to be rough around the edges but still nice enough to take home to mom. As Mona Kent, Judith Jarosz plays the Margaret Dumont or Marie Dressler of the piece—the big, blowzy star who overpowers everyone around her through sheer force of personality. She’s terrific at it. Campbell Bridges does a fine job with the roles of Hennesey and the Captain.

The sets by Roman Tatarowicz and the choreography by Barbara Brandt are perfect for the tiny stage of the Bouwerie Lane theater, and it’s wonderful to see the revival of both the show and the mischievous spirit of political satire that originally inspired it. [16]


An adaptation for television starred Ann-Margret as Ruby, Ann Miller as Mona, Anne Meara as Joan, Harvey Evans as Dick, Fred Gwynne as Hennesy/Captain and Dick Shawn as Lucky.[17][18] It was broadcast on the Bell System Family Theater on NBC on November 15, 1971. The cast had extra chorus girls and boys, and there were full production numbers, turning into the very thing it was spoofing. Ann Miller was singled out for praise, especially when "she was allowed to tap out her brassy...temperamental star..." [19]


The original off-Broadway Cast Recording was released in 1969 by Columbia Masterworks Records (Columbia OS 3330) [20] and issued on CD by Sony.[21] The Original London Cast Recording is also available on CD.

Awards and nominations

Original Off-Broadway production

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1968 Drama Desk Award[22] Outstanding Performance Bernadette Peters Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Neal Kenyon Won
Outstanding Lyrics George Haimsohn and Robin Miller Won
Outer Critics Circle Award[23] Best Off-Broadway Musical Won


  1. ^ Stone, Wendell C. (2005). Caffe Cino: The Birthplace of Off-Off Broadway. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, pages 121-22. ISBN 0-8093-2644-2
  2. ^ "Internet Off-Broadway Database listing, 'Dames At Sea' ", accessed February 8, 2010
  3. ^ New York Times, "Dames At Sea" Gets Split London Vote", August 29, 1969, p.24
  4. ^ "ABOUT PAPER MILL: History", papermill.org, accessed February 8, 2010
  5. ^ Gussow, Mel. New York Times, June 13, 1985, Section C, p.33
  6. ^ Young, B. A. The Financial Times (London), "Crazy About the Navy", July 22, 1989, Sec. I, p.17
  7. ^ "Curtain Up review", curtainup.com, September 2004
  8. ^ New York Times, Walter Kerr, January 5, 1969, p. D1
  9. ^ New York Times, John Wilson, "Happily Afloat with 'Dames at Sea' ", July 6, 1969
  10. ^ Open a New Window: The Broadway Musical in the 1960s (2002), Ethan Mordden, p. 184, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 1-4039-6013-5
  11. ^ Original 1968 Cast recording
  12. ^ Curtain Up review
  13. ^ New York Times, Clive Barnes, December 22, 1968, p. 54
  14. ^ New York Times, January 5, 1969
  15. ^ "Friends from the '30s",Time Magazine, January 3, 1969
  16. ^ Gay City News, Vol. 3, Issue 339, September 23-39, 2004
  17. ^ Dames at Sea (1971) (TV) imdb.com, accessed July 21, 2009
  18. ^ According to Ethan Mordden in Open A New Window (2002), p. 184, Shawn played the Captain
  19. ^ O'Connor, John J. "T.V. Some Network Specials Do Not Always Turn Out To Be So," New York Times, November 17, 1971, p. 94
  20. ^ New York Times, John Wilson, "Happily Afloat with 'Dames at Sea' ", July 6, 1969, pg. D4
  21. ^ "Dames at Sea" on amazon.com
  22. ^ Drama Desk Awards2006 - Winners 2001
  23. ^ Outer Critics Circle

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Drôles de dames — Le casting de la série Drôle de dames en 1976 avec Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett Majors et Kate Jackson. Titre original Charlie s Angels Genre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Droles de dames — Drôles de dames Drôles de dames Titre original Charlie s Angels Genre Série d aventures Créateur(s) Ivan Goff Ben Roberts Production Edward J. Lakso, Rick Husky, Leonard Goldberg Aaron Spelling (executive prod) Musique Jack Elliott, Allyn… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Drôle de dames — Drôles de dames Drôles de dames Titre original Charlie s Angels Genre Série d aventures Créateur(s) Ivan Goff Ben Roberts Production Edward J. Lakso, Rick Husky, Leonard Goldberg Aaron Spelling (executive prod) Musique Jack Elliott, Allyn… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Drôles De Dames — Titre original Charlie s Angels Genre Série d aventures Créateur(s) Ivan Goff Ben Roberts Production Edward J. Lakso, Rick Husky, Leonard Goldberg Aaron Spelling (executive prod) Musique Jack Elliott, Allyn Ferguson Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Drôles de Dames — Titre original Charlie s Angels Genre Série d aventures Créateur(s) Ivan Goff Ben Roberts Production Edward J. Lakso, Rick Husky, Leonard Goldberg Aaron Spelling (executive prod) Musique Jack Elliott, Allyn Ferguson Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bernadette Peters — Infobox actor name = Bernadette Peters imagesize = 200px caption = At a Broadway Barks book signing (San Francisco, 2008) birthname = Bernadette Lazzara birthdate = birth date and age|1948|2|28 birthplace = Ozone Park, Queens, New York, United… …   Wikipedia

  • Prince Regent Theatre — Freddie Eldrett founded the Prince Regent Theatre in Farnborough, Hampshire with his long term companion Philip Gilbert in the 1980s.The small (70 seat) Prince Regent was designed as a children s theatre and focused on performances for and by… …   Wikipedia

  • Joe Cino — Joseph Cino (1931 April 4, 1967), was an Italian American theatrical producer and café owner. The beginning of the Off Off Broadway theatre movement is generally credited to have begun at Cino’s Caffé Cino. Caffe CinoPioneer of the off off… …   Wikipedia

  • Kim Criswell — is an American musical entertainer and actress born on July 19, 1957 in Hampton, Virginia. History Criswell grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After she graduated from high school, she studied musical theatre at the University of Cincinnati s… …   Wikipedia

  • Eastbourne Theatres — is the name of a council owned theatre group responsible for four theatres in Eastbourne, England. The group is responsible for the Congress Theatre, Devonshire Park Theatre, Winter Garden and The Royal Hippodrome Theatre. The theatres together… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”