- Seesaw (musical)
caption= Original Recording
basis= William Gibson's play
Two for the Seesaw"
"Seesaw" is a musical with a book by
Michael Bennett, music by Cy Coleman, and lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
Based on the William Gibson play "
Two for the Seesaw", the plot focuses on a brief affair between Jerry Ryan, a young lawyer from Nebraska, and Gittel Mosca, a kooky, streetwise dancer from the Bronx. The musical numbers evoke colorful aspects of New York Citylife but have relatively little to do with the story. The most notable feature of the score's original orchestrations was their wide use of brass instruments. The production faced seemingly unsurmountable problems during its pre-Broadway tryout period, and when it reached Detroit, producers Joseph Kipness and Lawrence Kashabrought in Bennett for advice. He recommended they abandon the book by Michael Stewart and fire director Edwin Sherinand leading lady Lainie Kazan, who he felt was too hefty to portray a dancer convincingly. Upon agreeing to helm the show, Bennett recast most of the ensemble, convinced Robin Wagner to replace his original realistic design with a sleek, stylized set, had Coleman and Fields rework their score, and brought in Neil Simonto help him rewrite the book, although final credit went solely to Bennett.
After 25 previews, the Broadway production, directed and
choreographedby Bennett, opened on March 18 1973at the Uris Theatre. It later transferred to the Mark Hellinger; between the two venues, it ran a total of 296 performances. The opening night cast included Ken Howard, Michele Lee, Tommy Tune, Giancarlo Esposito, Thommie Walsh, Amanda McBroomand Baayork Lee.
Reviews were universally good, but there was no money for newspaper ads to quote them or thirty-second television spots to promote the show. As a publicity stunt, New York City Mayor
John V. Lindsaywas persuaded to appear on stage during a production number set in Times Square, and the ensuing media coverage resulted in a boost at the box office. But the move from the Uris to the Mark Hellinger was costly, and although a post-Broadway run in Philadelphiaand Bostonwas a financial success, "Seesaw" failed to earn back its sizable investment. Lucie Arnaz, John Gavin, and Tommy Tunestarred in the very well received national tour of the musical in 1974.
* My City
* Nobody Does It Like Me
* In Tune
* Welcome to Holiday Inn!
* You're a Lovable Lunatic
* He's Good for Me
* Ride Out the Storm;Act II
* We've Got It
* Poor Everybody Else
* Chapter 54, Number 1909
* The Concert
* It's Not Where You Start
* I'm Way Ahead
* Seesaw (Reprise)
Awards and nominations
Tony Awardfor Best Musical (nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical (nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Original Score (nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Lee, nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Tune, winner)
*Tony Award for Best Choreography (winner)
*Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (nominee)
Drama Desk Awardfor Outstanding Performance (Lee, winner)
"One Singular Sensation: The Michael Bennett Story" by Kevin Kelly, published by Doubleday (1990), pages 103-111 ISBN 0-385-26125-X
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