Hooray For What! at the Medicine Show Theatre

Medicine Show Theatre Ensemble presents a revival of Hooray For What!, the 1937 Broadway anti-war musical comedy with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y "Yip" Harburg, with book by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, playing at the Medicine Show Theatre from 13 Mar - 6 Apr 2008.

Hooray For What!: This spoof of jingoism and war profiteering centers around mild-mannered scientist Chuckles, who accidentally invents a poison gas capable of conquering the world. Smarmy weapons manufacturer Breezy Cunningham, who knows the formula to the gas will make him rich, tries to bribe it out of the scientist. When Chuckles refuses, Breezy recruits beautiful spy Stephanie Stevanovich to steal it from him. Comedic hi-jinks, multiple identities and international intrigue abound when Chuckles goes to the League Of Nations Peace Conference in Geneva, where Breezy, Stephanie (and their enemy counterparts) all try to grab the deadly formula for their own ends.

The show originally opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in December, 1937 (directed by Vincente Minelli, choreographed by Agnes De Mille and starring Ed Wynn and Vivian Vance) where it played for 200 performances.

Directed by Barbara Vann and choreographed by Dieter Riesle, Hooray For What! features Josh Bishop, Danielle Carter, Mark Dempsey, James Eden, Sarah Engelke, Ilona Farkas, Mark Gering, Beth Griffith, Rachel Grundy, Adrienne Hurd, Richard Keyser, Mike Lesser, Vince Phillip, Constantine Montana and Lynda Rodolitz.

The creative team comprises Joel Handorff (sets) and Uta Bekaia (costumes).

The production materials to Hooray For What! were thought lost to the ages until 1983, when Ms. Vann and the late James Barbosa procured what apparently was the only extant copy of the script from Dorothy Stickney, Howard Lindsay's widow. The score was pieced together using parts culled from various sources including Harburg's official archives and Arlen biographer Ed Jablonsky, who managed to find some of the missing music by digging through Arlen's closet.

Medicine Show previously produced Hooray For What! in 1983.

Originally published on

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