- Yip Yip Yaphank
"Yip Yip Yaphank" is the name of musical revue composed and produced by
Irving Berlinin 1917 while he was a recruit during World War Iin the United States Armyat Camp Uptonin Yaphank, New York.
From idea to the stage
The commanding officer at Camp Upton had wanted to build a community building on the grounds of the army base, and thought that Sgt. Berlin could help raise the US$35,000 needed for its construction. Berlin's song, "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning", an everyman song for soldiers, would be the basis of a revue full of army recruits—a veritable source of manpower available for him to use. He called for his friend and co-worker Harry Ruby to join him in writing down the flurry of songs that Berlin would create, including "
God Bless America", which Berlin would eventually toss out of the play for being too sticky.Laurence Bergreen: "Oh, How He Hated To Get Up In the Morning"]
In July 1918, "Yip, Yip Yaphank" had a tryout run at Camp Upton's little Liberty Theatre, before moving on to Central Park West's
Century Theatrein August. The show was typical of revues and follies, featuring acrobatics, dancers, jugglers, and also featured a demonstration by Lightweight Boxing Champion Benny Leonard. Included with the performances were military drills choreographed to music by Berlin.
The show had its comedy too, including males dressed as Ziegfeld girls, and Sgt. Berlin himself as the reluctant soldier not wanting to join in reveille during the "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" skit.
The finale, "We're On Our Way to France", was the replacement for "God Bless America". During this act, the whole company wore their full gear, and marched out of the theater, down the aisles and out to the street. During the Century Theatre run, the 'performers' stayed at an armory downtown, and would usually march right back to the armory after the evening show.
By September 1918, the production had to move to the Lexington Theatre, where it would eventually end its run. On that night, the audience saw the usual ending, with the battle-ready men marching off to 'war,' but with a slight diversion. After the main performers were seen marching through the aisles, Sgt. Irving Berlin and the rest of the crew were similarly dressed and marching out of the theater. This time, the men "were" going off to war, heading to France for real.
After the curtain
The play earned the U.S. Army US$80,000 for Camp Upton's Community Building, though the army never had it built. Irving Berlin did not go to France with the rest of the 20th Infantry, 152nd Depot Brigade, but would be listed among other great songwriters and playwrights of the time, well up to the next great war.
The success of this musical led him to volunteer to do a similar revue during
World War II, entitled " This Is the Army". He also reprised "Yaphank's" most popular song, "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" (which Berlin himself performed in both productions). Staged on Broadway, "Army" was such a smash, the military took it to London and Europe, and to the men fighting in the Pacific Theater. The show, as well as the fictionalized story of its production, was also turned into the 1943 motion picture "This Is the Army". "Yanks A Poppin" a show based on "This Is the Army" also played in the Pacific Theater.Fact|date=February 2007
*"You Can't Stay Up On
*"Oh, How I Hate To Get Up in the Morning"
*"I Can Always Find a Little Sunshine in the Y.M.C.A."
*"Dream On, Little Soldier Boy"
*"Mandy" (a major song in a minstrel act)
*"We're On Our Way to France"
*Irving Berlin needed a hit song during his time at Camp Upton, and wrote "Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In the Morning" as a song for the soldier and not necessarily a heavy-handed patriotic song. To assure its success, Berlin was fortunate to get
Eddie Cantorto sing it.
*"Mandy" would be sung by Eddie Cantor in the 1934 movie "
*"Mandy" also later appeared in the 1954 film "White Christmas", in a sequence sung and danced by
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen.
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