George M!


George M!

:"For the 2006 Off-Broadway musical, see George M. Cohan Tonight!"

Infobox Musical
name=George M!


imagesize=thumb|300px
caption= George M! Original Broadway Cast Album
music= George M. Cohan
lyrics= George M. Cohan
book= Michael Stewart
John Pascal
Francine Pascal
basis= The life of George M. Cohan
productions= 1968 Broadway
1970 US Television adaptation
awards=

"George M!" is a musical with a book by Michael Stewart, John Pascal, and Francine Pascal and music and lyrics by George M. Cohan, based on the life of Cohan, the biggest Broadway star of his day. He was known as "The Man Who Owned Broadway."

The story covers the period from the late 1880s until 1937 and focuses on Cohan's life and show business career from his early days in vaudeville with his parents and sister to his later success as a Broadway singer, dancer, composer, lyricist, theatre director and producer. The show includes such Cohan hit songs as "Give My Regards To Broadway", "You're A Grand Old Flag", and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Productions

After eight previews, the Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Joe Layton, opened on April 10, 1968 at the Palace Theatre, where it ran for 433 performances. The cast included Joel Grey as George M. Cohan, Bernadette Peters, Jamie Donnelly, and Betty Ann Grove. William Goldman writes about this production in his 1968 book "The Season": "Everybody knew how bad "George M!" was, in spite of Joe Layton's directing work. The show had its troubles on the road...the problem all along was to try to warm up the central figure. "George M!" was one of the two most painful productions of the season..." [Goldman, William. "The Season:A Candid Look At Broadway" (2004, paperback), p. 372, Limelight Editions, ISBN-13: 9780879100230]

A television adaptation, presented as a staged reading of the musical with the performers discussing Cohan's life and work between rehearsal-style song-and-dance routines, was broadcast by NBC on September 12 1970. Grey and Peters were joined by Jack Cassidy, Nanette Fabray, Anita Gillette, and Blythe Danner.

ynopsis

;Act I

Jerry and Nellie Cohan waste no time adding their young son to their travelling vaudeville act, "The Four Cohans", with sister Josie. By the time George is 20, they are playing the Columbia Theatre in Cedar Rapids, and George has landed an audition for the family with impresario E. F. Albee. But Albee doesn't make a good enough offer, and George books the act into the Adams Street Theatre in New York. There they meet singer Ethel Levey, and soon George and Ethel get married. Now George is determined to move "The Five Cohans" from vaudeville to musical comedy, and so he writes his first full-length show, "The Governor's Son". The musical is a flop, but George is undeterred and opens his next show, "Little Johnny Jones". After a momentary crisis of confidence, the company is on stage as George begins the song "Give My Regards to Broadway". By the time the song is over, the Yankee Doodle Kid is a hit.

;Act II

George's career soars higher and higher. He is now a producer, and he and his partner, Sam H. Harris sign Fay Templeton to appear in their show, and we hear some of Cohan's most famous songs, "Mary", "Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway", and "So Long Mary". Ethel feels neglected by her high-flying husband, and the two are divorced. George is crushed, but later meets Agnes Nolan from the cast of "Little Johnny Jones". Soon they are married and, together with Agnes, George writes some of his most enduring work, including the songs "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "Harrigan", "Over There", and "You're a Grand Old Flag." But George loses family members, and Broadway is changing – actors are unionizing, and Actors Equity is making Demands. George first resists evolving and then retreats from the stage for many years. Eventually, though, Harris offers him a role in "I'd Rather Be Right", and, lonely for the stage, he accepts. But his old style is no longer right for 1937, and George is used to being the boss, not just another actor. On stage, alone, George remembers his former glory, singing "Give My Regards to Broadway." He can still tap, after all, and his wife Agnes joins him to reprise "Yankee Doodle Dandy" before he leaves the theatre – at least he's on Broadway.

ong list

;Act I
* Musical Moon -- Jerry Cohan and Nellie Grove
* Oh, You Wonderful Boy -- Josie Cohan
* All Aboard for Broadway -- George M. Cohan and Four Cohans
* Musical Comedy Man -- Four Cohans and Full Company
* All Aboard for Broadway (Reprise) -- Four Cohans and Full Company
* I Was Born in Virginia -- Ethel Levey
* Twentieth Century Love -- Four Cohans and Ethel Levey
* My Town -- George M. Cohan
* Billie -- Agnes Nolan
* Push Me Along in My Pushcart -- Ethel Levey and Pushcart Girls
* Ring to the Name of Rose -- Josie Cohan and Bell Ringers
* Popularity -- Willie and Full Company
* Give My Regards to Broadway -- George M. Cohan and Full Company;Act II
* Forty-five Minutes from Broadway -- George M. Cohan and Rose
* So Long, Mary -- George M. Cohan, Sam Harris, Rose, Freddie and Ma Templeton
* Down by the Erie -- Secretary, Politicians, Little Girl in Templeton scene and Full Company
* Mary -- Fay Templeteon
* All Our Friends -- Sam Harris and Full Company
* Yankee Doodle Dandy -- George M. Cohan and Full Company
* Nellie Kelly I Love You -- George M. Cohan and Full Company
* Harrigan -- George M. Cohan and Full Company
* Over There -- George M. Cohan and Full Company
* You're a Grand Old Flag -- George M. Cohan and Full Company
* The City -- Full Company
* I'd Rather Be Right -- George M. Cohan and Company
* Give My Regards to Broadway (Reprise) -- George M. Cohan
* Dancing Our Worries Away -- Full Company
* The Great Easter Sunday Parade -- Full Company
* Hannah's a Hummer -- Full Company
* Barnum and Bailey Rag -- Full Company
* The Belle of the Barber's Ball -- Full Company
* The American Ragtime -- Full Company
* All in the Wearing -- Full Company
* I Want to Hear a Yankee Doodle Tune -- Full Company

Characters and original cast

*George M. Cohan – Joel Grey
*Jerry Cohan (George's father) – Jerry Dodge
*Ethel Levey (George's first wife) – Jamie Donnelly
*Nellie Cohan (George's mother) – Betty Ann Grove
*Agnes Nolan (George's second wife) – Jill O'Hara
*Josie Cohan (George's sister) – Bernadette Peters
*Fay Templeton – Jacqueline Alloway
*Sam Harris (producer) – Harvey Evans

Awards and nominations

*Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical (Grey, nominee)
*Tony Award for Best Choreography (winner)
*Theatre World Award (Peters, winner)

References

External links

*
*
* [http://www.tamswitmark.com/musicals/georgem.html Tams-Witmark plot details]
* [http://www.nodanw.com/shows_g/george_m.htm Information from the NODA website]
* [http://www.broadwaymusicalhome.com/shows/georgem.htm Profile of the show from BroadwayMusicalHome.com]


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