According to Elaine Stritch's memoirs,
Noel Coward came backstage to see her after a performance
of Goldilocks (a simply horrid musical, and they both knew it.)
Right there, 'midst the cold cream and the cigarillos,
he offered her the part of Mimi Paragon, cruise ship maven
(albeit 2nd Banana),
in his new show, Sail Away.
Halfway thru previews, Joe Layton (the choreographer)
asked "What If?":
What if the lead part (presently occupied by an opera star,
selected for her voice, not her acting prowess) was combined
with Elaine's? Let the 2nd banana be the whole bunch.
That "What If" worked.
It played 6 months on Broadway...longer at the Savoy in London.
Noel wrote the book, the music, the lyrics,
and designed the poster!?!?
The title song "Sail Away" was actually used previously
in another Coward show, Ace Of Clubs, 1950.