Life Begins At 8:40 (exactly, or thereabouts),
produced in 1934,
starred Ray Bolger, Luella Gear, Frances Williams and Bert Lahr.
With tunes by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Yip Harburg
(with an assist by Ira G),
it presaged The Wizard of Oz, just 5 years later,
which would reunite stars and the songwriting team.
Despite its launch on Broadway in the deepest/darkest Depression,
it ran for over a year.
Just a few of standards emerged,
like Fun To be Fooled, Let's Take A Walk Around The Block,
and You're A Builder Upper,
it was still touted as a "gay romp".
Below, the perpetrators,
Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen.
Above, a photo collage from the original program.
Below, Bert Lahr singing "Things!",
which Brad Oscar does in the 2010 concert version.
From that listen,
it's easy to imagine the Cowardly Lion
as Bert's next step.
Sandra Church as Gypsy
"Let Me Entertain You"
Below with Queen Ethel as Mama Rose in
the "King Lear of Musicals".
A trio of Roses...
The Real Gypsy Rose Lee,
and Mama Rose Merman.
Below, a group of theatre gods I would never want to face
if not adequately martini-ed:
Jerome Robbins (director/choreographer),
Stephen Sondheim (lyrics)
The REAL Gypsy Rose Lee,
Goddard Lieberson (cast album producer)
and Jule Styne (music).