When Helen Gallagher came to Broadway in 1944, she was a member of the Corps de Ballet in a curious revue called Seven Lively Arts. Along with songs by Cole Porter, the show featured sketches by Moss Hart rendered by Beatrice Lillie. Bert Lahr and Benny Goodman counted among the performers, and Helen Gallagher was one of the dancers in a little ballet by Igor Stravinsky. Her first speaking role came in 1945 as Chorine in the Morton Gould / Betty Comden / Adolph Green musical, Billion Dollar Baby.
After appearing as a dancer in Mr. Strauss Goes to Boston and in the original production of Brigadoon, Helen Gallagher was featured in High Button Shoes, with Nanette Fabray and Phil Silvers. Jerome Robbins won a Tony® for his choreography in the 1947 show. She appeared again with Fabray in Make a Wish before taking on the role of Gladys Bumps in the revival of Rodgers and Hart’s musical, Pal Joey. Gallagher earned the Tony® for Best Featured Actress in a Musical in that production.
Her first starring role came in the 1953 Styne and Hilliard musical, Hazel Flagg, and she later starred as a replacement for Gladys in the original Broadway production of The Pajama Game. After starring in revivals of Guys and Dolls, Brigadoon, and Finian’s Rainbow, Gallagher played Nickie in the original Broadway production of Sweet Charity. The role earned her a Tony® nomination in 1967.
In 1971, Helen Gallagher played Lucille Early in the revival of No, No, Nanette, and won two awards for her performance: a Tony® for Best Actress in a Musical and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance.