No, No, Nanette – Original Broadway 1971 Revival Cast
With the Roaring Twenties in full roar, a wealthy bible publisher named Jimmy Smith (Jack Gilford) lives in a luxe Manhattan townhouse with his wife, Sue (Ruby Keeler), and his young “ward” – how do we get one of those? – Nanette (Susan Watson), who is a true product of her day, a liberated flapper. Neither woman knows that Jimmy is also supporting three other young women – purely platonic friends, your honor – in cities he visits on bible business. Act I: As we open, Nanette’s small army of suitors visits the house and is welcomed by Sue’s friend, Lucille Early (Helen Gallagher), a proto-shopaholic married to Jimmy’s lawyer, Billy Early (Bobby Van). Admirers are fine, Lucille tells the young folks, but “Too Many Rings Around Rosie” may keep Nanette from finding a husband. (The bonus track “Only A Moment Ago” – released for the first time – briefly appeared here. This Youmans-Caesar “trunk-song” a Gilford-Keeler duet, was rehearsed and recorded, but, dropped before the Broadway opening.) Now we meet Nanette and suitor #1, Tom Trainer (Roger Rathburn). Tom, finally alone with the girl of his dreams, pledges his love – “I’ve Confessed To The Breeze.” But Nanette’s is having too much fun to settle down just yet. Speaking of too much fun: Jimmy, we learn, is being blackmailed by his three protégées, and needs Billy Early to arrange some hush money. Jimmy also wants Billy to sublet a house for him in Atlantic City. Billy – and Tom, who works for him – depart (“Call Of The Sea”). Nanette, too, hears the call: all her friends are AC-bound, wants to go along, unchaperoned. Her guardians won’t agree but then Jimmy, on the side, slips her $200 (“I Want To Be Happy”). (Keeler’s tapdance here was a highlight of the ’71 production.) As the first act concludes (“No, No, Nanette” / Finaletto Act I), everybody is converging in Atlantic City: Jimmy decides to accompany Nanette and the family maid, Pauline (Patsy Kelly). Sue and Lucille, their husbands away on “business,” decide to go to the beach for the weekend. The three gold diggers arrange to meet Billy there, Act II: Nanette needs only moments to become the toast of Atlantic City (“Peach On The Beach”). Jimmy encounters his three protégées (Loni Zoe Ackerman, Pat Lysinger, and K.C. Townsend), each of whom, we learn, has heard her own version of theme song (“The Three Happy Pies”). Tom and Nanette bump into each other as well, and the romantic cottage-by-the-sea setting begins to turn Nanette’s thoughts to home and marriage (“Tea For Two”). And when Lucille discovers Billy on the scene, she’s quick to say she’s not jealous (“You Can Dance with Any Girl at All”), a song-and-dance that Gilfords’ wife Madeline recalls as the seven most exhilarating minutes on stage, as long as he comes home to her. But Sue sees Billy negotiating with the three protégées, jumps to the wrong conclusion, tells Lucille, and out goes domestic bliss. Tom and Nanette also quarrel, and the weekend ends in disaster as everyone tries to head back to New York (Finaletto Act II). Act III: Billy’s still negotiating, but also trying to convince Lucille nothing’s wrong (“Telephone Girlie”). Lucille won’t take his call, but she, too, is having second thoughts (“Where-Has-My-Hubby-Gone Blues”). Happily for all western civilization, things get straightened out fairly promptly: Billy pays off the protégées; the girls tell Lucille that it was Jimmy, not Billy, who romanced them – but never laid a hand on them, your honor. Tom finds Nanette, who’s still waiting at the AC train station; a moment later, they’re back together (“Waiting For You”). We end with a costume party at which Tom and Nanette’s engagement is announced. Sue, wanting to compete with protégées past and future, wows Jimmy with a stunning dress and dance routine (“I Take a Little One-Step”), sending us all home happy, too.
– Marc Kirkeby
Jimmy: Jack Gilford Lucille: Helen Gallagher Sue: Ruby Keeler Pauline: Patsy Kelly Nanette: Susan Watson Tom: Roger Rathburn Billy: Bobby Van Flora From Frisco: K.C. Townsend Betty From Boston: Loni Zoe Ackerman Winnie From Washington: Pat Lysinger Nanette’s Friends: Bob Becker, John Beecher, Joretta Bohannon, Roger Braun, Marcia Brushingham, Kenneth Carr, Jennie Chandler, Kathy Conry, Christene Cox, Kevin Daly, Ed Dixon, Ellen Elias, Mercedes Ellington, Jon Engstrom, Marian Harrldson, Gregg Harlan, Jamie Haskins, Gwen Hillier, Sayra Hummel, Scott Hunter, Dotte Lester, Cheryl Locke, Joanne Lotsko, Mary Ann Niles, Kate O’Brady, Sue Ohman, Jill Owens, Ken Ploss, John Roach, Linda Rose, Ron Schwinn, Sonja Stuart, Monica Tiller, Pat Trott, Phyllis Wallach