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On Your Toes

Cover to 1963 Broadway Cast Recording

a musical comedy in 2 acts and 14 scenes by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and George Abbott : Lyrics by Lorenz Hart. Music by Richard Rodgers.

Produced at the Imperial Theatre, New York, 11th April 1936 with Ray Bolger, Tamara Geva, Doris Carson and Luella Gear, at the 46th Street Theatre, 11th October 1954 with Bobby Van, Vera Zorina, Kay Coulter and Elaine Stritch and at the Virginia Theatre, 6th March 1983 with Lara Teeter, Natalia Makarova, Christine Andreas, Dina Merrill and George S. Irving

Produced at the Palace Theatre, London, 5th February 1937 with Jack Whiting, Vera Zorina, Gina Malo and Olive Blakeney. Revived at the Palace Theatre, 12th June 1984 with Tim Flavin, Natalia Makarova, Siobhan McCarthy, Honor Blackman and John Bennett.


Act I

On a vaudeville stage, Phil Dolan II his wife Lili and his son Junior perform their nightly routine, - but afterwards in the dressing-room, Ma and Pa tell Junior he has to go to school. And fifteen years later, as predicted, Junior is a music teacher at Knickerbocker University. He has two talented students: Sidney Cohn and Frankie Frayne. Sidney has written a promising jazz ballet which Frankie catches Junior dancing to alone in the classroom (uncovering his 'secret past') and she trades an introduction to the Russian Ballet's manager in return for his

In the apartment of Vera Baranova, star of the Russian Ballet, Peggy, the manager, enthusiastically tells Sergei, the company's director, about the new jazz ballet. He is not interested in anything new - he doesn't even recognise that the Revolution has happened! Junior arrives as Vera and co-star/unfaithful lover Morrisone are having a Russian screaming match. The others leave, so that Vera and Junior can discuss the new ballet - but that's not at all how the scene ends…

Back in the classroom: Frankie is jealous of Junior's stories about Vera and the Russians (Peggy has promised him a chance to dance in the corps de ballet) and they both wish they were away from it all. At the opening of the ballet 'La Princesse Zenobia', Junior is told that one of the dancers is in jail and he has to take his place, but onstage he gets all his steps, rhythms and positions cock-eyed and makes a laughing-stock of the ballet. But the audience loves it! 

Act II

Sergei, Peggy, Vera, Morrosine and Junior have listened to the jazz ballet. Opinions are mixed, and Vera and Morrosine are still bitching at each other, as he becomes increasingly jealous of Junior. Poor Junior has got love problems, too: he upsets Frankie by going to lunch with Vera (for business reasons) instead of her, but she is 'Glad to be Unhappy'.

Next: Peggy, Sergei and some of the company visit Junior's school: Sergei has come to break the bad news that he will not be doing the jazz ballet, but Peggy persuades him oh-so-gently by threatening to pull out the million dollars she has put into the company. After Sergei's announcement that the next production will be Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, the class put on the title number 'On Your Toes', in which the students' jazz and the company's classical routines are deftly combined.

At a rehearsal, Morrosine's jealousy of Junior gets out of control, there is a fight in which he is knocked out by Sergei, and suddenly Junior is the new star! The humiliated Morrosine plots with his gangster friend Louie to shoot Junior at the end of the performance, Joe, the stage doorman, overhears and warns Frankie. On-stage, Junior is tipped off. he signals to the conductor to avoid the final loud climax which would cover the shot, and two cops seize Louie as he is about to shoot. After the curtain call, Junior is embraced by Frankie, and is startled to see his Ma and Pa waiting to congratulate him! The music-teacher has made it back to his home-ground - the stage. 


Musical Numbers

  1. Two A Day for Keith - Phil Dolan II, Lil Dolan, Phil Dolan III
  2. The Three Bs - Phil Dolan III, Ensemble
  3. It's Got To Be Love - Frankie Frayne, Phil Dolan III
  4. Too Good for the Average Man - Peggy Porterfield, Sergei Alexandrovitch
  5. There's a Small Hotel - Frankie Frayne, Phil Dolan III
  6. The Heart Is Quicker Than the Eye - Peggy Porterfield, Phil Dolan III
  7. La Princesse Zenobia Ballet - Princess Zenobia (Vera Baranova), Beggar, Old Prince, Young Prince
  8. Quiet Night - A Singer, Ensemble
  9. Glad To Be Unhappy - Frankie Frayne, Sidney Cohn
  10. On Your Toes - Frankie Frayne, Phil Dolan III, Sidney Cohn, Ensemble
  11. Slaughter on Tenth Avenue Ballet - Hoofer: Phil Dolan III. Strip Tease Girl: Vera Baranova. Big Boss: Featured Dancer
  12. Finale - Entire Company

Scenes and Settings

Act 1

Scene I: A Vaudeville Stage, sixteen years ago.
Scene 2: The Vaudeville Dressing Room.
Scene 3: A Classroom of Knickerbocker University, WPA Extension.
Scene 4: Vera's Apartment, the next morning.
Scene 5: Central Park, night.
Scene 6: A Green Room, Cosmopolitan Opera House, the next evening.
Scene 7: A Dressing Room, Cosmopolitan Opera House.
Scene 8: La Princesse Zenobia Ballet, Cosmopolitan Opera House.

Act 2

Scene 1: A Planetarium Roof Garden.
Scene 2: The Stage of the Cosmopolitan Opera House.
Scene 3: The Green Room, a week later.
Scene 4: Slaughter on Tenth Avenue Ballet.
Scene 6: The Stage of the Cosmopolitan Opera House.



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