A Musical Comedy in 2 Acts. Book by George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGrath and Abe Burrows. Suggested by the film Ninotchka by Melchior Lengyel. Music and lyrics by Cole Porter.
- Settings and lighting by Jo Mielziner.
- Costumes by Lucinda Ballard.
- Additional costumes by Robert Mackintosh.
- Musical direction and vocal arrangements by Herbert Greene.
- Orchestrations by Don Walker.
- Dance music arranged by Tommy Goodman.
- Dances and musical numbers staged by Eugene Loring.
- Directed by Cy Feuer.
Imperial Theatre, Broadway - 23 February, 1955 (477 perfs)
Theatrical agent Steve Canfield has persuaded noted Russian composer Peter Ilyitch Boroff to stay in Paris beyond the one performance granted by the Commissar of Art. Canfield's plan is to get him to write a score for a film to star another of his clients, the temperamental Janice Dayton. The Russian Commissar send three agents, Ivanov, Brankov and Bibinski to bring Boris back home.
Canfield, however, produces papers showing that Boroff has a French father and diverts the matter into the French courts. While the three agents are becoming fond of freedom and the pleasures of Paris, the Commissar of Arts has been replaced. The new Commissar Markovitch dispatches another agent to bring the Russian delegation home. The agent is a worker-minded gorgeous lady named Ninotchka.
At their first meeting Canfield is overwhelmed by her beauty and makes bold advances. Ninotchka is interested only in her mission, however, and in what intelligence information she is able to gather.
Janice Dayton arrives with her spectacular entourage. Boroff is at her heels, but Janice wants nothing to do with him - until Canfield convinces her that he is the key to publicity for her new movie. Janice's arrival and her professional closeness to Steve has triggered an emotion that even the best programmed Russian female agent cannot ignore - Ninotchka is jealous! She discards her worker's uniform for some feminine clothes and she goes out for a wonderful evening with Steve. Over the next few weeks there closeness evolves into romance and Steve is prepared to propose marriage.
However, Janice has wound Boroff - and the entire production crew - around her little finger. When the Russians see what has been done to the great Boroff's music, they suspect a master plot to destroy Russian culture. Ninotchka and Steve argue over the significance of the matter and she leads Boroff and the others back behind the Iron Curtain.
Back home, they are demoted for their poor handling of the whole affair.
It is several weeks later and Ninotchka is holding a party for the Paris group and other underground pleasure-seekers. Boroff has written a new songs which is very anti-Russian.
Canfield has managed to enter the country and reaches Ninotchka. However, Commissar Markovitch raids the party and Siberia looms for everyone. However, Canfield convinces Markovitch that fame and fortune await in America. Together they plan for Markovitch's best friend, the Commissar of Air, to supply the 'plane for the whole group to defect to the free world.
Violins A-C (2), B-D (Guitar), viola, cello, bass, clar (alto sax, bass clar), clar (alto sax, flute, pic), clar (tenor sax, bass sax, bass clar), clar (bari sax, alto sax, bass clar, oboe, Eng horn), horn, trumpets I-II-III, trombone I, II, III, harp, percussion, piano/conductor
- Too Bad - Ivanov, Brankov, Bibinski, Hotel Staff
- Paris Loves Lovers - Steve Canfield, Ninotchka
- Stereophonic Sound - Janice Dayton
It's a Chemical Reaction, That's All - Ninotchka
- All of You - Steve Canfield
- Satin and Silk - Janice Dayton
- Without Love - Ninotchka
- All of You (reprise) - Steve Canfield
- Hail, Bibinski - Ivanov, Brankov, Bibinski, French Comrades
- As On Through the Seasons We Sail - Steve Canfield, Ninotchka
- Josephine - Janice Dayton, Chorus
- Siberia - Ivanov, Brankov, Bibinski
- Silk Stockings - Steve Canfield
- The Red Blues - The Russians
- Finale - Entire Company
33 roles - 9 principals
Ivanov, Brankov, Bibinski - comic Russians who don't want to go home - sing
Boroff - escaped composer - straight role
Steve - American, leading man, sings
Vera - experienced dancer
Commissar Markovitch comedy character man
Ninotchka - lead, sings and dances
Janice Dayton - movie actress (blonde bombshell) - sings and dances
Total cast: 30 - 46
ORIGINAL CAST (in order of appearance):
- Peter Ilyitch Boroff PHILIP STERLING.
- Hotel Doorman: Walter Kelvin.
- Hotel Manager: Stanley Simmonds.
- Flower Girl: Geraldine Delaney.
- Ivanov: HENRY LASCOE.
- Brankov: LEON BELASCO.
- Bibinski: DAVID OPATOSHU.
- Steve Canfield: DON AMECHE.
- First Commissar: Edward Becker.
- Guards: Lee Barry, Dick Humphrey.
- Vera: JULIE NEWMAR.
- Commissar Markovitch: GEORGE TOBIAS.
- Choreographer: Kenneth Chertok.
- Ninotchka: HILDEGARDE NEFF.
- Reporters: Edward Becker, Tony Gardell, Arthur Rubin.
- Janice Dayton: GRETCHEN WYLER.
- Pierre Bouchard: Marcel Hillaire.
- Chief Commissar: Forrest Green.
- Minister: Tony Garden.
- President of Politburo: Walter Kelvin.
- Saleslady: Ludie Claire.
- M. Fabour: Paul Best.
- Bookstall Man: Louis Polacek.
- French Comrades: Win Mayo, Arthur Ulisse.
- Movie Director: Paul Best.
- Assistant Director: Lee Barry.
- Sonia: Devra Kline.
- Grisha: Forrest Green.
- Anna: Alexandra Moss.
- Musicians: Maurice Kogan, Leon Merian, Mervin Gold.
- Guard: Edward Becker.
Dancers: Estelle Aza, Barbara Bostock, Verna Cain, Geraldine Delaney, Devra Kline, Pat McBride, Carol Risser, Carol Stevens, Onna White, Martin Allen, Tommy [Thomas] Andrew, George Foster, Bruce Hoy, John Ray.
Scenes and settings
2 acts - 13 scenes, 8 full stage sets (including 2 drops), 3 scene drops.
Scene 1 : Hotel Lobby, Paris
Scene 2 : Commissar's Office, Russia
Scene 3 : Hotel Royal Suite, Paris
Scene 4 : Hotel Lobby, Paris
Scene 5 : Canfield's Hotel Sitting Room, Paris
Scene 6 : Commissariat Offices, Russia
Scene 7 : Couturier's Shop, Paris
Scene 8 : Hotel Royal Suite, Paris
Scene 1 : Bookstalls on Left Bank, Paris
Scene 2 : Exterior of French Film Studio
Scene 3 : Film Studio, France
Scene 4 : Hotel Lobby, Paris
Scene 5 : Ninotchka's Apartment, Russia
Original Cast Recording - RCA Victor 1102-2-RG