Babes in Hollywood

The Music of Garland & Rooney

Created by David Grapes

Arrangements by Andrew Philip Herron

 

Production Requirements

Cast
2 Men & 2 Women

Also available
HIGH SCHOOL VERSION WITH EXPANDED CAST

Orchestration
Piano
Bass
Drums

Setting
Unit Set

Find a barn, have mom sew the costumes and then get ready to swing, sway and swoon to over 30 of the most glorious songs of the Twentieth Century. Be the first theatre in your market to produce this exciting new musical revue. Babes in Hollywood salutes the legendary musical careers of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. You’ll thrill to such American classics as “Over the Rainbow,” “You Made me Love You,” “Easter Parade,” “But Not for Me,” “The Man Who Got Away,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “That’s Entertainment,” “Where or When,” “Born in a Trunk,” “Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Strike up the Band,” and many more! Let the cast of four talented singer/dancers take you on a magical journey from the soundstages of Hollywood to the stages of Broadway. Babes in Hollywood is sure to delight audiences of all ages. HIGH SCHOOL VERSION (EXPANDED CAST) ALSO AVAILABLE!

Babes in Hollywood – Musical Numbers

Act I

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT – Words and music by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, 1953

BORN IN A TRUNK – Words by Leonard Gershe, Music by Roger Edens, 1954

ON THE ATCHISON, TOPEKA, AND THE SANTA FE –Words by Johnny Mercer, music by Harry Warren, 1945

WAITING FOR THE ROBERT E LEE – Words by L. Wolfe Gilbert, music by Lewis F. Muir, 1912

LET ME CALL YOU SWEETHEART – Words and music by Beth Slater Whitson and Leo Friedman, 1910

BABES IN ARMS – Words by Lorenz Hart, music by Richard Rodgers, 1937

BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVR’Y MOON – Words by Edward Madden, music by Gus Edwards, 1909

DEAR MR GABLE (YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU) – Words by Joseph McCarthy, music by Jimmy Monaco, 1913

WHERE OR WHEN – Words by Lorenz Hart, music by Richard Rodgers, 1937

FOR ME AND MY GAL – Words by Edgar Leslie and Ray Goetz, music by George W. Meyer, 1917

OVER THE RAINBOW – Words by E.Y. Harburg, music by Harold Arlen, 1938

COUPLE OF SWELLS – Words and music by Irving Berlin, 1947

BE A CLOWN – Words and music by Cole Porter, 1948

MEET ME IN ST LOUIS – Words by Andrew B. Sterling, music by Kerry Mills, 1904

THE TROLLEY SONG – Words and music by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, 1944

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR – Words and music by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, 1944

STRIKE UP THE BAND – Words by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin, 1927

YANKEE DOODLE BOY – By George M. Cohan, 1904

GRAND OLD FLAG – By George M. Cohan, 1906

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
Words by Katharine Lee Bates, melody by Samuel Ward, 1913

Act II

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT (Reprise) – Words and music by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, 1953

BUT NOT FOR ME – Words by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin, 1930

COME RAIN OR COME SHINE – Words by Mercer, music by Harold Arlen, 1946

SAN FRANCISCO – Words by Gus Kahn, music by Bronislau Kaper and Walter Jurmann, 1936

I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO – By Douglas Cross, George Cory, 1954

ZING WENT THE STRINGS OF MY HEART – Words and music by James F. Hanley, 1935

HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON – Words by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin, 1928

OLD DEVIL MOON – Words by E.Y. Harburg, Music by Burton Lane, 1947

OLD BLACK MAGIC – Words by Johnny Mercer Music by Harold Arlen, 1942

MR. MONOTONY – Words and music by Irving Berlin, 1948

ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET – Words by Dorothy Fields, music by Jimmy McHugh, 1930

I’M IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE – Words by Dorothy Fields, music by Jimmy McHugh, 1928

I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVEWords by Dorothy Fields, music by Jimmy McHugh, 1928

SWANEE (A Star is Born) – Words by Irving Caesar, music by George Gershwin, 1919

ROC-A-BYE YOUR BABY WITH A DIXIE MELODY – Words by Sam Lewis and Joe Young, music by Jean Schwartz, 1918

I GOT RHYTHM – Words by Ira Gershwin, music by George Gershwin, 1930

STEPPING OUT WITH MY BABY – Words and music by Irving Berlin, 1948

HAPPY FEET – Words by Jack Yellen, Music by Milton Ager, 1930

AFTER YOU’VE GONE – Words by Henry Creamer music by Turner Layton, 1918

THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY – Music by Harold Arlen, words by Ira Gershwin, 1953

GET HAPPY – Words by Ted Koehler, music by Harold Arlen, 1930

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN – Music and Lyrics by J. Yellen and M. Ager, 1929

OVER THE RAINBOW (Reprise) – Words by E.Y. Harburg, music by Harold Arlen, 1938

Curtain Call

THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT – Words and music by Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, 1953

Reviews

The Show itself is a celebration, both of the era’s rich popular music and its recreation by a talented company brilliantly inspired and led.

The songs are a series of showstoppers.

It’s that kind of show, gloriously danced and gloriously sung, that is a tribute not just to the enormous talents of the players but also to the two creator’s abilities and sensitivity. This collaboration has been fruitful for both, and the result is a premiere of great and unusual distinction. This is the summer show you deserve to see!

The opening number says it all, “That’s Entertainment” and for two hours, including intermission, that’s exactly what it is. Four hard-working young talents interchange the roles of Judy and Mickey beginning six and seven decades ago when they first stepped on the professional stage. Judy, pushed by an ambitious mother, and Mickey, the son of touring vaudevillians, find their separate ways to Hollywood where they would soon become America’s on-screen sweethearts. The show traces their careers through one standard after another with some connective narrative in between.
If your musical tastes run to old standbys, “Babes in Hollywood” will more than please your palate. There are 42 of them and almost as many costume changes from Johnny Mercer’s World War II hit, “On the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe” to the slam-bang show’s finale “Grand Old Flag.” There is bound to be one or more tunes in this show that will touch a special chord in every theater-goer, regardless of age.

If you appreciate a simpler time — back when you could understand a song’s lyrics and its hummable music nestled into your brain —then this is the show for you. “Babes in Hollywood” highlights the twin rollercoaster lives and careers of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.

Babes in Hollywood: The Music of Garland & Rooney” is a delicious way to savor the holidays. Running through New Year’s Eve this frothy confection is overflowing with infectious charm, thanks to an energetic sextet of performers and a pitch-perfect three-piece onstage band.

Our summer audiences loved every minute of BABES IN HOLLYWOOD. It was a fantastic way to open our 73rd season. I highly recommend that you consider it for your audiences. I think that this show is going to generate big business for theatres all over the country.”

Thanks so much for creating such beautiful shows! Our audiences always love your musicals and we LOVE WORKING WITH YOU.

 

Character Descriptions

Woman #1 G3 thru D#5 (though G3 thru E5 is a plus)     

A bright-eyed ingénue, subtly reminiscent of the young Judy Garland but capable of playing a more sensual part in Act Two.

Woman #2 F#3 thru D5 (though F3 thru E5 is a plus)       

A worldly chanteuse, subtly reminiscent of the older Judy Garland but secure enough to be a trustworthy emcee – a gal who’s been-there-done-that but has an admirable attitude about it.

Man #1 A2 thru E4 (though G#2 thru A4 is a plus)             

A vaudevillian performer subtly reminiscent of the young Mickey Rooney, but capable of coming across as real in ballads.

Man #2 G2 thru D#4 (though G2 thru F#4 is a plus)           

Less an impersonator of Mickey Rooney than a grown man to counter-balance Man 1 – a solid, musical theatre emcee – perhaps the man Mickey Rooney might have become had he stayed purely a Broadway song and dance man.

Creator’s Notes

The Setting: The setting should evoke the back lot of a film studio or the backstage of an old-fashioned New England summer stock theatre. It should be a place where theatrical magic can happen. For the original production we sat the play on a giant logo backed by a rear projection screen. On stage where all the elements needed to create the evening; props, costumes, music, instruments, etc. Also on stage was a grand piano, klieg lights, two large theatrical trunks, director’s chairs with the names Garland and Rooney, movie posters, photographs, television cameras, movie cameras and equipment and various period microphones. The idea for any setting should first serve the music and the actors. The original production also contained a lot of dance, so that was also reflected in the ground plan. Look at the old Garland Rooney movies in which the characters “always put on a show in dad’s barn with mom’s costumes” and let that sense of joy, improvisation, and adolescent energy guide your decisions. And if you lack space and/or financial resources, then I would argue that the piece would also work just as well with the four performers standing around a grand piano making musical and emotional connections with the audience.

Stage Properties: A black or white baby grand piano, several old fashitned microphones including a studio boom and one functional retro (Sony) 50’s microphone on a stand, two director’s chairs (Garland and Rooney), two large theatrical trunks filled with costumes and props, costume racks containing costumes, hats, wraps, etc., movie posters, album covers, handbells, clown costumes and clown props, top hats and canes, and Items that you would find backstage at a theatre or a soundstage: klieg lights, clapboard, flats, stock scenery, effects machinery, cameras, etc.
Sound: Sound is very important to the success of BABES IN HOLLYWOOD. Sound reinforcement mattered to Garland and it will matter to your audiences. Therefore, like Forever Plaid, BABES IN HOLLYWOOD is intended to be performed using microphones as sound reinforcement. When possible wireless body mics should be used on each performer rather than using stand microphones. In addition to these microphones there can be additional mics used during the production. Garland in particular was skilled at working with a microphone in her concert performances. Depending on the size of your theatre, you may also want to reinforce the piano or stand up bass. My recommendation is to start sound rehearsals as soon as possible and locate the best sound engineer you can find to mix the show during each performance.

Pianist/Musical Director: This is perhaps the most important casting decision to be made for the production. This person controls almost everything about the production (tempo, style, energy, etc.). The perfect player would be an EXCELLENT sight reader, who not only has played musical theatre productions, but is familiar with the great standards of the 20th century. The score, while fully written out, is designed so that an accomplished musician can add his/her artistry to the performance. You need an outstanding player who is capable of managing the multitude of tempo, key and style changes that are written into the score. In many ways, this person becomes a fifth character in the production so look for a great musician who also has an interesting stage personality. In our initial production, this musician also served as Musical Director and conducted the stand up bass player and drummer from the piano during performance.

Transitions: The musical score is constructed in a way that the music almost never stops. It was our intention that dialogue is given underneath solo piano in many of the “narrative sections.” It is important the performance appears seamless to the audience.
Dance: The show contains a number of optional dance breaks. Dance is a wonderful element and adds much to the production, if you have the talent to pull it off. Remember that while they were primarily vocalists, both Garland and Rooney danced their way through lots of films. While not Fred and Ginger, they were skilled in many dance styles. Watch their films. You’ll be impressed at the long dance sequences all shot on one take. The choreography should have a Hollywood musical quality in the first act and then become much more direct and simple in act two. It should posses class and style and look completely effortless. Also, never be afraid to let people stand still in a spotlight and “sell the song.” After all, these are some of the greatest tunes of the Twentieth century. Let Judy at Carnegie Hall be your reference for those moments.

Character, theme, and style: Each of the four characters is unique. Each actor represents a different yet distinctive aspect of Garland and Rooney as performers. Yet, the actors are also playing themselves. It is important that they feel comfortable enough to bring their own experiences to their role. Remember that no one in the cast should make any attempt to imitate either Garland or Rooney. The show is not about imitation but rather is a celebration of their talents and the incredible music that they both sang. Of all of the SWP shows BABES IN HOLLYWOOD is perhaps the most “presentational” and “audience centered.” However, you need to maintain the audience’s emotional connection to the piece particularly in Act two when the music becomes more complex and sophisticated. Remember it is a musical tribute and celebration of Garland and Rooney and not a cabaret performance in which each singer interprets the song in his or her own personal way. We are paying tribute to Garland and Rooney and the reasons that they recorded and performed these great tunes in the first place. Direct and shape all the performances through a “Garland musical filter.” Keep it light, fast and fresh. The actors should be having just as much fun as the audience.

Vocals: Whatever you do, do not let anyone do an imitation of Garland!!! That is a sure-fire ticket to disaster. What is important is to have everyone connected to the production listen to as many of Garland’s recordings as you can get your hands on. Then get the performers to “channel” what they feel and hear from those recordings. You are after the essence, style, and personal way Garland interpreted a great song, not an exact duplication of her performance. The music is always your guide and the arrangements your anchor. Cast great singers and then have them perform these songs with style and grace.

Script: Do not allow actors to ad-lib lines to the audience or add additional dialogue.

Additional Music: It is recommended that you do not use any recorded music of Garland during pre-show or intermission.

Costumes: Women Act I – Bright skirts or dresses with a younger Hollywood period feel. Must allow for dance. Women Act I – Darker dresses with an older more sophisticated feel. A reference to the fifties and something that Judy might have worn in concert. Must allow for dance. Men Act I – Light pleated pants with suspenders and perhaps shirts and vests. A Hardy Boys feel. Must allow for dance. Men Act II – Suits or formal wear. Sophisticated and more mature.

Lighting: The design should allow for as many different looks as possible The production lends itself easily to the use of dramatic specials, gobos and break-up patterns. I prefer a white cyc in the background, which can be changed to various saturated colors or an RP scene, which can be used for images or for color. Two follow spots are recommended. All lighting should be more theatrical than realistic and evoke mood rather than place.

Marketing: Nothing sells a show like recognizable song titles. In your advertising, you may use any song title contained in the show. You may also use the words “The Music of Garland and Rooney” when using the BABES IN HOLLYWOOD title. Remember, you do not have authorization or permission to use Garland or Rooney’s picture or likeness to advertise the production. SWP does not authorize you to use any copyrighted images of Garland or Rooney.
David Grapes – 2021

Arranger’s Notes:
The main challenge in performing the score of Babes in Hollywood is to master both the vaudevillian first act and the jazzy second. A peculiarity of Judy’s career was that its first half (1930s-40s) saw her performing songs that were nostalgically behind the times, while her late career (1950s-60s) was shockingly ahead of its time, pointing toward a powerful generation of female balladeers. The inherent problem is that those early Vaudevillian numbers (particularly those assigned to MAN 1) can be extremely corny and hokey. To cope with this, it’s helpful if all performers are relaxed and engaging in the narrative lines. There’s no need to carry the cartoonish energy of the vaudevillian songs into the narration. It’s also helpful if the audience sees the characters sing sincerely before they sing cartoonishly, and the opening number facilitates this. One final thought: Want a way to bolster the intensity of your production? Find the very best piano you can – grand if possible – and plop that thing right onstage, just a hair behind your performers at center. Don’t feel obligated to hide the musicians – we’ve found that prominently placed musicians not only intensify this show; they paradoxically relax the audience. Somehow the presence of instruments onstage says, “This show is primarily about the songs. Yes, the styles may seem a little quaint, but we’re just performing – it’s all in good fun.” In the initial production, we brought our pianist onstage halfway through Act Two.
Andrew Philip Herron – 2021

Creator’s Bios

David Grapes II

David Grapes II

Creator

David is an Emeritus Professor of Theatre at the University of Northern Colorado, where he served as the Founding Director of the School of Theatre Arts and Dance and Producing Artistic Director for The Little Theatre of the Rockies for 15 years. An award-winning director, actor, drama critic and playwright, David has provided administrative and artistic leadership for a wide variety of theatrical institutions including two professional regional (LORT) theatre companies. An active member of SDC and AEA his work as a stage director (250+ productions) and actor has been seen at major regional theatres across the United States. As a DGA member, David is the creator or co-creator of eight original musical revues, six plays and numerous adaptations (www.summerwindproductions.com), which have enjoyed over 500 productions worldwide. David holds a BA from Glenville State College and an MFA in Acting/Directing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Andrew Philip Herron

Andrew Philip Herron

Arranger

Andrew Philip Herron (Arranger) is the composer and co-librettist of the musicals The Top, Bonnie and Clyde, and American Storm; The Great Galveston Hurricane. He wrote incidental music for Mikell Pinkney’s production of Orestes, additional music and lyrics for David Varquez’s adaptation of El Bluebird, and was the music director for the University of Florida’s nationally known Theatre Strike Force troupe, composing for their mainstage show for two years. Mr. Herron’s work has been presented and read at such theatres as The Culture Project at 45 Bleecker, The Village Theatre (Seattle), and Constans Theatre (Florida).

Credits

PROGRAM CREDITS FOR TITLE PAGE

Created by David Grapes
Musical Arrangements & Medleys by Andrew Philip Herron

Special Thanks

Dr. K. Dawn Grapes, Vince di Mura, Little Theatre of the Rockies – Tom McNally, Andrew Svedlow, and Greeley (CO) Central High School Thespian Troupe

Babes in Hollywood – Videos

Babes in Hollywood – Audio

Babes in Hollywood Musical Sampler

by Studio Recording

Contact Us

Summerwind Productions, LLC – Box 430, Windsor, CO 80528          Email: Summerwindprod@hotmail.com