Hollywood Pinafore (or the Lad Who Loved a Salary) (1945)
Book and lyrics by George S. Kaufman
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
In Kaufman's hysterical reimagining of the world of Gilbert and Sullivan on a Hollywood studio lot, this musical captures the broad personalities, the social satire, the plot contrivances and unforgettable music from the D'Oyly Carte days. Joseph Porter is the bumbling head of Pinafore Pictures wants to be married to screen idol Brenda Blossom, who'd far prefer to marry the poor but well-meaning script writer Ralph Rackstraw. Faced with the terrible prospect of being poor and having to earn her living acting on a stage—"And should you give a bad performance upon the stage, the critics will actually say so in print," warns her agent, Dick Live-Eye—Brenda is in despair. But, at the final curtain, all is saved when movie columnist Louhedda Hopsons reveals that through a mix-up in her column, it is Rackstraw who should be studio chief, while Porter is demoted to being a lowly screenwriter. Fade-out, the end.
About the Play:
Kaufman had always been a Gilbert and Sullivan fan and when a fellow card-player once murmured a bit of doggerel to a bit of HMS Pinafore—"He nodded his head and never said no,/And now he's the head of the studio"—Kaufman was inspired. He used the tunes of Sir Arthur Sullivan and, for the first time in his career, wrote the lyrics as well as the libretto to a new musical. Although Kaufman got some heat from the press for returning the scene of previous Hollywood satires, Pinafore remains fresh and imaginative. A great companion piece to the operettas of G&S, Pinafore works brilliantly for those who know the original pieces and just as well for audiences encountering the songs for the first time.
Hollywood Pinafore opened on May 31, 1945 at the Alvin Theater. It ran 52 performances.
10 men, 10 women. Unit set.
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For fans of Gilbert and Sullivan looking for something different—try Hollywood Pinafore.