George M!

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GEORGE M! recounts the life story of George M. Cohan, a giant of the American musical theater who penned songs like “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Over There,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.” In his triumphant career, Cohan helped transform the Broadway musical from a slapdash patchwork of songs and sketches into a streamlined, book-driven musical story. Covering a sixty-year period from his childhood in vaudeville through his towering success on Broadway, GEORGE M! presents a rousing, tuneful portrait of this legendary song-and-dance man.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    On July 4, 1878, Little Georgie, “The Yankee Doodle Kid,” is born in Providence, Rhode Island. His parents, Jerry and Nellie Cohan, leave little doubt about their newborn’s future. “That boy,” says Jerry, “is not putting a foot on a stage till he’s 18 or 19 or even 21 — months!”

    In the ensuing dance routine, little Georgie blossoms from tentative young hoofer to confident song-and-dance man. Under George’s direction, The Four Cohans (now including younger sister Josie) arrive at the Columbia Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to audition for the powerful theater impresario, E.F. Albee. George is certain Albee will book them into New York, but Albee offers a two-week stand in Poughkeepsie instead. Undaunted, George and the Four Cohans boldly set off for New York anyway. Georgie books the act into the Adams Street Theatre, sharing the bill with singer Ethel Levey. Soon, Ethel and George are married.

    George decides to refocus the act, now billed as The Five Cohans. They’re through with vaudeville’s fifteen-minute skits, he announces. From now on, it’s the full two-and-a-half hours, and that means musical comedy… and Broadway! George’s first show, The Governor’s Son, flops dismally, but he perseveres, setting his sights on Broadway (“My Town”). George’s next play, Little Johnny Jones, opens just a month later, and it’s a towering success (“Give My Regards to Broadway”).

    Act II

    George and his new producing partner Sam Harris sign singer Fay Templeton, and together they gain fame with hits like “Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway” and “So Long, Mary.” Disheartened and neglected, Ethel divorces George. George is crestfallen, but soon meets and weds singer Agnes Nolan. In a thrilling montage of small scenes, they present a string of legendary hits, including “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Nellie Kelly,” “Harrigan,” “Over There,” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag.”

    But soon George realizes that Broadway is changing; the patriotic revues of his youth have given way to a new style, which George resists. After a long self-imposed exile, George is eventually drawn back to the theater when Sam Harris offers him a role in I’d Rather Be Right. Alone on the darkened stage, George remembers a long-ago night when he first came to Broadway. Softly, he begins singing “Give My Regards to Broadway.” Soon he is reliving his old tap routine and delivering the number with abandon. His wife Agnes joins him to reprise “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

    After their song, George and Agnes exit the theater… not through the stage door in back, but out front, because, as George says, “That’s where Broadway is!”

  • GEORGE M!
    Music and Lyrics by George M. Cohan
    Book by Michael Stewart and John and Francine Pascal
    Lyrics and Musical Revisions by Mary Cohan
    Produced on Broadway by David Black,
    Konrad Matthaei and Lorin E. Price
    Directed and Choreographed for Broadway by Joe Layton

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    GEORGE M!
    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company
    www.tamswitmark.com

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to https://tamswitmark.com/ on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • Full Orchestration

    2 Violin I
    1 Violin II
    1 Viola
    1 Cello
    1 Bass (& optional Tuba)

    1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute & Clarinet
    1 Reed II: Clarinet (and optional Oboe & English Horn)
    1 Reed III: Flute & Clarinet
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Bassoon (& optional Bass Clarinet)

    1 Horn
    2 Trumpet I & II
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    1 Percussion:

    Timpani, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Field Drum, Tom Tom, Cymbals (Suspended, Hi-Hat, Choke with Bass Drum), Fight Gong, Bells, Xylophone, Wood Blocks, Cow Bell, Triangle, Bird Whistle, Wind Whistle.

    Piano (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material); contains pit orchestra Piano-Celeste part and music for Stage Player Piano, Pianos I & II and ad lib. Accordion.

    Stage Band: (all music included in pit orchestra parts)

    Piano I
    Piano II
    Soprano Saxophone
    Percussion
    Accordion
    Player Piano

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

  • George M. Cohan
    Jerry Cohan
    Nellie Cohen
    Josie Cohen
    Ethel Levey
    Agnes Nolan
    Fay Templeton
    Rose (Fay Templeton’s Maid)
    Mrs. Red Deer
    Dr. Webb
    Freddie (Fay Templeton’s Manager)
    Walt
    Hank
    Sam Harris
    Ma Templeton
    Archie
    Madame Grimaldi
    Secretary (in Cohan & Harris office)
    Piano Player (in Cohan & Harris office)
    Accordionist
    Frankie
    Second Little Girl
    Pushcart Girl
    Pushcart Girl
    Boy in Pushcart

    Many of the above players doubled in several other roles.

  • GEORGE M! opened April 10, 1968 at the Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it played for 433 performances, starring Joel Grey, Jerry Dodge, Betty Ann Grove and Bernadette Peters.

    Awards (1968-69)

    The Tony Award for Best Choreography (Joe Layton)
    The Theatre World Award for Best Debut Performance (Bernadette Peters)
    Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Musical

  • Act I

    Overture – Orchestra
    1. “Always Leave Them Laughing” – Jerry & Two Little Girls
    2. “Tap Dance Finish” – Cohan Family
    3. “Musical Moon” – Jerry, Nellie, & George
    4. “Oh, You Wonderful Boy” – Josie
    5. “All Aboard For Broadway” – Cohan Family
    6. “Musical Comedy Man” – The Four Cohans & Chorus
    7. Grimaldi – Orchestra
    8. Reprise: “All Aboard for Broadway” – Full Company
    9. “Broadway” Tag – Ethel & The Cohans
    10. “Twentieth Century Love” –Ethel & Chorus
    11. “My Home Town” – George
    12. “Billie” – Agnes
    13. “Push Me Along In My Pushcart” – Ethel & Two Girls
    14. “A Ring To The Name Of Rose” – Four Boys
    15. Popularity – Orchestra
    16. “Give My Regards To Broadway” – George & Full Company

    Act II

    17. Entr’acte – Orchestra
    18. “Forty-Five Minutes From Broadway” – George & Rose
    19. “So Long Mary” – George, Sam Harris, Rose, Freddie, & Ma Templeton
    20. “Down By The Erie Canal” – Fay Templeton, Secretary, Little Girl, & Chorus
    21. “Mary’s A Grand Old Name” – Fay Templeton
    22. “All Our Friends” – Sam Harris & Chorus
    22a. Incidental / Underscore – Solo Piano
    22b. “Jolly Good Fellow” – Chorus
    22c. Mary Underscore – Solo Piano
    23. Ethel Exit – Ethel
    24. Encore: All Our Friends – Orchestra
    25. Montage:
    25a. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” – George, Agnes, Nellie, Josie, & Chorus
    25b. “Nellie Kelly” – Josie, Nellie, Jerry, George, & Chorus
    26. “Harrigan” – George, Nellie, & Chorus
    27. “Over There” & “You’re A Grand Old Flag” – George, Nellie, & Chorus
    28. “Strike” – Full Company
    29. “The Man Who Owns Broadway” – George & Chorus
    30. Park Incidental – Orchestra
    31. “I’d Rather Be Right” – George
    32. Finale (Reprise: “Give My Regards To Broadway”) – George & Chorus
    33. Yankee Doodle Finale – George & Agnes
    34. Bows
    34a. I Want To Hear A Yankee Doodle Tune” – Full Company
    34b. Give My Regards To Broadway” – Full Company
    35. Exit Music – Orchestra

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    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Centenary Young Performers Workshop Hackettstown, NJ 12/13/2019 12/22/2019