Ziegfeld's Broadway Productions
compiled by John Kenrick
The list below covers all of Ziegfeld's Broadway productions, with brief descriptions for all of this musicals and operettas. When available, performance totals have been included reliable figures for productions before 1900 are hard to come by. For details on each edition of the Follies, click here.
The Turtle - A French comedy about a grocer and his wife who decide to divorce but ultimately reconcile. A five month Broadway run was followed by a tour.
The Manicure - Ziegfeld co-produced this one-night flop comedy involving a manicurist and the deputy sheriff who steps in when her business fails.
Papa's Wife - Anna Held played a convent-raised wife who reforms her philandering husband. The first show truly tailored to Held's unique style (and her first show after seriously learning English), it was her first major hit, running on Broadway for a over four months before a successful tour.
Miss Innocence (176 perfs) - Freshly graduated from The School of Innocence, Anna Held goes in search of her parents and falls in love with a soldier. Held's final (and most lavish) Ziegfeld production, it had a profitable six month Broadway run, followed by a two year national tour.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1911 (80 perfs)
A Winsome Widow (172 perfs) - A widow sets off a series of misunderstandings and romantic entanglements at a restaurant. This successful update of the 1890s hit A Trip to Chinatown featured the Dolly Sisters, Leon Errol, blackface comic Frank Tinney, and Mae West.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1912 (88 perfs)
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic - The first of a late-night series that Ziegfeld staged in The New Amsterdam's intimate rooftop theater. It featured a glass runway that let the chorus girls parade over the audiences heads Ziegfeld had them wear tasteful ankle-length linen bloomers. A genuine hit, Ziegfeld produced a fully revised edition partway through the year.
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic - The Dolly Sister and Will Rogers were audience favorites. Ziegfeld produced a fully revised edition partway through the year featuring Eddie Cantor.
The Century Girl (200 perfs) - Ziegfeld co-produced this lavish revue which included songs by both Irving Berlin and Victor Herbert. One of the few successful shows to play the cavernous Century Theater.
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic - Will Rogers scored again. Ziegfeld produced a fully revised edition partway through the year featuring Frank Carter and Frances White.
Miss 1917 (48 perfs) - Ziegfeld co-produced this attempt to follow up on the success of the previous year's Century Girl. A stellar line-up including comic Lew Fields, dancer Irene Castle and drag comic Bert Savoy could not make up for weak material, and the show closed after two and a half months.
Rescuing Angel (32 perfs) - Ziegfeld co-produced and Billie Burke starred in this comedy about a woman who gives up the man she loves and marries a millionaire for the sake of her impoverished family. In time she realizes that she actually has fallen in love with her husband. The Broadway run lasted just under a month.
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic - Will Rogers, Fanny Brice, Lillian Lorraine and Bert Williams made this an all-star Frolic. Ziegfeld produced a fully revised edition partway through the year featuring Brice, W.C. Fields and Bert Savoy.
By Pigeon Post (24 perfs) - This musical involved carrier pigeons assisting the Allies in wartime France. Small wonder that it flopped.
Ziegfeld Nine O'Clock Frolic - The Midnight Frolic was such a success that Ziegfeld initiated a second Frolic, staged in the same theater atop the New Amsterdam. Fannie Brice, Lillian Lorraine and Bert Williams were featured.
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (171 perfs) - Fanny Brice, W.C. Fields and Bert Savoy returned from the previous edition. The finale had Frances White lead the audience, stagehands and waiters in a shimmy dance.
Caesar's Wife (81 perfs) - Billie Burke starred in this drama about a British diplomat's wife in love with her husband's secretary. In the end, she denies her love out of duty to England.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 (123 perfs)
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (148 perfs) - Fanny Brice and W.C. Fields headlined another successful Frolic.
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (135 perfs) - a fully revised but less stellar edition.
Ziegfeld Nine O'Clock Revue - Also called Ziegfeld Girls of 1920, it featured Fannie Brice, W.C. Fields and Lillian Lorraine.
Sally (570 perfs) - Marilyn Miller starred as a poor dishwasher who goes on to stardom as a ballerina. The Jerome Kern score included "Look For the Silver Lining."
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (123 perfs) - Ziegfeld produced two editions in 1921, but Prohibition and changes in popular taste kept attendance down and made this the last regular year for the Frolic. Ziegfeld would stage one further edition 1928.
Ziegfeld Nine O'Clock Frolic (29 perfs) - The last of Ziegfeld's Nine O'Clock revues featured Virginia Bell and the Fairbanks Twins.
Intimate Strangers - Ziegfeld co-produced and Billie Burke starred as a spinster wooed by a stranger when they are both stranded in a railroad station for a night. Ran for just under three months.
Rose Briar (89 perfs) - Billie Burke starred in this Booth Tarkington comedy about an heiress who falls on hard times and becomes a cabaret singer. The Broadway run lasted a dozen weeks.
Kid Boots (479 perfs) - Eddie Cantor starred as an unscrupulous Palm Beach golf caddie who uses crooked balls to make his rich clients look good and sells bootleg liquor on the side. The most memorable song was the interpolated "Dinah."
Annie Dear (103 perfs) - Billie Burke starred as a runaway bride who masquerades as a maid. After a mixed critical reception, it ran for three months.
Louie the 14th (319 perfs) - Leon Errol starred as an uncouth American who is invited to be the 14th guest at a millionaire's dinner party. Disguised as a rajah, his behavior gives him away. With music by Sigmund Romberg.
Betsy (39 perfs) - Belle Baker played a girl who's brothers must find her a husband so their strict mother will let them marry their sweethearts. The score by Rodgers & Hart contained no hits, and the composers never got a penny of payment from Ziegfeld after the show flopped.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1927 (168 perfs)
Show Boat (575 perfs) - Ziegfeld's greatest accomplishment, this epic tale of love and loss on a Mississippi show boat featured music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Helen Morgan sang "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" and "Bill," and score included the hits "Make Believe" and "Ol' Man River." It was the longest running book musical produced by Ziegfeld.
The Three Musketeers (319 perfs) - Rudolph Friml's stirring melodies were the perfect match for the classic Dumas tale. Dennis King starred as D'Artagnan, with Vivienne Segal as Constance. Hits songs included "Ma Belle" and the showstopping title march.
Whoopee (407 perfs) - Eddie Cantor triumphed as a big city hypochondriac who gets mixed-up in romantic shenanigans in the Wild West, and introduced "Makin' Whoopee." Ruth Etting stopped the show with "Love Me or Leave Me." Much of the cast traveled to Hollywood for the screen version.
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic - In an all-out attempt to revive the late-night Frolic series, Ziegfeld lined up Maurice Chevalier, Helen Morgan, The Duncan Sisters, Lillian Roth and Paul Whiteman. Even so, Prohibition-era audience interest was limited, and this final Frolic was a financial disappointment.
Bitter Sweet (157 perfs) - Noel Coward's operetta about an 1870s London heiress who runs off to Vienna to be with the musician she loves was a 647 performance hit in London. But it had the misfortune to open just days after Wall Street crashed, and despite rave reviews it barely managed a five month run. British soprano Evelyn Laye starred, singing "I'll See you Again."
Smiles (63 perfs) - Marilyn Miller played a wartime orphan who eventually falls in love with one of the soldiers who rescued her from deprivation. Even with Fred and Adele Astaire as high society snobs and melodies by Vincent Youmans, Smiles was roundly blasted by the critics.
Show Boat (Revival - 181 perfs) - Desperate and ailing, Ziegfeld re-united most of the original stars, adding Paul Robeson to sing "Ol' Man River" and Dennis King as Ravenal. Despite rave reviews, the height of the Depression and high production costs made it impossible for this lavish revival to turn a profit. Ziegfeld died during the run.
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