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.
A Parlor Match - This was a musicalized version of the popular Evans and Hoey comedy about a tramp who steals from a wealthy family starred its authors. This production is best remembered as Anna Held's Broadway debut. She made a special appearance in the second act as a "ghost" who emerged to sing a few songs before leaving so the show could resume. It ran for six weeks before a five city tour.
La Poupee - This comic opera involved a novice monk who plans to marry a lifelike doll to gain his uncle's inheritance, but winds up marrying Anna Held instead. A critical disaster, it closed after one week.
The French Maid - Anna Held played a hotel maid who contends with a bevy of ardent suitors. Ran for less than a week.
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.
Mlle. Fifi - Ziegfeld co-produced this comedy about a loving couple who divorce in order to get at the wife's dowry. A three 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.
The Little Duchess (136 performances) - Anna held was an actress who pretends she's a duchess to escape her debts. Ran on Broadway for less just under four months.
The Red Feather (60 performances) - An army captain finds that the female bandit he is assigned to capture is really the countess he wants to marry. Starring Grace Van Studdiford & George L. Tallman, it ran on Broadway for less than two months.
Mam'selle Napoleon (43 performances) - Held starred as the lover of one of Napoleon's guards. the Broadway run lasted just over a month.
Higgledy Piggledy (185 performances) - Ziegfeld co-produced this Joseph Weber extravaganza which featured Anna Held as a French woman contending with American tourists in Switzerland.
The Parisian Model (179 performances) - Anna Held starred as a dressmaker's model who almost loses her artist lover when she unexpectedly inherits a fortune. First production to feature the sexy-but-respectable production numbers that became Ziegfeld's trademark -- like "I'd Like to See a Little More of You," which had girls in an artist's studio seemingly strip bare behind easels, only to step forward to reveal that they wore strapless gowns that tactfully reached to their knees. The successful Broadway run was followed by a blockbuster national tour.
Follies of 1907 (70 performances)
The Soul Kiss (60 performances) - A sculptor bets that he can remain faithful to his beloved. Tempted by Lucifer, her loses the bet. Ran for just under four months.
Follies of 1908 (120 performances)
Miss Innocence (176 performances) - 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.
Follies of 1909 (64 performances)
Follies of 1910 (88 performances)
The Pink Lady (312 performances) - A young man innocently takes his former girlfriend Claudine to dinner and bumps into his fianc'. He introduces Claudine as the wife of a local furniture salesman, setting of a series of mistaken identities and deceptions. Ziegfeld co-produced this popular Vienesse-style operetta by London composer Ivan Caryll, best remembered for its titular waltz. The long NY run broke The Merry Widow's house record at The New Amsterdam Theater and was followed by a very successful tour.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1911(80 performances)
Over the River (120 performances) - Comedian Eddie Foy starred as a man who tells his wife his upcoming stint in jail is really a trip to Mexico. Ziegfeld co-produced with longtime friend/competitor Charles Dillingham.
A Winsome Widow (172 performances) - 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 performances)
Ziegfeld Follies of 1913 (96 performances)
Ziegfeld Follies 0f 1914 (112 performances)
Ziegfeld Follies of 1915 (104 performances)
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 Follies of 1916(112 performances)
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 performances) - 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 Folliesof 1917(111 performances)
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 performances) - 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 performances) - 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 Follies of 1918 (151 performances)
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 performances) - 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 Follies of 1919 (171 performances)
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (171 performances) - 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 performances) - 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 Girls of 1920 (78 performances)
Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 (123 performances)
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (148 performances) - Fanny Brice and W.C. Fields headlined another successful Frolic.
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (135 performances) - 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 performances) - 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 Follies 0f 1921 (119 performances)
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (123 performances) - 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 performances) - 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.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 (541 performances)
Rose Briar (89 performances) - 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.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1923 (233 performances)
Kid Boots (479 performances) - 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."
Ziegfeld Follies of 1924 (520 performances)
Annie Dear (103 performances) - Billie Burke starred as a runaway bride who masquerades as a maid. After a mixed critical reception, it ran for three months.
The Comic Supplement - W.C. Fields starred in this musical comedy about a dysfunctional family. A major disappointment, it opened and closed in Newark.
Louie the 14th (319 performances) - 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.
No Foolin' (108 performances) - This incredibly lavish summertime revue was originally planned as a Follies installment, but an unsatisfied Ziegfeld renamed it, with the subtitle "Ziegfeld American Revue of 1926." Although it was visually stunning, critics were unimpressed. Longtime Ziegfeld collaborator Julian Mitchell was on hand as assistant director, but fell ill during rehearsals and died on the opening night.
Betsy (39 performances) - 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.
Rio Rita (494 performances) - A Texas ranger (J. Harold Murray) tracking a bandit in Mexico falls in love with the lovely Rita (Ethelind Terry). This lavish production was the first to play The Ziegfeld Theater. Despite a forgettable score, it packed the place for over a year.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1927 (168 performances)
Show Boat (575 performances) - 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.
Rosalie (327 performances) - A West Point cadet falls in love with a European princess (played by Marilyn Miller) who cannot marry a commoner. When her country overthrows its monarchy, true love wins out. The score featured songs by the Gershwins, P. G. Wodehouse and Sigmund Romberg. The hit song: "How Long Has This Been Going On?"
The Three Musketeers (319 performances) - 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 performances) - 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.
Show Girl (111 performances) - Ruby Keeler played a Brooklyn chorus girl who achieves stardom in the Follies. The score by the Gershwins, Vincent Youmans and Gus Kahn included "Liza," which Al Jolson sang to Keeler (his new wife) from the audience on opening night. But without that bit of added drama, the show was too weak to survive long.
Bitter Sweet (157 performances) - 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."
Simple Simon (135 performances) - Ed Wynn played a modern shopkeeper who dreams he's among his favorite fairy-tale characters. With the Depression in full swing, Wynn's clowning and a score by Rodgers and Hart were not enough to attract audiences for more than four months.
Smiles (63 performances) - 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.
Ziegfeld Follies of 1931 (164 performances)
Hot-Cha! (119 performances) - Bert Lahr and Lupe Velez starred in this tale of a New York waiter who's Mexican vacation lands him in a bullring. Bawdy humor and a lackluster Brown-Henderson score did little to help.
Show Boat (Revival - 181 performances) - 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.