High Button Shoes

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High Button Shoes - New York City Center Encores ! May 2019

By Music Jule Styne, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn, Book by Stephen Longstreet - Original Choreography by Jerome Robbins

High Button Shoes is a 1947 musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn and book by George Abbott and Stephen Longstreet. It was based on the semi-autobiographical 1946 novel The Sisters Liked Them Handsome by Stephen Longstreet. The story concerns the comic entanglements of the Longstreet family with two con men in Atlantic City. The musical opened on Broadway in 1947 (running for 727 performances), on the West End in 1948, and has had several regional revivals as well as being televised in 1956.

Many involved with High Button Shoes were Broadway first-timers or relatively unknown, except for the director, George Abbott. The creative team, composer Jule Styne, lyricist Sammy Cahn and writer Stephen Longstreet had worked in Hollywood, as had the producers Monte Proser and Joseph Kipness (who had also produced several short-lived Broadway shows) and actors Phil Silvers, who was known for his on-screen con-man persona, and Nanette Fabray. The designers Oliver Smith and Miles White and choreographer Jerome Robbins were all Broadway veterans. Rumors circulated that the book by Longstreet was "hopeless" and that Abbott and Silvers were "heavily rewriting" it. The Shuberts, involved because the show was to play in one of their theaters, approved an increase in Abbott's percentage to include author's royalties. Historian Ken Mandelbaum agrees that the show's book was originally by Longstreet but that it was extensively rewritten by Abbott.

In New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1913, the Longstreet family, consisting of Mama, Papa, Mama's younger sister Fran, and her college boyfriend Oggle, is affected when a con man, Harrison Floy, and his shill, Mr. Pontdue, come to town. The duos' dubious intentions are made clear as Floy pitches "snake-oil" schemes ("He Tried to Make a Dollar") including selling fake watches and diamond mines, and the shill Mr. Pontdue asks for two. They are chased by the police, and the phony scheme is repeated. After they cheat the Longstreets in a phony land deal, Floy and Pontdue try to escape to Atlantic City, New Jersey with their ill-gotten profits and also take Fran (who has become romantically involved with Floy) with them.
As the con men Floy and Pontdue are pursued to the Atlantic City beach while carrying a satchel full of stolen money, the people on the beach dance around them ("The Bathing Beauty Ballet"). They tangle with a large number of people—including bathing beauties, lifeguards, other criminals, identical twins—and one gorilla. The climax occurs when the Keystone Cops arrive, and Floy loses everything when he bets on the wrong football team. But after his being captured we learn that Pontdue has bet on not a football team, but a filly named "Princeton." Floy gives the conned citizens their money back, but before he leaves tries to get the audience to buy one more item of "great worth...

High Button Shoes 2019 Cast - Aidan Alberto, Jennifer Allen, Kevin Chamberlin, Carla Duren, Chester Gregory, Mylinda Hull, Marc Koeck, Matt Loehr, Wayne Pretlow, Michael Urie, Betsy Wolfe

Director - John Rando
Designer - Allen Moyer
Lighting - Ken Billington
Choreographed - Sarah O'Gleby

Playbill / Program Date May 2019 Broadway

Size 140 x 215 mm 

Condition: Used Good 8/10 

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