Du Barry Was a Lady

Original Broadway Production

Du Barry Was a Lady [playbill]

A Musical Comedy in Two Acts
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Herbert Fields and B. G. De Sylva

Tryouts began November 9, 1939 at the Shubert Theatre, New Haven
November 13, 1939 at the Shubert Theatre, Boston
November 27, 1939 at the Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia

Opened December 6, 1939 at the 46th Street Theatre, NYC
Transferred October 21, 1940 to the Royale Theatre
Closed December 12, 1940; Ran for 408 performances
Produced by B. G. De Sylva
Directed by Edgar MacGregor
Choreographed by Robert Alton
Costumes and Sets Designed by Raoul Pene du Bois
Lighting Designed by Albert A. Ostrander
Vocal Arrangements by Hugh Martin with the assistance of Ralph Blane
Orchestrations by Hans Spialek; additional orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and Ted Royal
Musical Direction by Gene Salzer


Louis Blore, attendant in the men's washroom of the Club Petite in New York, wins $75,000 in the Irish sweeps.  Having long had his eye on the star of the floor show, May Daly, Louis seeks to win her away from Alex Barton, the young man to whom she is engaged.  He tries to put Alex away with knock-out drops, but mixes up the glasses and drinks the potion himself.  During his delirium Louis dreams that he is Louis XIV and that May Daly is Du Barry, his mistress.  His unsuccessful pursuit of May continues through the gardens and boudoirs of 18th century Versailles.  When he awakens, Louis realizes that he has no chance with May and will have to settle for her friendship.

Du Barry Was a Lady [souvenir program]


Bert Lahr (Louis Blore / King Louis XIV)
Ethel Merman (May Daly / Madame Du Barry)
Betty Grable (Alice Barton / Madame de Vernay)
Benny Baker (Charley)
Charles Walters (Harry Norton / Captain of King's Guard)
Ronald Graham (Alex Barton)

Walter Armin (Jones / Docteur Michel), Jean Moorehead (Vi Hennessey / Madame de Villardell), Hugh Cameron (Bill Kelly / Le Duck de Choiseul), Harold Cromer (Florian / Zamore), Kay Sutton (Ann Barton / Mme La Duchesse de Grammont), Anne Graham (Sigana Sigan / Mme. La Cometesse de Camembert), Jacqueline Franc (Peggy Brown / La Baronne de Brie), Betty Allen (Molly Wincor / Mme. La Marquise du Pont L'Eveque), Marguerite Benton (Mary Gray / Mme. La Vicomtesse de Roquefort), Janice Carter (Ruth Frederick / Mme. Le Princesse Gruyere), Geraldine Spreckels (Ann Todd / Mme La Duchesse du Coeur Flottant), Johnny Barnes (Henri), Carl Nicholas (Gateman), Tito Renaldo (Manuel Gomez), Audrey Palmer (Cosette), Roy Ross (Pierre), David Shelly (Radio Announcer), Jack Stanton (Rene); The Internationals: Douglas Hawkins, Peter Hawkins, Carl Nicholas, Roy Ross, Jack Stanton

Dancing Girls and Boys: Gloria Arden, Gene Ashley, Helen Bennett, Ruth Bond, Evelyn Bonefine, Boris Butleroff, Virginia Cheneval, Stella Clauson, Mary Daniels, Joel Friend, Ronda Gale, Russell Georgiev, Tilda Getze, Marion Harvey, Beverly Hosier, Dorothea Jackson, Adele Jergens, Mel Kacher, Frances Krell, Don Liberto, Barbara Pond, Jane Sproule, Paul Thorne, Edith Turgell, Lewis Turner, Marie Vannemen, Arlyne Varden, William Vaux, Nina Wayler

Note the following cast replacements during the 46th Street Theatre run: Betty Allen (May Daly), Ruth Bond (Alice Barton), Bill Broder (Dancing Boy), Anne Graham (Mme. La Comtesse du Barry / Mme. La Duchesse de Grammont), Robert Herring (An International), Don Liberto (Rene), David Shelly (Captain of King's Guard), Geraldine Spreckels (Ann Barton), Jane Sproule (Cosette), Jack Stanton (Harry Norton), Billy Taft (Dancing Boy), Rose Tyrrell (Dancing Girl)

Also note that during the Royale Theatre run, the role of May Daly was played by Gypsy Rose Lee.

Do I Love You? [sheet music]


    Act One

    Scene 1: The Club Petite, New York
    Scene 2: Washroom at The Club Petite
    Scene 3: Gardens of Petite Trianon
    Scene 4: Du Barry's Bed Chamber
    Scene 5: Outer Hall
    Scene 6: Salon at Petite Trianon

    Act Two

    Scene 1: Pavilion at Petite Trianon
    Scene 2: Outer Hall
    Scene 3: Room in Royal Apartment
    Scene 4: Club Petite, New York

Musical Numbers

Betty Grable appears on the cover of Life, December 11, 1939

Life [December 11, 1939]

    Act One

  • Overture - Orchestra
  • "Where's Louie?" - Ensemble
  • "Ev'ry Day a Holiday" - Harry, Alice, Ensemble
  • "It Ain't Etiquette" - Louis, Vi
  • "When Love Beckoned (on 52nd Street)" - May
  • "Come On In" - May
  • "Dream Song" - Ensemble
  • "Mesdames et Messieurs" - Ensemble
  • "Gavotte" [instrumental]
  • "But in the Morning, No" - Louis, May
  • "Do I Love You?" - Alex, May
  • "Danse Victoire" [instrumental; uses themes from "Come On In" and "Well, Did You Evah?"]
  • "Danse Erotique" [instrumental; uses passages from "It Was Written in the Stars"]
  • "Du Barry Was a Lady" - Ensemble [alternate title: "Finale Act I"]
  • Act Two

  • Entr'acte - Orchestra
  • "Danse Tzigane" [instrumental; alternate title: "Opening Act II"]
  • "Give Him the Oo-La-La" - May
  • "Well, Did You Evah?" Alice, Harry [lyrics later re-written for High Society]
  • "It Was Written in the Stars" - Alex, Ensemble
  • "L'Apres Midi d'un Boeuf" [instrumental]
  • "Katie Went to Haiti" - May, Ensemble [includes "The Zombie Dance"]
  • "Friendship" - Louis, May

Cut Songs

  • "What Have I?" [dropped during rehearsals; intended for Louis]
  • "In the Big Money" [unused; intended for May]

The London production of Du Barry Was a Lady opened at His Majesty's Theatre on October 22, 1942, and ran for 178 performances.

Contemporaneous Recordings

"Do I Love You?" / "It Was Written in the Stars" - Chick Bullock

  • 78 RPM, 1939 [Vocalion 5278]

"Do I Love You?" / "When Love Beckoned" - Artie Shaw and His Orchestra

  • 78 RPM, 1939 [Bluebird B-10509]

"Do I Love You?" / "Katie Went to Haiti" - Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra

  • 78 RPM, 1939 [Vocalion 5288]

"Do I Love You?" - Woody Herman

  • 78 RPM, 1940 [Decca 2971]

"Do I Love You?" / "Katie Went to Haiti" - Leo Reisman and His Orchestra [A-side vocal: Lee Sullivan]

  • 78 RPM, 1940 [Victor 26421] A-side charted on February 3, 1940; peaked at #7

"Friendship" - Tommy Dorsey

  • 78 RPM, 1940 [Bluebird B-10804]

"Friendship" - Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra

  • 78 RPM, 1940 [Vocalion 5383]

"Friendship" - Kay Kyser and His Orchestra [vocal: Ginny Simms, Harry Babitt, Jack Martin, and Ish Kabibble]

  • 78 RPM, 1940 [Columbia 35368] Charted on June 1, 1940; peaked at #11

"Friendship" - Judy Garland and Johnny Mercer

  • 78 RPM, 1940 [Decca 3165A]

"It Was Written in the Stars" / "When Love Beckoned" - Del Courtney and His Orchestra

  • 78 RPM, 1939 [Vocalion 5291]

"It Was Written in the Stars" - Glenn Miller and His Orchestra

  • 78 RPM, 1939 [Bluebird BB-10498]

"It Was Written in the Stars" / "When Love Beckoned" / "Katie Went to Haiti" - Leo Reisman and His Orchestra [vocal: Gertrude Niesen]

  • 78 RPM, 1939 [Victor 26434]

"Katie Went to Haiti" - Ray Noble and His Orchestra

  • 78 RPM, 1939 [Columbia 35335]

"Katie Went to Haiti" - Mary Martin

  • 78 RPM, 1940 [Decca 23150]

Go to the Film Version of Du Barry Was a Lady
Go to the Encores! Concert Version of Du Barry Was a Lady

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