Red, Hot and Blue!

Original Broadway Production

Red Hot, and Blue! [playbill]

A Musical Comedy in Two Acts
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Working Titles: But Millions; Wait for Baby

Tryouts began October 7, 1936 at the Colonial Theatre, Boston
October 19, 1936 at the Shubert Theatre, New Haven

Opened October 29, 1936 at the Alvin Theatre, NYC
Ran for 183 performances
Produced by Vinton Freedley
Directed by Howard Lindsay
Dances and Ensembles by George Hale
Costumes by Constance Ripley
Set Design by Donald Oenslager
Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett
Musical Direction by Frank E. Tours


Former manicurist "Nails" Duquesne is now a wealthy widow determined to fill her time with philanthropic ventures.  With the aid of her assistant, ex-convict "Policy" Pinkle, she takes up the case of lawyer Bob Hale, who lost the love of his life at age six when he shoved her into a waffle iron and branded her on the rear.  When "Nails" starts a national lottery to find the girl, the Senate Finance Committee, hoping to use the contest money to balance the national budget, complicates an already messy situation.

Red, Hot and Blue [poster]


Ethel Merman ("Nails" O'Reilly Duquesne)
Jimmy Durante ("Policy" Pinkle)
Bob Hope (Bob Hale)
Polly Walters (Peaches La Fleur)
Grace Hartman (Grace)
Paul Hartman ("Fingers")

Dorothy Vernon (Anne Westcott), Thurston Crane (Sonny Hadley), Forrest Orr (Warden of Larks Nest Prison, Senator O'Shaughnessy), Vivian Vance (Vivian), Lew Parker (Deputy Warden, Senator Musilovitch), Lucille Johnson (Lucille), Cecile Carey (Cecile), Kay Picture (Kay), Ethelyne Holt (Irene), Betty Allen (Betty), Bill Benner ("Ratface" Dugan), Prentiss Davis ("Sure-Thing" Simpson), Leo Schippers ("Flap-Ears" Metelli), Bernard Jannsen (Louie the Louse), May Abbey (Mrs. Peabody), Anne Wolf (Tiny), Jeanette Owens (Louella), Robert Leonard (Senator Malvinsky), Houston Richards (Senator Del Grasso, Decorator), Norman Lind (Sergeant-at-Arms), Geoffrey Errett (First Expressman), Karl Kohrs (Second Expressman), Gloria Clare (Girl), Frank Archer (First Marine), Bruce Covert (Second Marine), and the Wallace Sisters

Red, Hot and Blue [sheet music]

Musical Numbers

    Act One

  • Overture - Orchestra
  • "At Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe in Cheyenne" - Ensemble
  • "It's a Great Life" - Ensemble
  • "Perennial Debutantes" - Ensemble
  • "Ours" - Anne and Sonny
  • "Down in the Depths" - "Nails"
  • "Carry On" - Sonny and Ensemble
  • "You've Got Something" - Bob and "Nails"
  • "It's De-Lovely" - "Nails" and Bob
  • "A Little Skipper from Heaven Above" - "Policy" and Ensemble
  • "Five Hundred Million" - Vivian and Betty [during the tryouts by The Wallace Sisters]
  • "Ridin' High" - "Nails" and Ensemble
  • Act Two

  • Entr'acte - Orchestra
  • "We're About to Start Big Rehearsin'" - Ensemble
  • "Hymn to Hymen" - Ensemble
  • "What a Great Pair We'll Be" - Anne and Sonny
  • "You're a Bad Influence On Me" [dropped soon after the New York opening; replaced by the following song] - "Nails"
  • "The Ozarks Are Callin' Me Home" - "Nails"
  • "Red, Hot and Blue" - "Nails" and Ensemble

Cut Songs

  • "When Your Troubles Have Started" [dropped during the Boston tryout]
  • "Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye" [dropped during the Boston tryout; replaced by "Down in the Depths"; originally written for the film Born to Dance]
  • "Bertie and Gertie" [dropped during rehearsals]
  • "Who But You?" [unused]
  • "That's the News I'm Waiting to Hear" [unused]
  • "Where?" [unused]
  • "Lonely Star" [unused]

It's De-Lovely [78 RPM]

Original Cast Recordings

"Down in the Depths" / "It's De-Lovely" - Ethel Merman

  • 78 RPM, 1936 [Liberty Music Shop L-206]

"Ridin' High" / "Red, Hot and Blue" - Ethel Merman

  • 78 RPM, 1936 [Liberty Music Shop L-207]

Red, Hot and Blue [LP]

Red, Hot and Blue

Ethel Merman, vocals
With Fairchild & Carroll and Their Orchestra
and Ramona Davies and her grand piano
Recorded October 12 and November 6, 1936 and January 5, 1937

Note: This release is a collection of the songs recorded for the Liberty Music Shop record label (see above).  It also includes numbers recorded by Merman for Arthur Schwartz's "Stars in Your Eyes" (1939)

  • LP, 197? [AEI Records 1147]
  • Compact Disc, 1991 [AEI CD-001]
  • Selections

    • "Down in the Depths" - Ethel Merman
    • "It's De-Lovely" - Ethel Merman
    • "Ridin' High" - Ethel Merman
    • "The Ozarks Are Callin' Me Home" - Ramona Davies
    • "Red, Hot and Blue!" - Ethel Merman

    Note: The four songs by Ethel Merman are also included on the Smithsonian archival reconstruction of Let's Face It

    Contemporaneous Recordings

    "Down in the Depths" - Ruby Newman and His Orchestra

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [Victor 25470]

    "It's De-Lovely" / "You've Got Something" - Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [Brunswick 7753] A-side charted on November 7, 1936; peaked at #7

    "It's De-Lovely" / "You've Got Smething" - Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra [vocal: Jerry Cooper]

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [Victor 25432] A-side charted on November 14, 1936; peaked at #1 for two weeks

    "It's De-Lovely" - Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [Bluebird 6639] Charted on November 21, 1936; peaked at #9

    "It's De-Lovely" - Will Osborne and His Orchestra

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [Decca 1058] Charted on January 16, 1937; peaked at #14

    "It's De-Lovely" - Kitty Brown / Les Brown and His Duke Blue Devils

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [Thesaurus 325]

    "It's De-Lovely" - Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [American 7-02-06]

    "The Ozarks are Calling Me Home" - Ramona Davies

    • 78 RPM, 1937 [Liberty Music Shop L-210]

    "Ridin' HIgh" - Benny Goodman

    • 78 RPM, 1937 [Columbia 48359]

    "Ridin' HIgh" - Mal Hallett and His Orchestra

    • 78 RPM, 1937 [Decca 1163]

    "Ridin' HIgh" - Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians

    • 78 RPM, 1936 [Victor 25440]

    Porter In Order

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