San Franciscans, beware the pirates of Weehawken, New Jersey! Peggy-Ann, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's trippy 1926 musical comedy, will have a staged concert revival Oct. 30-Nov. 17, thanks to the 42nd Street Moon company.
The pirates of Weehawken are just one of the strange elements at work in Peggy-Ann. The musical, historically important for violating nearly every common musical comedy practice of the time, takes place in a dream, where Peggy-Ann goes to her wedding in only her underwear and is attacked by pirates, who leave her alone when they discover she speaks French. She, her fiance Guy and the pirates all safely arrive in Havana, thanks to a talking fish, and manage to catch a race, where the horses are all terribly society-conscious. Peggy-Ann even has a dream version of New York, where traffic stops so the policemen can eat and the ladies who lunch dine on bananas at their fancy dress shops.
The score includes the well-known "Where's That Rainbow?" and "A Tree in the Park," as well as "Howdy to Broadway," "A Little Birdie Told Me So," "We Pirates of Weehawken," "I'm So Humble," "Anna from Havana," "Give the Little Girl a Hand," "Peggy, Peggy," "Paris is Really Divine," "In His Arms" and "Maybe It's Me."
Peggy-Ann opened Dec. 27, 1926 at the Vanderbilt Theatre and ran for 333 performances. Herbert Fields wrote the book, inspired by the musical comedy, Tillie's Nightmare.
A non-profit company devoted to the preservation and performance of classic American musical theatre, 42nd Street Moon derives its name from the early moniker for the bright lights of New York's 42nd Street. During its first 10 years the company has presented nearly 60 staged concerts of rarely performed musicals. For tickets, call (415) 255-8207. The Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue. 42nd Street Moon is on the web at http://www.42ndStMoon.org.
— By Christine Ehren
and Andrew Gans