George Haimsohn, Co-Writer of Dames at Sea, Dead at 77

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25 Jan 2003

George Haimsohn, co-librettist and co-lyricist of Off-Broadway's Dames at Sea, the spoof of 1930s movie musicals that launched Bernadette Peters in 1968, died Jan. 17 after suffering an aneurysm, according to The New York Times. Mr. Haims was 77 and lived in Manhattan.

Mr. Haimsohn's famous collaboration with co-writer Robin Miller and composer Jim Wise parodied Depression-era Warner Bros. movies. The plot tells of a girl named Ruby from Centerville, UT, who dances circles around other kids and becomes star of a new show (which has to be presented on the deck of a battleship when the theatre is demolished). Jaded star Mona Kent has her eye on young Dick, but Dick is sweet on Ruby. The score included such songs as "Wall Street" (reminiscent of "42nd Street"), "Choo Choo Honeymoon" (after "Shuffle Off to Buffalo"), "Star Tar," "That Mister Man of Mine," "It's You," "Sailor of My Dreams," "Good Times Are Here to Stay" and "Raining in My Heart." The musical launched Bernadette Peters, who played Ruby with a kewpie-doll cuteness. She still performs "Raining in My Heart" in concert. Dames at Sea began Off-Broadway at the Bouwerie Lane Theatre Dec. 20, 1968 (after developing at the Caffe Cino) and became a long-running — in Off-Broadway terms — hit, closing in 1970. Jordan Hott & Jack Millstein produced, Neal Kenyon directed and choreographed.

During the 575-performance run, Peters was succeeded by Pia Zadora, Bonnie Franklin and Barbara Sharma. Dames at Sea is one of the major international musicals to get its start Off-Broadway and is regularly revived around the world. An Off-Broadway revival played the Lamb's Theatre in 1985. Goodspeed Musicals staged the show in 2002.

As an extension of its original Off-Broadway run, the show played a downstairs room at the Plaza Hotel, according to Playbill historian Louis Botto.

Mr. Haimsohn was born in St. Louis and graduated from the University of California. In his varied career, he was also a professional photographer who worked under the name Plato, and wrote erotic gay fiction under the name Alexander Goodman, according to the Times.



His other stage credits include the musicals Now, Zing! and Johnny American.