Download Full Text (7.0 MB)
OUT OF THIS WORLD is about love; it is happily appropriate that it all started here in the City of Brotherly Love at the Shubert Theatre on November 4th, 1950. After a preview try-out here, it moved to Broadway, opening December 21, 1950 under the . direction of Agnes Demille, starring Charlotte Greenwood, George Johgeyans, and William Redfield. OUT OF THIS WORLD now returns to Philadelphia, several changes to its name, with its original bundle of pure Porter delight.
During the original Philadelphia run, material came and went including several songs that seemed to go unnoticed by the critics; one song cut from that score, "From This Moment On" was later published and recorded and soon came to be loved as one of Porter's best. Even though this Broadway production contained some of Porter's finest material, it lasted only a few short months in New York, the overriding problems lodged in the book.
Some twenty years after the Broadway version closed its doors, Mr. John Wharton, trustee for the Cole Porter estate (1974 recipient of the Tony Award) commissioned a new; book. The heady task was given over to George Oppenheimer who is well remembered for his book to the Marx Brothers film A Day at the Races. Richard Michaels was soon contacted to stage the off-Broadway revival:
"When I learned I was to stage the revival, I immediately set to work researching every bit of material I could locate. The final count of available scripts was thirteen; there were scores of scores to discover, too. I located an early version by Betty Comden and Adolph Green ( Bells are Ringing). Later I found the road company version and Mr. Oppenheimer's new script. Again, material seemed to be in a constant state of.Jransition - here today, gone tomorrow. Since the role of Juno was drastically rewritten from that of a comedienne (Charlotte Greenwood) to a far more sophisticated goddess (Joy Franz, now appearing in A Little Night Music), several major numbers had to be replaced. The more involved I became, the more a part of me OUT OF THIS WORLD became. We finally opened on March 8, 1974 with costumes by Music Theatre's own Gerry Leahy. I always wondered what it would be like to go to a cast party and wait for reviews. Well ... the first television review came on and it was a pan. Next the (New York) Times arrived - they loved it! From then on, paper after paper, all raves. All mentioned that the book still needed work. Since the revival was scheduled for a limited run, I immediately set to work on a revised version with a writer friend, Merv Deskins. In the months that followed, we worked on the new book, again, moving scenes, songs and ideas back and forth. It seemed to go on forever but for me it was a labor of love. When it was announced that La Salle would present it and that I was being considered to restage it, I couldn't have been more excited. Dan Rodden sat down and worked over the script, wrote in two new characters (Spiro and Min) and added his special touch. When I was definitely "on" to do the La Salle version, I rescheduled. seven other shows in the works and came to Philadelphia. All of this has happened in four short weeks. I had no idea what I was walking into. In short, I found a wonderful management, ten serious, talented, and beautiful actors and actresses, and an exciting staff of designers - all giving their time, talent, and love in such abundance that it is, excuse me, OUT OF THIS WORLD. I hope you will share our excitement."
Theatre and Performance Studies
La Salle College, "Out of this World" (1974). La Salle College Summer Music Theatre. 24.