Ch. 24- NO, NO, NANETTE (1971)

In This Episode


COMPOSER: Vincent Youmans

LYRICIST: Irving Caesar, Otto Harbach

BOOK: Otto Harbach, Frank Mandel

DIRECTOR: Burt Shevelove


PRINCIPLE CAST: Ruby Keeler (Sue), Patsy Kelly (Pauline), Susan Watson (Nanette)

OPENING DATE: Jan 19, 1971

CLOSING DATE: Feb 03, 1973


SYNOPSIS: In 1920s New York, Nanette is betrothed to Tom but she has never really experienced life because of her strict guardian, Sue. Before Nanette gets married, with the help of her maid Pauline, she decides to sneak away to the lascivious world of Atlantic City for one last adventure before she says “I do.” 

Robert W Schneider illustrates the surprising success held by the 1971 revival of the 1925 musical comedy, No, No, Nanette. Amidst contemporary musicals whose scores and lyrics were specifically linked to the psyches of characters and whose narratives sought to challenge the collective perceptions of audiences, No, No, Nanette’s subject matter seemed trite and its songs felt disconnected and superfluous. The aging Hollywood stars tied to the show, Busby Berkeley and Ruby Keeler, furthered the public’s assumptions that this production would fail, and the Boston tryout led to major artistic changes. Upon opening, audiences and critics agreed that the show provided a welcome escape from the political turmoil of the day and it was a box office success. The financial victories of the production launched a craze of revivals adhering to director Burt Shevelove’s traditionalist approach; honoring the original feel of the piece but tailoring its form for modern audiences. Conversely, this chapter dictates the tenets of revisionist revivals, which seek to reimagine existing works, and outlines other notable motives for reviving works on Broadway.

Robert W. Schneider holds academic appointments at Penn State University, New York Film Academy, and Mount Union University, as well as serving as the Artistic Director for The J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company and as an original programming producer at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City. He is the host of the podcasts Behind The Curtain: Broadway’s Living Legends, Gay Card Revoked, and This Was A Thing. For the past fifteen years Robert has been one of the most prolific leaders of online education in the arts. He is a proud member of SDC, AEA, and AGVA. 


No, No, Nanette, Revival Cast Recording, Columbia (1971)

The Making of No, No, Nanette by Don Dunn, published by Citadel Press (1972)

No, No, Nanette starring Bernice Claire and Alexander Gray, directed by Clarence G Badger, First National Pictures (1930)

No, No, Nanette starring Anna Neagle and Zazu Pitts, directed by Herbert Wilcox, Suffolk Productions (1940)

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