The production was originally scheduled to open on Broadway on May 9, 1857, but during the pre-Broadway tryout the opening was delayed till May 14, with performances that had been expected to be post-opening performances instead becoming previews.
The role of Anna was originally written to have little or no dancing, despite Gwen Verdon's extraordinary dance skills. As a result, actress-singer Ann Williams was hired to be Verdon's understudy, as well as to play a supporting role. During rehearsals and tryouts, considerable dancing was added to the role. So much dancing was added that for some time five understudies were listed for Verdon. Williams was listed first in the playbill as the understudy, with Clairborne Cary, Pat Ferrier and Marie Kolin then listed as the dance understuides for Verdon, and Mara Lynn was then listed as the alternate. It's not clear from the playbill whether Lynn's listing as alternate meant that she was the alternate dance understudy or that she was an alternate understudy who would be able to perform the entire role or that she was an alternate performer for the role who would be performing it on a regular basis. The last, however, seems unlikely, and there is no evidence that Lynn performed the role on that basis.
By the week of August 19, 1957, Joan Holloway was listed as the sole understudy for the role.
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