On Your Toes

Original Broadway Production (1936)

Trivia & History

George Balanchine divorced his wife Tamara Geva and married Vera Zorina, who played Geva's role in the London production.


George Abbott (who wrote the script) was called to Boston, where the production was in its pre-Broadway tryout. Director Worthington Miner had rewritten the script so much that the plot was getting lost. Composer Richard Rodgers called Abbott at his home in Palm Beach and asked him to step in as director. Abbott told him, "You had your chance at me; now I've got other kinds of involvements." Rodgers replied, "It doesn't matter. You're the co-author and you're obligated to come up here."

Abbott took over as director and reinstituted his original script, but Miner retained credit. (Abbott had originally been announced as director but proved to be too busy.)


Marilyn Miller, Harry Rosenthal and Gregory Ratoff were mentioned as cast members early in development.

Ratoff announced his accepting a role in May 1935 although he wasn't signed at the time. He never signed a contract.

Marilyn Miller, however, was announced for the show as late as January 1936. But several days after the announcement, the New York Times wrote that Miller would not be in the show and Tamara Geva would take the role instead.

Walter Slezak was announced as being cast in the show on the day rehearsals began. Ralph Riggs and his wife, Katharine Witchie, were announced that day as well. In late February, Leo G. Carroll was mentioned. None was part of the cast on opening night.


In December 1935, there were rumors in the press that the show would first be produced in London. It was said that Vinton Freedley and Charles B. Cochran would co-produce it, with Lee Shubert retaining a silent interest (the Shuberts were to produce the show on Broadway). There were rumors that Cochran would put the show in the Palace Theatre where the London company of Anything Goes was playing.

Later that month, the Shuberts decided against letting Freedley and Cochran produce in London. They returned to their original plan to have the show open on Broadway first.

Dwight Deere Wiman stepped in as producer with Lee Shubert maintaining an interest.


Rehearsals began on February 11, 1936.


This production is said to have been the first Broadway musical in which the word choreography was used in the credits. This was at the insistence of George Balanchine. Earlier musicals tended to use credits such as Dances by or Dances staged by.



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