Plain and Fancy

Original Broadway Production (1955)

Trivia & History

The production suffered from Broadway theatre shortages during much of its run.

Trouble Finding a Theatre in Which to Open

First, it had trouble finding a theatre in which to open. Finally, the producers settled on the Mark Hellinger, even though they knew the show would have to leave it soon after opening there. The Hellinger's owner, Anthony B. Farrell, was preparing for production a show titled Ankles Aweigh, which he planned to open there in April 1955. So the producers of Plain and Fancy opened the show there, and then moved it to Winter Garden as soon as Peter Pan closed there on February 26. This was announced as the plan even before Plain and Fancy opened out of town.

Another Move

Unfortunately (and foolishly), the owners of the Winter Garden then booked The Vamp, forcing Plain and Fancy to move again. As Ankles Aweigh had not been a success, the Hellinger was again available, at least temporarily, so Plain and Fancy moved back to where it had opened.

A Little Show Called My Fair Lady

We don't know whether the producers of Plain and Fancy knew when they returned to the Hellinger that another show — a little thing called My Fair Lady — would open there in March. Perhaps they hoped that My Fair Lady would be such a disaster that it would close out of town. When it was certain that Plain and Fancy could not stay at the Hellinger past early March, the producers considered moving it back to the Winter Garden, which was again available as The Vamp had not been a success. But a move back to the Winter Garden would have been only temporary as Shangri-La had been booked to open there on May 30. (As it turned out, severe out-of-town problems delayed the opening of Shangri-La till June 13. It closed on June 30.)

Instead of moving to the Winter Garden on yet another interim booking, the producers of Plain and Fancy decided to close the Broadway production and send out a new tour, even though the Broadway production was still doing decent (although hardly sell-out) business. A tour of the show had already gone out the previous August. The producers closed that tour on February 11. On March 6, three days after the Broadway closing, a new tour opened, combining members of the closing Broadway cast with cast members of the first tour.

The opening-night playbill did not list any understudies. Our list comes from the playbill for the week of February 21, 1955.

Copyright ©2020