Redhead

Original Broadway Production (1959)

Trivia & History

After opening night, the order of the characters in the playbill's "Cast (In order of appearance)" list was changed. In addition, a character designated as Street Customer, played by Elizabeth Kerr, was added to the cast list after the opening. This character was in the cast list by the week of March 30, 1959.

Here is the order or characters as listed in a playbill from February 7, 1959 (two days after opening night):

  • Ruth LaRue
  • Maude Simpson
  • Sarah Simpson
  • May 
  • Tilly
  • Essie Whimple
  • Inspector White
  • Howard Cavanaugh
  • George Poppett
  • Tom Baxter
  • Alfy, Stage Doorman
  • SIr Charles Willingham
  • The Tenor
  • Inez, the Blonde
  • Jailer

A playbill from the week of March 30, 1959, lists the characters in this order:

  • Ruth LaRue
  • Howard Cavanaugh
  • Maude Simpson
  • Sarah Simpson
  • George Poppett
  • Inspector White
  • Essie Whimple
  • Tom Baxter
  • May
  • Tilly
  • Alfy, Stage Doorman
  • SIr Charles Willingham
  • The Tenor
  • Inez, the Blonde
  • Street Customer
  • Jailer

There were other changes in the playbill between February 7 and March 30. The earlier playbill has this statement in a line above the list of understudies: "The role of Essie, in the event of Miss Verdon's absence, will be played by Allyn McLerie." In the list of understudies, there is no second understudy for the role of Essie. Also, no standby or understudy is listed anywhere for the role of Tom Baxter, played by Richard Kiley.

In the playbill from the week of March 30, there is this statement, placed on its own line, under the line about Allyn McLerie and above the list of understudies: "The role of Tom, in the event of Mr. Kiley's absence, will be played by Jerry LaZarre."

In addition, in the separate list of understudies below those two lines, the first understudy assignment listed is designated as "Essie (second understudy)," with Patti Karr listed as the understudy.


According to a theatre column that appeared in the New York Times on January 28, 1960, a film version of the show was planned. It was to have been produced by Robert Fryer and Lawrence, who produced the original Broadway production, with the stars of the production, Gwen Verdon and Richard Kiley, repeating their roles. United Artists was to have released it.


The production won six 1959 Tony awards. These were in the following categories:

  • Outstanding Musical
  • Outstanding Female Musical Star (Gwen Verdon)
  • Outstanding Male Musical Star (Richard Kiley)
  • Outstanding Musical Featured or Supporting Actor (Leonard Stone)
  • Outstanding Choreographer (Bob Foess)
  • Outstanding Costume Designer (Rouben Ter-Arutunian)

In the category of Outstanding Musical Featured or Supporting Actor, Leonard Stone tied with Russell Nype for Goldllocks.

Redhead received three votes in the 1959 New York Drama Critics Circle voting for Best Musical, but that left it far behind La Plume de Ma Tante, which received twelve votes and won easily.



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