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The original intention was to adapt Jean Giraudoux's Amphitryon 38, which had been adapted for the American stage by S. N. Behrman. The Behrman adaptation had been produced successfully on Broadway, starring Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. Perhaps because any musical adaptation would have required rights payments to both Giraudoux's estate and to Behrman, it was decided to not simply return to the original mythological story as the source.
The story had been dramatized many times previously, including versions by Plautus, Moliere and Heinrich von Kleist. Indeed, the 38 in Giraudoux's title referenced the many previous dramatizations, with Giraudoux, perhaps as a joke, suggesting that his play was the 38th.
During the troubled pre-Broadway tryout of the original production. F. Hugh Herbert did some uncredited work on the book.
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