The first preview in Washington, D.C., has become legendary. It was performed before the Women's National Democratic Club (including Lynda Byrd Johnson, eldest daughter of President Johnson).
The curtain rose at 9 and the performance ran until after midnight. Among other mishaps, scenery fell apart, dancers slipped and accidentally tripped each other up, costumes became loose, the audience kept laughing in parts that were supposed to be serious, and star Marisa Mell, playing the legendary spy, was accidentally spotlit while nearly nude during a costume change. At the end of the evening, after Mell was executed by the firing squad, she was seen breathing heavily as she lay "dead" on the stage and at one moment she scratched her forehead, which reportedly brought down the house. There was no curtain call that night.
The next day a Washington gossip column ran a story with the headline "Mata Hari Hilarious."