Closed prior to Broadway (1956)
John C. Wilson was signed as director immediately after the rights to the original play were acquired in March 1955. Due to health concerns, however, Wilson withdrew as director in March 1956 (just over a week before the New Haven opening) and maintained a Production Supervisor credit. He also continued to attend rehearsals.
In October 1955, Gypsy Rose Lee was announced as starring in the show. However, in December 1955, Lee withdrew from the show and Yvonne Adair was cast in her place. Lee told the New York Times that she waited more than four months and didn't get a script that satisfied her.
The comedy team of Ben Lessey and Patti Moore were to be featured in the show in September 1955. But they were not in the cast list.
A runway was to built down the center of the orchestra of the theatre on which the show girls were to parade.
The premiere was scheduled for 12/31/55 at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, moving to Boston on 1/9/56 and finally to Philadelphia on 1/30/56. The Broadway opening, as announced in October 1955, was scheduled for February 13, 1956. When Gypsy Rose Lee left the show, schedules needed to be rearranged.
In January, the opening was confirmed for April 12, 1956 at the Winter Garden Theatre. However, after several performances in New Haven, the production delayed until the week of March 23. The booking at the Winter Garden would force the play Bus Stop to close, however the delay bought Bus Stop two more weeks at the theatre. When the pre-Broadway tryout was extended, the Winter Garden was given to The Ziegfeld Follies instead.
Rehearsals began on February 14, 1956.
The production was to move to Philadelphia on March 27. Then the production was to move to National Theatre in Washington on April 10. However, the booking in Washington was cancelled because the proscenium was found to be too small for the sets. The production moved to the Nixon Theatre in Pittsburgh and another booking was sought between that run and the Broadway opening, which was to happen around April 23.
Eventually, the producers decided to keep the show on the road and delay the Broadway opening.
Another booking was to happen at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago on April 17 for four weeks. However, the show was to be held over in Pittsburgh through April 21 and open in Chicago on April 24.
Eventually, the additional week and Chicago engagement were cancelled and the show folded. The producers had hoped to reopen within four weeks. That never happened.
In early April, Irving Elman sued the producers for $44,000 in damages because he claimed they didn't pay him for his work revising the book (owing him $4200). Elman's attorney sought to obtain a writ. On April 5, the Sheriff's office in Philadelphia issued a writ of attachment to freeze the box-office receipts and prevent the removal of the show's scenery, costumes and props. The show would not be allowed to leave Philadelphia unless the producers posted a bond for double the damages claimed or pay the amount of the claim. On April 7, the bond was posted and the production was allowed to continue.
Set designer Stewart Chaney also sought payment. Following the closing of the show, the scenery and costumes were returned to the craftsmen in settlement of unpaid bills.
Igor Cassini withdrew as producer on April 9. William G. Costin, Jr. also withdrew. Cassini was replaced by Harold Patterson, husband of Yvonne Adair and a horticulturist known as "the orchid king of New Jersey". He was one of the major backers of the show.