Without a doubt Show Boat is one of, if not the most, recorded American musical. Because the show has had multiple revisions, we have listed every bit of music we could find under it's respective 'Used in' section. We are of the belief that this is the most accurate and complete song list available. Please be aware that some numbers were not used in the original production, and that many were small fragments and very easily recognized by an audience member. Also, while scene titles are not something we are in a habit of listing, they are so recognizable we felt they should be included.
- Any number marked "Dance" was part of the original production even though it was not mentioned in the program. It was not until Helen Tamiris was brought in to emphasize the dancing for the 1946 Broadway revival that titles were given to them (these have been listed as alternate titles). Additionally, in 1946, the dance segment of "Life On the Wicked Stage" received fragments of "I Might Fall Back on You" and "While Strolling Through the Park".
- "Bill" has an unusual past. It is rumored to have been written in 1906. It's first appearance was in Oh, Lady! Lady!! with lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse, but was cut prior to opening. It was later recycled into Zip Goes a Million (aka Maid of Money) with brand new lyrics by B.G. DeSylva. After closing on the road, it was intended to be used in a planned musical called The Little Thing with the original Wodehouse lyrics.
- The basic song idea was then used for Sally, but was once again cut.
- When the song finally surfaced in Show Boat with Wodehouse's lyrics, Oscar Hammerstein II issued a statement in the program to this effect. However, as Miles Kreuger notes in his book on Show Boat, that when comparing the two pieces, there are some differences and Hammerstein is credited. Krueger says that Hammerstein kept Wodehouse's lyrics for the two versions and last eight bars of the refrains. He and Kern rewrote both music and lyrics for the first eight bars of both refrains.
- This number was initially used as a specialty number for Norma Terris, the star, and replaced "It's Getting Hotter in the North". The number utilized Terris' imitations of the popular entertainers of the period, and reprises of "Why Do I Love You?" Dances were added to give Terris and opportunity to change her costumes. Most revivals use only the reprises for this number.
Songs cut prior to opening on Broadway
- The final version of "Musical Scena" has opening music, followed by dialogue with "Mis'ry's Comin' Aroun'" as an underscore and flows into "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man". The cut version deviated after the opening by adding dialogue, followed with Magnolia delivering a long monologue in waltz time, a reprise of "Make Believe", the dialogue/underscoring and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man". The cut material was about five minutes long.
- "Waterfront Saloon Scene" is a longer version of "Till Good Luck Comes My Way". There was a gambling scene with underscoring, and part of the song was sung off stage. This led into the full song, and was about two minutes longer.
- "Be Happy, Too" was originally called "Cheer Up". This song actually did appear in the program during the Washington, D.C. tryout, but was replaced by "Why Do I Love You?" in performance. "Be Happy, Too" turned up in Cleveland programs, but was rewritten with new lyrics as "I Might Fall Back on You".
- While "My Girl" appeared in the programs in Washington, D.C. it was most likely not performed as lyrics have yet to be completed.
- Originally titled "No Mason-Dixon Line", "It's Getting Hotter in the North" contained an instrumental dance with fragments of "I'm Just Wild About Harry". This was later replaced by "Kim's Imitations" (with "Eccentric Dance" and "Tap Dance").
- In an earlier draft, there was a scene involving a party at Kim's Manhattan apartment. "Rhapsody in Blue" (being played by a composer named George) ends as Kim enters. The chorus was then to sing a song typical of the ones used prior to a star making their entrance. Kim would then sing an old show-boat song, and a big dance would end the scene.