Pal Joey

Definition

Theater

  • A musical by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, notable for being thefirst work in the genre to take an unsympathetic character as its 'hero'.Rodgers claimed that Pal Joey had finally forced the musicalcomedy theater to "wear long pants". It was first performedin New York in 1940 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, when it launchedGene Kelly to stardom. The show was even more successful in a 1952Broadway revival. Frank Sinatra starred in the film version (1957).In 1980 the London fringe theater company, New Half Moon,staged a noted revival that later transferred to the West End.

    The story concerns Joey (Evans), a disreputable nightclubdancer, who tries to seduce the young and naive Linda English. However, the fickle Joey is soon distracted by Vera Simpson, a rich married woman, who sets him up in an expensive apartment and opens a nightclub named after him. Eventually both Vera and Linda realize they are being taken for a ride and agree to reject him. Joey suddenly disappears from their lives, in pursuit of yet another woman.

    The songs, with music by Rodgers and lyrics by Hart, include'I Could Write a Book', 'That Terrific Rainbow', and 'Do It the HardWay'.

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