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The Peggy Lee Bio-Discography:
Performances For The Theater
(Live, Part III)

by Iván Santiago

Page generated on Nov 11, 2021

This page concentrates on Peggy Lee's prospective theatrical engagements. As will be shown shortly, there were at least half a dozen of them, but only two panned out. One of the fulfilled engagements was an off-Broadway production of Side By Side By Sondheim and the other was her own Broadway show, an autobiographical musical named Peg. Both shows are discussed below in their own separate entries, as are Lee's unrealized theatrical projects. A total of 62 Peggy Lee vocals are listed in the present page, all of them meant for either the off-Broadway or the Broadway show. In addition to the songs that Lee actually interpreted onstage, the page also covers a batch of numbers that she co-wrote and rehearsed with the intention of performing them in her autobiographical musical, but which ultimately were left unperformed.


In April 1960, Peggy Lee shared the following news with her fans: "[a]lthough contracts have not been signed yet, it looks as though I will be doing my first play in July! It's kind of an exciting challenge -- and I'm a little nervous about it. The play is New Girl In Town and we expect to do it for a few weeks in Dallas." The new were reiterated the following month in an interview printed by the New York Daily News: Lee "has been engaged by the Dallas, Texas Theatre for a starring role in New Girl In Town during the summer." Unfortunately, the artist's plans did not come to fruition, for reasons unknown to me. (It is possible that the production was simply cancelled. It is equally possible that the parties did not come to a mutually satisfactory agreement, or that Lee had to cancel due to personal or professional matters.)

Lee was presumably expected to play the leading role in this romantic musical, which is based on Eugene O'Neill's 1921 play Anna Christie. The story centers on a former prostitute's relationship with two men of the sea, neither of whom know about her illicit past at first. One of them is her hitherto absentee father and the other her brand new love. Anna Christie's former profession made the character a foreign (and perhaps somewhat controversial) choice for Lee to play, but she would have still found a lot of common ground in many other aspects of the protagonist's life. To wit: Anna's roots in Sweden, her growing up in a farm under the strain of hard and abusive work, her mother's death during childhood, the play's choice of Anna's stepmother as the antagonist, and the role that alcohol plays in the eventual revelation of Anna's secret past.

The motif of alcoholism might have actually been among the reasons why Lee became a candidate for the role: she had earned an Oscar nomination for playing an alcoholic singer in the 1955 movie Pete Kelly's Blues. In fact, the motif is paramount in the most memorable lines from the O'Neill play (turned into the musical New Girl In Town in 1957). They are the lines that Anna utters when we first meet her: "[g]imme a whiskey -- ginger on the side. And don't be stingy, baby!" (Anna's father and stepmother are also heavy drinkers.)

A star vehicle for Gwen Verdon, the musical incarnation of the story opened on May 4, 1957 in New York City's 46th Street Theatre. It went on to earn Tonys for both Verdon and Thelma Ritter, who played the role of Marthy, the stepmother. Here is a list of the songs (all of them written by Bob Merrill) sung by the Anna character in this musical: "On The Farm," "It's Good To Be Alive," 'If That Was Love," "Did You Close Your Eyes?" (the show's romantic duet), and two ensemble numbers, "There Ain't No Flies On Me" and "Ven I Valse." A couple of those numbers enjoyed a measure of attention outside of the theatrical realm: "It's Good to Be Alive" and "Flings." (The former was used as one of the themes of Jack Paar's TV program, and was also recorded by Sylvia Syms. The latter -- performed in the Broadway show by the stepmother along with other characters -- was recorded as a duet by Carol Burnett and Martha Raye, and also by Pearl Bailey, who tackled it solo.)


The character Pal Joey dates back to 1938, when he made his first appearances in a series of short stories written by John O'Hara for The New Yorker. O'Hara turned the stories into a short novel that he published in 1940. That same year, he talked Rodgers & Hart into writing the score for what would prove to be a very successful Broadway musical, starring Gene Kelly. A Hollywood version, featuring Frank Sinatra in the leading role, premiered in 1957. Besides Pal Joey, the story's other leading characters are two ladies who vie for Joey's attention: the ingenue Linda English and the seasoned dame Vera Simpson.

In 1960 or early 1961, theatrical producer John Kenley announced that Peggy Lee would be appearing in the summer stock production of Pal Joey that his company -- The Kenley Players -- would soon be staging.

Kenley would eventually become famous for these summer stock productions, which he staged mostly in Ohio, after having done the first few (late 1940s - early 1950s) in Pennsylvania. One major reason for the perennial interest in Kenley's productions was his consistent success at recruiting celebrities. A partial list of the many well-known acts who enrolled in his plays would have to include Ethel Merman, Rock Hudson, Veronica Lake, Shelley Winters, Jane Powell, Jayne Mansfield, Ramón Novarro, Vincent Price, Martha Raye, Margaret Whiting, Dolores Gray, and Jack Jones.

The producer (and actor) staged Pal Joey four times. Bob Fosse and Carol Bruce starred in the earliest edition (1951), Joel Grey and Alexis Smith in the last (1983). A 1968 edition featured Buddy Greco, Anne Jeffreys, and Dagmar.

As can be gathered from the images seen immediately below, the prospective 1961 edition was also produced, but Peggy Lee was not part of it. Kenley's Pal Joey played from July 16 to 23, 1961 in Ohio, with Andy Williams, Julie Wilson, and Barbara Stevens in the three main roles. Meanwhile, Peggy Lee spent most of that month in London, where she was performing for her very first time (at the Pigalle).

Had Lee appeared in this edition of Pal Joey, she would have naturally played one of the two leading female roles, but there is no clear-cut knowledge as to which of them. Given the fact that Lee had turned 41 in 1961, the Vera role would have been the most suitable for her to pick, but adjustments could have been made for her to play the role of a somewhat older Linda. In the Vera role, her solo numbers would have been "What Is A Man?" and "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered," the latter a song which she had performed before, and would perform again in later years. In the Linda role, her numbers would have included the duet "I Could Write A Book," which was a tune that she would actually record two years later, solo, for Capitol Records.

If the 1961 production were to include songs from the score of the 1957 film version with Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, and Kim Novak, "My Funny Valentine" would have been a number that Lee could have sung, had she played the role of Linda. Other film numbers with which Lee happened to be well acquainted were "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "There Is A Small Hotel," and "The Lady Is A Tramp," all of which the movie assigned to the Joey character. (Assignation could have been different in the Kenley show. When it came to his top bill players, the producer was known for being extraordinarily accomomodating: if any of them wanted to do a particular song or dance number, he was likely to quickly acquiesce, even if it was at the expense of the play's authenticity. Hence, had Andy Williams or Peggy Lee wanted to sing a number not assigned to their respective characters, Kenley would have probably granted their wishes.)


In the July 6, 1961 edition of her movie & gossip column, Louella Parsons tells her readers about ongoing plans to turn Irving Walllace's then-brand new biography The Twenty-Seventh Wife into a play. Parsons states the following: "Peggy Lee will start in the show when stage producers Robert Fryer and Laurence Sarr put the Wallace story on Broadway next year. Peggy Lee? For a moment I couldn't imagine sultry-singing Peggy Lee in the part of Ann Eliza, whose distaste for polygamous marriage brought on her divorce from Brigham in 1873. Later her lectures against polygamy influenced Congress to pass a law making it illegal in the U.S. Then I remembered that Peggy had acquitted herself with high honors in a vivid dramatic role in Pete Kelly's Blues and would make a very good Ann Eliza. Jerome Weidmann will collaborate with author Wallace on the play and they will meet with Peggy in Europe after she finishes her engagement at Club Pigalle."

Lee finished her European concert and TV engagements in August 1961, coming back to the United States at the end of that month. It was on that same month that columnist Dorothy Kilgallen restated the assertion previous made by her competitor (Parsons). According to Kilgallen's column on the August 11, 1961 issue of the Chicago American, erstwhile child singing actress Deanna Durbin had "been in Paris conferring with Irving Wallace about an important role in a musical movie version of his best seller, The Twenty-Seventh Wife. The flicker is scheduled to go before the cameras a year after Peggy Lee stars in the Broadway production of the story. Elizabeth Taylor is wanted for the film, too--with the singing dubbed, of course."

Irving Wallace's The Twenty-seventh Wife was a biography of Ann Eliza Webb, one among Mormon leader Brigham Young's 55 wives. The main source of Wallace's biography was in turn the woman's autobiography. Webb published her autobiography in 1876, under the full title of Wife No. 19, Or The Story Of A Life In Bondage. Being A Complete Exposé Of Mormonism, And Revealing The Sorrows, Sacrifices And Sufferings Of Women In Polygamy. Ann Webb was 24 in 1868, when she married the 67-year-old Brigham Young. In 1874, one year after she had filed for divorce in civil court, Webb was excommunicated from her husband's church. (The lady actually got married three times, once before and once after Young. All three marriages ended in divorce. She also went on to publish -- in 1907 -- a new version of her autobiography, more succinctly known as Life In Mormon Bondage.)

After searching in vain for any indication of a theatrical performance, I have come to the assumption that this prospective dramatization of The Twenty-seventh Wife never got off the ground (and ditto for the prospective film). Even if the show had been greenlighted, Peggy Lee still might have not been able to participate -- not, at least, right away. In mid-November 1961, she fell seriously ill with double pneumonia, requiring hospitalization and a subsequent period of recuperation. Lee does not seem to have gone back to performing until April 1962.


In a 1965 column, Hollywood gossip reporter Sheila Graham informed her readers about incipient discussions between Peggy Lee and Jimmy Durante to co-star in a musical play. The playwright attached to the project was Ron Towe, one of Lee's most ardent music fans. Unfortunately, this Durante-Lee collaboration was yet another project that did not come to fruition, for reasons unknown.

Date: Between June 20 - July 20, 1980, 8:00 p.m.
Location: Birmingham Theatre, Detroit, Michigan

Eileen LaGrange (ccm, p), Richie Surnock (b), Paul Horner (p), Peggy Lee (v)

a. Demo Performance I Remember(Stephen Sondheim)
b. Demo Performance I Never Do Anything Twice(Stephen Sondheim)
c. Demo Performance Ah, Paris!(Stephen Sondheim)
d. Demo Performance Send In The Clowns(Stephen Sondheim)
e. Demo Performance Anyone Can Whistle(Stephen Sondheim)
f. Demo Performance The Boy From ...(Mary Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim)
g. Demo Performance I'm Still Here(Stephen Sondheim)
h. Demo Performance Small World(Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim)
i. Demo Performance The Ladies Who Lunch(Stephen Sondheim)
j. Demo Performance Everything's Coming Up Roses(Stephen Sondheim, Jule Styne)
k. Demo Performance Side By Side By Side(Stephen Sondheim)


The Show

In his June 26, 1980 review of a then-current edition of Side By Side By Sondheim, the Detroit Free Press' Lawrence DeVine gives a satisfactory overview of the show's basics. Devine explains that it is "usually staged with two girls and a boy and an older and wiser interlocutor over at the side, who intersperses wry comments about the human comedy as seen in Sondheim's musical comedy. Add to that two smiling digital demons at the twin pianos, a dozen on-and-off neon signs from Sondheim's shows ..." On the specific matter of this 1980 production, DeVine remarks that it veered off from the earlier editions (1976-1980) in a couple of significant ways. For one, the quantity of songs performed by The Narrator was far larger than in earlier productions. Second, the role of the Narrator had been originally played by a male actor. The gender had first changed when Hermione Gingold was enlisted for the 1978 national touring edition. In the 1980 production under discussion, another female had taken on the role: Peggy Lee.


Most sources identify Ohio's Birmingham Theatre as the location in which the 1980 edition of Side By Side By Sondheim was performed. So does the show's brochure. Two accounts differ, however. A contemporaneous newspaper listing indicates that Lee would be appearing at Ohio's Flint Theatre "through July 12," and one concertgoer's recollection also places the Sondheim show at that venue. Details from other sources suggest that the concertgoer and the newspaper listing mixed up two concurrent Peggy Lee projects: in addition to appearing at the Birmingham Theatre during the Side By Side By Sondheim run, Lee did about a week of concerts (July 7 to July 12) at the Flint Theatre.

Personnel Credits

The cast and crew credits for this production of Side By Side By Sondheim are as follows:
Director - Norman Twain
Co-Director - Teri Ralston
Musical Director - Eileen LaGrange
Additional Musical Staging - Brenda Thompson
Costume Design - Dwight Richard Odle
Set and Lighing Design - A. Clark Duncan
Cast - George Lee Andrews, Eric Gillet, Marti Morris, Peggy Lee, and Teri Ralston
Peggy Lee's Wardrobe - Cara Robin
Peggy Lee's Coiffure -Terry Schilling


The specific circumstances that led to Peggy Lee's enrollment in this production are unknown. When she was interviewed for an article published in early 1983, the artist made passing mention of "a short run in Side By Side By Sondheim" that she had done "to get the feel of the legitimate theater." Her words thus suggest that she thought of her involvement in this production as a means to an end. That end might have been the production of Peg, an autobiographical musical which would come to fruition in 1983. (Following the present discussion of the Sondheim project, this page's next sections are dedicated to Peg.) Common to both this Side By Side revue and the Peg show is the fact that they were enacted in theatres operated by the Nedelander Organization. Moreover, one of the pianists of the Sondheim revue (Paul Horner) would become the composer of Lee's autobiographical show.

Before Side By Side By Sondheim settled in its Detroit location at the Birmingham Theatre, a run-through took place at DR Studios in North Hollywood. This was basically a preview, reserved for industry insiders and for family members of the participants. Then the production went on to play for a month at its Detroit venue.

Plans to continue it elsewhere had been informally discussed in advance. According to the May 6, 1980 TipOff column of The Ledger, "Joe Nederlander is so thrilled about being able to get Peggy Lee for the show that he'll produce it on Broadway immediately after the Birmingham run." Other articles reiterate the general intention to take this edition of the show on the road and also to Broadway, including a newspaper ad that announced the advent of the show as "beginning June 20 prior to Broadway." Nevertheless, the Broadway-bound plans were not followed through. The reasons are unknown. It is very possible that Lee had no interest in continuing. After meeting composer Paul Horner, the singer-songwriter had apparently become increasingly absorbed in the task of writing songs for her own prospective show. (Horner told Lee biographer Peter Richmond that, at least once during a rehearsal for Side By Side By Sondheim, Lee had found herself unable to remember lyrics that she said she had memorized the previous night. An uncharacteristic situation for the singer, this instance could be taken as an indication that her mind was increasingly preoccupied with the writing of songs for the play. Then again, any other number of factors might have accounted for it. Since she was also -- as previously mentioned -- holding concert engagements during this period, Lee probably had her plate full. Other matters worth noting in this context will be discussed below: specifically, reports of illness, and changes in the assignation of songs.)


The song repertoire of Side By Side By Sondheim tends to vary from one production to another. According to press reviews, the 1980 edition included about three dozens of songs. Since I have not been able to locate an official song list for this edition, it is hard to pinpoint with absolute certainty which numbers were interpreted by Lee. The above-given song entries are based on the combined recollections of three individuals who attended the performances, and should thus be deemed tentative, though very likely to be correct. My three sources show agreement on all the numbers listed, with the exceptions of "I Never Do Anything Twice," "Anyone Can Whistle," and "Side By Side By Side." The first two numbers might have been among those which Lee performed early during the run, but ceded to other cast members later into the run. As for the third and last exception, "Side By Side By Side" is likely to have been a full ensemble rather than a solo number, a fact which might explain its exclusion from some of my sources.


By all accounts, response to the Peggy Lee-centered edition of Side By Side By Sondheim was positive. In his aforementioned write-up, Lawrence DeVine makes passing reference to occasionally awkward moments, but otherwise comments about the revue with qualified approval. The lion's share of his praise goes to the show's star: "[a]s the hostess of this get-together, Peggy Lee distracts attention from the rest of the crew by her very considerable presence, biding her time while the others carry on until it's time for Miss Peggy Lee to get up and sing."


This 1980 edition of the Sondheim revue is known to have been preserved only in the form of a sound system tape, currently said to be part of Stephen Sondheim's personal collection. No other copies of the tape are known to exist.


The brochure for the 1980 staging of Side By Side By Sondheim is on display in one of the above-seen photos. In the other shot, Peggy Lee is caught in the act of performing one of the show's numbers. (Since this press photo does not supply a dating, there is a possibility that it was taken at a rehearsal, rather than at an actual performance.)

Date: Between 1980 And 1982

Paul Horner (p), Peggy Lee (v)

a. Demo Performance Mirrors And Marble - 6:08(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
b. Demo Performance What's The Matter, Little Girl? - 2:47(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
c. Demo Performance Get Off Your Knees - 2:16(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
d. Demo Performance Honey (You Are Stuck With Me Now) - 2:28(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
e. Demo Performance Clown Party - 2:05(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
f. Demo Performance Mister Clown - 2:01(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
g. Demo Performance My Little Girl Has Gone Away - 3:00(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
h. Demo Performance I'm Fine - 2:50(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
i. Demo Performance Just Because The Years Go By - 2:09(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)


The Songs

The songs listed in this entry were written for Peggy Lee's autobiographical Broadway show Peg. Unfortunately, all of them were eventually superseded by other songs, and hence excluded from the show. (For specifics about Peg's finalized score, see entry dated December 14-17, 1983.) The fact that they were dropped from the musical is by no means an indication of poor quality. On the contrary, some of them are very catchy, and others are moving or evocative.

These nine unused numbers (and a few others, to be discussed in the next entry) are solid, fully realized musical pieces which would have been suitable additions to the musical, but which fell victims to a number of circumstances. Some of them were simply replaced with other songs that served the same thematic purposes. Others seem to have been written for scenes which were dropped from the finalized libretto, probably due to time constraints and/or creative decisions.

For instance, "My Little Girl Has Gone Away" sets to music Lee's bittersweet thoughts as her only daughter, Nicki, gets married and thus leaves the household. The finalized music score includes no close equivalent to that song, and offers only a brief mention of Nicki's marriage. The topic of maternal love was still covered in the score, though, through a song called "Angels On Your Pillow" -- a lullaby that Lee and her husband sing to Nicki as a child. Since "Angels On Your Pillow" is a more captivating composition than "My Little Girl Has Gone Away", it was arguably wise to retain the former and delete the latter.

Marital trouble is the underlying topic of another deleted number. Somber but still suggesting some glimmers of hope, "Mister Clown" is Peggy Lee's acknowledgment of husband Dave Barbour's difficulties with depression and alcoholism. Neither the song nor a replacement made it to the final show. Instead, the topic of Barbour's alcoholism was covered through a couple of throwaway lines sung by Lee and though various spoken comments. The sung lines were especially infelicitous. The topic of Barbour's illnesses and their effect on the marriage would have benefitted from a more evocative approach -- for instance, a vignette in song. "Mr. Clown" (or, better yet, a rewritten, less cryptic "Mr. Clown") could have served that purpose.

Of the remaining unused songs, the charming "Honey" and the clever "I'm Fine" merit special mention. The former is a happy paean to married life, the latter a tongue-in-cheek catalogue of the illnesses experienced by Lee. Hummable and memorable, both could have proven crowd pleasers. Yet another noteworthy number is the stirring "Get Off Your Knees." An obliquely religious, overtly inspirational composition, it too had potential to become an audience favorite.

The Collaboration

All the songs listed herein were co-written by Paul Horner and Peggy Lee. (The same co-credit applies to nearly all the later songs that made it to the final score.) Horner and Lee first met at the aforementioned production of Side By Side By Sondheim , in which she played the role of the Narrator and he was one of the two pianists. (See entry above, dated June 20 to July 20, 1980.) In his biography of Peggy Lee, Peter Richmond retells Paul Horner's recollection of the meeting that led to the collaboration: "[o]n the first day of rehearsals, Horner was sitting at the piano, up on an elevated rostrum six steps off the stage, fiddling with a tune of his own, when he heard the sound of shoes running up the steps ... 'You wrote that?,' said Peggy. Horner, flattered, acknowledged that he had. 'Can I write some lyrics for it?' she said. She didn't have to ask twice." In her autobiography, Peggy Lee tells essentially the same story, with some minor variations: "Paul Horner ... was over on stage left playing a beautiful melody. I called to him, 'What is that, Paul?' 'It's mine.' I walked over to him. 'Does that have lyrics?' 'No, I was hoping you might want to write some.' So there it was, his dream and mine. I didn't want to let any time go by, so I just began writing immediately ... There began a period of years writing Peg for Broadway. It was between engagements that we wrote thirty songs for the score ..."

The Full Song Score

Whereas the above-quoted remark makes reference to 30 songs, other informal quotes put the quantity of songs written for Peg at either two or three dozens -- presumably including both the numbers that made it into the show and those that did not.

The official, finalized music score included 16 songs expressly written for the show. All 16 are furnished with lyrics credited to Lee; 14 of them feature music credited to Horner.

The total number of Peg songs entered in this page is 31. That number includes the 16 songs heard in the final score, the 9 above-listed titles (preserved on a demo) and 5 other numbers that have survived on rehearsal tapes. There is some doubt as to whether one of the rehearsed numbers ("My Dear Acquaintance") was really written for the show. If it was not, then the total number of Peg songs entered herein would by 30, coinciding with Lee's own statement. There is knowledge, however, of two other songs, whose preservation is unclear at the present time. (For details about them, read next section's notes.)


Shown in one of the photos above is Peggy Lee in 1982 -- that is to say, during the time period in which she and Paul Horner were writing, rehearsing and performing (at parties) the songs under discussion. Paul Horner is seen in the other photo, which was taken decades later. (A photo of Paul Horner dating from around the same time as Lee's, or perhaps a bit earlier, can be found in this site, if you click on the words "The Company.")

Sources And Availability

The nine songs discussed herein have been preserved on what was probably a demo tape. Most of them are also extant in rehearsal tapes. None of them has ever been commercially issued.

Date: Between 1980 And 1983

Steve Genewick (eng), Paul Horner (p), Sam Fischer, Mark Robertson (vn), David Walther (vl), Jen Kuhn (vc), Peggy Lee (v)

a. Demo Perf. (Mastered) My Dear Acquaintance {A Happy New Year} - 3:01(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: David Blumberg, Paul Horner
CAPITOL CS/CDEo 1197 00946 3 63376 47 / 09463 63376 2 3CHRISTMAS WITH PEGGY LEE   (2006)
CAPITOL©Universal DigitalAudio/LP/CDB 0032274 01/ 02ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS   (2020)
b. Private Taping Riding On The Rails - 2:57(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
c. Private Taping The Folks Back Home(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
d. Private Taping McGuinty Went To The Opera(Traditional, Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
e. Private Taping I Gave It Everything I Had(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
f. Private Taping Petit Chanson De Reves(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)



Displayed on the above-seen sketches are the various dresses that costume designer Florence Klotz originally devised for the show Peg. Lee was expected to pick two of these dresses to wear -- one per act. Like the songs discussed in this section, these prospective gowns did not make it into the show. (Photos of the only attire that Lee ended up wearing onstage can be seen down below.) My thanks to George Kurek for his very generous provision of these images.


Aside from "My Dear Acquaintance," all songs listed in this entry are known to have been written for the musical Peg, even though they ended up being excluded from the produced show. "My Dear Acquaintance" might or might have not been written for inclusion in the musical; Horner and Lee composed it during the same period in which they wrote all the other songs for the show.

Sources And Availability

These Peggy Lee vocals are extant in rehearsals probably taped at Peggy Lee's own Beverly Hills home. These numbers have never been made available to the public. The only exception is the first of the listed vocals, which was preserved on a professionally recorded tape and has been released by EMI Records on CD.

Curious listeners also have the welcome option of listening to one of the other numbers in a version sung by another worthwhile singer. Vocalist Stacy Sullivan's version sings "The Folks Back Home" in her CD It's A Good Day: A Tribute To Peggy Lee. Two of the other songs "I Gave It Everything I Had" and "Petit Chanson De Reves" have been sung and recorded by their composer, Paul Horner.


1. "I Gave It Everything I Had"
This number was Lee's and Horner's very first composition. (It was thus the melody with which Horner originally lured Lee -- as told in the preceding section, under the note titled The Collaboration).

2. "The Love of My Life"
3. "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep"
In addition to all the numbers entered above and in the ensuing sections, Peggy Lee and Paul Horner also composed these two title for their Peg score. At the present time, I lack any indication that Lee's versions of these songs are extant. They are not found among the numbers from the extant rehearsals, nor have they survived in the demos of which I am aware. One unexplored possibility: composer Paul Horner could have preserved on tapes Lee's vocals of these songs.

Personnel And Instruments

1. "My Dear Acquaintance"
This number was originally a piano-and-vocal performance only. A string quartet was overdubbed to the performance when it was chosen for inclusion in the CD Christmas With Peggy Lee.

2. Strings
3. Engineering
In the above-shown personnel, all listed strings musicians played on "My Dear Acquaintance" only, and they did so on an overdub recorded in 2006. Similarly, engineer Steve Genewick worked only in the 2006 release of "My Dear Acquaintance."

Date: October 20, 1983

Jay Leonhart (b), Cy Coleman or Paul Horner (p), Grady Tate (d, v), Peggy Lee (v), Unknown (bkv)

a. Demo Performance That Old Piano - 1:46(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
b. Demo Performance Daddy Was A Railroad Man - 2:59(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
c. Demo Performance Soul - 2:36(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
d. Demo Performance One Beating A Day - 2:15(Peggy Lee)
e. Demo Performance Mama - 2:36(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
f. Demo Performance That's How I Learned The Blues - 4:50(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
g. Demo Performance What Did Dey Do To My Goil? - 2:37(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
h. Demo Performance Sometimes You're Up - 2:45(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
i. Demo Performance Louisville Lou - 3:01(Milton Ager, Jack Yellen)
j. Demo Performance Flowers And Flowers - 4:31(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
k. Demo Performance I Never Knew Why - 2:15(Cy Coleman, Peggy Lee)
l. Demo Performance No More Rainbows - 2:31(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
m. Demo Performance Angels On Your Pillow - 1:51(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
n. Demo Performance Angels On Your Pillow (Longer Version) - 2:58(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
o. Demo Performance There Is More - 3:33(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
p. Demo Performance The Other Part Of Me - 3:13(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
q. Demo Performance The Siamese Cat Song - 1:22(Joseph F. "Sonny" Burke, Peggy Lee)


The Demo

All the above-listed interpretations have been preserved in a demonstration tape made by Peggy Lee and company. These performances are stripped-down versions of the songs that would be heard in Lee's Broadway musical Peg. They miss the orchestrations and the sound effects which would further enhance them when they came to be interpreted onstage. The demo was probably made for the benefit of the orchestrators and arrangers who would have needed to hear Lee's interpretations before they could contribute their work and input.

Though not exactly high fidelity, the quality of this demonstration tape is good. So are Lee's singing and the musicians' playing. Hence a release on CD or MP3 would not be out of the realm of possibility. However, an agreement would have to be reached first between the multiple parties that claim legal ownership to any songs connected to Peg. (As shown above, only one of these numbers have been released so far, and the release in question was not a commercial disc, but a songwriting compilation from the BMG music publishing company. In BMG's transfer from the demo tape to the digital realm, "Soul" sounds as good as the mastered recordings found in the rest of the CD.


The date October 20, 1983 is found in the copy of the demo to which I had access. Since the copy was several generations removed from the original, and since I do not know who was responsible for assigning it, this date should be deemed tentative.

Personnel And Instruments

1. Tentative Personnel
The personnel that plays these demo selections is not identified in my sources. The most commonly heard instruments are a piano, presumably played by either Cy Coleman or Paul Horner, and the voice of Peggy Lee, of course. The presence of drums and bass is more debatable, since they seem audible, if at all, in selected tracks only -- particularly in "Daddy Was A Railroad Man" and, less prominently, in "Flowers And Flowers." (Drums are clearly audible in both tracks, bass less certainly so.) Since Lee had a basic knowledge of piano playing, she could have been the pianist (or one of two pianists), though I find this possibility unlikely. Hence the above-listed personnel should be deemed tentative overall, though Peggy Lee and Grady Tate are definite participants.

2. Grady Tate
Drummer-vocalist Grady Tate is heard singing only in the two performances of "Angels On Your Pillow."

Songs, Libretto And Issues

1. Parlando/Libretto Lines
Many of the performances heard in the demo are accompanied by lines from Peg's libretto. Some lines precede the given song, whereas others are uttered amidst the song's verses. With one exception, the actual Broadway show included all the spoken lines heard in this demo. Further details below.

2. "That's How I Learned The Blues"
3. "The Other Part Of Me"
These two performances include instructions and commentary uttered by Peggy Lee. The commentary pertains to the spots in which the orchestra should play, and to a vamp that serves as an interlude within one of the performances. Moreover, "The Other Part Of Me" is preceded by a Lee address: "Hello, Gordon." The Gordon in question is likely to have been Gordon Jenkins, although he did not end up orchestrating "The Other Part Of Me."

4. "Angels On Your Pillow"
This song is heard twice in the demo, once in a short version and once in a version which features a fair amount of additional lyrics. In both the show and these demo versions, "Angels On Your Pillow" is actually a duet between Peggy Lee and Grady Tate. (His voice stands for that of Dave Barbour, Lee's first husband. This number is a lullaby to Nicki, the couple's daughter). Through the performance, Tate's lines are actually echoes of Lee's. In the demo's longer version, however, all the additional lyrics are sung by Lee only.

5. "The Siamese Cat Song"
Though part of this demo, "The Siamese Cat Song" ended up being excluded from the show. Thanks to the commentary with which Lee' prefaces it, we know that the number was meant to be part of a section in which she would briefly talk about her participation in Walt Disney's movie Lady And The Tramp. The reason for the song's excision is not known to me. Perhaps the number's placement at the very end of the demo is indicative of its disposability, if the show's duration had to be shortened due to any given circumstances.


Shown in this section's photos are the creative team and the production staff behind the making of the musical Peg. In the first of the above-seen photos, Peggy Lee poses by the piano, for a photo shoot held during a rehearsal that took place on August 10, 1983. The man dimly seen man in the background is probably drummer Grady Tate. For the second photo, Lee waves hello during an unspecified outing -- probably a Broadway show, possibly in September 1983. Accompanying her is Zev Buffman, the main producer of her musical. Another producer, Irv Cowan, is seen with Lee in the fourth image. Lee, Bufman and Cowan are also present in the first of the photos displayed below, along with Cy Coleman (at the piano), producer Marge Cowan, director Robert Drivas, and the production's three lead designers, Thomas Skelton (lighting), Tom H. John (scenery), and Florence Klotz (costumes). Another photo captures Lee standing amidst the excellent musicians who made up her combo for the Broadway show: Mike Renzi, Grady Tate, and Jay Leonhart. (Missing is guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, who might have been enlisted at a later time.) For the remaining two photos, Peggy Lee poses next to two of the project's ace pianists and dear friends of hers, Coleman and Renzi.

Date: December 14-17, 1983
Location: Lunt-Fontanne Theater, 205 West 46th Street, New York City

Louann Montesi (ccm, str), Larry Fallon (con), Andy Drelles, Ralph Olsen, Frank Perowsky, Ed Salkin, Joe Temperley (r), Frank Fighera, Johnny Frosk, Brian O'Flaherty (t), Sy Berger, Harry DiVito, Tommy Mitchell (tb), Fred Griffen, Doug Norris (frh), John Basie, Bucky Pizzarelli (g), Jay Leonhart (b), Abe Appleman, Bruce Berg, Valerie Collymore, Winterton Garvey, Amaura Giannini, Richard Henrickson, Stanley Hunte (str), Mike Renzi (p), Lou Forestieri (snt), Grady Tate (d, v), Joe Passaro (per), Avron Coleman (vc), Peggy Lee (v), Mary Sue Berry, Steve Clayton, Doris Eugenio, Rose Marie Jun, Brian Quinn, David Vogel (bkv), Ray Charles, aka The Other Ray Charles (c-a)

a. Concert Taping Fever(Otis Blackwell aka John Davenport, Eddie Cooley, uncredited Sid Kuller & Peggy Lee) / arr: Peggy Lee
b. Concert Taping Soul(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Don Sebesky
c. Concert Taping Daddy Was A Railroad Man(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Larry Wilcox
d. Concert Taping Mama(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Gordon Jenkins
e. Concert Taping That Old Piano(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Billy May
f. Concert Taping One Beating A Day(Peggy Lee) / arr: Leon Pendarvis
g. Concert Taping That's How I Learned The Blues(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Billy May
h. Concert Taping Goody Goody(Matt Malneck, Johnny Mercer) / arr: Mike Renzi
i. Concert Taping Clicky Clack(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee)
j. Concert Taping Sometimes You're Up(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Philip J. Lang
k. Concert Taping He'll Make Me Believe That He's Mine(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Johnny Mandel
l. Concert Taping Why Don't You Do Right?(Joe McCoy) / arr: Bill Holman
m. Concert Taping I Love Being Here With You(Dave Cavanaugh aka Bill Schluger, Peggy Lee) / arr: Larry Wilcox
n. Concert Taping The Other Part Of Me(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Dominic Frontiere
o. Concert Taping I Don't Know Enough About You(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee) / arr: Torrie Zito
p. Concert Taping Angels On Your Pillow(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Don Sebesky
q. Concert Taping It's A Good Day(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee) / arr: Larry Fallon
r. Concert Taping Mañana(Dave Barbour, Peggy Lee) / arr: Leon Pendarvis
s. Concert Taping What Did Dey Do To My Goil?(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Philip J. Lang
t. Concert Taping I Never Knew Why(Cy Coleman, Peggy Lee)
u. Concert Taping Louisville Lou(Milton Ager, Jack Yellen) / arr: Billy May
v. Concert Taping No More Rainbows(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Artie Butler
w. Concert Taping Flowers And Flowers(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Torrie Zito
x. Concert Taping Lover(Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) / arr: Gordon Jenkins
y. Concert Taping Big Spender(Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields) / arr: Bill Holman
z. Concert Taping I'm A Woman(Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) / arr: Dave Cavanaugh
aa. Concert Taping Is That All There Is? (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller) / arr: Joseph Gianono, Randy Newman
ab. Concert Taping There Is More(Paul Horner, Peggy Lee) / arr: Don Sebesky


The Show

The autobiographical musical Peg opened in New York City's Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on December 14, 1983. In the days before its opening, the one-woman show had gone through 13 previews (beginning on December the 1st) and various dress rehearsals (concluding on November the 30th). The show enjoyed only 4 official performances before its closing on December 17, 1983. (Some sources refer to 5 performances, others to 4 performances. Since a matinee show is known to have taken place on Saturday the 17th, the show is likely to have been performed twice on that day, in which case the total number of performances would indeed be five.)

A two-hour show, Peg was scheduled to run every evening from 6:30 to 8:30. The matinee performance that took place on Saturday the 17th ran from 2:00 to 4:00. In addition to Saturdays, matinee performances were also scheduled for Wednesdays. (I am assuming that none was given on Wednesday the 14th, the show's opening day.)

Peggy Lee remained onstage for the entire duration of Peg, leaving only between acts. The 27 numbers sung by Lee were heard in the same order in which they are displayed above. A few exceptions aside, those numbers were at the service of a libretto that focused on the highlights of Lee's life, from her birth to her more fuzzily covered mature years. The exceptions were a few -- not all -- of the Lee hits included. Instead of being integrated to the story, the hits in question were strategically placed at the show's beginning and end, temporarily turning the musical into a regular Lee concert, and thereby serving as crowd pleasers.

A description of the autobiographical show's opening should give a basic idea of how it was constructed. Peg starts out with Grady Tate playing the melody of "Fever" on his drums. While he's doing so, Peggy Lee is introduced in the same way in which she had been, for a long time, at her nightclub acts (i.e, through the following words, uttered by an announcer: "Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Peggy Lee"). She proceeds to sing "Fever" right away. After she finishes, and as the applause continues, Lee welcomes the audience ("Thank you, thank you very much. Good evening and welcome; I hope you'll enjoy my story"). She immediately moves on to singing "Soul," an inspirational number written expressly for the show. Once she has finished singing the new lyric, and while the melody of "Soul" is still playing, Lee segues into a short poetic narrative that sets up the time in which she was born ("it was the dawn of the roaring twenties ... nine years before the terrible crash ..." ). The narrative also spells out the message that she wants her autobiography to convey ("... came a child who would sing, to be troubled for sure, and beaten and all, but one who would rise each time she would fall, to learn life's lessons and to hope for the best, to mellow her soul as she followed her quest"). Shortly afterwards, as she utters the words "my daddy was a railroad man" (and before she sings the song that bears that title), the first voiceover is heard. (It's he father, voiced by one of the background singers).

Preservation And Availability

Musician union rules forbade the taping of Peg by anyone, including Peggy Lee herself. However, in the recollection of one audience member who attended multiple evenings, "the theatre was virtually bristling with tape recorders during the Peg previews." Although no word of any extant preview tapings has ever reached this fan, some of those tapes could have survived, kept in the households of those who attended the previews, or their relatives and friends.

A sound system tape is said to exist as well, but I have not heard it, nor have I encountered enough of a corroboration for the claim.

Also clandestinely taped was the show itself. Two official performances of Peg have been preserved on tape. The better-sounding of such tapes is from closing night. The tape in question was made by a fan who was secretly allowed to bring his boombox into the theatre, and who positioned it in the center of the balcony railing. The other performance on tape is from an unknown date -- most likely, December 15 or 16.

Both tapings have reasonably good audio: the libretto, the songs, and the audience's general reactions are clearly heard throughout. In each tape, during many parts of the show, the audiences react with spontaneous clapping and collective laughter. Generally, these audiences exhibit a relaxed, pleased response -- one which may come as a surprise to those of us whose impressions are colored by the generally dismissive press reviews of the show.

After the closing on December 17, 1983, Peggy Lee still held out hope for the continuation or preservation of Peg in some shape or form. Early in 1984, the singer revealed to the press that she and Cy Coleman were hoping to re-stage the musical, and to record an album of its score. The hopes for a re-staging never translated into any significant action, but the singer did pursue the possibility of recording an album. After a short period of postponement, due in part to her concert tours abroad, she and her lawyers proceeded to make inquiries and to "clarify" her "legal rights to the songs" -- as worded by reporter Terry Atkinson, for a Los Angeles Times article about Lee, published on June 19, 1984. Lee did not share with the press how discouraging her findings were: any attempt at releasing a score would have proven a legal nightmare, due to the many parties involved in (or accountable for) the production of the show. (Difficulty in finding a willing record company could have also played a role in the attempts that she made during the mid-1980s. It's worth noting that, despite keeping a very successful concert schedule for the entire decade, the sexagenarian had to wait until 1988 to record an release her next album.)

Additional inquiries and incipient attempts have continued to be made, from time to time, in the 1990s and thereafter. Other parties with rights to the songs did seek Lee's permission to release them, but she was consistent in her refusal. (Given the fact that the numbers were conceived as autobiographical material, her reticence to let others take the reins was understandable.) After Lee's passing, the same complicated legal matters have led the possibility of an album project nowhere. At issue are the many individuals and corporations to which the show and its songs are tied.

At least, thanks to the attempts of Paul Horner and, more recently, the Peggy Lee estate, a few numbers from the Horner-Lee score have managed to escape from their metaphorical imprisonment, enjoying interpretations from -- in particular -- artists belonging to the cabaret community. Those numbers are "Angels On Your Pillow," "He'll Make Me Believe He's Mine," "The Folks Back Home" (written for but not included in the musical) and a demo recording of "Soul," the latter sung by Lee herself. But a recording of the full score has not come to pass, and may never be.


1. "Fever"
2. "Why Don't You Do Right?"
Serving as the opener and the closer of Peg's first act, these two songs (both Lee hits with which she was closely identified) are not explicitly connected to the libretto, but are rather meant to entice and please the audiences.

3. "I Love Being Here With You"
This song (written by Lee and an opening staple of her concerts) serves as the opener of the second act, following the orchestra's overture. It is not explicitly connected to the libretto.

4. "Lover"
5. "Big Spender"
6. "I'm A Woman"
7. "Is That All There Is?"
These songs are presented as a mini-concert of sorts, with credit briefly given to songwriters Leiber and Stoller for the last two. This segment of Lee's Broadway musical closely reproduced the closing section of her regular concerts, during which she would sing these very songs (and a few others) as part of a medley consisting of her old hits. In concert, the medley was clearly devised to satisfy audience members who attended precisely in the hope of hearing such hits (as opposed to the more recent numbers which she was far more interested to perform, and which filled the rest of her program).

8. "It's A Good Day"
9. "I Don't Know Enough About You""
10. "Mañana"
Unlike the other songs just listed, these Lee hits are connected or integrated to the libretto of Peg. Thanks to their commonly shared authorship (penned by the singer in collaboration with her first husband, composer and guitarist Dave Barbour), all three songs are simply but effectively integrated to the autobiographical narrative. Most notably, "Mañana" gives way to an engagingly told anecdote about a baseless lawsuit for plagiarism that Lee and Barbour endured shortly after the song became a major hit.

11. "Goody Goody"
12. "Louisville Lou"
These two standards function as representatives of two places (and two situations) that are briefly highlighted by Lee in her musical autobiography. "Goody Goody" is presented as the theme song of KOVC, the local station where the former Norma Deloris Egstrom was renamed Peggy Lee. "Louisville Lou" is meant to suggest the atmosphere of a venue in which an unknowing Lee was once booked to work: the place functioned as both a Chinese restaurant and a nude entertainment establishment.

13. "I'll Never Say Never Again"
This standard is heard in a very short rendition -- no more than 3 lines. Peggy Lee sings the lines as part of her account of the labor and chores that she was required to do as a youngster.
14. "Clicky Clack"
15. "I Never Knew Why"
These songs were heard during the performances of Peg but were not listed in the show's Playbill program. I am not privy to the reasoning behind their exclusion. If we are allowed to speculate, the brevity of both numbers -- each lasting a couple of choruses or less -- could account for their omission from the brochure. Lee and company might have had little interest in listing them along with the longer, more fully realized musical numbers. Alternatively, we could speculate that these two musical numbers were incorporated to the show at a late stage, by which time the brochure had been already prepared. "I Never Knew Why," in particular, sounds like libretto prose that has been belatedly re-set to music. In any case, whichever the reason for their exclusion might have been, these two songs deserve to be incorporated to the show's track listing. Both individualized numbers, they feature distinctive lyrics set to distinctive music, and they were given identifying titles that have been officially entered in ASCAP.

16. "Daddy Was A Railroad Man"
17. "Angels On Your Pillow"
18. "He'll Make Me Believe That He's Mine"
19. "What Did Dey Do To My Gal?"
20. "Flowers And Flowers"
21. "That's How I Learned To Sing The Blues"
These are, arguably, Peg's most successful numbers. "Daddy Was A Railroad Man" found particular favor with critics and early backers of the autobiographical musical. It was the one song with which Lee chose to promote the show on American television, shortly before the show's opening. Meanwhile, on British television, nearly a year before the show's opening, she had chosen a different tune: "Angels On You Pillow." This number is arguably the musical's most endurable song, since it has been recorded by about 10 artists. To my knowledge, the only other song from the official score to have enjoyed a recording is "He'll Make Me Believe That He's Mine." Of course, the fact that the score is relatively obscure has prevented the songs from becoming better known. The other songs listed above generated very enthusiastic responses from the audiences that attended the show. In particular, "What Did Dey Do To My Gal?" elicited the most uproarious laughter and effusive applause from the crowds.

22. "One Beating A Day"
Due to its topic and tone, this song received the largest amount of attention from the show's reviewers. Set to happy-sounding reggae and calypso beats, the lyrics detail the physical abuse that Lee underwent as a child under the cruel domination of her stepmother. Whereas professional critics took the song to task, implying that it had been a source of great and general discomfort, extant tapes suggest that the reviewers might have failed to calibrate the audience's full reaction. If the preserved performances are any indication (and they should be), most audience members reacted positively to the song's message (i.e., good can come out of adversity) and happily partook in the Schaudenfreudian thrills that characterize the song's bridge. Whereas initial discomfort is very likely to have taken place, the extant performances reveal a very different audience reaction as the song progresses: hearty and widespread laughter, followed by spontaneous and enthusiastic applause at the end. (Perhaps, later on, these same audience members remembered "One Beating A Day" with unease. One thing is for sure: this rollercoaster of a song captured the audience's full attention.)

Personnel And Arrangements

1. The Orchestra
As listed above, Peg counted with an orchestra that consisted of five reeds, three trumpets, three trombones, two French horns, one guitar, one percussion, one synthesizer, eight strings and two cellos. Along with the rhythm section, a 30-piece orchestra. In the recollection of some fans who attended the show, only Lee's rhythm section (bassist Jay Leonhart, guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, pianist Mike Renzi, and drummer Grady Tate) appeared onstage. However, extant photos show that the orchestra was actually present on the stage, sitting way back. Perhaps their sitting area was just dimly lighted, thereby rending them barely visible from some audience seats.

2. Orchestrators/Arrangers
Except for Peggy Lee and Randy Newman, all the other credited arrangers wrote arrangements meant for the orchestra: Artie Butler, Benny Carter, Larry Fallon, Bill Holman, Gordon Jenkins, Johnny Mandel, Billy May, Leon Pendarvis, Mike Renzi, Don Sebesky, Larry Wilcox, and Torrie Zito.

3. Randy Newman
4. Joseph Gianono
5. "Is That All There Is?"
Peg's Playbill brochure includes a credit to Randy Newman because his 1969 arrangement of "Is That All There Is?" was kept for the show, not because he had any active participation in the production. The arrangement for orchestra was prepared by Joseph Gianono.

6. Choral Arrangements
7. Ray Charles
Ray Charles (aka The Other Ray Charles, a nickname adopted by Charles to clarify that he was not the famous singer-pianist of the same name) wrote choral arrangements for "Soul," "Daddy Was A Railroad Man," One Beating A Day," "Goody, Goody," "Sometimes You're Up," "What Did Dey Do To My Goil?" "Why Don't You Do Right?," "It's A Good Day," "Mañana," "No More Rainbows," and "There Is More." He is also credited with a vocal arrangement for "Flowers And Flowers."

8. Grady Tate
9. "Angels On Your Pillow"
"Angels On Your Pillow" is a duet sung by Peggy Lee and Grady Tate.

10. Singers And Actors
Here is a list of the performing cast of Peg:

Peggy Lee (as "Peggy Lee")
Mary Sue Berry (as "Soprano I/Back-up Singer")
Steve Clayton (as "Tenor/Back-up Singer"), Doris Eugenio (as "Soprano II/Back-up Singer")
Rose Marie Jun (as "Alto/Back-up Singer")
Brian Quinn (as "Tenor/Back-up Singer")
David Vogel (as "Baritone/Back-up Singer")
D. Michael Heath, Ellen McLain (Swings)

11. Producers
Peg's Playbill, gives the following production credits:
Producer - Zev Buffman
Co-Producers - Marge and Irv Cowan
Co-Producer - Georgia Frontiere

12. Stage And Musical Direction, Part 1
In Peg's Playbill, the following individuals are credited with the direction of the show and the supervision of its music:
Creative Consultant - Cy Coleman
Director - Robert Drivas
Music Contractor - John Miller
Music Preparation Supervisors - Chelsea Music Services, Inc., Mathilde Pincus, Bob Holloway

13. Stage And Musical Direction, Part 2
The individuals named below were part of an early creative team that was superseded by the individuals and entities listed in entry #11 above:
Creative Consultant - William Luce
Director - Robert Kalfin
Choreographer - Danya Krupska

14. Design
Credited in Playbill for the show's design (including its costumes and hair, and sound) are:
Scenic Designer - Tom H. John
Costume Designer - Florence Klotz
Assistant to Ms. Klotz - Richard Von Ernst
Wardrobe Supervisor - Peter FitzGerald
Lighting Designer - Thomas Skelton
Sound Designer - Jan Nebozenko
Sound Consultant - Phil Ramone
Hair Designer - Vincent Roppatte
Make-Up Designer - Vincent Roppatte

15. Peg's Management & Stage Supervision
General Manager - Theatre Now, Inc.
(William Court Cohen, Edward H. Davis, Norman E. Rothstein, Ralph Roseman, Charlotte Wilcox)
Company Manager - Michael Lonergan
Production Stage Manager - Larry Forde
Stage Manager - Mark Rubinsky
Technical Supervisor - Jeremiah J. Harris
Production Carpenter - James C. Harris
Production Electrician - Dermot Lynch
Master Electrician - Charles Bugbee
Production Sound Engineer - Scott Anderson
Production Propertyman - Abe Einhorn

16. Peg's Advertisement
General Press Representative - David Powers
Advertising - Ash / LeDonne; Jon Wilner
Production Photographers - Martha Swope and Susan Cook
Theatre Displays - King Displays
Graphic Design of The Rose - Nicki Lee Foster


All the onstage photos of Peggy Lee seen in this section were taken at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre between late November 1983 and December 17, 1983. As is the case with many other press photos that are decades old, the exact dating of each of these shots is open to debate. The sixth and seventh are said to be from the December 14 opening of Peg; the preceding ones from the show's last dress rehearsal on November 30. I have no data about the eighth, ninth, and tenth shors (i.e., the "white, red & black series). The party photos come from a dinner held at the Waldorf Astoria on December 14, 1983, a few hours after the opening of Peg. Sitting at the table are Lee along with producers Marge Cowan (seen in all photos except the first) and Georgia Frontiere (first and second photos). Standing by the table, chatting or hovering on the back are Gina Lollobrigida (first and second photos), Carol Channing (last three photos), and Lee's daughter Nicki Lee Foster (second photo, pen in hand). Also known to have been present a this dinner: Cy Coleman, Judy Collins, Billy Daniels, Joan Fontaine, Sheila McRae, and Lisa Kirk. The other above-seen photos display the front cover of the show's Playbill program and the window poster that was created to advertise it.

Crossreferences: History And Assessment Of Peg

For extensive commentary about the planning, development, and reception of Peg, consult this discographical page, which is entirely dedicated to the show.

X. Miscellanea: Concerts Held At Theatrical Venues

Whereas the previous section refers to theatrical entertainment not held at a theatre, the present section concerns a theatre-held event that is not likely to have been theatrical. A show called An Evening With Peggy Lee was performed at the Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio from March 4 to March 9, 1974. The above-seen ads provide a few details. Comedian/impressionist John Byner served as the opening act, and a 25-piece symphonic orchestra accompanied Lee.

Although any additional details about this show's contents are unavailable to me, I am inclined to assume that An Evening With Peggy Lee was simply the title of a regular music concert engagement -- not an acting appearance. Some of Lee's other concert engagements elsewhere also bore distinctively thematic titles (e.g., Handful Of Dreams at the Sands in 1957, The Blues Branch of the Jazz Tree at the Ballroom in 1988, the Sands engagements whose ads are seen in the previous section) and did not involve dancing or acting from Lee.

XI. Miscellanea: Club Revues At The Copacabana

Ken Bloom's book American Song: The Complete Musical Theatre Companion lists Peggy Lee among the members of a Copacabana Revue that opened on February 12, 1950. The closing date is not given. (Since a new revue with a different cast opened at the Copa on February 22, the show under discussion would have lasted for about a week.) In addition to the revue's opening date, Bloom offers the following details:

Composer - Michael Durso, Marvin Kahn
Lyricist - Mel Mitchell
Director - Doug Cody
Costumes - Sal Anthony
Orchestrations - [Eliot G.] Deac Eberhard
Songs - Pick A Partner [music by Kahn, lyrics by Mitchell; no other titles known]
Cast - Al Bernie [a comedian/impressionist], Michael Durso Orchestra, Four Esquires, Peggy Lee, Frank Marti Orchestra

[The bracketed comments are additions of mine.] No other specifics about this 1950 revue are given by Bloom, nor by any other source at hand.

Although the Copacabana Revue under discussion was not held at a theatre, I have included it in this page because it has its own entry in Bloom's Complete Musical Theatre Companion and because revues are generally categorized as theatrical performances. (They consist of not only music and dancing but also acted sketches.) However, I have no reason to believe that Peggy Lee was involved in any of the sketches, or that she sang any of the special songs that Durso, Kahn, and Mitchell might have written expressly for this revue. More likely, Lee's sole activity every evening was a solo music concert that bear no direct connection to the sketches, the dancing, or the comedy. (See also next entry, for which this paragraph's comments also apply.)

In other words, the evenings' entertainment might have consisted of separate acts and separate segments: comedy from Al Bernie, solo singing from Lee, choral singing from The Four Squires, and musical sketches from the writing team of Durso et al. If such was the case, this so-called revue might be better classified as a variety show -- or as a live comedy program with music entertainment, in the same vein as the modern-day TV show Saturday Night Live.

Alternatively, Peggy Lee could have done both singing and acting, the latter as one of the actors in the sketches. The available information is too scant to allow for any definitive statements. There is, however, a second venue of information that might provide clues about the 1950 revue. That venue is discussed immediately below.

Kristin Baggelaar, author of the book Copacabana: Images Of America, has shared some comments that are pertinent to the present discussion. One of her interviewees, a Copa Girl named Jane Lowe, remembered having been chosen to do two numbers at a Peggy Lee show:

{Beginning of quote} For the first song, Janice was costumed as a call girl under a lamppost; for the second number - she was in a picture frame for Peggy - she was dressed in a majorette costume and portrayed some sort of bass drum routine. She said it was such a thrill, and she felt so special because she - it was just her on the floor with Peggy Lee - had been chosen to do these routines with the headliner, Peggy Lee; for a star-struck young woman (Copa Girls were generally 18-20 years old) this was a dream come true! Janice Lowe specifically said, "I was onstage with Peggy, just me. I was in a picture frame for Peggy and played bass drum for her also, in two different songs - I played the bass drum in a majorette costume." This was the Valentine's Day 1958 show, with opening night, Thursday, February 6th. Also in the show were Al Bernie, the Four Esquires, Ted Morrell, Danii & Genii Prior (dance team), Mimi, and a line of eight Copa Girls. {End of quote}

The February 1958 engagement to which Baggelaar refers was reviewed by the New York World-Telegram's Robert W. Dana on his Tips On Table column.

In spite of the different dating (February 22, 1950 / February 6, 1958), the revue listed by Ken Bloom and the show described by Kristen Baggelaar could very well be one and the same. The telltale detail is the listing of The Four Esquires among the acts on both the 1950 and the 1958 shows. "Also new in this Copa show are the Four Esquires," writes Robert W. Dana in the aforementioned review of the 1958 show. Elsewhere, The Four Squires are indeed described as a group that came into the limelight during the second half of the 1950s, and which was still in college during the early 1950s. It would thus seem that The Complete Musical Theatre Companion has given an incorrect date to the Copacabana Revue in question.

If Bloom, Baggelaar, and Dana are all referring to the same show, then Lee was not part of any revue. As described in Dana's column, this was simply a Lee concert engagement. She was the Copa engagement's main attraction, with secondary acts filling the rest of the evening. (In addition to The Four Squires, columnist Dana mentions comedian Al Bernie, whose name is also found in Bloom's listing. Yet the other acts mentioned by Dana are not the same ones in Bloom's entry: a singing duo known as Ted Morrel and Mimi, plus "production dancers" Danii and [Genii?] Pryor. Both acts are categorized by Dana as being "among the holdovers," a phrase which suggests that he left other acts unmentioned. See also Baggelaar's listing of acts in the previous paragraph.)

As for the song "Pick A Partner," listed in Bloom's text, it might have been a number performed by the Copa Girls or by any act other than Peggy Lee. About a dozen of the titles that Lee interpreted during the 1958 Copa engagement are mentioned in Dana's and other trade reviews; "Pick A Partner" is not among those titles.

XII. Miscellanea: The Red, White And Blue Revue

A so-called musical extravaganza, Red, White & Blue opened on October 7, 1950 at the Los Angeles' Paramount Theatre and closed on January 20, 1951 in Chicago's Civic Opera House.  Peggy Lee was brought int the show only for its 1951 portion, as a substitute for the official headliner in the bill, vocalist Gertrude Nielsen. The terminal illness of Nielsen's father was the reason given for her departure.  (In a sad manifestation of fate and circumstance, Lee's own beloved father had died in April of the previous year.)  Before Nielsen and Lee, George Jessel had served as the show's original headliner.

Peggy Lee's recruitment for this show might have suggested and arranged by the Chicago-based publicist Dick LaPalm, with whom she had started working around this time.  The opportunity probably turned out to be financially rewarding for her, though thoroughly inauspicious otherwise. Red, White And Blue was besieged by such a negative critical reaction that even Lee herself received an atypically dismissive review from one reviewer. 

According to the January 10, 1951 issue of Variety, the entire run of the show (going back to its first 19 days, with George Jessel at the top of the bill) was a critical and financial disaster.  The periodical makes a passing reference to it as a "vaude presentation."  Reviews of several performances, including opening night with Jessel, make it clear that the revue's heavy emphasis on patriotism displeased a portion of the critics.  In addition to opening and closing with the National Anthem, Red, White & Blue featured sketches and songs with titles such as "All American Rainbow," "I Hear America Singing," "Forty Eight Stars," "I'm From The Middle West," "Away From Home," and "Overseas Tribute."

A particular source of critical displeasure seems to have been the show's length.  "Heavy cutting is needed to trim the three-and half hour show to a more practical running time," complained a reviewer of the October 7, 1951 show.  The LA- based reviewer (Billboard's Lee Zhito) had plenty more to say on this topic, none of it enthusiastic:  "Extreme length is unnecessary, inasmuch as the revue is padded with relatively meaningless material ... lack of strong song material and insufficient talent."  Nor was headliner George Jessel saved from the critic's disapproval; the seemingly bored Zhito tell us that the seasoned entertainer "held the stage far too long with his song resume of his life, adding to the revue's lack of pace."    

In Chicago, the reviews were no better.  To further compound its adversity, the revue had the misfortune of facing the typically cranky pen of Chicago Tribune's Claudia Cassidy (aka "Acidy Cassidy"), who would become infamous for her disparaging dismissals of touring, Broadway-originated shows.  The noted female critic did not spare Lee from her biting commentary, snarking that the singer's pace alternated between brisk and crawling.  At a later time, Cassidy would go on to characterize the show as a "gargantuan flop." 

Yet a third source of negative publicity stemmed from the propagandistic nature of the enterprise, and the political partisanship behind it.  The direct involvement of the show's sponsor, the American Legion, proved more detrimental than helpful.  On the one hand, the veterans' association provided funding and membership pledges for it, at least succeeding at encouraging attendance at four of the touring show's stops (Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Topeka, and Wichita).  Filling auditoriums or courting metropolitan audiences proved a harder undertaking.  

Moreover, the association meddled in the creative process of the show and the hiring of personnel. It objected to the recruitment of some of the proposed acts, and censoring some of the prospective material.  High-profile entertainers such as Bob Hope had been originally envisioned as stars to hire for the show, only to be  nixed because board members were wary of their political sympathies.  A mention of Frank Delano Roosevelt was dropped from the script because a member of the Legion's board deemed the politician a leftist, and thus an unmentionable.  Word of mouth about such displays of political partisanship probably hurt the show's reputation, dissuading some sectors of the public from attending, and coloring the reviews of some critics as well.  

In the end, the show earned the dubious distinction of ranking as the second biggest flop in the history of US theatre up to 1950, its losses surpassing the $500,000 mark.  (Top dishonor belonged to  the 1926-27 Broadway production of The Ladder.")  Red, White & Blue was definitely a costly production, featuring as a did a large cast (over 15 actors, about 20 vocalists, nearly 30 dancers) and having commissioned songs from 15 songwriters, including some notable ones (Victor Young, Sammy Cahn, Floyd Huddleston, Al Rinker, Robert Wright, Bob Hilliard, George Forrest).  In Billboard, the actual total of touring heads was given as "60 performers, five principals ... an 28-band augmented on location to 30 pieces, stage hands, electricians, etc."     

Peggy Lee probably had no direct involvement in the show's regular musical performances, nor in the comical or dramatic sketches.  Like George Jessel and Gertrude Nielsen before her, Lee must have been asked to present a mini-version of her nightclub act, to be sandwiched somewhere within the revue's three-hour proceedings. (In the show's Stagebill, it is stated that she was slated to "sing the popular songs that she and Dave Barbour have written.") With Lee, the show does not appear to have done any better than it had done with Jessel and Neilsen. According to one entertainment journalist:  "although there was $60,000 in reported pledges mainly from American Legion sales, first [Chicago] week totally only $13,632.  Show's operating budget is only $13,632."  It would seem that negative word of mouth had rendered Red, White and Blue unsalvageable by that point in time.    

Lee might or might have not stayed for the entire three-week remainder of the revue. I have come across references to her participation only in the first few days of January 1951.  The February 1951 issue of Capitol News merely tells us that Lee was "back in California after a brief appearance in the ill-fated American Legion show, Red, White and Blue." In any case, Lee's life as a performer proceeded as usual. On February 22, she started an engagement at the Capitol Theater in Washington, D. C., with a subsequent engagement at the Waldorf Astoria (N. Y.), booked for March.

On that week, the show did not do any better than it would before or after.  
Seen directly above is a page from this revue's Stagebill, preceded by its front cover. A publicity shot of Lee is shown below.  The caption on the back of the photo reads as follows: "Peggy Lee, youthful jukebox queen and national glamour vocalist, comes from Hollywood to star personally in Red, White & Blue, [a] big musigirl stage production opening at Opera House Monday night, January 1."  Presumably, the caption's reference to Red, White and Blue as a "musigirl show" was a reference (at least in part) to the fact that Lee (and Nielsen before her) were being billed as the stars.  It could have also been an attempt at luring a young male audience with the implication that comely "girls" would take over the stage. See also the second ad page above, in which the presence of "beautiful girls from all over the U. S. A." is advertised. (I imagine that an another reason for the show's lack of success was an inability to attract young male audiences, who are likelier to have opted to take their sweethearts to hipper or more cinematic fare. Given the expensiveness of the revue, it could not thrive by only relying on selling tickets to seasoned, senior, or heavily patriotic customers.)  

Sessions Reported: 5

Performances Reported: 71

Unique Songs Reported: 56

Unique Issues Reported: 3