Good News Playbill - Nov 1974
"You're the Cream in My Coffee" from GOOD NEWS – Alice Faye & John Payne
WHAT’S HAPPENING BROADWAY FANS?! We’re celebrating the magic of Live Theater making a triumphant comeback all summer along. In addition, our excitement is giving us vibes as we celebrate Broadway’s biggest night in just 35 DAYS. We of course are talking about The 74th Annual Tony Awards. All of us at New York Broadway Tours continue to serenade you all each morning with the many great performances from past Tony history on our TOP 50 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN. Time for another showstopper.
At # 35 on our countdown, we take you to GOOD OL’ TAIT COLLEGE in the year of 1928. This New England school is all about the talk of Football over academics. However, things are boiling in hot water when the school’s star quarterback flunks a major astronomy exam that prevents him from playing in the big victory game. Everyone is waiting for a little thing called…… GOOD NEWS. This show features a score by Ray Henderson, Lew Brown, and B.G. DeSylva along with a book by DeSylva and Laurence Schwab.
From the 1974 telecast giving a sneak preview of the show’s most recent Broadway revival, Alice Faye as “Professor Kenyon” and John Payne as “Coach Bill Johnson” take a break from all things with school life for a little romance. Here they are performing the classic standard YOU’RE THE CREAM IN MY COFFEE.
The show originally premiered on Broadway in 1927 at the 46th Street Theatre (now the Richard Rodgers Theatre) where it became a huge smash hit running for 557 performances (one of the few major musicals at the time to surpass 500 shows). Under the direction of Edgar MacGregor and choreographed by Bobby Connolly, the cast was led by….
John Price Jones as “Tom Marlowe”,
Mary Lawlor as “Connie Lane”,
Inez Courtney as “Babe O’Day”,
Gus Shy as “Bobby Randall”,
Edward Emery as “Professor Kenyon”,
Shirley Vernon as “Patricia Bingham”,
Edwin Redding as “Coach Bill Johnson”,
John Sheenan as “Pooch”,
and
John Grant as “Beef Saunders”.
The original production of GOOD NEWS did not receive any Tony Awards nominations that year since the Tonys were not developed till 1947.
GOOD NEWS itself was revived on Broadway only once. That first and recent revival debuted in 1974. For this particular revival, it was known for being fully stunt casted using a lineup of some of the biggest names in the Movie Musical era that producer Harry Rigby used in the past (including for Irene and No No Nanette). The script was also updated. The principal role of “Professor Kenyon” was gender-swapped from a male to a female (making the “Kenyon” & “Coach Johnson” story romantic) along with 6 classic standards from Ray Henderson added into the script including BUTTON UP YOUR OVERCOAT, YOU’RE THE CREAM IN MY COFFEE, TOGETHER, and KEEP YOUR SUNNY SIDE UP. The production was a smash for a year touring before arriving at Broadway’s St. James Theatre becoming a huge flop running for only 51 previews and 16 regular performances.
Under the direction of Abe Burrows and choreographed by Donald Saddler, the cast was led by…..
Scott Stevenson as “Tom Marlowe”,
Marti Rolph as “Connie Lane”,
Barbara Lail as “Babe O’Day”,
Wayne Bryan as “Bobby Randall”,
Alice Faye as “Professor Kenyon”,
Jana Robbins as “Patricia Bingham”,
John Payne as “Coach Bill Johnson”,
Stubby Kaye as “Pooch”,
and
Joseph Burke as “Beef Saunders”.
The revival did not receive any Tony Award nominations. Despite it being a flop, it only received a Drama Desk nomination for OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY.
Later on, the show was performed as a strictly week-long run engagement in 2005 part of the former Musical Tonight series in Manhattan at the 45th Street Theatre (formerly the no longer existing The Davenport Theatre). For that version, the company performed the full original 1927 script.
Later on GOOD NEWS was in the midst of being revived again in the 90’s. A brand new production debuted in Wichita, Kansas at the Music Theatre Wichita in 1993. For this particular version, the show’s score & book was updated again by Mark Madama and Wayne Bryan (who played “Bobby Randall” in that short-lived 1974 revival). For the script, they paid tribute using elements from both versions (the original 1927 production and the 1974 revival). In addition, this version also added the 1931 standard LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF CHERRIES (written by Henderson and initially for George White’s 1931 edition of SCANDALS & made famous by Ethel Merman).
Even though this version did not make it to New York City, a PREMIERE CAST RECORDING of GOOD NEWS was made featuring this company & accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra. Under the direction of Mark Madama and choreographed by Linda Goodrich, the cast featured…..
Michael Gruper as “Tom Marlowe”,
Kim Huber as “Connie Lane”,
Ann Morrison as “Babe O’Day”,
Scott Schaffer as “Bobby Randall”,
Linda Michele as “Professor Kenyon”,
Timothy W. Robu as “Coach Bill Johnson”,
Michael McCormick as “Pooch”,
and
Edward Staudenmayer as “Beef Saunders”.
Today, the 1993 edition of the show is being performed in schools, community, and Regional Theaters everywhere. Music Theatre International currently holds the rights for it.
Along with its success on stage, GOOD NEWS was captured on film both for MGM twice. The original movie was released in 1930. Under the direction of Nick Grinde, it was filmed entirely in black and white & starred….
Stanley Smith as “Tom Marlowe”,
Mary Lawlor reprising her Broadway performance as “Connie Lane”,
Bessie Love as “Babe O’Day”,
Guy Shy reprising his Broadway performance as “Bobby Randall”,
Frank McGlynn Sr as “Professor Kenyon”,
Lola Lane as “Patricia Bingham”,
Thomas E. Jackson as “Coach Bill Johnson”,
Cliff Edwards as “Pooch”,
and
Delmer Daves as “Beef Saunders”.
Despite the original film having mixed reviews, it was well received by audiences.
The most recent film version of GOOD NEWS from MGM would later be released in 1947. For this particular version, the movie was shot in technicolor along with updates to the story including “Tom” studying French instead of Astronomy. There were also some last name changes to some of the characters. In addition, several new songs written by Roger Edens, Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. Several songs included THE FRENCH LESSON & the toe-tapping PASS THAT PEACE PIPE. Under the direction of Charles Walters, the cast was led by….
Peter Lawford as “Tom Marlowe”,
June Allyson as “Connie Lane”,
Joan McCracken as “Babe Doolittle” (in place of “O’Day”),
Ray McDonald as “Bobby Turner” (in place of “Randall”),
Clinton Sundberg as “Professor Kenyon”,
Patricia Marshall as “Pat McClellan” (in place of “Bingham”),
Donald MacBride as “Coach Bill Johnson”,
Tom Dugan as “Pooch”,
and
Loren Tindall as “Beef Saunders”.
Despite the film being a big Box Office flop, the song PASS THAT PEACE PIPE would go on to receive an Oscar nomination for BEST ORIGINAL SONG that same year.
Truly one of the most underrated musicals ever that is overdue for a Broadway revival!!
How toe-tapping was that?!!
Mike Haber
Author: Mike Haber

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