Early Music Directors

Twenty-six different music directors worked on one or more operettas; but, as the new, more modern composers started to work on Broadway, many chose to work with a smaller list of music directors.  For example, George M. Cohan worked almost exclusively with Charles Gebest, although Frederic Solomon conducted Forty-Five Minutes from Broadway (1906.02).  On the other hand, John McGhie started with Victor Herbert’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1899.28) but ended by working on two Jerome Kern shows, 90 in the Shade (1915.01) and Leave It to Jane (1917.17).

Max Hirshfeld worked as music director on Herbert’s Babes in Toyland (1903.31) and The Red Mill (1906.33) but later worked on four outstanding Kern scores: Nobody Home (1915.07), Very Good Eddie (1915.30), Oh, Boy! (1917.06) and Oh, Lady! Lady! (1918.03).

Gus Salzer started with William T. Francis in operetta in 1905 but also worked on early Kern shows, such as Fluffy Ruffles (1908.27) and The Girl from Utah (1914.18), before moving on to Princess-era shows such as Have a Heart (1917.01).  He later worked with Kern on post-Princess era shows, such as Sally (1920.44), Sunny (1925.33), Lucky (1927.12) and Sweet Adeline (1929.31).  He also served as the music director with Burt Kalmar and Harry Ruby on the Marx Brothers vehicle Animal Crackers (1928.38) and with Walter Donaldson on Whoopee (1928.47), starring Eddie Cantor.