Laurence Schwab (1892-1951) and Frank Mandel (1884-1958)

Laurence Schwab and Frank Mandel were primarily librettists who also produced shows.  Before Alex Aarons and Vinton Freedley produced composer Ray Henderson’s Hold Everything (which enjoyed a run of 409 performances), Schwab and Mandel produced Henderson’s biggest hit, Good News (1927.41), which had a Broadway run of 557 performances. Henderson worked closely with Buddy DeSylva and Lew Brown on the book and lyrics for these two shows.  

Schwab and Mandel also produced Henderson, DeSylva and Brown’s next show Follow Thru (1929.03), which ran for 401 performances.

Cover Art for the Revival of Vincent Youmans' show No, No, Nanette

Vincent Youmans

Mandel co-wrote the libretto for Vincent Youmans’ No, No, Nanette (1925.30), which was based upon Mandel’s play My Lady Friends (1919).

Mandel and Schwab were just as comfortable with operettas as they were with musicals.  Mandel co-wrote the book (with Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II) for The Desert Song (1926.42) and co-wrote the book and lyrics with Hammerstein and Schwab for The New Moon (1928.29), two of Sigmund Romberg’s greatest shows.  Schwab and Mandel also co-produced both shows.  

New Moon Poster Sigmund Romberg, American Composer

Schwab and Mandel continued to work with Romberg and together produced East Wind (1931.39), a huge disappointment that closed after only twenty-three performances.  Schwab alone produced Romberg’s May Wine (1935.17), a show that ran for 213 performances.

Schwab and Mandel, along with Russell Janney, who produced The Vagabond King (1925.32), brought to a close the era of the “grand operettas,” larger than life scores held back by artificial and, to a large extent, inferior librettos.