Those Who Would Follow
Last but not least, we have two entries that foreshadow the future. Just as Moss Hart’s work prior to Camelot gave us no indication of the book musical that was to come, so too we have others who were building the foundations for their future roles in creating musical plays.
Josh Logan (1908-1988)
The first foundation came from Joshua Logan. He caught the acting bug in high school and continued to pursue the theatre at Princeton University. He was involved in the intercollegiate summer stock company, the University Players, along with fellow actors Jimmy Stewart and Henry Fonda.
However, Logan’s success came when he changed from actor to director. He directed Paul Osborn’s play On Borrowed Time (1938) on Broadway; then the Rodgers and Hart musical, I Married An Angel (1938.05). In succession, he directed Kurt Weill’s show Knickerbocker Holiday (1938.11), Osborn’s play Morning’s at Seven (1939), a revival of Charlie’s Aunt (1940) and the Rodgers and Hart hit By Jupiter (1942.15).
Before he went on active duty in WWII, Logan worked with Gladys Hurlbut on the book for the Rodgers and Hart show, Higher and Higher (1940.06).
After serving in intelligence in WWII, Logan came back to Broadway to direct Irving Berlin’s biggest Broadway hit, Annie Get Your Gun (1946.12), Norman Krasna’s play John Loves Mary (1947), Thomas Heggen’s play Mister Roberts (1948), Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical South Pacific (1949.04) and Harold Rome’s musical Fanny (1954.15).
We are mostly interested in Logan for his work as a librettist before WWII, which laid the groundwork for his contributions after WWII (co-writing the librettos for Mister Roberts with Heggen, South Pacific with Oscar Hammerstein II and Fanny with S. N. Behrman).
Samuel (1899-1971) and Bella (1899-1990) Spewack
Samuel was born in the Ukraine but attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Bella was born in Bucharest, Romania and was raised by a single mother in the lower east side of Manhattan. They flirted with Communism, after getting married in 1922, by emigrating to Moscow, where they worked as journalists. They returned to the United States four years later.
Working as co-librettists, they collaborated on the Cole Porter show, Leave It to Me (1938.13). They would go on to help Porter create his best musical, when they co-wrote the book for Kiss Me, Kate (1948.32).
No discussion of their pre-1943 work would be complete without the inclusion of Mary Martin singing “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” from the show, Leave It to Me. In fact, we are going to include two versions: the 1940 movie in black and white; the second one is a clip from the movie, Night and Day (1946).