Today on “Days to Remember,” we celebrate how the musical called; “Bells are Ringing,” opened on Broadway on November 29th 1956.
The original Broadway production, directed by Jerome Robbins and choreographed by Robbins and Bob Fosse, opened on November 29, 1956 at the Shubert Theatre, where it ran for slightly more than two years before transferring to the Alvin Theatre, for a total run of 924 performances.
It starred Judy Holliday as Ella and Sydney Chaplin as Jeff Moss, it also featured Jean Stapleton as Sue Summers, Eddie Lawrence as Sandor, George S. Irving, Jack Weston, Peter Gennaro, and Donna Sanders.
Scenic and Costume design was by Raoul Pène Du Bois and the lighting design was by Peggy Clark. During her vacation, Holliday was replaced briefly by Betty Garrett.
Today’s YouTube video is the song called, “Bells Are Ringing,” from the musical which made its debut to the public on November 29th 1956, brought to you by user name, (klrietmann) by Decca Records, sung by Jerri Southern.
What was the Broadway play about?
In act one, Ella Peterson works for a telephone answering service owned by a woman named Sue. She listens in on others’ lives and adds some interest to her own humdrum existence by adopting different identities – and voices – for her clients.
They include Blake Barton, an out-of-work Method actor, Dr. Kitchell, a dentist with musical yearnings but lacking talent, and playwright Jeff Moss, who is suffering from writer’s block and desperately needs a muse. Ella considers the relationships with these clients “perfect” because she can’t see them and they can’t see her (“It’s a Perfect Relationship”).
Jeff is writing a play called “The Midas Touch,” the first play he’s written since his writing partner left him (“Independent (On My Own)”). One day the producer of the play insists that he finish the play by the next morning and meet him at 9:00 am. While asking her to wake him up on time, he turns to Ella for help in writing the play. Meanwhile, Sandor, Sue’s rich boyfriend, reveals plans to a group of gangsters to use as a bookmaking operation, by pretending to be a record seller and taking orders for “symphonies” as code. (“It’s a Simple Little System”).
Ella wants to go visit Jeff’s apartment to help him write the play, but she is intercepted by a policeman who is convinced that is a front for an “escort service.” Ella asks him “Is it a Crime?” to help someone in need? He agrees that it isn’t, and lets her go. She arrives at Jeff’s apartment and offers him help with his play, and a romance ensues “I Met a Girl,” “Long Before I Knew You.”
In act two, Ella is preparing to go to a party at Jeff’s apartment, feeling nervous about meeting his friends. Carl, a friend of hers, helps her regain her confidence with a cha-cha dance (“Mu-Cha-Cha”).
The guests at the party are all very pretentious and rich and snobby (“Drop That Name”) and they make Ella feel very out of place. She leaves Jeff (“The Party’s Over”).
Carl, a music nerd, thwarts Sandor’s operation when he receives an order for “Beethoven’s 10th symphony,” because he knows that Beethoven only wrote 9 symphonies. The policeman arrests Sandor. Meanwhile, Jeff comes to confess his love for Ella. She quits in order making a life with herself and Jeff (“I’m Going Back”)
The musical was made into a movie starring Judy Holiday and Dean Martin, and became a very successful movie, as we remember how the musical called; “Bells are Ringing,” opened on Broadway on November 29th 1956.
Written & Designed by JD Mitchell