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The Great American Revue

Andre Charlot's Revue of 1924

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Beatrice Lillie, Digital ID th-29926, New York Public LibraryBeatrice Lillie, Digital ID th-29926, New York Public LibraryImpresario Andre Charlot brought London stars and songwriters to Broadway in January 1924. That show forms a neat connection between Noel Coward and the American revue scene, so we developed a small exhibition about it for LPA's 3rd floor reading room.

The Revue, produced in New York by The Selwyns, was a compilation of new material with audience favorites from past London shows. Both Noël Coward and Ivor Novello songs were featured, as well as works by London songwriters Philip Braham, Ronald Jeans, Douglas Furber, and the American team of Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. Running almost 300 performances, it established Gertrude Lawrence, Beatrice Lillie and Jack Buchanan as transatlantic stars and introduced Jessie Matthews to the Broadway audiences. In an unusual move, Charlot brought the show back to London as Andre Charlot's Revue of 1925.

We found a manuscript piano score for one of the Noël Coward songs interpolated into the show: "Roses Have Made Me Remember…What any Nice Girl would Forget." The title just about says it all, but you can find the full lyrics in Barry Day's omnibus of Coward Lyrics. Also in the Music Division file were parts for clarinet, horn and percussion.

Music Division's Musical Comedy files have sheet music published with the promotional cover that branded a show. So the MC file for Charlot's Revue of 1924 includes the Novello and Coward songs, as well as a printing of a Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle song "You were Meant for Me" (not the one from Singin' in the Rain). In addition to the copy of Novello's British anthem "March with Me" in the MC file, we found another copy in the Beatrice Lillie Papers. Her copy of "March With Me," shows 1957 topical updates for performance in her one-woman shows. Recognizing political reality, she moved all of the Empire references to the past tense, so the British "were," not are, in Cairo.

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