Silk Stockings
Silk Stockings is a musical
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

 with a book by George S. Kaufman
George S. Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer, humorist, and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals, notably for the Marx Brothers...

, Leueen MacGrath
Leueen MacGrath
Leueen MacGrath was a British actress and playwright and the second wife of George S. Kaufman, from 1949 until their divorce in 1957....

, and Abe Burrows
Abe Burrows
Abe Burrows was a Tony and Pulitzer-winning American humorist, author, and director for radio and the stage.-Early years:...

 and music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Cole Porter
Cole Albert Porter was an American composer and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana, he defied the wishes of his domineering grandfather and took up music as a profession. Classically trained, he was drawn towards musical theatre...

Hildegarde Knef (German spelling) gives a vivid backstage account of the casting, rehearsals, tryouts and Broadway opening of "Silk Stockings" in her autobiography "The Gift Horse: Report on a Life" McGraw Hill, 1971, pages 281 through 342.

The musical is loosely based on the Melchior Lengyel
Melchior Lengyel
Melchior Lengyel was a Hungarian writer, dramatist, and film screenwriter.-Biography:Lengyel was born Lebovics Menyhért in Balmazújváros, Hungary. He started his career as a journalist...

 story Ninotchka and the 1939 film adaptation
Ninotchka is a 1939 American film made for Metro Goldwyn Mayer by producer and director Ernst Lubitsch which stars Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas. It was written by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett and Walter Reisch, based on a screen story by Melchior Lengyel. Ninotchka is Greta Garbo's first full...

 it inspired. It ran on Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 in 1955. This was the last musical that Porter wrote for the stage.


During the "severely troubled tryout" George S. Kaufman and his wife Leueen MacGrath were replaced by Abe Burrows. (According to Cecil Michener Smith and Glenn Litton, Kaufman became angry and quit.) Burrows re-wrote most of the book. The producer Cy Feuer
Cy Feuer
Cy Feuer was an American theatre producer, director, composer, and musician.Born Seymour Arnold Feuerman in Brooklyn, New York,he studied trumpet privately with Max Schlossberg, he became a professional trumpeter at the age of fifteen, working at clubs on weekends to help support his family while...

 took over the direction from Kaufman. The three leads had not previously performed in a Broadway musical comedy: Hildegarde Neff was a German film and stage actress, Don Ameche
Don Ameche
Don Ameche was an Academy Award winning American actor with a career spanning almost sixty years.-Personal life:...

 had never sung, and Gretchen Wyler
Gretchen Wyler
Gretchen Wyler was an American actress and founder of the Genesis Awards for animal protection.-Early life:...

 was making her Broadway debut. "All three triumphed."


Following tryouts in Philadelphia, Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, and Detroit, the production opened Broadway on February 24, 1955 at the Imperial Theatre, and closed on April 14, 1956 after 478 performances.

Directed by Cy Feuer and choreographed by Eugene Loring
Eugene Loring
Eugene Loring American ballet and other dance-forms dancer, choreographer and teacher and administrator.-Biography:...

, the cast included Hildegarde Neff (Ninotchka), Don Ameche
Don Ameche
Don Ameche was an Academy Award winning American actor with a career spanning almost sixty years.-Personal life:...

 (Steve Canfield), Gretchen Wyler
Gretchen Wyler
Gretchen Wyler was an American actress and founder of the Genesis Awards for animal protection.-Early life:...

 (Janice Dayton), George Tobias
George Tobias
George Tobias was an American character actor.-Early life and career:Born to a Jewish family in New York, he began his acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, California. He then spent several years in theater groups before moving on to Broadway and, eventually, Hollywood...

, David Opatoshu
David Opatoshu
David Opatoshu was an American film, stage and television actor. He was born as David Opatovsky in New York City, where he was reared and educated. His father was the Yiddish writer, Joseph Opatoshu.-Television:...

, Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar is an American actress, dancer and singer. Her most famous role is Catwoman in the Batman television series.-Early life:...

, and Onna White
Onna White
Onna White was a Canadian choreographer and dancer nominated for eight Tony Awards.-Career:Born in Inverness, Nova Scotia, White began taking dance lessons at the age of twelve, and eventually her studies took her to the famed San Francisco Ballet Company, where she danced in the first full-length...

. Jan Sherwood
Jan Sherwood
Jan Sherwood is an American actress mostly known for her work on the stage. She made her Broadway debut in 1944 as Marpha in The Day Will Come...

 eventually replaced Neff as Ninotchka and also portrayed the role for the show's first national tour. Scenic and lighting designs were by Jo Mielziner
Jo Mielziner
Joseph "Jo" Mielziner was an American theatrical scenic, and lighting designer born in Paris, France. He is "the most successful set designer of the Golden era of Broadway", and worked on both stage plays and musicals.-Career:He was the son of artist Leo Mielziner, Sr...

 and costumes were by Lucinda Ballard
Lucinda Ballard
Lucinda Ballard was an American costume designer who worked primarily in Broadway theatre.Born Lucinda Davis Goldsborough in New Orleans, Louisiana, Ballard studied at the Art Students League in New York City. Her first professional credits was as the scenic and costume designer for a 1937...

. The tour played the Curran Theatre
Curran Theatre
The Curran Theatre is located in San Francisco and was named by its first owner, Homer Curran. The theatre is currently owned by Carole Shorenstein Hays and is operated by SHN - Overview :...

, San Francisco, California starting in April 1956,as well as Los Angeles.

The score "played a large part in keeping 'Silk Stockings' running on Broadway for 478 performances and in helping to recoup the immense production expenses for the show (brought in at a cost of $370,000, 'Silk Stockings' was considered one of Broadway's most expensive musicals for its time)...The big hit...was clearly 'All of You'."

An original cast recording was released by RCA Victor.

The Lost Musicals staged reading of the musical was held in September 2005 in New York City.

Plot overview

The musical involves on special envoy Nina Yaschenko, who is dispatched from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 to rescue three foolish commissar
Commissar is the English transliteration of an official title used in Russia from the time of Peter the Great.The title was used during the Provisional Government for regional heads of administration, but it is mostly associated with a number of Cheka and military functions in Bolshevik and Soviet...

s from the pleasures of Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. Romanced by theatrical agent Steven Canfield, she eventually comes to recognize the virtues of capitalist
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 indulgence. Other characters include Peter Boroff, Russia's greatest composer, who is being wooed by Peggy Dayton, America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

's swimming sweetheart, to write the score for her first non-aquatic picture, a musical adaptation of War and Peace
War and Peace
War and Peace is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in 1869. The work is epic in scale and is regarded as one of the most important works of world literature...


Song list

Act I
  • Too Bad - Ivanov, Brankov, Bibinski, and Hotel Staff
  • Paris Loves Lovers - Steve Canfield and Ninotchka
  • Stereophonic Sound - Janice Dayton
  • It's a Chemical Reaction, That's All - Ninotchka
  • All of You
    All of You
    "All of You" is a popular song written by Cole Porter and published in 1954.It was featured in the musical film Silk Stockings and been recorded by Fred Astaire, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald on her 1972 album: Ella Loves Cole, Billie Holiday, Tony Martin, and Anita O'Day.The jazz pianist Bill Evans...

    - Steve
  • Satin and Silk - Janice
  • Without Love - Ninotchka
  • All of You (Reprise) - Steve

Act II
  • Hail, Bibinski
  • As On Through the Seasons We Sail
  • Josephine
  • Siberia
  • Silk Stockings
  • The Red Blues
  • Too Bad (Reprise)
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