1943 Broadway

JimA Connecticut Yankee

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1943 Broadway

Book by Herbert Fields, adapted from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain | Music by Richard Rodgers | Lyrics by Lorenz Hart

Rodgers, Hart and Fields’ 1927 romp returned to the Broadway stage in 1943, in an acclaimed production starring Vivienne Segal, Dick Foran, Vera-Ellen and Robert Chisholm. Directed by John C. Wilson and choreographed by William Holbrook and Al White, Jr., the Broadway revival of A Connecticut Yankee featured a revised book and six new Rodgers & Hart tunes. Though Rodgers was by now collaborating with Oscar Hammerstein II (Oklahoma! had opened a few months earlier), he chose to reconnect with Hart in an effort to raise his old partner’s spirits. Their reunion was an artistic triumph; Hart’s lyrics were among the best of his career, particularly in the show-stopping “To Keep My Love Alive.” The song, a brilliant comedy number written to highlight Segal’s talents, may have been the last lyric Hart wrote. He died on November 22, just five days after the production’s New York opening.

The revival was generally well received, running for 135 performances. Howard Barnes of the New York Herald Tribune wrote “The team of Mark Twain and Richard Rodgers is still going strong” and Burton Rasco of New York World-Telegram called it “a highly enjoyable entertainment, lavishly produced, full of pretty girls, and spiced here and there with fun.”


After the success of their original cast recording of Oklahoma!, Decca chose to release a cast recording of the 1943 Broadway revival of A Connecticut Yankee. Released in June 1944, the 5-disc 78 rpm album featured nine tracks: three of the Rodgers & Hart’s songs plus several standards from the original, including “My Heart Stood Still” and “Thou Swell.” Vivienne Segal’s wry rendition of “To Keep My Love Alive,” clocking in at nearly seven minutes, is a highlight of the 32-minute recording. Unfortunately, the album is not currently available for streaming.