Forgotten Musicals Friday: POOR LITTLE RITZ GIRL



With various recordings of The Boy Friend enjoying multiple plays around the house and in my car at the moment, the period to which it pays tribute, the 1920s, has suddenly become quite fascinating to me again. So it occurred to me that this might be a good time to delve into some musicals of the 1920s – and specifically some of the first few Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart collaborations – for my Forgotten Musicals Friday blogs this month. I figured that I’d start with Poor Little Ritz Girl, the first Broadway show that showcased Rodgers and Hart’s talents to any great extent.

A song by the pair, “Any Old Place with You”, had popped up in A Lonely Romeo the previous season, but with Poor Little Ritz Girl, the songwriting team were offered the opportunity to create a complete score. In the end, eight of the songs they wrote were cut, leaving them seven spots in the score. The rest of the songs were written by Sigmund Romberg and Alex Gerber, and the experience was a devastating one for Rodgers and Hart. (The whole saga is described in a little more detail in Frederick Nolan’s The Sound of Their Music: the Story of Rodgers and Hammerstein.)

Directed by Ned Wayburn with choreography by David Bennett, the show sported a book by Lew M. Fields and George Campbell – at least according to the Internet Broadway Database. The sheet music pictured above right credits the book to Henry M. Stillman. Either way, the story didn’t amount to much, with the plot revolving around a Southern hick who rents the New York apartment of a wealthy bachelor who is supposed to be out of town. This all led to the typical musical comedy antics of the period.

I have to admit that I don’t know much else about Poor Little Ritz Girl. It’s really a pity that there isn’t a recording of the score available. It’s a score I’d very much like to hear. In the meantime, you and I will have to make do with this little rendition of one of the Romberg-Gerber songs, “When I Found You”.

Keen to share any thoughts about Poor Little Ritz Girl? Head to the comment box below. I’d love to hear them!

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