PE0232. NO NO NANETTE (Vincent Youmans, Frank Mandel, Otto Harbach & Irving Caesar), w.Percival Mackay Cond. Orig. London Palace Theatre Cast: Binnie Hale, Joseph Coyne, Seymour Beard, Irene Browne, George Grossmith, Jr, etc.; plus additional songs by Hannan Dance Band, Joe Garber’s Orchestra, Benson Orchestra of Chicago, Savoy Orpheans, Mayfair Orchestra, etc. (England) Palaeophonics 124,
recorded 1925, Complete, as Recorded, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 20pp. Brochure replete w.photos from the London production & facsimile of original brochure.
“NO NO NANETTE is a musical comedy with lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach, music by Vincent Youmans, and a book by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel, based on Mandel's 1919 Broadway play MY LADY FRIENDS. The farcical story involves three couples who find themselves together at a cottage in Atlantic City in the midst of a blackmail scheme, focusing on a young, fun-loving Manhattan heiress who naughtily runs off for a weekend, leaving her unhappy fiancé. Its songs include the well-known ‘Tea for Two’ and ‘I Want to Be Happy’.
During its pre-Broadway tour, NO, NO, NANETTE became a hit in Chicago, and the production stayed there for over a year. On 16 September, 1925, the show opened both on Broadway, then on 11 March, 1925 in the West End, running 321 and 665 performances respectively. Three touring productions were circulating throughout the U.S. when the Broadway production opened, starring Louise Groody and Charles Winninger. NO NO NANETTE was not successful in its first pre-Broadway tour in 1924. When the production arrived in Chicago, producer Harry Frazee re-cast the show with new stars, had the book rewritten and asked Youmans and Caesar to write additional songs. These additional songs, ‘Tea for Two’ and ‘I Want to Be Happy’ would become the hit songs of the show. Frazee eagerly capitalized on this success, but Broadway was not his first priority. NO NO NANETTE starred Binnie Hale, Joseph Coyne and George Grossmith, Jr. and became a hit, running for 665 performances. The London production featured two songs that were not included in U.S. productions: ‘I've Confessed to the Breeze’ and ‘Take a Little One-Step’. It ran for 321 performances.
Binnie Hale was probably the brightest and most successful star of the London musical comedy and revue stage during the ‘20s and ‘30s. This versatile and vivacious blonde actress, singer, dancer, and exceptionally gifted mimic, made her stage début in the musical comedy FOLLOW THE CROWD at the old Empire Theatre in 1916. Later that year she appeared in the revue WE’RE ALL IN IT at the same theatre, and then joined the chorus of HOUP-LA!, which opened C.B. Cochran’s brand new St. Martin’s Theatre. After being seen in a number of run-of-the-mill revues and musical comedies, including 150 POUND, THE KISS CALL, JUST FANCY, JUMBLE SALE, MY NIECES, KATINKA, PUPPETS, and THE ODD SPOT (1924), in the late ‘20s and ‘30s she excelled IN NO, NO, NANETTE (‘I Want To Be Happy’, ‘Tea For Two’, ‘I’ve Confessed To The Breeze’, ‘Take A Little One-Step’), Sunny (‘Who’, with Jack Buchanan) Mr. Cinders (‘Spread A Little Happiness, ‘I’m A One-Man Girl’, ‘Ev’ry Little Moment’ - the first of three shows with Bobby Howes), NIPPY, BOW BELLS, with her father, actor Robert Hale (‘You’re Blasé’, ‘Mona Lisa’), THE DUBARRY (as Jeanne in the UK tour), GIVE ME A RING, YES, MADAME? (‘Dreaming a Dream’), RISE AND SHINE, Cochran’s Coronation revue HOME AND BEAUTY (‘A Nice Cup of Tea’), and MAGYAR MELODY (1939). In the’40s, and for most of the ‘50s, she mixed appearances in pantomime (in her day, she was a superb principal boy) and variety theatres with more revues and musicals such as UP AND DOING, FLYING COLOURS, ONE, TWO, THREE! (with her younger brother Sonnie Hale), FOUR, FIVE, SIX!, OUT OF THIS WORLD, and THE PUNCH REVUE (1955). She also joined her brother in the radio series ALL HALE. Her last West End role is said to have been as the Duchess and Queen of Hearts in ALICE IN WONDERLAND at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1959.
Joseph Coyne, sometimes billed as Joe Coyne, was an American-born singer and actor, known for his appearances in leading roles in Edwardian musical comedy in London. Coyne was born in New York and made his stage début there at Niblo's Garden when he was 16. He appeared for some years in Vaudeville, as part of a double-act, and moved to the legitimate theatre, joining the Rose Lyall Dramatic Company.
In 1901, Coyne made his first appearance on the London stage, playing opposite Edna May in THE GIRL FROM UP THERE. After that engagement, he returned to the U.S. until 1906, when he made his second West End appearance. In 1907, he made a great success as Danilo in the original London production of THE MERRY WIDOW, which he followed with a succession of romantic leading roles including Conder in THE DOLLAR PRINCESS (1909), Tony in THE QUAKER GIRL (1910), Teddy in THE DANCING MISTRESS (1912) and Sandy in THE GIRL FROM UTAH (1913).
After the First World War, Coyne played Robert Street in GOING UP (1918), Jimmy Smith in NO NO NANETTE (1925) and T. Boggs John in QUEEN HIGH (1926). Among his leading ladies, The Times listed Edna May, Gertie Millar, Lily Elsie, Constance Collier, Gertrude Lawrence and Binnie Hale.
Coyne's last appearance was in APRON STRINGS at the Vaudeville Theatre in 1931, in the role of Ezra Hunniwell. He settled in Virginia Water, near Windsor, where he died of pneumonia, aged 73.
George Grossmith continued to appear in other producers' shows, including THE NAUGHTY PRINCESS (1920) and as Billy Early in Joe Waller and Herbert Clayton's original hit British production of NO, NO, NANETTE (1925). Around this time, Grossmith also worked as a programme advisor to the BBC, particular involved in comedy programming. He also negotiated on behalf of the BBC with theatre managers over their boycott on songs from plays, when provincial theatre managers had threatened to cancel tour contracts if excerpts from the new plays had already been broadcast by the BBC."
-Zillah Dorset Akron
“If you are interested in what original audiences of early 20th century English operetta and musical comedy heard, there is a great source for such recordings – the record label Paleophonics. Dominic Combe prepares CDs for them from his huge collection of shellacs and a few cylinders.
I came across these somewhat hard-to-find CDs on the website of the mail-order company NORBECK, PETERS AND FORD, (norpete.com) which is specialized in historical performances from the beginning of recorded sound all the way through to the 1960s.
There are now over fifty Paleophonics CDs, and more are being prepared or scheduled for future release. Each CD comes with a lavishly illustrated program booklet with reviews, information about the shows and fantastic publicity photographs, and artwork from the original London productions, in the form of reproductions of the magazine PLAY PICTORIAL.”
- Thomas Krebs, OPERETTA RESEARCH CENTER - PALEOPHONICS - A JOURNEY TO THE DAWN OF RECORDED SOUND IN MUSICAL COMEDY, 1 July, 2020