A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine

A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine is a musical comedy consisting of two essentially independent one-act plays, with a book and lyrics by Dick Vosburgh and music by Frank Lazarus. Additionally, songs by other composers are incorporated into the score. The musical premiered in the West End and then ran on Broadway.

A Day in Hollywood
A Night in the Ukraine
Original Broadway cast recording
MusicFrank Lazarus and others
LyricsDick Vosburgh
BookDick Vosburgh
BasisA revue and Anton Chekhov's one-act play The Bear
Productions1979 West End
1980 Broadway

Plot overviewEdit

The first act, A Day in Hollywood, is a revue of classic Hollywood songs of the 1930s performed by singers and dancers representing ushers from Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The second, A Night in the Ukraine, is loosely based on Anton Chekhov's one-act play The Bear, and is presented in the style of a Marx Brothers movie. [1]

In a review of a regional production the reviewer from The New York Times commented that the musical "...has a hybrid score that lists music by Frank Lazarus, with book and lyrics by Dick Vosburgh, additional songs composed by Jerry Herman and a solid midsection medley devoted to the prolific composer of popular movie music, Richard A. Whiting. We are treated to a pleasant musical grab bag..."[2]


The musical premiered in the West End at the Mayfair Theatre on 28 March 1979, where it ran for 168 performances.

The musical opened on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre on May 1, 1980, transferred to the Royale Theatre on June 17, 1980, and closed on September 27, 1981, after 588 performances and nine previews. The musical was directed and co-choreographed by Tommy Tune, with Thommie Walsh as co-choreographer, with scenic design by Tony Walton, costume design by Michel Stuart and lighting design by Beverly Emmons. The cast included David Garrison, Priscilla Lopez, Peggy Hewett, Kate Draper, Albert Stephenson, and Stephen James.[3]


(Songs are by Vosburgh and Lazarus unless otherwise noted)

Awards and nominationsEdit

Original Broadway productionEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1980 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Dick Vosburgh Nominated
Best Original Score Frank Lazarus and Dick Vosburgh Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical David Garrison Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Priscilla Lopez Won
Best Direction of a Musical Tommy Tune Nominated
Best Choreography Tommy Tune and Thommie Walsh Won
Best Scenic Design Tony Walton Nominated
Best Lighting Design Beverly Emmons Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Peggy Hewett Nominated
Outstanding Choreography Tommy Tune and Thommie Walsh Won
1979–1980 Theatre World Award Outstanding New York City Stage Debut Stephen James Won


Representatives of the Marx Brothers' interests (Groucho Marx Productions, on behalf of Groucho and Chico, and Harpo's widow Susan Marx) sued the musical's producers for violating the Marx Brothers' right of publicity.[4] A lawyer for the plaintiffs said that they were not seeking to shut down the production, but only to demand a license fee for the use of the Marx Brothers characters.[5] The District Court found in favor of the Marx heirs, applying New York law.[4][5] However, on appeal, the decision was reversed, on the grounds that the Marx Brothers had been residents of California, and, at the time of the lawsuit, California law provided that a person's right of publicity either expired upon the person's death, or possibly, could pass to the person's heirs only under limited circumstances which could not restrict production of this musical.[6] The lawsuit ultimately resulted in favor of the musical's producers.[7]


  1. ^ http://www.playbill.com/production/a-day-in-hollywood-a-night-in-the-ukraine-john-golden-theatre-vault-0000008404
  2. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater; 'Day In Hollywood' In Fairfield", The New York Times, October 4, 1987
  3. ^ " A Day in Hollywood / a Night in the Ukraine Production Information", PlaybillVault.com, accessed January 5, 2012
  4. ^ a b Groucho Marx Productions v. Day & Night Co., 523 F. Supp. 485 (S.D.N.Y. 1981).
  5. ^ a b Lubasch, Arnold H. (October 6, 1981). "U.S. Court Rules for Marx Brothers' Heirs on 'Day in Hollywood'". The New York Times. p. C7. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  6. ^ Groucho Marx Productions v. Day & Night Co., 689 F.2d 317 (2d Cir. 1982).
  7. ^ Siegel, Paul (2011). Communication Law in America (3d ed.). Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 151. ISBN 978-1442209398. Retrieved 2020-03-25.

External linksEdit