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Sugar Babies (musical)

Sugar Babies is a musical revue conceived by Ralph G. Allen and Harry Rigby, with music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Dorothy Fields and Al Dubin and various others. The show is a tribute to the old burlesque era. First produced in 1979 on Broadway and running nearly three years, the revue attracted warm notices and was given subsequent touring productions.

Sugar Babies
MusicJimmy McHugh
LyricsDorothy Fields
Al Dubin
BookRalph G. Allen
Harry Rigby
Productions1979 Broadway
1987 Australia
1988 West End


Sugar Babies opened on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on October 8, 1979 and closed on August 28, 1982 after 1,208 performances. Staging and choreography was by Ernest Flatt, with sketches directed by Rudy Tronto, musically directed by Glen Roven, scenic and costume design by Raoul Pene Du Bois, lighting design by Gilbert Vaughn Hemsley Jr., vocal arrangements and lyrics by Arthur Malvin, additional vocal arrangements by Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane, and orchestrations by Dick Hyman.

The revue starred Mickey Rooney in his Broadway debut, Ann Miller, and featured Ann Jillian and Peter Leeds. After the original stars left, successors included Juliet Prowse, Anita Morris, Joey Bishop, Eddie Bracken, Jeff Dunham and Rip Taylor.

The revue subsequently had a short-lived National tour which starred Carol Channing and Robert Morse, from August through November 1980.[1][2] The Bus and Truck Tour starred Eddie Bracken and Jaye P. Morgan (who was succeeded by Mimi Hines) and ran in 1982.[3] The 2nd National Tour, in 1984 and 1985, reunited Rooney and Miller.[4][5]


The show consists of "traditional material ... routines going back 50 to 60 years. It contains standard songs such as "Don't Blame Me" and "I Feel a Song Comin' On", interspersed with newly created musical numbers, including "The Sugar Baby Bounce".[6]

The show had burlesque "tropes" such as the swing number, the sister act, the fan dance, the vaudeville dog act. "It was all fast and funny and it ended with a patriotic number...with the entire company in red, white, and blue with a flag background and Miller as the Statue of Liberty."[7]

Songs and scenesEdit

Source: Script[8]


Time wrote that the show is a "happy send-off to burlesque", and "Rarely has so much energy been packed into so small a package. Rooney dances, he sings, he mugs, he dresses in drag."[9]

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ Corry, John (August 7, 1980). "An Anomaly Is Born: Carol Channing As 'Babies' Burlesque Comic". The New York Times. p. C 15.
  2. ^ Lardner, James (November 4, 1980). "Theater Notes". The Washington Post. p. B8.
  3. ^ Richards, David (June 29, 1982). "Sugar Babies To End Tour". The Washington Post. p. B10.
  4. ^ Frank, Leah."Theater Review;Rooney Triumphant In 'Sugar Babies'". The New York Times, July 7, 1985
  5. ^ "Listing, 'Sugar Babies', Pantages Theatre, pp. 116-119", Orange Coast Magazine, February 1984
  6. ^ Klein, Alvin. "Theater; Understudy Becomes The Star In Darien's 'Sugar Babies'". The New York Times, March 1, 1987
  7. ^ Mordden, Ethan."'Sugar Babies'" One More Kiss: The Broadway Musical in the 1970s (2004), p. 237, Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 1-4039-6539-0
  8. ^ " 'Sugar Babies: The Burlesque Musical' script, pp. 8-9, Samuel French, Inc., 1983 ISBN 0-573-68166-X
  9. ^ (no author)."Show Business: Andy Hardy Comes Home"Time, October 29, 1979

External linksEdit