Triangle: An Old-Fashioned Burlesque Sketch with Two Variations
Comden, Betty (nee Elizabeth Cohen, playwright, actress, librettist, lyricist, screenplay writer, b. Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A., May 3, 1917-d. Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A., 2006)), and Adolph Green (playwright, actor, librettist, lyricist, screenplay writer, b. The Bronx, New York, U.S.A., December 2, 1914-d. Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A., October 23, 2002), “Triangle: An Old-Fashioned Burlesque Sketch with Two Variations,”
a __-minute vaudeville three-part sketch in English, in styles of burlesque, T. S. Eliot, and Cole Porter musical, set in a bedroom, ____, ____,
© 1982 by Betty Comden and Adolph Green;
• in The Greatest Revue Sketches, compiled and edited by Donald Oliver, a Bard Book (New York City: Avon Books, 1982), ISBN 0-380-79194-3, containing Robert Benchley’s “The Treasurer’s Report,” 1m; Mel Brooks’ “Of Fathers and Sons,” 2m1f + 2m; William F. Brown’s “Double-O or Nothing,” 3m1f; Abe Burrows’ “Highlights from the World or Sports,” 2m + silent extras; Howard Dietz’ “The Gigolo Business,” 2m2f +1m; Herbert Hartig and Lois Balk Korey’s “Coffee,” 1m1f; W. C. Fields’ “School Days,” 3m1f; David Freedman’s “A Day at the Brokers’,” 3m; David Freedman’s “Dr. Fradler’s Dilemma,” 1m3f; David Freedman’s “A Smoking Car,” 2m1f; David Freedman’s “Sweepstakes Ticket,” 3m1f; David Freedman’s “Taxes! Taxes!” 3m; Charles Gaynor’s “Do It Yourself,” 3m1f; Will Glickman and Joseph Stein’s “I Never Felt Better” 2m1f; Moss Hart’s “Better Luck Next Time,” 1m2f; Moss Hart’s “Franklin D. Roosevelt to Be Inaugurated Tomorrow,” 2m1f; George S. Kaufman’s “If Men Played Cards as Women Do,” 4m; George S. Kaufman’s “Local Boy Makes Good,” 3m1f; James Kirkwood and Lee Goodman’s “Buck and Bobby,” 2m1f; Ring Lardner’s “The Tridget of Greva,” 3m; Jack McGowan’s “The Age in Which We Live!” 2m1f; William Miles and Donald Blackwell’s “In Marbled Halls,” 2m1f; Paul Gerard Smith’s “The Yellow Peril,” 3m1f; Joseph Stein, Neil Simon, and Danny Simon’s “Tallulah Finds Her Kitchen,” 1f; Joseph Stein and Will Glickman’s “I Never Felt Better,” 2m1f; Billy K. Wells’ “The Ambulance Chaser,” 2m1f; Billy K. Wells’ “My,” 3m1f; or Billy K. Wells’ “The Will,” 3m;
• script/rights available through Ronald S. Konecky, One Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York City, New York 10017.
Hubby/Husband/He (m), __, ________; Wifey/Wife/She (f); Lovey/Close Friend/Him (m), __, ________.
In three variations, a wife hides her lover from her husband.
• First produced in Two on the Aisle, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, on July 19, 1951. Original cast members were Elliott Reid, Dolores Gray, and Bert Lahr, says Oliver; and the music was by Jule Styne.
• Obituary: “NEW YORK — Betty Comden, whose more than 60-year collaboration with Adolph Green produced the classic New York stage musical "On the Town" and "Singin' in the Rain," has died. She was 89. Miss Comden died Thursday of heart failure at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia, said her longtime attorney and executor Ronald Konecky. "She was, in all respects, a very beautiful and legendary person," Konecky said. "She was a dynamic figure in the arts, theater and film." On Broadway, Miss Comden and Green (the billing was always alphabetical) worked most successfully with composers Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne and Cy Coleman. The duo wrote lyrics and often the books for more than a dozen shows, many of them built around such stars as Rosalind Russell, Judy Holliday, Phil Silvers, Carol Burnett and Lauren Bacall. They won five Tony Awards, with three of their shows — "Wonderful Town," "Hallelujah, Baby!" and "Applause" — winning the top prize for best musical. They received the Kennedy Center honors in 1991. The two were never married to each other, although many thought they were, considering the longevity of their working relationship. "It's a kind of radar," Miss Comden once said of her partnership with Green. "We don't divide the work up, taking different scenes. We sit in the same room always. I used to write things down in shorthand. I now sit at the typewriter. Adolph paces more. A lot of people don't believe this, but at the end of the day we usually don't remember who thought up what." Green died in October 2002 at 87. At a memorial for him, Miss Comden recalled their early days as collaborators and then halted before saying: "It's lonely up here. It was always more fun with Adolph." The best Comden-and-Green lyrics were brash and buoyant, full of quick wit, best exemplified by "New York, New York," an exuberant and forthright hymn to their favorite city. Yet even the songwriters' biggest pop hits — "The Party's Over," "Just in Time" and "Make Someone Happy" — were simple, direct and heartfelt. It was "On the Town," a musical comedy expansion of Jerome Robbins' ballet "Fancy Free," that introduced Miss Comden and Green to Broadway in 1944. The story of three sailors on a 24-hour leave in wartime New York was tailor-made for the time. The music was by Bernstein, an old friend of Green's. Miss Comden and Green wrote the book and lyrics, including two plum roles for themselves. The partners had performed their own material before. Green, struggling to become an actor, met Miss Comden through mutual friends in 1938 while she was studying at New York University. They formed a troupe called the Revuers. Among the members of the company was a young comedian named Judy Tuvin, who changed her name to Judy Holliday when she got to Hollywood. Miss Comden and Green's next two musicals, "Billion Dollar Baby" (1945) and "Bonanza Bound" (1947), were not successful. Discouraged, they left for California where they found a home at MGM. There, they wrote screenplays for "Good News," starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford, and the film version of "On the Town," which scrapped most of Bernstein's melodies, replacing them with music by Roger Edens. The movie, starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, was a huge hit. At MGM, Miss Comden and Green also scored their biggest critical success, writing the screenplay for "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). The film placed No. 10 on the list of 100 best American movies of the century, compiled in 1998 by the American Film Institute. In 1953, they had another film hit with "The Band Wagon," starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Also in 1953, Miss Comden and Green reunited with Bernstein on Broadway for "Wonderful Town," a musical version of "My Sister Eileen." A succession of collaborations with Styne followed, including the 1954 Mary Martin "Peter Pan," in which they were brought in to augment an existing score; "Bells Are Ringing" (1956), written for Holliday, and "Do Re Mi" (1960), featuring Silvers and comedian Nancy Walker. One of their biggest Broadway successes was "Applause" (1970), a show for which they wrote the book but not the lyrics. The two did an expert job tailoring the film "All About Eve" to Bacall's talents. Miss Comden and Green had their share of stage flops, too, most famously "A Doll's Life" (1982). It was a misguided attempt to figure out what Nora did after she slammed the door and walked out on her husband in Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House." The musical ran five performances. Their longest running show, "The Will Rogers Follies," opened in 1991, a Ziegfeld-styled retelling of the life of the famous humorist. Throughout their partnership, Miss Comden and Green performed together on stage, most notably in their two-person show ‘A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green.’ Miss Comden, a Brooklyn native, told her story in her 1995 memoir, ‘Off Stage.’ Miss Comden married accessories designer Steven Kyle in 1942. He died in 1979. They had two children, Susanna and Alan; her son died in 1990. Associated Press writer Colleen Long contributed to this report.”—The Seattle Times: Theater & arts: Betty Comden, lyricist and writer, dies at age 89, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/theaterarts/2003445271_comden24.html, accessed December 2, 2006.
• “Adolph Green . . . was an American lyricist and playwright who, with long-time collaborator Betty Comden, penned the screenplays and songs for some of the most beloved movie musicals, particularly as part of Arthur Freed's production unit at MGM, during the genre's heyday. Although many people thought they were, the pair were not married, but they shared a unique comic genius and sophisticated wit that enabled them to forge a six-decades-long partnership that produced some of Hollywood and Broadway's greatest hits. Green was born in the Bronx to Hungarian-Jewish immigrants Daniel and Helen Weiss Green. After high school, he worked as a runner on Wall Street while he tried to make it as an actor. He met Comden through mutual friends in 1938 while she was studying drama at New York University. They formed a troupe called the Revuers, which performed at the Village Vanguard, a club in Greenwich Village. Among the members of the company was a young comedian named Judy Tuvin, who later changed her name to Judy Holliday, and Green's good friend, a young musician named Leonard Bernstein, frequently accompanied them on the piano. The act's success earned them a movie offer and the Revuers traveled west in hopes of finding fame in Greenwich Village, a 1944 movie starring Carmen Miranda and Don Ameche, but their roles were so small they barely were noticed, and they quickly returned to New York. Their first Broadway effort joined them with Bernstein for On the Town, a musical romp about three sailors on leave in New York City that was an expansion of a ballet entitled Fancy Free on which Bernstein had been working with choreographer Jerome Robbins. Comden and Green wrote the lyrics and book, which included sizeable parts for themselves. Their next two musicals, Billion Dollar Baby (1945) and Bonanza Bound (1947) were not successful, and once again they headed to California, where they immediately found work at MGM. They wrote the screenplay for Good News, starring June Allyson and Peter Lawford, The Barkleys of Broadway for Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, and then adapted On the Town for Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, scrapping Bernstein's music at the request of Arthur Freed, who did not care for the Bernstein score. They reunited with Kelly for their most successful project, the classic Singin' in the Rain, about Hollywood in the final days of the silent film era. Considered by many film historians to be the best movie musical of all time, it ranked #10 on the list of the 100 Best American Movies of the 20th Century, compiled by the American Film Institute in 1998. They followed this with another hit, The Band Wagon, in which the characters of Lester and Lily, a husband-and-wife team that writes the screenplay for the show-within-a-show, were patterned after themselves. They were Oscar-nominated twice, for their screenplays for The Band Wagon and It's Always Fair Weather, both of which earned them a Screen Writers Guild Award, as did On the Town. Their stage work during the next few years included the revue Two on the Aisle, starring Bert Lahr and Dolores Gray, Wonderful Town, an adaptation of the comedy hit My Sister Eileen, with Rosalind Russell and Edie Adams as two sisters from Ohio trying to make it in the Big Apple, and Bells Are Ringing, which reunited them with Judy Holliday as an operator at a telephone answering service. The score, including the standards "Just in Time," "Long Before I Knew You," and "The Party’s Over," proved to be one of their richest. In 1958, they appeared on Broadway in A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, a revue that included some of their early sketches. It was a critical and commercial success, and they brought an updated version back to Broadway in 1977. Among their other credits are the Mary Martin version of Peter Pan for both Broadway and television, a streamlined Die Fledermaus for the Metropolitan Opera, and stage musicals for Carol Burnett, Leslie Uggams, and Lauren Bacall, among others. Their many collaborators included Garson Kanin, Cy Coleman, Jule Styne, and André Previn. The team was not without its failures. In 1982, A Doll's Life, a misguided attempt to figure out what Nora did after she abandoned her husband in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, ran for only five performances, although they received Tony Award nominations for its book and score. Comden and Green received Kennedy Center Honors in 1991. Green's third wife was actress Phyllis Newman, who had understudied Holliday in Bells Are Ringing. They had two children, Adam and Amanda. His Broadway memorial, with such luminaries as Lauren Bacall, Kevin Kline, Joel Grey, Kristin Chenoweth, Arthur Laurents, Peter Stone, and, of course, Betty Comden in attendance was held at the Shubert Theater on December 4, 2002.”—Adolph Green - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolph_Green, accessed December 2, 2006.
burlesque, Eliot (T[homas] S[tearns] Eliot, American-born British poet and critic, 1888-1965), mistaken identity, Porter (Cole Porter, U. S. composer, 1893-1964), triangle, variation.