NEW FACES REVUES

When I discovered that one of the numbers on the JOHN MURRAY ANDERSON'S ALMANAC CD was attributed to NEW FACES OF 1952, I went searching on Internet for details of this show.  I was able to track down a video of it, and also discovered copies of the records, playbills and programs of this and other NEW FACES revues up for auction on eBay.  I was outbid on eBay for all of these but either the sellers or buyers were kind enough to Xerox some of this material for me, so my knowledge of these revues and the way they interact with other revues has greatly expanded.

The NEW FACES revues were all produced by Leonard Sillman (except the 1962 edition).  Sillman was born in Detroit, Michigan on May 9, 1908.  He made his theatrical debut as a singer/dancer with Lew Fields in 1924; and made his New York debut at the Palace Theater in 1926 with Imogene Coca in a vaudeville act called Sillman and Coca.  Later he partnered with a Gershwin sister, Frances.  He progressed to Broadway where he became known as the youngest leading juvenile in the theatre.  He took over Fred Astaire's role  of Dick Trevor in the Gershwin musical LADY BE GOOD (1926) and toured in John Murray Anderson's GREENWICH VILLAGE FOLLIES (1927).  He was featured in MERRY-GO-ROUND (1927) and in Arthur Hammerstein's POLLY WITH A PAST (1928).

While appearing in a cross-country tour of a vaudeville extravaganza, he decided to settle in Hollywood where he opened up a dance studio, coaching and directing such stars as Laura LaPlante and Ruby Keeler.    His first revue as producer was THE 11:15 REVUE (1930) starring his sister June and Charlie Chaplin's first wife, Mildred.  He appeared in a 1932 revue, HULLABALOO, where he was spotted and signed by agent Irving Kahn.  Sillman subsequently appeared in  three 1933 films, GOLDIE GETS ALONG, WHISTLING IN THE DARK and BOMBSHELL.

He produced, directed, wrote and appeared in a musical revue at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, LOW AND BEHOLD (1933) with a cast of 27, including Eve Arden, Tyrone Power, Jr. (then working as Sillman's chauffeur), Kay Thompson and Betzi Beaton.  Arden and Power performed a number called  REVOLT OF THE STATUES which consisted of the statues of Psyche and Cupid coming to life in the park and complaining to one another about the people scratching matches on them and the dreadful things the birds had done to them over the years, and what a bore it was for Cupid to hold Psyche in that Godawful position for such a long time.

In his autobiography, Sillman writes of another number called TRAFFIC BLOCKED which does not appear on the copy of the program I was able to track down  It consisted of Sillman in silk hat and tails sitting in the middle of a staircase.  On the bottom step sat the lovely ballerina, Peggy Lou Neary, and on the top step sat Marguerite Namara in a low-cut evening gown.  Both ladies were crying their hearts out for love of Sillman because the bottom one was too young for his taste and top one too old.

Kay Thompson and several other girls in the cast participated in a running gag.  They would come out, wheeling a small portable bar; they'd take a drink and then reprise a song from the show.  They kept this up all through the evening, getting drunker and drunker.  By their last appearance, they were so sozzled they couldn't stand up.

Sillman also did a number of songs he characterized as "tragic song and dance and dramatic tap."  One was called I'M THE MAN YOU'VE GOT TO SEE ABOUT A DOG in which he impersonated Clifton Webb.  Another was AFRICANA which gave the whole history of a safari in one tap dance.  Another, written by Jeanie MacPherson, was called HARLEQUINADE, in which Sillman as Harlequin snaps the strings that bind him and makes a daring escape.  Drunk with his new-found freedom, he whirls and leaps in sheer joy but the dance ends with Sillman falling on his prat.

Title Authors Roles Performers
The Professor Professor Billy Griffith
Stage Manager Bill Burns
Things They Told Us Not to Do In Pasadena Lyric by Jun Sillman; music by Warburton Guilbert Dancers Lois Ingraham, Bill Gryder, LaVerne Pickering, Zeke Haddon, Peggy Neary, Charles Walter, June Shafer, Jack Thomas
The Professor and His Guides Billy Griffith, Eunice Quedens, Virginia Hart
Tid-Bits
Raven Locks
Billy Griffith He John Kent
She Lois Ingraham
The Dance Tom Riley Dancers Tyrone Power, Jr., Dorothy Dee
A Boy Don Honrath
Man About A Dog Larry Scheinberg Sung by Leonard Sillman
Rhyme or Reason John Rox &  Hugh Berner Peggy Neary, Charles Walter
Dancers June Shafer, Jack Thomas, Dorothy Dee, Bill Gryder, Lois Ingraham, Zeke Haddon, Tyrone Power, Jr., LaVerne Pickering, Jimmy Tracy
Spring Night Lyric & music by Robert Bard Sung by June Sillman
Earl Haddon Dance Specialty
Blessed Event Eddie Lambert Mother Larri Armstrong
Nurse Dorothy Dee
Man Tyrone Power, Jr.
Man Teddy Hart
Wicked, Unwholesome, Expensive John Rox Sung by Eunice Quedens, June Sillman, Virginia HOward, John Kent, Tyrone Power, Jr., Jack Thomas
Service With a Smile Lyric by June Sillman; music by Warburton Guilbert Paal, Leif Rocky
The Rise and Fall of the American Corset Billy Griffith Billy Griffith
So Low Lyric by June Sillman music by Don Honrath Singers June Shafer, Dorothy Dee, Zeke Haddon
Dancers Peggy Neary, Charles Walter, Jack Thomas
I See Him Over There Betzi Beaton, James Shelton, Annette Evans
Namara
To Like You is to Love You George Grandee & J.K. Brennan Singers John Kent, Eunice Quedens
Dancers Peggy Neary, Charles Walter, Lois Ingraham, Jack Thomas
They Knew What They Wanted Billy Griffith Mrs. Jones Helen Warford
Mr. Jones Teddy Hart
Russian Peasant Bill Burns
Something
Emperor Jones Lyric by June Sillman; music by George Grandee & Don Honrath Sung by Leonard Sillman
Poppy Day Eddie Welch Vender Helen Warford
Smoky Rhythm George Hickman Sung by June Sillman, June Shafer
Dancers Lois Ingraham, Zeke Haddon, Peggy Neary, Charles Walter, June Shafer, Jack Thomas, Bill Gryder, LaVerne Pickering, Tyrone Power, Jr.

Intermission

Park Sequence
Revolt of the Statues
Mindret Lord & June Sillman White Wing Teddy Hart
Psyche Eunice Quedens
Cupid Tyrone Power, Jr.
Politicians Bill Burns, Don Honrath
Balloon Sequence Eddie Welch
Music in My Heart Lyric by June Sillman; music by Warburton Guilbert Flower Vendor Namara
Strollers in the Park Members of Cast
Modern Humoresque Lyrics by Paul Gerard Smith; music by Warburton Guilbert Sung by Helen Warford
Children LaVerne Pickering, Bill Gryder
Servants Charles Walter, June Shafer, Eunice Quedens, Jack Thomas
Africana Danced by Leonard Sillman
Introduced by Peggy Neary, Charles Walter
Peggy Neary, Charles Walter Lyric by Jack Brennan; music by George Grandee
I've Been Propositioned Betzi Beaton Betzi Beaton
Assisted by Leif Rocky
Great American Drama Billy Griffith Professor Billy Griffith
Students Teddy Hart, Tyrone Power, Jr.
Reprise June Shafer, Eunice Quedens, Dorothy Dee, John Kent
The Waltz Music by Warburton Guilbert Danced by Peggy Neary, Paal, Leif Rocky
Nothing Helen Warford
Eight Hours a Day Lyrics by June Sillman; music by Warburton Guilbert Manicurist June Sillman
Customer Bill Burns
A Modern Madrigal Lyric by June Sillman; music by Warburton Guilbert Sung by Namara
Her Troubadors June Shafer, Dorothy Dee, John Kent, Don Honrath
Introduced by Jack Thomas
Harlequinade Jeanie Macpherson; music by Don Honrath Harlequin Leonard Sillman
Columbine Peggy Neary
Puppeteers Frederick Peters, George Burton
Nurse Helen Warford
Children LaVerne Pickering, Bill Gryder
Trash Man Bill Burns
Something Again
Position in Life Mindret Lord Mrs Huntington Eunice Quedens
Mr. Richmond Jack Thomas
Mr. Huntington John Kent
Burns and Shafer Introduced by Billy Griffith
Dancer June Shafer
Idol Bill Burns
The Dollys and Their Collies The Dolly Sisters Paal, Leif Rocky
Singers John Kent, Bill Burns, Tyrone Power, Jr., Jack Thomas, Dick French, Don Honrath
The Professor and His Guide Billy Griffith, Eunice Quedens
Finale Entire Cast

The show consisted of three times the amount of a regular revue.  The curtain rose at 8:30 and didn't come down until 2 a.m.  Despite this, it got good reviews and Lee Shubert offered to bring it to New York.  However, once in New York, Shubert was not able to fit it into his schedule, so Sillman and the unknown cast he hired for the East Coast edition invented the backers audition and raised money that way.  In the process, material was added and deleted, the running time trimmed, and the show was renamed NEW FACES (suggested by the financier Otto Kahn, who did not back it).

The NEW FACES revues included:

I'm grateful to Adam Rubin who let me hear the original cast recording for the 1968 version which, in addition to the NEW FACES song included Definitions by Random House m By the C, Where's the Waltz?, The New Waltz, The Girl in the Mirror, Luncheon Ballad, Love Songs, Something Big, Love in a New Tempo, Hungry , Where is Me?, Tango, Hullabaloo at Thebes, Prisms, You're the 1 I'm 4, #X9RL220, Philosophy, Das Chicago Song, You R and Die Zusammenfugung.


In addition to the NEW FACES revues, Sillman also produced (and sometimes appeared in) revues called

Sillman copresented with Bryant Haliday MASK AND GOWN which ran on Broadway from September 10, 1957 to October 12, 1957 which showcased the female impersonator T.C. Jones.  This revue, although it ran to only 39 performances, has been preserved on CD.

Sillman devised an entertainment for the local Armed Forces in the early days of World War II, which was so successful it led to the creation of the USO.  Information about the career of Leonard Sillman is mainly from his 1959 autobiography HERE LIES LEONARD SILLMAN (which is often vague about dates).  He died in 1982.

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