My One and Only
Original Playbill
MusicGeorge Gershwin
LyricsIra Gershwin
BookPeter Stone
Timothy S. Mayer
Productions1983 Broadway
2002 West End

My One and Only is a musical with a book by Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer and music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. The musical ran on Broadway and West End.

Plot overview

Written to incorporate classic Gershwin tunes from Funny Face and other popular shows into one evening of entertainment, the plot, set in 1927 America, revolves around Capt. Billy Buck Chandler, a barnstorming aviator, and Edith Herbert, an ex-English Channel swimmer and the star of Prince Nicolai Erraclyovitch Tchatchavadze's International Aquacade. Billy's plan to be the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean is sidetracked by his determination to win Edith's hand, and he takes a crash course in sophistication at Mr. Magix' Tonsorial and Sartorial Emporial to help him achieve his goal. What follows is a series of escapades and misadventures that seems destined to keep the potential lovers apart forever.


Just prior to out of town tryouts in Boston, the original director, Peter Sellars, was fired, with the musical director and arranger, the book writer, Tim Mayer, and set designer, Adrianne Lobel, dismissed soon after. Tommy Tune "nominally took over the direction with his co-director and co-choreographer Thommie Walsh, and Mike Nichols, Tony Walton and...Michael Bennett were brought in to help with the direction, choreography and set design."[1]


My One and Only opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre on May 1, 1983 and closed on March 3, 1985 after 767 performances and 37 previews. The musical was directed and choreographed by Thommie Walsh and Tommy Tune. Musical and Vocal Direction was by Jack Lee. The cast included Tune, Twiggy, Bunny Briggs, Roscoe Lee Browne, Denny Dillon, Charles "Honi" Coles, and Nana Visitor. Notable replacements during the run included Sandy Duncan, Don Correia, Jeff Calhoun, and Georgia Engel.

The musical opened in the UK at the Chichester Festival Theatre and then opened in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre in February 2002,[2] starring Janie Dee as Edythe Herbert and Tim Flavin as Captain Billy Buck Chandler, with direction by Loveday Ingram and choreography by Craig Revel Horwood.[3]

Cabaret singer and Gershwin historian Michael Feinstein served as the musical consultant for the project. An extensive review of the show's creation can be found in his book Nice Work If You Can Get It in a chapter entitled "My One and Only Tommy Tune Fling." He noted in The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs "I kept trying to steer them away from what I perceived to be a mauling of George and Ira's work.... Finally the show's orchestrator told me get out of town. Eventually Ira threw up his hands and said 'Let them do their worst'. In fairness, I have to note that 'My One and Only' was a big hit."[4]

There were several tours, all with Tommy Tune. The first was in 1985 with Sandy Duncan which started at the Kennedy Center in March 1985 and included a six-week engagement in Japan.[5] Lucie Arnaz replaced Duncan in this tour.[6] Stephanie Zimbalist starred in the US national tour in 1987.[7]



The original Broadway cast album was released on the Atlantic label (7 80110-2-1) in 1983, running 55:15. William Ruhlmann wrote: "As heard here, then, the music is basically a Gershwin sampler, as performed largely by Tune (leaning heavily on his Texas accent) and Twiggy (singing in a rather mannered British croon), with added appearances by Charles "Honi" Coles and Roscoe Lee Browne. On-stage, 'My One and Only' is a dance-oriented show, and that can't be re-created on disc. But the singers give lively performances of some well-known Gershwin songs."[8] Produced by Ahmet Ertegun, Wally Harper and Mike Bernaker.[9] Didier C. Deutsch produced the CD reissue in 1989.[8]

Critical response

Frank Rich reviewed for The New York Times, and noted that "During this production's troubled gestation period, seemingly half of show business pitched in to offer anonymous help – no doubt the half that wasn't toiling on the screenplay of Tootsie. The result of the effort is not the brilliant musical the theater desperately craves, but nonetheless a slick one, brimming with high-hat confidence." He went on to write "The second half of the handsome show at the St. James levitates with some of the most inspired choreography Broadway has seen in several seasons – all set to the celestial music of George Gershwin and danced to kill by a company glittering in Art Deco swank. Until then, My One and Only is a smart and happy, if less than electrifying, spin down memory lane. Yet even at its most innocuous, this show receives a considerable boost from its Gershwin songs: the entire score, stitched together by a pastiche period book, derives from the Broadway trove created by the composer and his brother, Ira, a half-century ago."[10] Broadway wags dubbed the show "My Nine and Only," partly because of Tommy Tune's association with both this musical and "Nine," and partly because of the number of people who contributed to the writing, choreography and direction.

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1983 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer Nominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical Tommy Tune Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical Twiggy Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Charles Coles Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Denny Dillon Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Thommie Walsh and Tommy Tune Nominated
Best Choreography Won
Best Costume Design Rita Ryack Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Twiggy Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Charles Coles Won
Outstanding Choreography Thommie Walsh and Tommy Tune Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Michael Gibson Won
Outstanding Costume Design Rita Ryack Nominated

Original London production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2003 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actor in a Musical Tim Flavin Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Janie Dee Nominated
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Jenny Galloway Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Craig Revel Horwood Nominated


  1. ^ Shewey, Don. "How 'My One And Only' Came To Broadway". The New York Times, May 1, 1983, Section 2, p.1
  2. ^ listing, West End, 2002 Archived August 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, ThisIsTheatre.Com. Retrieved May 19, 2009
  3. ^ Loveridge, Lizzie. "A Curtain Up London Review. 'My One and Only'", Curtain Up.Com, based on February 26, 2002 performance. Retrieved January 5, 2012
  4. ^ Feinstein, Michael. "Chapter 1", The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs. Simon and Schuster, 2012, ISBN 1451645333, pp. 45–46
  5. ^ Richards, David. "Sandy Duncan, Up From Cute;Stepping Out in 'My One and Only,' Comfortable With Herself and Her Image". The Washington Post. March 7, 1985. Style, D1
  6. ^ No author. "'My One And Only' Taps Into Town With Tommy Tune, Lucie Arnaz". Chicago Tribune. November 17, 1985
  7. ^ O'Connor, Thomas. "Towering Tommy is still 'My One and Only' star". The Orange County Register. October 23, 1987. p32
  8. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "'My One and Only' Recording" AllMusic. Retrieved December 25, 2015
  9. ^ Carnovale, Norbert. "'My One and Only' (1983)", George Gershwin: A Bio-bibliography, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000, ISBN 0313260036, p. 164
  10. ^ Rich, Frank. "Stage: 'My One And Only,' 'New' Gershwin Show". The New York Times, May 2, 1983, Section C, P. 13