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Best Foot Forward

Full-Length Musical, Comedy  /  6f, 6m

Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin, John Cecil Holm

Book by John Cecil Holm / Music and Lyrics by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane

In this classic high school musical comedy, a prep school student invites his idol - a glamorous Hollywood actress - to be his partner at the junior prom. When she accepts, hijinks ensue.
  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    6f, 6m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.
Best Foot Forward

Details

Summary
On a lark, Bud Hooper asks his idol, a Hollywood actress, to come to Philadelphia to be his partner at a school dance, and she accepts — for publicity reasons. The celebrity’s arrival at Winsocki Military Academy causes much excitement, and Bud abandons his girlfriend Helen Schlessinger to accompany the star to the ball. Out of jealousy, Helen damages the actress’s sash during the dance, and when other students see a chance to get a celebrity souvenir, chaos ensues. The school regards the incident as a scandal, and Bud faces potential expulsion, but of course all problems are resolved for a happy ending. The score includes the rousing "Buckle Down, Winsocki."
History
Best Foot Forward opened on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on October 1, 1941, starring Maureen Stratton, Rosemary Lane, Gil Stanton, Jr., and Nancy Walker making her Broadway debut as "Blind Date." The show played for 326 performances. In 1963, Best Foot Forward was revived Off-Broadway at Stage 73 Theatre, starring Liza Minnelli and Christopher Walken.
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Youth/Camp Programs
Just for fun, prep school student Bud Hooper writes a fan letter asking his idol, Hollywood actress Gale Joy, to come to Winsocki Military Academy in Philadelphia to be his partner at the junior prom. Jack Haggerty, the actress' manager in Hollywood, sees an opportunity for publicity and advises Gale to accept Bud's invitation. The appearance of the famous star at Winsocki is greeted with excitement, and Bud abandons his own girl Helen Schlessinger to accompany Gale to the ball. Out of jealousy, Helen tears Gale's sash while she is dancing, which causes a riot. Others begin to tear off pieces of Gale's clothes as well, but only to gain souvenirs from the famous star.

The boys hide Gale in their dormitory, where farcical comings and goings ensue. The school regards the incident as a scandal, and Bud faces possible expulsion. Gale and Jack try to avoid the furor and go back to Hollywood. After Bud and Helen settle their arguments and any other problems are solved, everything at Winsocki returns to normal.

Principals
(6 female; 6 male)

Gale Joy
Helen Schlessinger
Minerva
Ethel
Blind Date
Miss Delaware Water Gap

Bud Hooper
Dutch Miller
Hunk Hoyt
Jack Haggerty
Chuck Green
Old Grad

Supporting

Fred Jones
Freshman
Junior
Satchel Moyer
Goofy Clark
Dr. Reeber
Miss Ferguson
Professor Lloyd
Waitress
Chester Billings
Professor Williams

Ensemble

Students, Faculty and Graduates

  • Time Period 1940s / WWII
  • Setting
    Winsocki Military Academy, Winsocki, Pennsylvania. 1941.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Music

Music Samples

Act I

Overture – Orchestra
1. “Don't Sell The Night Short” – Minerva, Blind Date, Students and Girls
1a. Don't Sell Dance – Orchestra
2. ”Three Men on a Date” – Bud, Dutch and Hunk
2a. Utility – Orchestra
3. “That's How I Love the Blues” – Gale and Jack
3a. Three Men Utility – Orchestra
4. “The Three B's” – Ethel, Minerva and Blind Date
4a. Encore: “The Three B's” – Ethel, Minerva and Blind Date
5. “Ev'ry Time” – Helen
6. “The Guy Who Brought Me” – Gale, Jack, Bud, Dutch and Hunk
7. “I Know You By Heart” – Bud
7a. Incidental – Orchestra
8. “Shady Lady Bird” – Helen and Students
8a. Ladybird Dance – Orchestra
9. Finale Act I – Orchestra

Act II

10. Entr'acte – Orchestra
11. “Buckle Down, Winsocki” – Chuck, Old Grad and Chorus
11a. Winsocki Exit – Ensemble
12. “My First Promise” – Ethel and Singers
13. “What Do You Think I Am?” – Minerva, Hunk and Chorus
14. “Just a Little Joint With a Juke Box” – Blind Date and Hunk
15. “Where Do You Travel?” – Jack, Helen, Miss Delaware Water Gap and Ensemble
15a. “Travel Tag” – Ensemble
16. “Ev'ry Time” (Reprise) – Gale
17. Finale: “Buckle Down, Winsocki” – Gale and Company
18. Exit March – Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Violin A
Violin B
Viola
Cello
Bass

Reed 1: Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Reed 2: Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & Baritone Saxophone
Reed 3: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Reed 4: Flute, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
Reed 5: Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone

Trumpet 1 & 2
Trumpet 3
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Trombone 3

Percussion:

Timpani (2)
Snare Drums (2 sizes)
Bass Drum
Tom Tom (2 sizes)
Cymbals (2 suspended)
Hi-Hat
Gong
Bells
Vibraphone
Xylophone
Triangle
Wood Block
Cowbell
Wind Whistle
Temple Blocks
Tambourine
Castanets
Door Slam Effect
Auto Horn

Guitar
Piano-Celeste (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent)

  • Musical StyleClassic Broadway
  • Dance RequirementsModerate
  • Vocal DemandsDifficult
  • Orchestra SizeLarge
  • Chorus SizeLarge

Materials

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
42 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Reed 5
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 trumpet 3
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Trombone 3
1 Percussion
1 Guitar
2 Violin A
1 Violin B
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass
42 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor

Authors

Ralph Blane

Ralph Blane (1914-1995) met Hugh Martin in 1938, appearing in Hooray for What? They formed a quartet, “The Martins,” featured in Irving Berlin’s Louisiana Purchase, on Fred Allen’s radio series and with Judy Garland when she made a personal appearance with the premiere of The ...

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Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1914-2011) was an American musical theater and film composer, arranger, vocal coach and playwright. He was best known for his score for the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis, in which Judy Garland sang three Martin songs: "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Son ...

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Author

John Cecil Holm

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