Lady, Be Good!

George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  3f, 5m

Music and Lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin / Book by Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson

The very first Broadway collaboration of the Gershwin brothers, Lady, Be Good! tells the story of an impoverished brother-and-sister dance team who will do anything to help one another.
Lady, Be Good!
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  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 5m
  • Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Period, Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
The very first Broadway collaboration of the Gershwin brothers, Lady, Be Good! tells the story of an impoverished brother-and-sister dance team who will do anything to help one another. The tuneful score includes the hits "Oh, Lady Be Good!" and "Fascinating Rhythm."
Lady, Be Good! opened on Broadway at the Liberty Theatre, December 1, 1924 and played for 330 performances starring Fred Astaire and his sister, Adele Astaire.

Act I

The brother/sister dance team of Dick and Susie Trevor are so broke that they can't pay the rent and have been evicted from their childhood home. They crash the garden party of wealthy Jo Vanderwater for a free meal. Dick loves Shirley Vernon but is ashamed to pursue her because of his financial situation. Jo is interested in Dick, and it turns out that she was behind the eviction, as a ploy to get his attention. Meanwhile Susie tries to talk herself into liking the affluent Jeff White, but she finds herself falling for Jack, a charming "hobo"; Jack leaves town.

Jack's uncle dies, and he is apparently a millionaire. Lawyer Watty Watkins is looking for Jack Robinson on behalf of his client, the flamboyant Manuel Estrada, who says that his sister married Mr. Robinson in Mexico. Watty offers Susie $50,000 to help him, by pretending to be Robinson's widow, to get the money from the Robinson estate. Meanwhile Dick proposes to Jo, since he thinks he can never afford to court his true love Shirley.

Act II

Dick finally tells Shirley that he loves her, while Watty and Susie (in disguise) execute their plan. Jack finally hears that he has inherited the fortune and returns, still dressed as a hobo. He is amazed to find Susie claiming the money as his "widow". Susie does not know that her Jack is the now-wealthy Mr. Robinson, nor that she is being used by Estrada, whose sister never really married Jack.

In the end, Dick and Shirley are reunited, Jack saves Susie from disgrace by declaring his love, and Jo and Watty pair off happily. All wed happily ever after.


Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Large Stage

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Beacon Hill, Rhode Island and Eastern Harbor, Connecticut. 1925.
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


3f, 5m
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting
(3 female; 5 male)

Dick Trevor
Susie Trevor
Jeff White
Jack Robinson
Daisy Parke
Bertie Bassett
Shirley Vernon
Watty Watkins


Josephine Vanderwater
Manuel Estrada
Rufus Parke
Three Moving Men
A Policeman
A Flunkey
A Delivery Boy
A Butler
A Waiter


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Medium
  • Chorus Size: Large

Act I

[There is no #1]
3. Hang On To Me - Dick and Susie
4. A Wonderful Party - Ensemble
5. The End of a String - Ensemble
2. We're Here Because* - Daisy, Bertie and Ensemble
6. Fascinating Rhythm - Jeff, Dick, Susie and Ensemble
7. So Am I - Jack and Susie
8. Oh Lady, Be Good - Watty and Girls
9. Finale Act I - Ensemble

Act II

10. Linger in the Lobby - Ensemble
12. The Half Of It, Dearie, Blues - Dick, Shirley and Ensemble
13. Juanita - Susie and Boys
11. I'd Rather Charleston* -  Dick and Susie
14. So Am I (Reprise) - Susie and Jack
16. Oh Lady, Be Good (Reprise) - Jack
16a. Little Jazz Bird - Jeff
17. Carnival Time - Ensemble
18. Swiss Miss - Susie and Dick
19. Finale Act II - Company

*Songs are listed in proper sequence. Some songs were moved, so numbering is non-consecutive.

Full Orchestration

Leader Violin
Violin I
Violin II

Flute & Piccolo
Clarinet (in Bb and A)
Alto Saxophone

Trumpet I & II (in Bb and A)

Timpani (2 Pedal Drums)
Bass Drum (w/attached Cymbal)
Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
Tom Tom
Wood Block
Sand Paper Blocks
Clog Box
Suspended (loose) Cymbal



Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
36 Libretto/Vocal Score
1 Flute & Piccolo
1 Oboe
1 Clarinet
1 Alto Saxophone
1 Bassoon
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trombone
1 Drums
1 Leader Violin
1 Violin 1
1 Violin 2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

Piano Only:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
36 Libretto/Vocal Book

Additional Resources And Services Available


Music Samples



George Gershwin

George Gershwin was born in Brooklyn on September 26, 1898, and began his musical training when he was 13. At 16, he quit high school to work as a "song plugger" for a music publisher, and soon he was writing songs himself. "Swanee," as introduced by Al Jolson, brought George his first real fame and ...

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Ira Gershwin

Ira Gershwin, the first songwriter to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, was born in New York City on December 6, 1896. In 1917 The Evening Sun published his first song (“You May Throw All The Rice You Desire But Please, Friends, Throw No Shoes”). Four years later, Ira enjoyed his first major s ...

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Guy Bolton

Guy Bolton was born in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, England, on November 23, 1884. Bolton famously collaborated with Jerome Kern and P.G. Wodehouse on a series of buoyant musicals for the 299-seat Princess Theatre, including Have A Heart; Oh, Boy!; Leave It To Jane; Oh, Lady! Lady!; Sitting Pretty, Oh, Kay! a ...

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Fred Thompson

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