Babes in Arms (Guare Version)


Babes in Arms (Guare Version)

Full-Length Musical, Comedy  /  2w, 1m, 3girl(s), 8boy(s)

Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Book by Rodgers & Hart
Adapted by John Guare

Rodgers & Hart's Babes in Arms is the quintessential "Hey, kids, let's put on a show!" musical, boasting one of the greatest scores ever written for the stage.

Image: 2007 Chichester Festival Theatre Production (Tristram Kenton)

Babes in Arms (Guare Version)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2w, 1m, 3girl(s), 8boy(s)
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences



In this 1978 John Guare adaptation of the classic Rodgers and Hart musical, Valentine and his teenage friends find themselves unsupervised while their folks hit the vaudeville summer circuit. The local sheriff, regarding the kids as indolent loafers, threatens to send them to a work farm. But the determined kids talk the sheriff into a two-week reprieve — just enough time to produce their own show and prove their mettle. The old-fashioned virtues of this early musical comedy are peppered with socio-political issues and a sophisticated jocularity, maintaining the show's delights more than eight decades after its creation.

The 1959 adaptation by George Oppenheimer is also available. 


Babes in Arms opened on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre on April 14, 1937, starring Ray Heatherton, Wynn Murray, Alfred Drake, Mitzi Green and the Nicholas Brothers. The show later transferrred to the Majestic Theatre, playing a total of 289 performances.

Memories of Babes in Arms

By Ray Heatherton, Broadway's original Valentine

It was very exciting: hearing and seeing that fabulous score come alive, having the thrill of introducing "Where Or When" in the first eight minutes of the show, being the first "Funny Valentine" (my character's name was "Valentine"). Our cast included Alfred Drake, Mitzi Green, a chorus boy named Dan Dailey (who later became a star), the Nicholas Brothers (who were then appearing at the Cotton Club, though they were both just kids), and my future wife.

What else do I remember about Babes in Arms? Coming fresh from radio where I had been singing with some modest success to audition for the new Rodgers and Hart musical; walking through the stage door in Shubert Alley, backstage of the Shubert Theatre; presenting myself to the stage manager and waiting for my cue to go out on the big, bare stage; looking out on a sea of blackness, where we all know the monsters who devour poor performers like me dwell. The stage manager announced my name and I stepped out of the wings, hat in hand (my security blanket) and sang a ballad – I don't remember which one. Then a voice from the back asked if I had a rhythm number. I responded with an old Rodgers and Hart tune, "I've Got Five Dollars," from one of their earlier shows.

When I finished my songs, a voice said, "Thank you very much" and I walked off – not knowing whether they liked me or despised me. As I got to the wings, little Larry Hart, who had run from the audience up the side aisle to backstage, grabbed me by the arm and with great enthusiasm said, "You're the one we want, now don't ask for too much money, you're great!" – the most beautiful words I ever heard!

3 Girls
5 Boys
1 Man

2 Women
3 Boys
3 Men

Singing-dancing ensemble as desired.

Val LaMar - our hero
Billie Smith - our heroine
Marshall Blackstone - Val's best friend
Dolores Reynolds - the Sheriff's daughter
Gus Fielding - a forceful friend of the Sheriff's daughter
Baby Rose - a former Hollywood child star
Irving de Quincy - half of an Afro-American dance team
Ivor de Quincy - his little brother, the other half of the dance team
Peter - who believes in Communism
Lee Calhoun - the son of a rich Southern Colonel
Beauregard Calhoun - his little brother
The Gang - Boys and Girls of the Ensemble
Dan LaMar - Val's dad, a vaudevillian
Maizie LaMar - Val's mom, a vaudevillian
Nat Blackstone - Marshall's dad, a vaudevillian
Emma Blackstone - Marshall's mom, a vaudevillian
Sheriff Reynolds - Dolores' father
Rene Flambeau - a French aviator
Phil McCabe - a radio announcer
  • Time Period 1930s
  • Setting Seaport, Long Island during the Great Depression.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)


Babes in Arms is almost too enjoyable for a theatergoer's good!” – The New York Times

The show is charming, the numbers sizzle, what more can you ask?” –The Cincinnati Enquirer

A score that is altogether superb... fresh, youthful, and utterly captivating.” – The New York Times

Pace, humor and presence that belies its age... there hasn't been a musical written in this decade with anywhere near as many first class numbers.” –The Day

It is cheering to rediscover the authentic joys of this 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical. An exhilarating hymn to youth... Hart's acerbic wit perfectly counterpoints Rodgers' innate romanticism, and his lyrics are a triumph of ingenious wordplay.” – Michael Billington, The Guardiani

A pleasant outing featuring one of Broadway's most memorable scores.” – Jonas Schwartz, Theatermania


  • "Where Or When" - Brian d'Arcy James, Susan Egan youtube thumbnail

    "Where Or When" - Brian d'Arcy James, Susan Egan

  • "I Wish I Were In Love Again" - Audra McDonald youtube thumbnail

    "I Wish I Were In Love Again" - Audra McDonald

  • "My Funny Valentine" - Jane Krakowski youtube thumbnail

    "My Funny Valentine" - Jane Krakowski

  • "Johnny One Note" - Judy Garland youtube thumbnail

    "Johnny One Note" - Judy Garland


  • Babes in Arms (Guare Version)

    Image: 2007 Chichester Festival Theatre Production (Tristram Kenton)


Music Samples

Act I

1. Overture - The Orchestra, Emma and Nat Blackstone, Maizie and Dan Lamar
2. "Where Or When" - Val and Billie
3. "Babes In Arms" - The Gang
4. "I Wish I Were In Love Again" - Gus and Dolores
5. "Babes In Arms (Reprise)" - Sheriff and the Gang
6. "Light On Our Feet" - Irving and Ivor
7. "Way Out West" - Baby Rose and the Quartette
8. "My Funny Valentine" - Billie
9. "Johnny One-Note" - Baby Rose
10. "Johnny One-Note Ballet" - The Gang

Act II

11. Entr'Acte - Orchestra
12. "Imagine" - Baby Rose and the Quartette
13. "All At Once" - Val and Billie
14. "Imagine (Reprise 1)" - Peter and the Quartette
15. "Peter's Journey Ballet" - Peter and the Company
16. "Imagine (Reprise 2)" - Peter and the Quartette
17. "The Lady Is A Tramp" - Billie
18. "You Are So Fair" - Gus and Dolores
19. "The Lady Is A Tramp (Reprise)" - Billie
20. "Specialty Acts" - The Gang
21. "Finale Ultimo" - The Company

Full Orchestration

Piano I
Piano II
Reed I (Flute and Piccolo)
Reed II (Oboe and English Horn)
Reed III (Alto Sax, Flute, Clarinet)
Reed IV (Alto Sax and Clarinet)
Reed V (Tenor Sax and Clarinet)
Reed VI (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassett Horn [Opt.])
Trumpet I
Trumpet II
Trumpet III
Violin I (Divisi)
Violin II (Divisi)
Cello (Divisi)

2 Timpani
Sleigh Bells
Muffled Drum
Horse Whip
Chinese (Temple) Blocks
Wood Block
Oriental Drum

  • Musical Style Classic Broadway, Jazz
  • Dance Requirements Moderate
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra Size Large
  • Chorus Size Large

Licensing & Materials

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!

Lawrence D. Cohen's first feature script was his adaptation of Stephen King's debut novel, Carrie (1976). His screenplay for the classic Brian de Palma film earned him an Edgar Award nomination from the Mystery Writers of America.

After beginning his career as a film/theater critic for a number of leading periodicals, he worked as an assistant to famed Broadway director-choreographer Michael Bennett on the latter's Tony Award-winning Twigs, as well as the musical Seesaw.

He discovered the screenplay and served as Production Executive on the 1975 Oscar-winning Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and co-scripted Martin Scorsese’s documentary, Italianamerican.

Continuing his ongoing relationship with Stephen King in 1980, he wrote the 4-hour teleplay of It, which USA Today called “the scariest movie ever made for TV.” It and Cohen’s subsequent adaptation of King's The Tommyknockers (1993) became two of the network's highest-rated miniseries.

In 2007, he was reunited with the Master of Horror with his adaptation of The End of the Whole Mess for TNT's Nightmares & Dreamscapes anthology series. The Writers Guild of America nominated the script as Best Drama Episode.

Other films include Ghost Story, based on Peter Straub's bestseller. The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films nominated it for its Saturn Award as Best Horror Film.

For ABC, he wrote the 3-hour teleplay adaptation for Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific (2001), and served as the project's Executive Producer with partner Michael Gore.

25 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano Conductor
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Reed 5
1 Reed 6
1 Trumpet 1
1 Trumpet 2
1 Trumpet 3
1 Trombone
1 Piano 1
1 Piano 2
1 Drums/Percussion
1 Violin 1
1 Violin 2
1 Cello
1 Bass
1 Logo Pack
25 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Logo Pack


Take a look below at how you can enhance your show!


Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers' contribution to the musical theatre of his day was extraordinary, and his influence on the musical theatre of today and tomorrow is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, his hits ranging from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright light ...

View full profile

Lorenz Hart

Lorenz Hart was born in New York City on May 2, 1895, the oldest of two sons of Frieda and Max Hart. Hart graduated from Columbia Grammar School and attended the Columbia School of Journalism. In the late teens a mutual friend introduced Hart to composer Richard Rodgers. Rodg ...

View full profile

John Guare

John Guare's plays include Lydie Breeze; Bosoms and Neglect; The House of Blue Leaves, which won an Obie and NY Drama Critics Circle Award for the Best American Play of 1970-71 and four Tonys in its 1986 Lincoln Center revival; and Six Degrees of Separation, which received th ...
View full profile

Now Playing