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A Musical Comedy in 3 Acts, 5 Scenes. Book by Guy Bolton. Music by Jerome Kern. Lyrics by Clifford Grey, (Anne Caldwell, P. G. Wodehouse, Buddy G. DeSylva). Butterfly Ballet Music by Victor Herbert. Based on an unproduced musical The Little Thing by PG Wodehouse.

New Amsterdam Theatre, Broadway - 21 December, 1920 (570 perfs)
Winter Gardens, London - 10 September, 1921

The Story

At the Alley Inn in Greenwich Village, Mrs. Ten Broek, a wealthy widow and social worker, escorts a group of foundlings who have come to apply for the job of dishwasher. The Inn's proprietor chooses Sally Green, known as "Sally of the Alley," but the girl isn't exactly thrilled with her new position. Alone with her fellow waifs, she confides that what she really wants is to become famous like, say, Joan of Arc.

From the Original 1921 London Production

Sally soon meets Connie who, though a waiter, is in reality the exiled Grand Duke Constantine of Czechogovinia. Because of his exalted rank, Connie will be allowed to take the night off the following Thursday to attend a ball in his honour being given by millionaire Richard Farquar. Coincidentally, Farquar's son, Blair, has just walked into the Inn to arrange a dinner party for the evening. Attracted to Sally, he tries to lift her spirits by urging the slavey to "Look for the Silver Lining," a bit of advice she earnestly accepts.

Connie, impressed with Sally's dancing, arranges to have her perform at the Inn. Also present are Otis Hooper, a theatrical agent from Squantamville, Maine, and his fiancée, Rosie Rafferty, whom he plans to wed as soon as he makes enough money. This now seems a long way off because Otis has just received news that his client, Mme. Nookerova, a famous French ballet dancer, will be unable to make a scheduled appearance at the forthcoming Farquar affair. Seeing Sally dance gives Otis an idea: since no one knows what Mme. Nookerova looks like, he will pass the girl off as the ballerina. While Sally goes off with Otis and Rosie to plan their little deception, Blair returns with his friends. Because everyone is curious about his latest love, the young man ardently reveals his plans to take his Sally away from the alley.

During the ball at the Farquar's Long Island estate, the host, in introducing "Mme. Nookerova" to the press, describes her as looking as innocent as a primrose. To which madcap Sally snaps, "I am just zee opposite of primrose. Zere is nossing 'prim' about me!" With that as her musical cue, she sails gaily into the revelation that she is, in fact, a Wild Rose ("not a prim and mild rose").

Cover to sheet music selectionAfter Connie has made his grand entrance, he and Mrs. Ten Broek find a secluded corner in which to be alone. Answering the lady's many guestions about his country, the grand duke fills her in on all the wild and wonderful things that happen "on the banks of the Schnitza-Kommiski."
Blair, puzzled by the ballerina's close resemblance to Sally, finds himself falling in love all over again. Noticing the two together, Otis, Rosie and Blair's friend, Jimmy, refer to Mme. Nookerova as a modern Lorelei — which leads right into a song about ancient and modern sirens. With Sally's success apparently assured, Otis and Rosie are at last able to make plans for their wedding at the little Church 'Round the Corner, "just above Madison Square." But everything goes wrong when Sally teasingly convinces Blair that she — Mme. Nookerova, that is — is a wicked woman who has caused Connie's downfall. During her solo Slavic Dance, Sally is angrily denounced by Blair; which forces the tearful girl to admit her deception.

Once again, however Otis comes to the rescue. Sally's dancing has so impressed everyone that he gets her an engagement in the new Ziegfeld Follies. In the revue's Butterfly Ballet, amid choruses of butterflies and moths, Sally dances and dances and emerges from her lepidopteral surroundings a full-fledged Ziegfeld star. In the finale, Sally and Blair, Mrs. Ten Broek and Connie, and Rosie and Otis all take their multiple wedding vows as the joy bells ring out in the Little Church Around the Corner. Stanley Green

Original Cast - New York

  • Pops, Proprietor of the Alley Inn, New York: ALFRED P. JAMES.
  • Rosalind Rafferty, a manicurist: MARY HAY.
  • Madame Nookerova's Maid: MARY HAY.
  • Sascha, Violinist at the Alley Inn: Jacques Rebiroff.
  • Otis Hooper, a Theatrical Agent: WALTER CATLETT.
  • Mrs. Ten Broek, a Settlement Worker: DOLORES.
  • Sally of the Alley, a Foundling: MARILYN MILLER.
  • Madame Nookerova, a Wild Rose: MARILYN MILLER.
  • Premier Star of the Follies: MARILYN MILLER.
  • Connie, a Waiter at the Alley Inn: LEON ERROL.
  • Duke of Czechogovinia: LEON ERROL.
  • Miss New York, a Niece: Agatha Dehussey.
  • Admiral Travers, a gay one: Phil Ryley.
  • Blair Farquar, an Only Son: IRVING FISHER.
  • Jimmie Spelvin: STANLEY RIDGES.
  • Alta: Alta King.
  • Betty: Betty Williams.
  • Barbara: Barbara Dean.
  • Vivian: Vivian Vernon.
  • Mary: Mary McDonald.
  • Emily: Emily Drange.
  • Richard Farquar: Frank Kingdon.

Foundlings (6): Miss Rhinelander: Miss Kingsley. Miss Vanderbilt: Miss Otis. Miss Worth: Miss Maide. Miss Bryant: Miss Henderson. Miss Audubon: Miss Freeland. Miss Bowling Green: Miss Vernon.

Billy Porter: Wade Boothe.
Harry Burton: Jack Barker.

Children: Baby Dot, Dolly Tigue, Rita Murphy, Minerva Bartz. Boy: Frank Bages.

Ensemble: Misses Mary McDonald, Barbara Dean, Alta King, Emily Drange, Vivian Vernon, Betty Williams, Hunter, DeBussy, Hanson, Platt, Wilson, Orville, LeRoy, Bowie, Lyle, Shand, Misses Donley, Mayer, Oliphant, Stanfield, Kingsley, Collings, Akers, Fenron, Otis, Parks, Closs,

Maide, S. Vernon, Vreeland, Ford, Braham.

Original West End Cast


  • Jimmie Spelvin: Seymour Beard
  • Sally of the Alley, a Foundling: Dorothy Dickinson
  • Otis Hooper, a Theatrical Agent: George Grossmith, Jr
  • Duke of Czechogovinia: Leslie Henson
  • Blair Farquar, an Only Son: Gregory Stroud
  • Rosalind Rafferty, a manicurist: Heather Thatcher


Musical Numbers:

Act 1

  1. The Night Time - Jimmy & chorus
  2. On With the Dance - Otis
  3. You Can't Keep A Good GIrl Down - Sally
  4. Look For the Silver Lining - Sally and Blair
  5. Silver Lining Dance - Sally
  6. Sally - Blair & men's chorus

Act 2

  1. Wild Rose - Sally and Men's chorus The Schnitza-Kommiski - Constantine
  2. Whip-poor-Will - Sally and Blair
  3. The Lorelei - Rosie, Jimmy and Otis
  4. The Church 'Round the Corner - Rosie and Otis

Act 3

  1. The Butterfly Ballet - Introduction & Entrance of Butterflies; Entrance of the Bat; Entrance of the Moths; Valse & Galop.(Music by Victor Herbert)
  2. Finale - Dear Little Church 'Round the Corner 

Scenes and Settings

Act 1

The Alley Inn, New York

Act 2

The garden of Richard Farquar's house, Long Island

Act 3

Scene 1 - The Butterfly Ballet at the Follies Roof Garden
Scene 2 - Sally's dressing room at the Amsterdam Theatre after the Follies première
Scene 3 - The Little Church 'round the corner