Lyrics by Lorenz
Music by Richard Rodgers
Produced by George Ford
Book by Charles Sinclair and Harry
Directed by Carl Hemmer
Choreoghraphy John M. Anderson
Starring: Helen Ford and Charles
It ran for 286 performances.
The setting is the American Revolution-era "forests
of Manhattan," at that point a burg far overshadowed by Philadelphia and
the like. Menfolk are away fighting the Brits; Mrs. Robert Murray (Lois
Saunders) leads the homefront sewing circle, but her younger, more hormonally
oriented charges can't hardly stitch for thinking about those absent boys,
boys, boys. It's mixed good fortune, then, that a group of British officers
turns up to commandeer the house as its temporary headquarters. "Hooray!
We're gonna be compromised," the girls enthuse. At first "beating a maidenly
retreat," they all learn to flirt for freedom's sake when it turns out Yankee
generals Washington and Putnam need the redcoats detained overnight so rebel
forces can secretly gather. This subterfuge creates a wee dilemma for Mrs.
Murray's niece, Betsy , who wants the colonies freed almost as much as she
wants wooing from "enemy" Sir John Copeland .
Ford on Dearest Enemy
I knew this would make a star of me, I knew this instinctively.
Up to that time I'd been playing these lead in the shows where the comedian
was probably the most important character, and .... well, I just wanted
a good part. You know what sold it to me? The entrance. We were going throught
a period when they were sneaking the leading lady on so she'd come on with
the chorus and they wouldn't see her. I'd had a couple of shows where that
had happened to me, and - it's silly, you know? - when you are that young
you still have your dreams of being the grand lady. So when I read the book,
I saw this marvelous entrance, I made the entrance in a barrel. At the time,
this was shocking, you know? It was a wonderful entrance, and it was cute
and it was funny, with the English redcoat soldier chasing me with one of
my slippers in his hand, and obviously I had no clothes. And I did like