Spring Musical Theatre Production of a "Wonderful Town"

Published on Fri, February 22, 2008

“Wonderful Town” is a musical with a book written by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodoroy, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green and music by Leonard Bernstein. It is based on Fields and Chodorov's 1940 play "My Sister Eileen", which is based on the collection of short stories by Ruth McKenny.

Premiering on Broadway in 1953, "Wonderful Town" won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and spawned a 1986 West End production and 2003 Broadway revival. A lighter piece than Bernstein's later works, "West Side Story" and "Candide", Comden and Green's lyrics are paired with Bernstein's music to produce some of the most popular songs of the 1950s.

The musical follows the story of sisters, Ruth and Eileen Sherwood, who travel to New York City from Columbus, Ohio in search of love and fortune. My Sister Eileen, the collection of short stories on which the play and musical are based, recounts Ruth's memories of growing up with her sister. The collection was published as a hardcover book in 1938, three years after the events depicted in the musical. Only the final two stories in the book have anything to do with the plot of Wonderful Town, and they are heavily modified for the musical. The stories also served as the basis of two films and a television series.