She’s a Good Fellow

American Classics – She’s a Good Fellow

American Classics presented selections from She’s a Good Fellow in a critically acclaimed concert performance in 2006.

“American Classics never ceases to amaze, and enlighten, always with a smile. Their productions of early musicals of the great songwriters are the stuff of legend, and their presentation of selections from Jerome Kern’s musical, She’s a Good Fellow was no exception.” – Beverley Creasey, Theatre Mirror

“Without American Classics, shows like She’s a Good Fellow would be lost forever. Thanks to their productions, great American music will stay alive for many years to come.” – Kayley Kravitz, WERS.org, 11/10/06

Jerome Kern (1885-1945) was the oldest of the great Broadway songwriters of the early twentieth century, a group including Irving Berlin, George & Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein II, Cole Porter, and E.Y. Harburg, to name a few. Kern was never associated strongly with a particular lyricist, though his shows for the Princess Theatre established the triumvirate of Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, and Jerome Kern. Other major lyricists he worked with include Boston-born Anne Caldwell, the first important woman writer (both books and lyrics) of Broadway musicals, Oscar Hammerstein II, Ira Gershwin, E.Y. Harburg, and Dorothy Fields.

Kern, like many songwriters of the era, got his start writing interpolations for shows and his first hit, “How’d You Like to Spoon with Me?,” was just such an effort, used in The Earl and The Girl in 1905. By 1912 he was writing his own shows, often with Caldwell or Bolton and Wodehouse.


Jerome Kern

In 1919 he and Caldwell fashioned a show for the female impersonator Joseph Santley, She’s a Good Fellow. The plot, loosely, is that Robert McLane (Santley) falls in love with Jacqueline Fay (played originally by Ivy Sawyer), but her family objects and sends her to a boarding school for girls. He subverts their efforts by joining the faculty in drag, to be close to Jacqueline. Unfortunately the book and full score are lost, so it is impossible to know the intricacies of the plot. Fortunately, many of the songs were published, so American Classics performed a substantial portion of the delightful score in Fall 2006.

Kern added a creative touch to the songs in this score – many of them “well-known” songs, among them “The Last Rose of Summer,” “And the Band Played On,” “Home Sweet Home,” and Henry Clay Work’s “Kingdom Coming (The Year of Jubilo).”

– Benjamin Sears

Hear Selections from She’s a Good Fellow