"Hey Look Her Over..."
Forty-one years ago this week Lucille Ball fulfilled one of her lifelong ambitions: to star in a Broadway show. "Wildcat" was a 'comedy with music,' telling the story of a lady oil prospector, one Wildcat Jackson. Starring opposite Lucy was handsome leading-man Keith Andes, as prospector Joe Dynamite. Also in the cast were Paula Stewart (as Wildy's sister Janie), Edith King, Clifford David, Don Tomkins, and Swen Swenson. Further down on the cast list -- an unbilled member of the chorus, to be exact -- was a young lady just starting in show business, but one who would become a beloved superstar in her own right: Valerie Harper.
"Wildcat," opened at New York's Alvin Theatre on Friday, December 16, 1960. The book was by N. Richard Nash, the music by Cy Coleman, the lyrics by Carolyn Leigh. The show was directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd. "Wildcat" received mixed reviews (everyone found fault with the script), but that did not deter the lines at the box office: everyone, but EVERYONE wanted to see Lucille Ball in person. The show ultimately ran five months, closing May 24, 1961, when Lucy had to bow out because of ill health.
PHOTOS: (top) Lucy beats the drum and belts out "Wildcat"s most famous tune, "Hey Look Me Over." (Above, left) Lucy cavorts with Keith Andes, and (right) with Don Tomkins. (The latter is from their number, "What Takes My Fancy," which often "stopped the show.")
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