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situations of my slightly revised libretto. I also changed the period of the show from 1915 to 1913. My reason for doing that was that I wanted to recapture the lost innocence of the pre-World War I years――the innocence of my characters――best expressed in the charming Kern song that was my main reason for reviving this gem: 'Babes in The Wood.'"

Another "must" in reviving old shows, according to the director, is the necessity for focusing the story line. "In Sunny," Bill said, "Marilyn Miller, the star, didn't make her entrance for over twenty minutes. That's too long. The audience has to know as soon as possible, who they're supposed to care about in the show. I trim all the fat out of the introductory scenes, so that the main characters are onstage as quickly as possible. Also, there are many topical phrases of by-gone eras in these musicals that mean nothing today. In Sunny, there was a strange reference to a product that no amount of research could uncover. After the show closed, we discovered that it was a British auto tire popular in the 1920's. In Girl Crazy, the big plot joke was recurring assassinations of the local sheriff. These days, assasinations aren't funny, so I had to cut down on them and have them occur off-stage.

Bill feels that the revival of Good News on Broadway failed because the focus was shifted from the college kids to their teachers――Alice Faye and John Payne/Gene Nelson. Also, the time was changed from the carefree Twenties to the Depression Thirties, which killed the madcap quality of the original. "At Goodspeed," Bill recalled, "we kept the jazz sound of the Twenties and focused on the kids. The adults just crossed the stage a few times. And it worked."

One aspect of Very Good Eddie which is exactly as it was in the Princess Theatre production of 1915 is the overture. Said Bill: "We have the same instruments that were in the original pit and the same orchestrations, thanks to the Tams-Witmark Music Library."

"What about the startling pause in the overture――between numbers?" we asked. 

"Yes," he replied, "that's in the original orchestration. It was a necessary pause to give the musicians time to turn their music pages."
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