On The Town Premieres On Broadway
On the Town is a musical with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, based on Jerome Robbins' idea for his 1944 ballet Fancy Free to Bernstein's music.
The musical introduced several popular and classic songs, among them "New York, New York", "Lonely Town", "I Can Cook, Too", and "Some Other Time". The story concerns three American sailors on a 24-hour shore leave in New York City during wartime 1944. Each of the three sailors becomes enamoured of a particular woman — and of the city itself.
On the Town was first produced on Broadway in 1944 and was made into a film in 1949. The show has enjoyed a number of major revivals. The musical integrates dance into its storytelling: Robbins made a number of ballets and extended dance sequences for the show, including the "Imaginary Coney Island" ballet.
The Jerome Robbins ballet "Fancy Free" (1944), with music by Leonard Bernstein, was a hit for the American Ballet Theatre, and Oliver Smith (the set designer) and his business partner, Paul Feigay, thought that the ballet could be turned into a Broadway musical. They convinced Robbins and Bernstein, who in turn wanted their friends Comden and Green to write the book and lyrics. When the director George Abbott was added to the project funding was secured, including from the movie studio MGM in return for the film rights.