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The Ballad of John LatoucheAn American Lyricist's Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190458294.001.0001

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Beggar’s Holiday

Beggar’s Holiday

(p.213) 14 Beggar’s Holiday
The Ballad of John Latouche

Howard Pollack

Oxford University Press

December 1946 witnessed the premiere of Beggar’s Holiday, a new show with book and lyrics by Latouche and music by Duke Ellington. The work was an updated interracial version of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera. Some questions of authorship have arisen due the assistance of Billy Strayhorn and director John Houseman, but the work can said to be essentially that of Latouche and Ellington. This innovative show had similarly inventive sets by Oliver Smith and choreography of Valerie Bettis. The who turned out to be more a critical than a popular success, but remains nonetheless a landmark in the history of the Broadway musical nonetheless, and a work deserving of rehabilitation.

Keywords:   Beggar’s Holiday, The Beggar’s Opera, John Gay, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Oliver Smith, Valerie Bettis, interracial theater Broadway, John Houseman

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