Pins and Needles

For the sensation of tingling, pricking, or numbness, see Paresthesia
Pins and Needles is a musical revue with a book by Arthur Arent, Marc Blitzstein, Emmanuel Eisenberg, Charles Friedman, David Gregory, Joseph Schrank, Arnold B. Horwitt, John Latouche, and Harold Rome and music and lyrics by Rome.

The International Ladies Garment Workers Union was using the Princess Theatre in New York City as a meeting hall. Several members talked the union heads into sponsoring an inexpensive revue with a cast made up of ILGWU workers and only two pianos in the orchestra pit. Because of their factory jobs, participants could rehearse only at night and on weekends, and initial performances were presented only on Friday and Saturday nights.

Pins and Needles looked at current events from a pro-union standpoint. Skits spoofed everything from Fascist European dictators to bigots in the DAR. Word-of-mouth was so enthusiastically positive that the cast abandoned their day jobs and the production expanded to a full performance schedule of eight shows per week. New songs and skits were introduced every few months to keep the show topical.

Pins and Needles is the only hit ever produced by a labor union, and the only time when a group of unknown non-professionals brought a successful musical to Broadway.

Directed by Charles Friedman and choreographed by Benjamin Zemach, it opened on November 27, 1937 and ran 1108 performances. The cast included Harry Clark, who continued his acting career with roles in The Skin of Our Teeth, One Touch of Venus, Call Me Mister, Kiss Me, Kate, and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?.

In commemoration of the show's 25th Anniversary in 1962, Sony released a studio recording of the score featuring newcomer Barbra Streisand.


Act I

  • First Impression - Entire Company
  • Why sing of Skies Above? - Boys and Girls
  • Public Enemy No. 1 - Sung by Jean Nicita
  • The General is Unveiled - General, Speaker, Secretary and Invited Guests
  • Sunday in the Park - Papa, Mama, Boy, Girl, Cop, Balloon Man, Vendor, Couple, Man with Carriage, Lonesome Guy, Park Attendant, Radical, Man on Bench and Passersby
  • Dear Beatrice Fairfax - Sung by Millie Weitz
  • Britannia Waives the Rules (Sketch and Lyrics by: John La Touche and Arnold B. Horwitt, Music By Bernece Kazounoff - The Prime Minister, The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, The Secretary of State for War, The First Lord of the Admiralty, The German Envoy, The Japanese Envoy and Miss Beamish
  • Men Awake - Singers and Dance Group
Act II

  • Lorelei On the Rocks (Lyrics By John La Touche, Music By Bernece Kazounoff) - Die Lorelei and A Storm Trooper
  • Lesson In Etiquette - The Expert
  • What Good is Love? - Sung by Grace Quatropani
  • One Big Union for Two - Girls and Boys
  • Vassar Girl Finds a Job - Sung by Millie Weitz
  • Four Little Angels of Peace - Chamberlain, Mussolini, Japanese and Hitler
  • Slumming Party - Mrs. Dalyrymple III, Mrs. Dalyrymple's Protege, Mrs. Dalyrymple's Nephew, Mrs. Dalyrymple's Aunt, Mrs. Dalyrymple's Uncle and Mrs. Dalyrymple's Chauffeur
  • We've Just Begun (Lyrics By Charles Friedman and Harold J. Rome) - Entire Company

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