Simple Simon

After the success of Whoopee! with Eddie Cantor, Ruth Etting once again found herself in a hit show staring an avowed clown. According to, “This show was built around Ed Wynn, on the theory that three solid hours of The Perfect Fool would guarantee success.” The show cast Wynn as a newspaper vendor who spends his time in a fairy-tale land where bad news doesn’t exist.

Simple Simon opened on February 18, 1930 at the Ziegfeld Theatre, staring Ed Wynn, Ruth Etting and Harriet Hoctor, and went on to run for 135 performances. Ruth played a character named Sal.

Roy Hemming and David Hajdu said in Discovering Great Singers of Classic Pop, that “Etting stopped the show night after night with the plaintive Ten Cents A Dance. By now she was typed as a torch singer, singing what former Metronome editor and music historian George T. Simon has so aptly called those mournful laments of lost loves and broken hearts.”

Amazingly, Ten Cents a Dance was not written for Ruth, and she was not originally cast in the show, but was added twenty-four hours before the Broadway opening.

For more on why and how Ruth Etting joined the show, read Joel Harris’ Notes!

Simple Simon

Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Music by Richard Rodgers
Produced by Florenz Ziegfeld.
Book by Ed Wynn and Guy Bolton.
Directed by Zee Colvan
Choreoghraphy Seymour Felix

Song List
Coney Island
Don’t Tell Your Folks
Magic Music
I Still Believe in You
Send for Me
Dull and Gay
Hunting the Fox
Come On, Men
Ten Cents a Dance
Rags and Tatters
Peter Pan
I Can Do Wonders With You

Dropped Songs
Dancing on the Ceiling
He Was Too Good to Me
Oh, So Lovely
The Simple Simon Instep
Prayers of Tears And Laughter
Hunting Song
Come Out Of The Nursery
Sing Glory Hallelujah

Ruth Etting, with a Ukulele

Promo photo by Alfred Cheney Johnston, used to promote Simple Simon.

2 Responses to Simple Simon

  1. Pingback: | IMAGES | With A Ukulele

  2. Pingback: | Ruth Etting’s “Ten Cents a Dance,” a 2011 inductee to National Recording Registry

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