Advertising flyer for Charles Cochran's musical Ever Green
Royal Adelphi Theatre, London
Printed flyer on silver card
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
In 1930, Evergreen was the most spectacular musical yet mounted by the celebrated showman C.B.Cochran. Written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, and starring Jessie Matthews, it had a cast of two hundred, a revolving stage and elaborate scenic effects. The dances were by Billy Pierce and Buddy Bradley, the first black dancers to work on an all-white show. The revolving stage was a nightmare for them, as the dancers had never performed on a revolve before. As the floor moved one way, they had to dance in the opposite direction and kept smashing into each other. The hit song was 'Dancing on the Ceiling', in which Jessie Matthews and Sonnie Hale danced around a huge chandelier pointing upwards from the floor. Unusually for Rodgers and Hart, the music was written first. Hart sensed a weightlessness in the melody and wrote the lyrics around a girl dreaming that her lover is dancing above her on the ceiling. The BBC banned the song for a while because the word 'bed' occurred three times.