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The Marx Brothers

Written by Herman Timberg

Scene 1. Theatrical Manager's Office, with artistes looking for engagements.

Scene 2. Takes place on the balcony of the lobby in a fashionable hotel.

Cast in the order of their appearance

Theatrical Manager
Sammy Brown
Chico Saroni
Mr. Hammer
Dorothy Gould
Her Mother
House Detective
A Dancer
A Guest
Another Guest

The follow-up to N'Everything (Home Again) was written by Herman Timberg. His sister Hattie Darling both managed and appeared in the show and as boxing champion Benny Leonard was a fan of both Hattie and the Marx Brothers, he contributed both financially and in person to the show. It was initially called On the Mezzanine Floor and made its d├ębut in February 1921. It was soon renamed On The Mezzanine and played mostly on the Poli circuit until transferring to Keith's for June-October (having taken a break in August). It received its final name On The Balcony after leaving Keith's, playing other theatres in the autumn before commencing a tour of the Orpheum circuit in December.

The photograph to the right was taken on 16 December 1921, at the Main Street Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri, where the Marxes were performing On The Balcony. The prints were reportedly delivered to them on 14 January 1922, at the Orpheum Theatre in Calgary, Alberta. Benny Leonard and Hattie Darling soon left the show but On The Balcony was taken to London in 1922, opening at the Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, on 19 June. After a rather unsuccessful first week with the British audience, the Marxes switched to the more sedate Home Again from 26 June. After performances in Bristol and Manchester, the Marx Brothers returned to New York on 29 July.

Most of this info is lifted from Glenn Mitchell's The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia, including the programme and cast, which is copied from a facsimile in the Encyclopedia of the original London Coliseum-programme. However, this programme for some reason omitted Arthur (Harpo) Marx, whom at last is given full credit here. The hype about "The Comedy Hit of the Age..." is from the London Coliseum poster of 19 June 1922, which reappeared in Groucho's and Anobile's The Marx Brothers Scrapbook.

The dialogue in the scenes is mostly taken from the Library of Congress via Simon Louvish' book Monkey Business, except where otherwise noted. Both LoC and the British programme indicates that Grouchos character was named Hammer (as in the movie version of The Cocoanuts), whereas Chico is Chico (the programme adds the surname Saroni). Zeppo is named Bobby in the LoC-script, where the British programme calls him Sammy Brown, which I've also chosen. For more info on scene 1 in On The Balcony, see Theatrical Agency in the I'll Say She Is-section.