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In 1956 my grandfather, Carl Ericke, was working at Carpenter Steel in Detroit as a regional manager. Based on this letter I found in his archives, he was planning a visit to New York in the summer of 1956 for both business and pleasure. His escort, of course, was my grandmother, Sally.
My grandfather requested a co-worker (and New Yorker) to buy him a couple of tickets for three Broadway musicals. The content of the letter is typed below, in case you can't read it clearly. The total cost for the six tickets was $78. More than half of that was for My Fair Lady, which meant the other plays were between $8–9 a seat. Less than a movie costs today! I wanted to know what shows they took in, so I did a little research and this is what I discovered:
My Fair Lady, Mark Hellinger Theater, August 14, 1956
No Time for Sergeants, Alvin Theater, August 17, 1956
The Most Happy Fella, Imperial Theater, August 16, 1956
The Most Happy Fella opened at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway in 1956, and ran for 676 performances. This was a musical version of Sidney Howard’s 1924 Pulitzer Prize winner, They Knew What They Wanted, the story of a Depression-era Italian winemaker in Napa Valley, California, who finds himself a bride through the mail. The Most Happy Fella was nominated a Tony Award in 1957 for Best Musical, with a total of six nominations (and no wins).