Show History



Wish You Were Here is a musical comedy with a book by Arthur Kober and Joshua Logan (South Pacific) and music and lyrics by Harold Rome. It is a musicalized version of Kober's 1937 play, Having a Wonderful Time, focusing around the adventures at a summer camp for adults.


In its opening production on Broadway (see below), Wish You Were Here faced harsh words from the critics during its initial premiere. This caused the creators to go back to the drawing board, rewriting the book and even bringing in renowned director Jerome Robbins to choreograph all of the dances. Word-of-mouth built so much after these changes that those initial critics actually returned to the production and championed it.

Unlike many shows, Wish You Were Here bypassed the usual pre-Broadway tryout and, instead, went with a three-week preview period. Wish You Were Here premiered at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway on June 25, 1952. It ran for 598 performances and closed November 28, 1953, becoming immensely popular after the cast performed on "The Ed Sullivan Show," then known as "Toast of the Town." The success of the Broadway production prompted a West End stint of 282 performances, starting on October 10, 1953, at the London Casino.

Wish You Were Here has seen some play in New York since its initial production in the early 1950s. The Equity Library Theater, an "Off-Off-Broadway" venue, ran a revival in May 1987. In January 2000, the York Theatre Company's "Musicals in Mufti" series ran a concert version.

Cultural Influence

  • The original Broadway production of Wish You Were Here was one of the first instances of pure spectacle in a major musical. The creators actually constructed a swimming pool on the stage, utilizing professional divers for a high-concept routine during the first act finale.
  • The original Broadway production of Wish You Were Here launched the show business career of Florence Henderson. Henderson, who played a chorus girl in the musical, would go on to play, most notably, the role of Carol Brady in the television sitcom, "The Brady Bunch."


  • Celebrities that have starred in Wish You Were Here include: Jack Cassidy (Chick), Phyllis Newman (Sarah), Larry Blyden, Patricia Marand (Teddy), Reid Shelton, Tom Tryon, Sheila Bond, Sidney Armus (Itchy) and Florence Henderson.