Show History



God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater is based on Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s, 1965 novel of the same name. Alan Menken and Howard Ashman adapted the novel into a musical in 1979.


God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater debuted at the WPA Theater, where bookwriter and lyricist, Howard Ashman, was the artistic director. In May of 1979. Ashman directed the production, which moved to the Entermedia Theater later that year, where it ran for 49 performances from October 14, to November 24, 1979. The opening night cast featured David Christmas, Frederick Coffin, Alan David-Little, Anne DeSalvo, Pierre Epstein, Jonathan Hadary, Will Hussung, Judy Sabo, Marianne Sanazaro, Elizabeth Moore, Peter J. Saputo, Janie Sell, John Towey, Ed VanNuys and Holly Villaire. David Friedman was the musical director and Mary Kyte did the musical staging.

Ashman directed a well-received revival of the show at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., in 1981.

In 2003, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater returned to New York in a concert version that was staged as part of the CooperArts series at Cooper Union. Carolee Carmello and Jim Walton starred.

Cultural Influence

  • God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater was the initial collaboration between Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who then went on to write many classic songs and shows, including Disney's The Little Mermaid.
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., author of the novel, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, is a well-known and influential American author. When he died, The New York Times referred to him as the "counterculture's novelist."
  • Although the novel was written in the 1960s, and the musical in the 1970s, the themes are extremely contemporary. The issues of greed and wealth inequality are ever-present in modern American discourse, and these themes are reflected in the musical.


  • Kurt Vonnegut ,Jr.'s, daughter, Edith Vonnegut, was the producer of the Entermedia production in 1979.
  • Like many other noteworthy musical theatre writing teams, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman were introduced by Lehman Engel, founder of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop.
  • Although no official cast recording was ever made of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, some original demos of Ashman singing songs from the show can be found online.
  • Kilgore Trout, the science fiction writer whomt the character of Eliot Rosewater loves, is Vonnegut's alter ego.