SONGS FROM THE REMARKABLE STORY OF "AMERICA'S DANCING MASTER"

Book by Wendy Levine

Songs by Wendy Levine and Alex Forbes

 

Welcome to our invitation-only page, where you can check out our theatrical work-in-progress. Click the blue buttons to hear the songs and read the lyrics we've written so far. Please don't share this page without our permission, thanks!

Also, note that these are guide vocals only.
Someday soon the songs will be performed by Broadway-style singers, both male and female. 

1. PUSHCART PARADISE  

Arthur sings of his determination to escape his family's existence on New York's Lower East Side, 1910.

2. THE KANGAROO

The "animal dance" craze happened during the heyday of ragtime. Here Arthur surprises his older sister Becky by showing an early talent for dance.

3. JUST ONE LITTLE THING

The Baroness, an early mentor of Arthur's, tells him what he must do to achieve his dream of becoming the world's greatest dancing teacher.

4. KEEP DANCING 

Arthur tries to convince his religious father, who thinks that dancing is for fools, that following the straight and narrow path will crush his soul.

5. SMITTEN  

At a radio show performance in 1925, Arthur meets Kathryn, a stylish 18-year-old flapper from New Jersey. It's love at first touch.

6. EQUAL 

Arthur's youngest brother, Ira, tries to convince their left-leaning sibling, David, that "teaching dancing is the greatest kind of social work there is." 

LYRICS

1. PUSHCART PARADISE

ARTHUR:

You think I’m just a kid 
Who can’t string two words together
Not too bright, not too quick
Think I’ll stay this way forever
You’ve got no faith in me
Well just you wait and see
 
I look around this hovel
With the bathtub in the kitchen
Steaming hot, freezing cold
Rats have fistfights with the pigeons
But where I stand today 
Isn’t where I’m gonna be
Just you wait and see

You see pushcarts
I see paradise
You see sweatshops
I see champagne on ice
I refuse to let some accident of birth
Accidentally determine what I’m worth
Never doubt, never doubt
I’ll get us out

There’ll be fans in every room 
And a Steinway grand piano
Just one head
In every bed
A silver Torah
Gold Menorah 
Can I do it? Yes I can, oh
Even if you don’t believe
Just you wait and see

You see pushcarts
I see paradise
You see sweatshops
I see champagne on ice
I refuse to let some accident of birth
Accidentally determine what I’m worth
Never doubt, never doubt
I’ll get us out

 

Boom-da-da-da-da

Da-da-da-da-da-da...

1. THE KANGAROO

ARTHUR:

Doin’ something crazy 
Tryin’ something new
A little off-center
A little askew

This rockin’ rhythm
Keeps breakin’ free
It’s got me bouncin’ ‘round the room
Makin’ a fool outta me

Can’t stop hoppin’
Can’t stop hop hop hoppin’
  
I do the kangaroo
I do the kangaroo 
All the animals in the zoo
They wanna do it too
I do the kangaroo
Come on, let’s me and you
Show ‘em how to do the kangaroo 

BECKY:

You shake like jelly 
Jumpin’ out of a jar
You’ve got lightning in your shoes
No clue who you are

Who stole my brother
’N stuck you in his place
‘Cause I don’t recognize that look in your eyes
That silly smile on your face

BOTH:

Can’t stop hoppin’
Can’t stop hop hop hoppin’

I do the kangaroo

I do the kangaroo

All the animals in the zoo

They wanna do it too

I do the kangaroo

Come on, let’s me and you

Show ‘em how to do the kangaroo 

Yeah let's show 'em how to do the kangaroo

3. JUST ONE LITTLE THING

THE BARONESS:
You’re a gentle boy with a tender touch
And a curious mind, though you don’t say much
Got a style so smooth, so genteel
But underneath that style, there’s a spine of steel

Got a dream so sweet you can almost taste it
What a shame, what a crime it would be to waste it
But before you dance into your destiny

There’s just one little thing 
One little thing
That’s all you have to do
One little change
So tiny, a trifle
That’ll make your dreams come true…

With your pockets full, your tuxedo pressed
You’ll waltz through every ballroom from east to west

Every night the booze will flow like water
On each arm, a millionaire’s daughter
But before I show you how it’s done

There’s just one little thing 
One little thing
That’s all you have to do
One little change
So tiny, a trifle
That’ll make your dreams come true…

Darling, I love you just as you are
In my eyes, you’re already a star

But… there’s just one little thing 
One little thing 
That’s all I ask of you
At this time, in this world, with this war going on
You simply cannot be 
A Jew

 

 
 
 

4. KEEP DANCING

ARTHUR:
You’re right
I will stumble
The road ahead is rough


You’re right
Many crumble
But they’re made of weaker stuff

You say you want me safe, secure
A steady paycheck, nothing more
Respectable, acceptable… 
But that would be my death, I’m sure…

I’ve got to… 

Keep dancing
Keep dancing
I can’t stand still
I gotta move
Keep dancing
Keep dancing
Got a great big dream and a lot to prove

It’s in my soul
It’s in my bones
From the rooftops to the cobblestones
Keep dancing
Keep dancing
I’ve gotta…
I’ve gotta…
I’ve gotta…
Dance 

 

5. SMITTEN

ARTHUR:
My life is as good as life ever gets
A limousine, a smart address
The public knows my name now 
I’ve got a bit of fame now 
And I’m thoroughly enjoying every moment of success 

 

One touch, and my perfect plan took a twist
And I can see the world I’d missed
Whatever spell you’re spinning
Has sparked a new beginning
Your smile is so bewitching — you were born for me to kiss 

Smitten
I’m smitten
My arms are open, pulse runs fast
Smitten
I’m smitten
My heart is hoping this will last
I’m hooked…
I’m cooked…
I’m smitten

KATHRYN:
This flapper don't flip over Jersey boys
I threw away those childish toys
Pursuing every passion
In the latest fashion
And dancing with a star — whom I thoroughly enjoy

BOTH:
Smitten
I’m smitten
My arms are open, pulse runs fast
Smitten
I’m smitten
My heart is hoping this will last
I’m hooked…
I’m cooked…
I’m smitten

Woke up this morning, I had no warning
I’d be in your arms by tonight
Thanks to your talents I’ve lost my balance
This is love at first sight

6. EQUAL

IRA:

Mary is a secretary, chained to an office chair 
Peeking out from under piles of paper
Joe’s a swanky banker boss, barking in his dictaphone
High and mighty, up in his skyscraper

Mary does what’s necessary — every bill gets paid 
Typing, typing, till she’s about to drop
Joe can’t find the perfect girl — one who heats his frozen heart
Then complains it’s lonely at the top

Suddenly they see our ad
And a lightbulb flashes
Our coupons in their hands
They come… they see... they dance
And they are

Beautiful, graceful   
Elegant, tasteful
Heaven in every step
No high, no low
No rich, no poor
Gliding across the ballroom floor
All dancers are created equal
All dancers are created equal

Harry thought when he got married, life would be a breeze
His wife would be his comfort and his joy
But Helen’s had it up to here with dishes, kids and diaper pails
She longs to mingle with the hoi polloi

Suddenly they see our ad
And a lightbulb flashes
Our coupons in their hands
They come… they see... they dance
And they are

Beautiful, graceful   
Elegant, tasteful
Heaven in every step
No high, no low
No rich, no poor
Gliding across the ballroom floor
All dancers are created equal
All dancers are created equal