Knickerbocker Holiday

Musical comedy in two acts after Washington Irving's
The History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker.
Book and lyrics by Maxwell Anderson.

Poster from original Broadway production, 1938.


Narrator Washington Irving controls the action, which revolves around two men: Governor Pieter Stuyvesant and nobody Brom Broeck, whose most notable trait is an urge to attack anyone who gives him an order. Both want to marry the same girl, Tina. Brom stays alive by his strength and wits, which are superior to those of anyone else in Nieuw Amsterdam. Even though Brom saves Stuyvesant's life during a battle with the local Indians in the second act, Stuyvesant would still hang him for insubordination, until Irving intervenes. Then Stuyvesant relents and allows Brom to go free and marry Tina. The show's reflections on democracy and American politics, with specific reference to Roosevelt and the New Deal, made it something of a novelty for musical theater of its day.

Song list

Performance Information

Singing roles -- Washington Irving (baritone), Brom Broeck (baritone), Tina Tienhoven (soprano), Peter Stuyvesant (character baritone), Tenpin (tenor), Tienhoven (baritone), Roosevelt (bass), ensemble of councilors, General Poffenburgh (baritone), citizens of New Amsterdam, soldiers, Indians.
Speaking roles -- Vanderbilt, De Peyster, De Vries, Van Rensselaer, Van Cortlandt, Jr. Schermerhorn.
Orchestra: fl (picc), Reed 1 (cl, alto sax), Reed 2 (cl, bass cl, alto sax), Reed 3 (cl, bass cl, ten. sax, bar. sax, ob); 2 tpt, 2 tbn; organ, piano, guitar, timp & perc; strings.
Duration: full evening, 70 minutes music
Authorized Translations: German -- Ute & Volker Canaris

Principal productions



LP AEI 1148
LP Joey 7243
CD AEI 007
CD Pearl GEMM CDS 9294

Original Broadway Cast 1938 [excerpts]
Walter Huston, Ray Middleton, Harry Meehan, David Brooks, 
Jean Darling, Robert Shackleton, Jeanne Madden 
Maurice Abravanel, cond.
1. Washington Irving song 
2. Clickety-clack 
3. It never was you 
4. One touch of Alchemy 
5. September song 
6. All hail the political honeymoon 
7. Nowhere to go but up 
8. To war! To war! 
9. Scars 
10.How can you tell an American?
Film Knickerbocker Holiday (1944)   Musical B&W, 85 min.
Starring : Carmen Amaya, Charles Coburn, Johnny Davis, Constance Dowling,
Nelson Eddy, Fritz Feld, Percy Kilbride, Otto Kruger, Shelley Winters
Director, Producer Harry Joe Brown
Director of Photography Phillip Tannura
Editor John F. Link
Composers Werner Heymann
Theodore Paxson
Kurt Weill
Screenwriters David Boehm
Harry Goldman
Roland Leigh
Art Director Bernard Herzbrun
Ghostlight Records Live Recording
Victor Garber, Kelli O'Hara, Ben Davis, Bryce Pinkham, David Garrison, Christopher Fitzgerald & More
Collegiate Chorale and American Symphony Orchestra
James Bagwell, conductor
Directed by Ted Sperling
June 28, 2011
1. Introduction & Washington Irving Song
2. Clickety-Clack
3. Entrance Of The Council
4. Hush Hush
5. There's Nowhere To Go But Up!
6. It Never Was You
7. Bachelor's Song
8. How Can You Tell An American?
9. Will You Remember Me?
10. One Touch Of Alchemy
11. The One Indispensible Man
12. Young People Think About Love
13. September Song
14. Act One Finale

15. Ballad Of The Robbers
16. Sitting In Jail
17. We Are Cut In Twain
18. Reprise: There's Nowhere To Go But Up!
19. To War!
20. Our Ancient Liberties
21. May And January
22. The Scars
23. Dirge For A Soldier
24. No, Ve Vouldn't Gonto Do It
25. Finale - Reprise: How Can You Tell An American?