There's A Small Hotel

Album: On Your Toes (1936)

Songfacts®:

  • Rodgers & Hart, the popular songwriting team behind some of Broadway's most memorable tunes, including "My Funny Valentine," "The Lady is a Tramp," and "Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered," wrote this for the 1935 musical extravaganza Jumbo, but it didn't make the cut. The following year, it landed in the Broadway musical On Your Toes, starring Ray Bolger as an ex-vaudevillian who gets mixed up with the mob. The role was written for Fred Astaire, but the dancer didn't think the character meshed with his suave and sophisticated persona. So Bolger, just three years shy of his iconic role as The Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, took the lead.

    Bolger and his costar Doris Carson introduce "There's A Small Hotel," about a cozy hideaway that houses a bridal suite and a wishing well.
  • According to Frederick Nolan's biography of Lorenz Hart, the songwriters were inspired by the Stockton Inn in Stockton, New Jersey, which was a popular getaway for New York artists and entertainers (and indeed featured a stone wishing well). Hart, who thought the melody was too sappy, allegedly locked himself in the men's room of New Haven's Shubert Theater to write the lyrics.
  • Frank Sinatra sings this in the 1957 movie Pal Joey, while he eyes Rita Hayworth on the dance floor.
  • Ella Fitzgerald covered this on her 1956 album Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Song Book.
  • Eddie Albert and Vera Zorina sing this in the 1939 film adaptation of On Your Toes.

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