This popular jazz standard has been performed by many celebrated recording artists, including Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Chaka Khan, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Linda Ronstadt, Barbra Streisand and Chet Baker. The song was written by composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart. The acclaimed songwriting team wrote the song for their 1937 Broadway musical Babes in Arms
. In the musical, former child star Mitzi Green plays Billie Smith, who sings "My Funny Valentine" to a character named Valentine "Val" LaMar (played by singer/actor Ray Heatherton). Billie is smitten with Val, and her true feelings for him are revealed in the song. In the song's lyrics, Billie pokes fun at Val's looks and personality quirks, but those imperfections are what she finds most endearing about him. Green also sang the Rodgers & Hart classic the "The Lady is a Tramp
" in the same musical. Babes in Arms
opened at the Shubert Theatre, in New York, on April 14, 1937 and ran for 289 performances after transferring to the Majestic Theatre on October 25, 1937. It closed on December 18, 1937. The musical is about a teenage boy who puts on a show with his friends to avoid being sent to a work farm. Green was 16 when the musical opened on Broadway. The legendary dance team the Nicholas Brothers also appeared in Babes in Arms
. They played the brothers Ivor and Irving DeQuincy.Babes in Arms
was made into a film in 1939 and starred Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. But "My Funny Valentine" wasn't included in the film.