James Stephen Behrens, O.C.S.O., of Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, sent me the following email:
There was a song called Wilkes-Barre, PA in the musical Tovarich, which ran on Broadway and starred Vivien Leigh.
Information about Tovarich (which is Russian for "Friends") is available from the Internet Broadway Database at:
According to IBDB, the show played for almost a year in a succession of 3 (count 'em 3) different theatres on the Great White Way. The music was composed by Lee Pockriss, and lyrics were written by Anne Croswell.
Vivien Leigh (who, with Byron Mitchell, sings Wilkes-Barre, PA in the show) won the 1963 Tony Award for Best Actress in A Musical for her performance in Tovarich.
The song concludes with:
I don't mean Scranton,
I hate Reading,
Where are we heading?
At Amazon.com, you can listen to a sample of Vivien Leigh and George S. Irving singing "Wilkes-Barre, PA!" the song is also available to purchase from iTunes.
Thank you so much, James, for this information. I'm a big Broadway buff and have never heard of Tovarich before, so my mouth is still agape at this information. Plus I'm amazed that someone as far away as Georgia has looked at our blog. WOW!!!