Woman of the Year is a musical with a book by Peter Stone and score by John Kander and Fred Ebb.
Based on the Ring Lardner Jr.-Michael Kanin screenplay for the 1942 Katharine Hepburn-Spencer Tracy film of the same name, the musical changes the newspaper reporters of the original to television personality Tess Harding and cartoonist Sam Craig, who experience difficulty merging their careers with their marriage.
After eleven previews, the Broadway production, directed by Robert Moore, opened on March 29, 1981 at the Palace Theatre, where it ran for 770 performances. The cast included Lauren Bacall, Harry Guardino, Marilyn Cooper, Grace Keagy, and Roderick Cook. Raquel Welch filled in for Bacall during her two-week vacation and later replaced her in the run. Debbie Reynolds replaced Welch near the end of the run. Barbara Eden played Tess in the 1984 national tour.
Sets were designed by Tony Walton and costumes were by Theoni V. Aldredge. John Canemaker created an animated cat that danced and sang with Guardino. Choreography was by Tony Charmoli.
An Argentinian production premiered in 1983 and ran there for three consecutive years, followed by a revival in 1988, both productions with Susana Giménez playing the lead role. The musical is one of the most successful in Argentinian history and there are strong rumours of a second revival to be produced in 2010
Just before Tess Harding, a nationally-known television news personality, comes on stage to receive an award as "Woman of the Year", she reminisces about an on-air editorial that she gave denigrating newspaper comic strips. The article offended the cartoonists who frequent the Ink Pot saloon and inspired syndicated cartoonist Sam Craig to publish a caricature depicting her as a snob in his strip Katz. Tess is annoyed, but when the handsome and charming Sam shows up at her office, she apologizes and invites him to dinner. At the Ink Pot, she charms Sam and his colleagues by revealing her knowledge about comic art.
Tess and Sam begin a romance, move in together, and finally marry, but their busy careers leave little time for them to spend together, and their big egos pose problems in their marriage. In one of his comics, Katz quips that marriage is a breeze - it's the living together that's so damned hard. Tess is offended, an argument ensues, and Sam announces he no longer can deal with the couple's fraying love life. The time moves forward to the present, and it's time for Tess to accept her award, just as she has lost the man she loves.
Several weeks later, Tess is conflicted about her role as a powerful newswoman versus her role as a wife. She seeks advice from Russian ballet dancer Alexi Petrikov, whom she helped to defect. He tells her that he is returning to Russia, because the wife he left behind is more important than his career. Tess travels to visit first husband Larry Donovan and his wife Jan to discover why their marriage is a success. She decides to concentrate on her marriage and announces that she is resigning from her show. But Sam tells her that he wants wants her to keep her career; he just wants to be involved in the decisions in their relationship. They decide to work things out.
Woman of the Year
The Poker Game
See You in the Funny Papers
When You're Right, You're Right!
Shut Up, Gerald
So What Else Is New?
One of the Boys
The Two of Us
It Isn't Working
I Told You So
Woman of the Year
So What Else Is New? (Reprise)
I Wrote the Book
Happy in the Morning
Sometimes a Day Goes By
The Grass Is Always Greener
We're Gonna Work It Out
Tess Harding, a famous TV news personality - Lauren Bacall
Sam Craig, a handsome cartoonist - Harry Guardino
Alexi Petrikov, a Russian ballet dancer - Eivind Harum
Gerald, Tess's secretary - Roderick Cook
Helga, Tess's maid - Grace Keagy
Larry Donovan, Tess's first husband - Jamie Ross
Jan Donovan, a housewife, Larry's second wife - Marilyn Cooper
Chip Salisbury, a perky newsman - Daren Kelly
Abbott Canfield, a cartoonist - Larry Raiken
Maury - Rex Everhart
Ellis McMaster - Rex Hays
Pinky Peters - Gerry Vichi
Awards and nominations
Tony Award for Best Musical (nominee)
Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical (winner)
Tony Award for Best Original Score (winner)
Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Bacall, winner)
Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Cooper, winner)
Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical (nominee)
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Cooper, winner)