Howard Lindsay
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Howard Lindsay

Howard Lindsay was born as Herman S. Nelke, March 29, 1889 in Waterford, New York and died February 11, 1968 in New York, New York.  It is believed that Herman Nelke's ancestors were from the state of Maine.

Howard Lindsay (1889-1968) was a Broadway producer, playwright, director, and performer.  Howard Lindsay was married to actress Dorothy Hayes Stickney.  Dorothy was born in Dickinson, North Dakota, on June 21, 1896 and died June 2, 1998 at the age of 101.  It is not known if there were any children from this marriage.

When the Broadway play  "Anything Goes" (1934) was first projected, the text was the work of Bolton and Wodehouse exclusively.  Their story concerned a shipwreck, and its impact on some off-beat characters. But before "Anything Goes" could go into rehearsal, a major sea disaster actually took place off the coast of New Jersey:  the burning of the Morro Castle, in which 134 people lost their lives.  Shipwrecks consequently had suddenly become a highly sensitive area for the exploitation of song and humor. Vinton Freedley, the producer, prevailed upon Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse to revise the libretto completely.  This was the first time that Lindsay and Crouse worked together, initiating a playwriting partnership that was destined to become one of the most successful in the American theatre, and built on the solid foundation of one of the outstanding musical comedies of the 1930s.

In addition to "Anything Goes" (1934), Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse wrote librettos for the successful Cole Porter musical "Red, Hot and Blue" (1936).  They also produced "Arsenic and Old Lace" (1940) and later wrote librettos for such musicals as "State of the Union" (1945, Pulitzer Prize), "Call Me Madam" (1950), starring Ethel Merman, and "The Sound of Music" (1959). 

The original Broadway comedy “Life With Father” (1939-1947) was the most popular accomplishment for the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse becoming the longest running non-musical play on Broadway.  Life with Father ran for over seven years and starred Howard Lindsay as Father and Howard Lindsay's wife, actress Dorothy Stickney (1896-1998), starring as Mother.  This play was performed at the following theaters for a total of 3224 performances from 1939 to 1947;  Empire Theatre, (11/8/1939 - 9/8/1945), Bijou Theatre, (9/9/1945 - 6/15/1947), Alvin Theatre, (6/17/1947 - 7/12/1947).  

Howard Lindsay is also known for his collaboration with writing partner Russel Crouse in their book “The Sound of Music”, suggested by The Story Of Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp.  The Sound of Music opened November 16, 1959 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and ran for 1,443 performances.  Lyrics for The Sound of Music was written by Oscar Hammerstein II with music by Richard Rodgers.  The Sound of Music movie, staring Julie Andrews, was released in 1965.

In 1945, "State of the Union" was adapted from the play by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.  Spencer Tracy plays an aircraft tycoon who is coerced into seeking the Republican Presidential nomination by predatory newspaper mogul Angela Lansbury. Campaign manager Van Johnson suggests that, for appearance's sake, Tracy be reunited with his estranged wife Katharine Hepburn.  "State of the Union" won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1946.

For more information on the complete Broadway credits for Howard Lindsay, go to the Internet Broadway Database web site at

Anyone having more biographical information on the life or genealogical lineage of Howard Lindsay and wishing to see it posted at this web site, please send me an E-Mail

Page Initially Posted: January 3, 2002;  Updated: March 24, 2010


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