About Oh, Susannah!

The musical was written with the well-known novelist Lonnie Coleman (Beulah Land series), based on a concept, story, and book by Coleman. Lyrics are by Gordon with the exception of "Think About the Daylight", where Coleman supplied the basis for lyrical development. The musical is set on board a World War II troop transport, the U.S.S. Susannah. It tells the story of love, sex, and the wartime frustrations of a group of nurses and soldiers enroute to the front lines. Main characters include Nick and Lettie, who represent love between people who are not physically attractive, but whose strengths are humor and compassion. New York agent Shirley Bernstein (Leonard's sister) considered representing the property and sought multiple professional opinions regarding it. Feedback from her submissions was that the writing, characters, and music were all brilliant, but that the subject matter dated, distasteful, and would not appeal to a broad audience. Without exception every evaluation claimed that material based on World War II was absolutely destined to bomb. Ironically, this was just before the stunning success of MASH. After MASH, this property was considered a copy. With Coleman's death a few years later, efforts to get the work produced ceased. The score is mostly intact. Gordon possesses a copy of a portion of the book (pages are missing). Songs in the show include "Take a Man" and "Letty Berne," revised for use in Libby, and "A Girl With No One on My Mind," used in both Hello, I Love You and Lovehandles as well as "Think About the Daylight", used in Runaway. Never used elsewhere are such songs as: "What-cha gonna do after the war's gone?","A Home Away from Home", "Angels of Mercy", and "Wandering-Restless".