Bob Holiday, Broadway's First Superman
Bob Holiday's Publicity Portfolio
A small request
Lost to history is the amazing staging of "It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman ©". The sets, the colors, and the choreography created an exuberance that just can't be communicated through words. Today, we share with some of the behind-the-scenes prep that created the magic of
"It's a Bird It's a Plane It's Superman©"!
Bob Holiday with Dancers

As ticket sales flagged, the show bolstered its marketing to adults.
This photo figured prominently in the new advertising blitz.
Left to Right: Michelle Barry as Annette, the Secretary
Judy Newman as Marnie, the Model
Bob Holiday as Superman
April Nevins as Bonnie, the Moll
Tina Faye as Sue-Ellen, the Teenager.

These beautiful dancers weren't just pretty faces, they were central to audiences' sense of excitement. In a Hal Prince biography*, we learn that Prince "wanted to pare away the customary reliance of musicals on big dance numbers." So the dancers were woven into the story line in a more integrated manner than Broadway had ever seen, and their joy seemed a natural part of the brightness Superman brought to the world. They loved Superman, so we loved him, too.

From the archives of The Plain Dealer newspaper, obtained the following photos and the text of the accompanying March 9, 1966 article.

Michelle Barry warming up

Front: Michelle Barry, Also pictured: Judy Newman, a half-hidden April Nevins, and Tina Faye.

"Let's see Superman do this one," says dancer Michelle Barry, who goes into an all-out spread that's a real side splitter.

Dancers Stretching Before the Show

Left to Right: April Nevins, Judy Newman, Tina Faye and Michelle Barry.

Behind the scenes of "It's a's a's SUPERMAN," dancers' dressing room is full of beauties getting ready to go on. Musical version of comic book stories opens on Broadway in late March.

On-stage High Kicks

Left to Right: Judy Newman, Bob Holiday, and April Nevins.

  It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's SUPERMAN! The familiar cry of pedestrians looking at the sky in METROPOLIS is now also the title of a Broadway musical. And along with the familiar figure in his flashy tights comes a bevy of supermates who cavort almost as acrobatically as Superman's own gravity-defying gyrations.

  The plot, described as a typical, updated, comic book episode, has been embroidered with song and dance which hopefully will make a hit with sophisticated audiences who, though they feel nostalgia for their 10¢ comic book days, expect a little more for their $8.80 theater tickets.

  Superman (played by Bob Holiday) isn't billed as the star of his show. The top part is that of Max, the gossip columnist on the Daily Planet, where Clark Kent (whose secret identity is Superman) and Lois Lane, girl reporter, work. Max is played by Jack Cassidy. But what will probably pull Superman out of the comic book category and into the space age are the song and dance numbers that dot the melodrama of Superman saving nuclear secrets.

  Superman, played by Bob Holiday, gets his kicks from Judy Newman (left) and April Nevins (right). In [the] Broadway show he once again conquers crime and flies through the air with the greatest of ease. The show is described as a comic book episode brought to life, with music.

Celebration in Metropolis

Left to Right: Michelle Barry (hidden), Judy Newman, Bob Holiday, Tina Faye, and April Nevins.

The saviour of Metropolis, Superman in the new Broadway comedy gets involved in nuclear physics, and college life as indicated by dancers in MIT [Metropolis Institute of Technology] shirts and a new college building, Superman Hall.

A fun note: Another case of capelash? In every case, the typed captions on the back of the photos said, "Gotham City." Each instance was scratched out and replaced by a hand-written "Metropolis."

Photos courtesy the Estate of Bob Holiday and
personal collection of Toni Collins
Text ©1966 The Plain Dealer (spelling and punctuation as in original) and ©2022 Toni Collins,
Also * Harold Prince From Pajama Game to Phantom of the Opera ©1989 Carol Ilson
SUPERMAN and all related elements are the property of DC Comics. TM & © 2022
Site optimized for Google Chrome
Original Site developed by Steve McCracken
Current caretaker: Cross that "T" and Dot That "i" Editing and Web Services
Contact Web Master:
Bob Holiday as Superman Bob Holiday as Clark Kent