High Button Shoes

High Button Shoes is a musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn and book by George Abbott and Stephen Longstreet. It was based on the semi-autobiographical 1946 novel The Sisters Liked Them Handsome by Longstreet.

The musical opened on Broadway in October 9, 1947 at the New Century Theatre running for 727 performances and has had regional revivals as well as being televised in 1956.

As the con men Floy and Pontdue are pursued to the Atlantic City beach while carrying a satchel full of stolen money, the people on the beach dance around them (“The Bathing Beauty Ballet”). They tangle with a large number of people—including bathing beauties, lifeguards, other criminals, identical twins—and one gorilla. The climax occurs when the Keystone Cops arrive, and Floy loses everything when he bets on the wrong football team.

In New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1913, the Longstreet family is affected when a con man, Harrison Floy, and his shill, Mr. Pontdue, come to town. The duos’ dubious intentions are made clear as Floy pitches “snake-oil” schemes (“He Tried to Make a Dollar”) including selling fake watches and diamond mines, and the shill Mr. Pontdue asks for two. They are chased by the police, and the phoney scheme is repeated. After they cheat the Longstreets in a phoney land deal, Floy and Pontdue try to escape to Atlantic City, New Jersey with their ill-gotten profits and also take Fran (who has become romantically involved with Floy) with them.

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