“There’s a Small Hotel,” originally written for the Billy Rose production of Jumbo but dropped, was introduced in the 1936 musical On Your Toes by Doris Carson and Ray Bolger. According to Thomas S. Hischak in The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia the song was reprised by Luella Gear and Monty Woolley with a comic lyric. The show ran for a total of 315 performances, one of the two longest running shows of the year. The London production of the show opened in 1937. The show was revived on Broadway in 1954 but ran for only 64 performances. However, the 1983 revival ran for 505 performances, won several Tony awards, and produced a cast album.
“There’s a Small Hotel” was sung by Frank Sinatra in the film version of Pal Joey and by Betty Garrett in the film biopic of Rodgers and Hart, Words and Music. It has been recorded by many of the stalwarts of jazz including Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, and Joe Williams. Others who have recorded it include composer/keyboardist Joe Zawinul and three trombonists, Bennie Green, J. J. Johnson, and Kai Winding, with strings. It is sung on new recordings by Rebecca Kilgore, Nancy King, and Madeline Eastman.
I'd like to get away, Junior Somewhere alone with you It could be oh, so gay, Junior You need a laugh or two
A certain place I know, Frankie Where funny people can have fun That's where the two will go, Darling Before you can count up One, two, three. For ...
There's a small hotel With a wishing well I wish that we were there together There's a (no) bridal suite One room bright and neat Complete for us to share together
Looking through the window You can see a distant steeple Not a sign of people âˆ“ who wants people? When the steeple bell says, "Good night, sleep well," We'll thank the small hotel together
Pretty window curtains made of chince In a make believe land On the wall are several cheerful prints Of Grant and Grover Cleveland
Look out into the parlor and feast your eyes On the moose head on the wall Perhaps you'd like to play the organ They tune it every other fall.
When the steeple bell says, "Good night, sleep well," We'll thank the small hotel We'll creep into our little shell And we will thank the small hotel together