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Wait Till You See Her

Written: 1942

Music by: Richard Rodgers

Words by: Lorenz Hart

Written for: By Jupiter

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Kurt Elling


"Wait Till You See Her"

(Kurt Elling recorded "Wait Till You See Her" on his
1995 album Close Your Eyes. For further commentary on the album,
see below.

Amazon iTunes

More Performances of "Wait Till You See Her"
in the Cafe Songbook Record/Video Cabinet
(Video credit)


Cafe Songbook Reading Room

"Wait Till You See Her"

Critics Corner || Lyrics Lounge

About the Show By Jupiter / Origins of the Song

Other songs written for By Jupiter currently included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook:

1. Ev'rything I've Got (belongs to You)

2. Nobody's Heart (belongs to me)


For a complete listing of songs used in the original Broadway production of the show By Jupiter, see IBDB song list.


(Read our discussion on criteria (currently unavailable)for inclusion of songs in The Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook).

Richard Rodgers,
Musical Stages: An Autobiography New York: Random House, 1975
(Da Capo paper bound ed., 2002, pictured above).


book cover: Gary Marmorstein "A Ship without a Sail: The Life of Lorenz Hart"
Gary Marmorstein
A Ship Without A Sail:
The Life of Lorenz Hart
New York: Simon and Schuster,


book cover: Edward Jablonski, "Lorenz Hart: Poet on Broadway"
Frederick Nolan
Lorenz Hart: Poet on Broadway
, Boston: Northeastern UP, 1996.


book cover: Joshua Logan "Josh" his autobiogaphy
Joshua Logan
Josh, My Up and Down,
In and Out Life

New York: Delacorte Press, 1976

By Jupiter is based on the play The Warrior's Husband by Julian Thompson and directed by Joshua Logan. Johnny Green was the show's musical director.

The plot focuses on the war between the Amazons, led by "Queen Hippolyta, and the men of ancient Greece, their weak husbands. When the women lose the war, they must assume subordinate roles in the world that ensues.

The reviews of the show were generally favorable especially for Ray Bolger who played Sapiens and who passed out several times from the energy he expended in his dance numbers. Nevertheless, Bolger never complained and said, "This is the first time in any Broadway show where my assignment has been literally half acting and half dancing, and I'm crazy about it" ( Dorothy Hart, Thou Swell Thou Witty The life and Lyrics of Lorenz Hart, p. 166). The song that several of the original reviewers sited as a standout was "Nobody's Heart," which is but one of the three standards that emerged from By Jupiter, the other two being "Ev'rything I've Got (belongs to you)" and "Wait Till You See Her."

"Wait Till You See Her" was published in May, 1942, and introduced in By Jupiter by Ronald Graham (playing Theseus) and the ensemble on June 3, 1942, but according to Robert Kimball, in The Complete Lyrics Of Lorenz Hart, the song "was apparently dropped from the show . . . " (p. 287, hardcover Ed.). Rodgers in his autobiography, Musical Stages, explains that though the song was well received it was cut for no other reason than the show was running a little long. He notes, however, that it was reintroduced toward the end of the show's run and that of all the songs written for the show were "despite this lack of exposure . . . picked up by singers and orchestras and today is the best-known piece in the score." (p. 212, hardcover Ed.).

In his biography of Hart, Gary Marmorstein takes issue with Rodgers' account of why (and when) the song was cut. Marmorstein points out that "Wait Till You See Her" was an irritant stretching back into By Jupiter's Boston run of previews. During that period songs were being shuffled and rewritten and "Wait Till You See Her" was a particular "headache" to director Josh Logan in terms of where the song should be placed.* Marmorstein writes of the song that was to be sung by Theseus to Antiope as combining "the best of Rodgers -- those beautifully carpentered waltzes -- with the best of Hart -- his idiomatic phrasing and, not incidentally, his focus on the appearance of the beloved." Apparently, by the time the show opened in New York, Rodgers was not satisfied with the song's placement, and after the song was performed during the June 2, opening, "ruthlessly -- and probably effectively -- pulled it from the show because it simply didn't fit" (Marmorstein, pp. 397-399). As has everyone else, Marmorstein notes that it went on to become a standard because Mabel Mercer, despite "Wait Till You See Her" having been cut from the show, began to sing it at Tony's.

*Even though "Wait Till You See Her" gave director Joshua Logan a headache, he called its being cut from By Jupiter "one of the tragedies to me of my musical career" and goes on to explain,pretty much confirming Marmorstein's account, "It was written very early on, and it was a song we were just mad about, everything about it. But every time we tried to stage it, it didn't work in the story. So finally we tried it with a whole new set of dances and costumes, and Bob Alton [the show's choreographer] worked on it, and we put it in and we opened on Broadway, and we knew it wasn't any good. And we took it out the night after the opening." (Nolan p. 298).

In his autobiography, Logan also tells the story of how everyone failed in the attempt to position "Wait Till You See Her" in the show so it would work and how they finally just "eliminated" it the day after the opening. Logan concludes, "The irony is that of all the songs in By Jupiter, the most famous is that one" (Logan, p. 155).

In the 1967 off-Broadway revival of By Jupiter, "Wait Till You See Her" was sung by Theseus (played by Bob Dishy ) as orginally intended, but in a version of the show that was significantly revised including new material by Fred Ebb.

"Wait Till You See Her" sung by Bob Dishy as Theseus
in the 1967 off-Broadway revival of By Jupiter.
(See cast album below.)

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Critics Corner

book cover: 52nd Street: The Street of Jazz
Arnold Shaw
52nd Street:
The Street Of Jazz

Da Capo Press
(reprint of The Street That Never Slept, 1971)

Listen to and watch Mabel Mercer
on YouTube

Mabel Mercer, Tony's, and the Birth of a Standard

Speaking about singer Mabel Mercer when she performed at Tony's, a club on 52nd Street in NYC during the forties and fifties, songwriter Alec Wilder said it was not a special place except for Mercer. Arnold Shaw in his Book 52nd Street The Street of Jazz quotes Wilder:

She made it into a kind of chapel, she gave it an aura of calm and protection. She had magic. . . . She did dozens of songs that I and others felt impelled to write for her, songs that nobody has since heard. . . . But she also did songs that became standards because she did them. "Wait Till You See Her" was a ballad that was not used in By Jupiter. But Mabel liked it. After she began singing it, the magical thing happened. Other singers discovered it. Suddenly, the rejected song became a talked-about song. Peggy Lee added it to her repertoire. So did Sinatra. Band leaders began putting it into their books. Single-handed, Mabel revived other forgotten songs and popularized songs that would have been forgotten. (Shaw, pp. 176-177, paperback Ed.).

Book cover: Alec Wilder, "America's Popular Song"
Alec Wilder, American Popular Song The Great Innovators, 1900-1950, New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.


book cover: The Rodgers and Hart Songbook
The Rodgers & Hart Songbook
The Words and Music of Forty-seven of Their Songs from Twenty-two of Shows and Two Movies
Editied and with an Iroduction by Richard Rodgers, Foward by Oscar Hammerstein II, Illustrated by Doris Lee, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1951, Fireside Paperback edition, 1977.

In his own book, American Popular Song, Wilder adds to the note above that Mabel Mercer told him that she had received the full score for the show even before it opened and had chosen "Wait Till You See Her" as the song she would sing, and writes, "I believe that her faith in the song largely contributed to its position today as a standard."

Rodgers is known for writing wonderful waltzes such as "Falling in Love with Love" and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World." In that context, Wilder comments, "It ["Wait Till You See Her"] is one of the loveliest of all Rodgers and Hart Waltzes. Its pure melodic writing and pure lyric writing are of the best" (p. 217).

Oscar Hammerstein II in his 1951 forward to The Rodgers and Hart Songbook takes up the subject of Rodgers waltzes, even of waltzes in musical theater in general. He notes that at the time Rodgers and Hart began their collaboration in the twenties, waltzes had not that long before been "the stock in trade of the Viennese school" and although composers like Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg and Rudolph Friml kept the tradition going in their work in New York, American songwriters in general were leaving them behind. Like Wilder, Hammerstein singles out Rodgers "Falling in Love with Love" and "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," and adds to the list "Lover" as among the finest examples of the genre which have all become standards. He continues:

One of my favorites is "Wait Till You See Her," a song that was placed in their last show, By Jupiter, but eventually cut from the score. . . . Read it and play it and sing it and see if you don't agree with me that it should be revived some day to take its proper place in their impressive catalogue of waltzes (The Rodgers and Hart Songbook, p. XII).

Remember that this comment was made several years before the recording boom of "Wait Till You See Her" got underway in the mid-fifties, and it is unlikely that Hammerstein knew that Mabel Mercer, Peggy Lee and Sinatra among others were already singing it in the clubs or on the radio. Still, it is entirely possible that his comments in The Rodgers and Hart Songbook and the inclusion of the song (both music and lyrics) in the publication influenced the revival of "Wait Till You See Her" that was, in fact, already underway.

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Lyrics Lounge

Click here to read the lyrics for "Wait Till You See Her/[Him]" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald. (Ella does not include the verse, but switches the gender of the pronoun in the title as most women singers do.

Ed.'s note: It's not so easy to find a recording that includes the verse. Helen Merrill on her 1955 album With Strings is one. Bobby Short on his Rodgers and Hart album also sings it. Finally, as one might expect, a cast album (from the 1967 off-Broadway production) includes it, but not as the song's opener preceding the refrainas is customary, but after Theseus (Robert R. Kaye) sings the refrain through.

Here is Hart's verse filled with his signature irony and, as is often the case, autobiographical reference:

My Friends who knew me
Never would know me,
They'd look right through me,
Above and below me,
And ask, "Who's that man?
Who is that man?
That's not my lighthearted friend!"
Meeting one girl
was the start of the end.
Love is a simple emotion
A friend should comprehend.

And here is the off-Broadway By Jupiter cast album:

album cover: "By Jupiter" 1967 off Broadway cast

Amazon iTunes

Listen to "Wait Till You See Her" track above.


The complete, authoritative lyrics for "Wait Till You See Her" can be found in:

book cover: "The Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart" Ed. by Dorothy Hart and Robert Kimball
The Complete Lyrics Of Lorenz Hart.
Dorothy Hart and Robert Kimball (Eds.), New York: Knoph, 1986
(Da Capo Press expanded, paper bound edition 1995 shown).

Click here to read Cafe Songbook lyrics policy.

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("Wait Till You See Her" page)


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The Cafe Songbook
Record/Video Cabinet:
Selected Recordings of

"Wait Till You See Her"
(All Record/Video Cabinet entries below
include a music-video
of this page's featured song.
The year given is for when the studio
track was originally laid down
or when the live performance was given.)
Performer/Recording Index
(*indicates accompanying music-video)

Mabel Mercer
album: Midnight at Mabel Mercer's

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "The 1955 Atlantic LP (now MP3 album] MIDNIGHT AT MABEL MERCER'S is representative of the set she performed nightly in various rooms in post-war New York throughout the '40s and' 50s, where her fans included Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner as well as Atlantic producer Ahmet Ertegun. While the psychologically deeper MABEL MERCER SINGS COLE PORTER remains the essential Mercer album, MIDNIGHT has the more varied set list. . . ." (from CD Universe "Product Description."

As mentioned above, Mercer's fans included Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra. Arnold Shaw quotes Gardner as saying of Mercer "How I love her. I used to hear her every night when I was first married to Frank. Sinatra said that more than anyone, she taught him how to handle a lyric" (Shaw, pp. 175-176).

On the album Midnight at Mabel Mercer's (and perhaps in other places), the song title appears thus: "Wait 'Til You See Her" but according to Kimball the title is "Wait Till You See Her."
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Helen Merrill
album: Helen Merrill With Strings

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Notes: This highly regarded album was originally Released in 1955. The arrangements are by Richard Hayman and include vocals by Merrill accompanied by a quartet plus a string section. As noted elsewhere on this page, Merrill is one of the few artists to include the verse for "Wait Till You See Her/Him." The CD was originally put out by Verve in 1994.
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Frank Sinatra
album: Close to You and More

same track as on album referenced above
(1999 digital remaster)

Amazon iTunes icon

Notes: "1950s Sinatra on Capitol with Nelson Riddle. You thought you'd heard it all, but the label's 2002 Sinatra remastered series [Capitol's 'Entertainer Of The Century'] came along to prove you wrong with the long-awaited reissue of CLOSE TO YOU. Unique among Sinatra and Riddle's legendary collaborations, CLOSE TO YOU found arranger/conductor Riddle slimming the orchestrations down to a small group fronted by the Hollywood String Quartet, making for an uncommonly intimate setting for Sinatra's already highly personal, communicative style.

"The selection of wistful love songs is neither as bleak as the saloon songs of NO ONE CARES nor as bold as Sinatra's more swinging material. The heartbreakingly halting elocution exhibited on "P.S. I Love You," the precise, unpretentious detailing of life's travails on "Everything Happens to Me" and the aching emotional truth that shines through "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" all stand as testament to both the singer's uncanny interpretive abilities and Riddle's sensitivity. Improved fidelity and the addition of three songs from the same sessions never before included with the album make CLOSE TO YOU all the more irresistible. This one's a keeper, folks." from CDUniverse.com.

Amazon iTunes

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Ella Fitzgerald

Album: Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers and Hart Songbook
(arranged and conducted by
Buddy Bregman)

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: This is the Rodgers and Hart portion of the seminal set of Ella Fitzgerald Songbook albums, produced by Norman Granz from the mid-fifties through the early sixties. The recordings were made at Capitol Studios, Los Angeles, California from August 27-31, 1956. Personnel includes Ella Fitzgerald (vocals); Paul Smith (piano); Barney Kessel (guitar); Joe Mondragon (bass); Alvin Stoller (drums). Buddy Bregman (conductor and arranger).
On the "Wait Till You See Him" track, Ella is accompanied only by Barney Kessel on guitar, and the title changes Hart's "Her" to "Him" with corresponding changes for the other pronouns.

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Blossom Dearie
album: Blossom Dearie

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: This is Blossom's debut album from 1956, plus a few added tracks, including "Blossom's Blues," recorded in 1959. Miss Dearie accompanies herself.

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Vic Damone
album: That Towering Feeling

same track as on album referenced above


Notes: Vic Damone's first proper album for Columbia Records is still considered one of his finest efforts. A ballad session with a couple of Sinatra-style swingers thrown in for good measure, Damone's pure vocals float over a bed of subtle strings as jazz solos move in and out (trumpeter Buck Clayton and trombonist Urbie Green are the only musicians to get mentioned in the liner notes). . . . Still considered one of the best vocal pop albums of the 1950s, That Towering Feeling! was a hit in Great Britain but never really caught fire stateside the way that Damone's singles for the label did. That's a shame, because it really is one of Damone's best, and his three jazz-etched Columbia albums (this one, On the Swingin' Side, and especially This Game of Love) were so much better than his concurrent singles for the label, many of which were overblown and melodramatic" (from iTunes review).
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Doris Day and Andre Previn
album: Duet

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Recorded late in 1961, this album is a milestone in Doris Day's career — despite having generated no hits — as her best long-player (and, by extension, her best CD), and her purest jazz solo album. Cut as a duet with André Previn (with Previn Trio bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Frank Capp providing occasional support), the album presents Day in the most intimate musical setting of her career. Her trademark style of singing works twice as well here as it did on her swing-era and early solo recordings. The repertory includes "Fools Rush In," and Alec Wilder's "Give Me Time," "Falling in Love Again," and a few Previn-authored pieces that hold up magnificently in this company. The CD reissue includes three previously unreleased outtakes, among them even more upbeat renditions of "Fools Rush In" and "Close Your Eyes." And the notes by Will Friedwald are also a treat. Worth tracking down; if you own only one Doris Day non-hits/non-swing-era CD, this is the one" (iTunes Review).

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Miles Davis
album: Best of Miles Davis and
Gil Evans

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Johnny Coles, Miles Davis, Bernie Glow, Louis Mucci, Ernie Royal (trumpet) Dick Hixson, Jimmy Knepper, Frank Rehak (trombone) Paul Ingraham, Robert Swisshelm, Julius Watkins (french horn) Bill Barber (tuba) Danny Bank, Eddie Caine, Romeo Penque, Jerome Richardson, Bob Tricarico (woodwinds) Janet Putman (harp) Bobby Rosengarden (percussion) Gil Evans (arranger/conductor)
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Tony Bennett
album: Tony Bennett Sings
The Rodgers and Hart Songbook

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Album Notes: The CD is a compilation of two Bennett 1973 LPs of twenty-six Rodgers and Hart songs. Both were recorded September 28-30, 1973. Tony is accompanied by Ruby Braff (trumpet), George Barnes, Wayne Wright (guitar), John Giuffrida (bass).
Bennett recorded "Wait Til You See Her" only once for the first part of The Rodgers and Hart Songbook shown above. The track was first released on a 12" LP, Tony Bennett Sings Ten Rodgers and Hart Songs, in 1975. That track is also available on many other Bennett albums.

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Bobby Short
album: Bobby Short Celebrates Rodgers and Hart

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes icon

Notes: "Bobby Short is the just the man for the classic show tunes of Rodgers & Hart. Throughout this recording, he sustains a fantasy of New York that exists only on the big screen, and only in black and white" (from iTunes review). As a cabaret singer, Short is a direct descendent of Mabel Mercer, who was the performer primarily responsible for giving "Wait Till You See Her" the impetus to becoming a standard.

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Kurt Elling
album: Close Your Eyes

same track as on album referenced above and featured on the Cafe Songbook Main Stage above.

Amazon iTunes

Notes: CLOSE YOUR EYES was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.

An utterly unique performer, Chicago-based vocalist Kurt Elling debuts with his bold, brash aesthetic fully formed on this 1995 outing for the venerable Blue Note label. While Elling's music falls into the jazz category, he often pushes his work into the spoken-word/beat-poetry realm on many of these 13 tracks. Like a soul-patch-sporting fusion of Frank Sinatra and Jack Kerouac, Elling launches into lyrically dense, lightly swinging tunes such as the cheeky "(Hide the) Salome" and the smooth "Never Say Goodbye (for Jodi)," making occasional madcap detours, as on the rambunctious "Married Blues," where he uses an odd accent over frenetic free-jazz backing. Keeping Elling's outsized presence in check are intuitive, top-notch musicians, including pianist Laurence Hobgood and bassist Eric Hochberg, along with guest saxophonists Von Freeman and Edward Peterson. Although Elling may be too restless for some listeners, it is this sort of unabashed adventurousness that has garnered the singer acclaim (including multiple Grammy nominations), and this album is a fine introduction to his uncompromising musical vision.
from CDUniverse.com. -- from CDUniverse.com.

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Bucky Pizzarelli
album: One Morning in May

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Bucky Pizzarelli's distinct combination of chords and single notes separates him from most guitarists. He has also been playing since the swing era and continues to have a commitment to earlier forms of jazz. On One Morning in May he plays a seven-string guitar without accompaniment on 21 standards, creating something akin to pure Pizzarelli. A lovely five-minute version of Bix Beiderbecke's "Candle Lights," filled with subtle, melancholy shadings, is a pleasant surprise. The only other piece of this length is another number, "In a Mist," by Beiderbecke. Other nice choices include two Billy Strayhorn compositions, "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" and "Blood Count." Playing solo allows Pizzarelli to fluctuate within each piece, moving between steady swing and a more intimate, quiet approach; playing solo also gives the listener a chance to hear the nuances of his style without interference. Even on more familiar songs like the Gershwins' "Someone to Watch Over Me" or "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," his interpretations are fresh and vital. The tone of Pizzarelli's guitar is warm and friendly, and this personal approach works well for the mostly mellow material on One Morning in May. Historically, Pizzarelli's style offers a strand to the great chordal guitarists of the '20s and '30s like Carl Kress, Dick McDonough, and George Van Eps. This release should appeal to anyone who enjoys quality guitar jazz, and will certainly appeal to Pizzarelli's fans. It is also refreshing that labels like Arbors continue to record classic jazz players. "~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. at CDUniverse.com.
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Renee Rosnes Trio
album: A Time for Love

same track as on album referenced above

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Renee Rosnes, piano; Peter Washington, bass; Lewis Nash, drums

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