I am the very model of a Russian Impresario.
I serve truth & beauty daily in the plot of each scenario.
Ballet Russes at the Bolshoi, sets by Wassily Kandinsky.
My chorines play the Czarist court to please Igor Stravinsky.

I've a mentor name of Ivanov, I call him Uncle Sergey.
I pulled Pushkin from obscurity and taught him dramaturgy.
I learned culture on the Volga and Chutzpah from Rachmaninov,
but since the revolution, my luck's been mostly on and off.

He learned culture on the Volga? And Chutzpah from Rachmaninov?
So since the revolution, his luck's been mostly on and off...

By stealth & jape I did escape, & hied me thither to Vienna.
Down the Danube, stowed inside Bela Bartok's Grand Piano.
I took a small professorship in ethnomusicology.
Augmented meager earnings in the practice of phrenology.
I found that Martin Buber had a lesion sub-parietal.
In existential terms I'd say his teachings were not viable.
The Weimar was no place to be a Gypsey art producer,
so I moved on to Gay Paree where standards were much looser.

In France, by chance, I happed upon the ex-pat generation.
Where Gertrude Stein with wit & wine earned near-sainted veneration.
I partied some with Hemingway but found him dull and jokeless,
while Alice B. was loose & free and I assure you seldom tokeless.
Aunt Gert, quite jealous of our fun, grew more dykish, quaintly shrewish.
She hinted that the Broadway stage was ripe for someone wry and Jewish.
'Twas then that I first realized her gibbets had grown flibberty.
I took the hint & then a boat & sailed for Lady Liberty.

He took the hint & then a boat. And sailed for Lady Liberty.

P.T. Barnum guaranteed that suckers here were plenteous.
Another piece of good advice from that old huckster Phineas.
He told me Broadway Showman need a little notoriety,
and one bare breast, center stage, gets covered in Variety.
So I and Ziegfeld bared them all, our revues were quite delectable.
By adding just a touch of art, burlesque became respectable.

It takes but just one touch of art to make Burlesque Respectable!


My real name's Schlomo Seltzer, I'm from Minsk in Belarussia.
I do not sing or dance myself, but I am a fine producer.
Sadly, no one now recalls my discovery of Nijinsky.
I'm the king of Forty-Second Street.... I'm known as Billy Minsky.
I work with naked girls all day, but I am no lothario.
I remain the very model of a Russian Impresario.