Most of us have heard the phrase “Being on Pins and Needles” and associate with being excited about something and having to wait for it. Did you know that the saying comes from a Broadway show though? The International Ladies Garment Workers Union produced Harold Rome’s play in 1937 about the garment industry. There were 1108 performances of the pro labor play before it went dark.
How to celebrate – Visit Broadway. (Yes, I know it’s still closed but then, so is the play!) Write your own Broadway play about something you feel passionate about. Read about the labor unions in the 1930’s.
Feeling anxious, nervous? Well today we celebrate the play that announced the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union into world wide recognition. It was done with a play called, “Pins and Needles” and appeared on Broadway in 1937. For a while, it was the longest running play on Broadway with over 1100 performances. It was written by Harold Rome and appeared at the Labor Stage Theater in New York City. It was about the struggles of the women working the garment industry and their lives in what amounted to sweat shops.
How to celebrate – Learn about the Garment Industry in New York in the early 1900’s. Learn about the Unions in New York City. Put on your own version of “Pins and Needles”.
Bet you didn’t know that today was a day created to express the needs and value of American labor unions. It is the day that the play by Harold Rome released “Pins and Needles” on Broadway. November 27, 1937, on the Labor Stage Theater in New York City.
It was produced by the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union. Okay, so maybe they weren’t exactly known for their play productions over the years but this show actually ran for 1,108 performances and held that record for years to come.
Broadway is a bit of an unusual venue to for a union to argue their merits but they did, in this case, make their needs known to the public. There are a lot of opinions stated on Broadway, maybe not all that many of the garment industry but whose counting.
Most of us think of pins and needles today as being excited and waiting for something good, or bad, to happen. It does sort of change that excitement to realize Pins And Needles meant the instruments the garment industry used. Maybe like a double-stitch, there’s a double meaning here.
At least Harold Rome thought so which is a little odd because he also wrote “Fanny” for Broadway. You put the pieces together.
How to celebrate – Go see Pins and Needles (If you can find it). Go see Fanny (If you can find it) Look for the Union Label.
Anxious? Nervous? Just can’t wait anymore? If you are feeling any of those things then you will enjoy today, it’s Pins And Needles Day. The idea I suppose comes to us from sitting on pins or needles, not a very comforting thought.
It actually comes to us from a play on Broadway called, Pins and Needles. It was written by Harold Rome and ran for 1108 performances in 1937 and was introduced by the Ladies Garment Workers’ Union. Now it makes sense! They used pins and needles in their everyday work! And they felt unappreciated and wanted better pay along with being treated like human beings. Imagine that!
Since then, most people have forgotten about the play but it’s title has continued to be used as a typical cliche from the past. The labor unions form in the early part of the 1900’s had a strong effect on America and I suppose across the world. Most say they were good, some questioned what was gained verses what was lost.
The world, in the mean time, is filled with pins and needles. Sewing needles, hypodermic needles, needles used to fill balls with air, safety pins, bobby pins, push pins… it’s almost impossible to go through a day without encountering one kind of pin or needle. They have served mankind well. Of course they have also caused damage and are often associated with drug use.
How to celebrate – Think of all the items held together in your home by pins and needles. See how many different types of pins and needles you can name. Check out the play “Pins and Needles”.