Show Boat has been a much-loved musical since it first opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 27, 1927. A critical as well as popular success, the show ran for 572 performances over a year and a half. Hal Prince successfully revived it in 1994.
The material was also well received twice in movie versions from MGM. Irene Dunne starred in the 1936 version; in 1951, Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner and Howard Keel played the lead roles, in glorious Technicolor.