Knickerbocker Holiday was a 1938 Broadway effort of playwright Maxwell Anderson and composer Kurt Weill. The play yielded the hit "September Song," a piece that's been recorded more often than any of Weill's other songs.
The plot begins with Washington Irving, who, after deciding to write a history of New York, is thrust back in time to witness the arrival of New Amsterdam's governor, Peter Stuyvesant. One of the festivities planned for Stuyvesant's arrival is a hanging. Of course, the condemned man, Brom Broeck, objects to the plan. Stuyvesant becomes dictatorial, but Irving urges him to think of how he will be remembered in history and the day is saved.
There is no overall style to Weill's score; the music is a mixture of Broadway-, vaudeville-, and operetta-style songs appropriate to each scene. The song "The One Indispensable Man," a mocking tribute to one of the town councilors, is similar to the ballads in The Threepenny Opera. "It Never Was You," the duet between Broeck and his beloved is reminiscent of Sigmund Romberg's operettas, although it definitely sounds like a Broadway tune of the 1930s. "How Can You Tell an American?" (the answer is he's the one who can't take orders) borrows from Gershwin's Strike Up the Band. "September Song," written especially for the show's star, Walter Huston, is the one piece out of 28 in the show that has proven to be pure Weill, a touching song about how precious love is, a theme also covered by Weill's later hit, Speak Low.