The original Broadway production of "Hellzapoppin'" opened at the 46th Street Theater on September 22, 1938, and ran for 1404 performances--a considerable run for a Broadway show in the 1930s. The original theatrical run included moves to the Winter Garden Theater and the Majestic Theater. The comic team of Chic Johnson and Ole Olsen wrote and produced the review and served as emcees for the show. As with the movie, the Broadway show was a mix of absurdist comedy skits, comic musical numbers, walk-on comedians and audience participation. There were running gags, such as the woman who walked down the theater aisles shouting "Oscar!", and the man with the potted plant who shouted "Miss Jones!" (One gag from the Broadway show that did not make it into the movie was a woman in the audience who stood up several times and announced she was "just going to the bathroom"). The Harlem Congaroos--the Lindy Hop dance troupe that appears in the film--also appeared in the original Broadway show (although during the show's run, they were variously billed as Whitey's Steppers or Whitey's Lindy Hoppers).
The film's Best Song nomination for "Pig Foot Pete" is a mystery. The song does not appear in Hellzapoppin' (1941), but did appear in Keep 'Em Flying (1941), a Bud Abbott and Lou Costello film that was made the same year by the same production company and studio.
Mischa Auer plays "a real Russian nobleman who is pretending to be a fake Russian nobleman." This is a satire on Michael Romanoff, owner of the popular Hollywood restaurant, Romanoff's. He claimed to be a Russian prince and nephew of Tsar Nicholas II, but it was widely known in Hollywood that his royalty claims were false--in fact, his real name was Harry F. Gerguson, and prior to opening his restaurant he had been a pants presser in Brooklyn. This is why Auer tells his fellow Russian expatriate, "Better I should be known as a fake Russian prince. If everyone knew I was a real Russian prince, the novelty would wear off, and nobody would want me."
In one scene Ole Olson and Chic Johnson see a child's sled on the set of a film, and one of them says, "I thought they burned that". THis is a reference to the famous "Rosebud" sled in the final shot of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (1941).