"Shipoopi" is a song in the 1957 musical The Music Man by Meredith Willson.[1] The song is sung by the character of Marcellus Washburn, a friend of con man "Professor" Harold Hill. It occurs in act 2 of the play during the dance committee's rehearsal which the town kids interrupt.

GenreShow tune
Songwriter(s)Meredith Willson

The dialogue surrounding the song does not explain the meaning of the term shipoopi, which Willson said that he invented for the song. When the high school kids want to dance, Marcellus asks which song they want to hear; Tommy Djilas replies "The Shipoopi", which seems to indicate that "shipoopi" is a dance. The chorus implies that it means a "girl who's hard to get", and the first stanza says a woman who waits until the third date to kiss is "your shipoopi".

In the original 1957 Broadway production, the song was performed by actor Iggie Wolfington, who portrayed Marcellus Washburn. In the 1962 film version of The Music Man, Marcellus is played by Buddy Hackett. According to the film documentary included with the extended DVD release, choreographer Onna White was able to take Hackett, not known as a dancer, and make him into a dancer for this number.


  1. Dalzell, Tom (2009). The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English. Taylor & Francis. p. 863. ISBN 978-0-415-37182-7.
  2. Pierce, Scott (April 7, 1998). "Buddy Hackett is funny even if he's sort of dead". Retrieved September 2, 2018.
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