JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR
- Music: Andrew Lloyd Weber
- Lyrics: Tim Rice
- Mark Hellinger Theatre, October 12, 1971 (711 perf.)
- Director: Tom O'Horgan
- Musical Director: Marc Pressel
- Orchestration: Andrew Lloyd Webber
- Judas- Ben Vereen- Tenor
- Jesus- Jeff Fenholt- Tenor
- Mary Magdalene- Yvonne Elleman- Mezzo
- Pilate- Barry Dinnen- Baritone
- Herod- Paul Ainsley- Tenor
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 12M/12F
SUMMARY AND NOTES
- A musical based on the last days in the life
of Jesus Christ. The show is vocally demanding, especially the roles of Judas and Christ.
The musical, when well done, is exciting and energetic. The Broadway version, which was
technically overblown, has possibly kept some theatre groups from attempting a production.
The technical needs are not great; in fact one of the most vital professional productions
of this show was in Los Angeles in an enormous open air amphitheater and performed on a
- The show is dramatic, introspective,
character oriented and gives meaning to Judas's betrayal. The music is well known and must
be "miked." For companies with limited resources, it is possible to use
microphones with wires for the principals, but their use must be choreographed in to the
performance during the early rehearsals.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "I Don't Know How to Love Him," Mezzo Solo, Mary Magdalene
relates her confusion about her relationship with Christ. A woman primarily used to
physical love, she is in a quandary and examines the different methods of playing the love
game. The song is much more than a ballad and needs to be acted and interpreted in order
to reflect the character.
- "King Herod's Song," Vaudeville, soft shoe style, Herod
confronts Christ and using the words he has heard about this God, mocks him. Underneath
his superficial exterior there is a confused fear which is in direct opposition to the
musical style of the piece.
- "Pilate's Dream," introspective Baritone, Pilate examines
his dream about the last days of Christ and becomes fearful of the role he must play in
- Instrumentation: electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, 2 trumpets, piano/organ,
drums/percussion, trombone, french horn, 4 reeds, may add 2 violins, cello and viola if
- Script: Great Rock Musicals
- Selections: Leeds
- Record/CD: Decca
- Rights: MTI
JOLSON THE MUSICAL (THE US PREMIER)
- Synopsis by UNH Alum George Livengood who toured with the original
- Not yet on Broadway
- Director: Bill Castellino
- Musical Director and Conductor: Art Yelton
- Choreographer: Joey McNeely
- Orchestration: David Siegal
- Musical Supervision
- Dance and Vocal Arrangements: Steven M. Bishop
- Al Jolson- Mike Burstyn- Baritone
- Ruby Keeler- Donna Lynne Champlin- Alto with High Belt
- Louis Epstein- Harry A. Winter- NS
- Harry Akst- Kenny Morris- NS
- Frankie Holmes- Jeff Richards- High Baritone
- Julia Rooney- Tina Stafford- Alto
- Mattie Rooney- Mia Malm- 2nd Soprano
- Josie Rooney- Amanda Serkasevich- 1st Soprano
- George Gershwin/Camera Man/Head Waiter- Jay Bodin- High Baritone
- Sam Warner/u.s. Jolson- Ed Romanoff- High Baritone
- Bagby/1st Song Plugger/Concert Singer- Kevin Manning- Bass/Baritone
- Charlie the Spot/Mr. Bratislaw/Concert Singer- Nolan Hines- 2nd Tenor
- Rubys Boy/Lighting Operator/Concert Singer- Bran Pace- Tenor
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 8M/3F
- The show opens on the stage of the Winter
Garden Theater in the 1920s where the Rooney Sisters are trying out a new song (IM
SITTING ON TOP OF THE WORLD, IN ¾ TIME- F Duet) with Harry and the Band. Al Jolson shows
up unexpectedly, making everyone nervous, puts the song in his key, has the boys play it
in 2 and makes it into a hit. He pays the Rooneys and takes their song.
- Al decides to put on a "one-man
show," even though his agent, Louis Epstein, and the producer, Lee Shubert, forbid
him to do it. He makes his entrance in that evenings performance without his usual
blackface, confusing the ensemble and stopping the show (ROCKABYE YOUR BABY). He throws
the ensemble off the stage, sings (TOOT-TOOT-TOOTSIE GOODBYE- M Solo) and announces his
upcoming one-man show to the audience.
- The next day Ruby Keeler and her Boys
audition for Louis Epstein (BABYFACE) wowing the employees of the Winter Garden. Once
again, Al appears unexpectedly, disregards Shuberts wish to use Ruby as backup for
the show and reaffirms he is "going it alone".
- Every Saturday Al auditions new songs in his
dressing room while he plays poker with Mike, Eugenie and friends (KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK- 1ST
SONG PLUGGER/ OLD KLETZMER SONG- MR. BRATISLAW/SWANEE- GEORGE GERSHWIN). He tears all
three songs up and goes so far as to tell young Gershwin not to "quit his day
- Throughout the week we are shown how insecure
Al is about the upcoming show. His fears prove groundless when he performs to a sold out
crowd (LET ME SING/FOR ME AND MY GAL- M Solo) and is a hit. Al goes from the theater to
the cast party at restaurant interrupting a song in his honor (DE CAMPTOWN RACES). He has
invited Ruby Keeler and puts her on the spot, making her sing for all the Broadway bigwigs
at the party (YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU- F Solo). She is joined by the trumpet and sax players
and thrills both the crowd and Al alike. Henrietta, seeing where this is going, leaves Al.
The scene ends with Frankie, Epstein, and Shubert, with the help of George Gershwin and
the ensemble, pitching "Swanee" once again to Al.
- Epstein comes to Al before one of his one-man
shows and Al informs him that he wants to marry Ruby Keeler. Epstein tries to talk him out
of it because Ruby is dating a mobster, but Al asks for Epsteins help and he agrees
to help him. Then Epstein tells him about Sam Warner turning the Jazz Singer (a play
starring George Gesel) into the first talking picture. Al wants the part, but it has
already been offered to George Gesel. Epstein tells him he is trying to get it for him, so
Al goes onstage and announces he is going to Hollywood and we are treated to a montage of
Hollywood back-lot life (CALIFORNIA HERE I COME). Al appears on the set and, with Sam
Warners urging, improvises a scene in the middle of the song (BLUE SKIES- M Solo) to
his fictional mother, played by Eugenie. The cast and crew are amazed by his genius and
leave the stage looking forward to a whole new era in film-making. Al is left onstage,
emotionally drained. He never was able to sing to his real mother because she died when he
was eight. With Harry accompanying him on piano he sings to his dead mother (MY MAMMY- M
Solo) and Ruby (now married to Al), Frankie and Epstein are allowed to see the sensitive
side of Al Jolson.
- Act II begins in the 1940s on the stage of
the Winter Garden Theater. Ruby Keeler, the triumphant star, returns to Broadway. It is a
big swing/Lindy production number in sailor suits (THE U.S.S. LINDY) with Ruby making her
entrance halfway into the number in her taps. Ruby stays onstage with the men and
experiences technical difficulties with the microphone (IM JUST WILD ABOUT HARRY),
but Al rushes the stage, pushes the tempo and forces Ruby into finishing the song his way.
They leave stage and the Rooney sisters make their 1940s entrance (I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR
- The next morning Ruby comes home to find an
angry Al Jolson who has been waiting up for her all night. She calls Epstein over to keep
things calm, but Ruby ends up leaving Al. Al, in a rage, throws Epstein out of his life
for speaking the truth: "Al Jolson couldnt fill a downtown speakeasy".
Then Al gets an idea about where he can perform; he calls the President and gets
permission to perform for the troops on the front line (APRIL SHOWERS/RED RED
ROBIN/IM LOOKING OVER A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER). Al does so many shows for the troops, he
has an attack and collapses.
- Epstein, ever the friend, tries to get Al
working again by talking Columbia Pictures into making, The Jolson Story. He gets
Rubys help to convince Al to do the movie. At first Al balks at the idea of letting
Larry Parks play him in the movie, but then he agrees and goes to the studio to record the
soundtrack (WAITING FOR THE ROBERT E. LEE).
- The movie puts the name Al Jolson on the lips
of the nation. Once again Epstein works on Als behalf and convinces Lee Shubert to
produce Al Jolson in a one-man show at Radio City Music Hall. Al is reunited with Epstein
and performs the last 25 minutes of the show with the full orchestra and backup singers
onstage as if he is playing the Music Hall (see below). The show ends as Al acknowledges
all of his good friends in an effort to make up for what a jerk he has been to all of them
over the years.
Al enters at the top of the stairs in the
middle of the orchestra with Harry Akst conducting (SWANEE) and brings on the Rooney
Sisters as backup singers (BABY FACE). Al dedicates a song to Epstein (SONNY BOY). He
brings out Frankie, who demonstrates his flair for comedy and his money note (THE SPANIARD
THAT BLIGHTED MY LIFE). The Rooney Sisters reenter with the male backup singers and stay
onstage for the rest of the concert. Al calls Ruby out of the audience because he
"owes her one" (AROUND A QUARTER TO NINE). Next, Al involves the whole audience
in a sing-a-long (CAROLINA IN THE MORNING). Al has a false ending at the top of the stairs
(GIVE MY REGARDS TO BROADWAY). The voice of Louis Epstein is heard announcing that the
lights of Broadway were turned out in honor of an American legend, Asa Yolson, as Al
finishes on his knee (MY MAMMY).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- All of the musical numbers in this show are
done almost as if the actors are in concert. Except for "My Mammy" (at the end
of the first act) and "Sitting on Top of the World," the numbers that Jolson
performs are in the "shows within the show". It is as if the he is always
performing "in one." Also, the songs that Jolson performs may sound simple by
todays sophisticated musical standards because he did not put modulation into his
songs to build excitement as we often do today. That was not the way music was written
during that period of history. Jolson created excitement with his personality, crazy
choreography and mannerisms, as well as with his many vocal tricks (whistling, changing
octave, etc.) To play Jolson an actor must be able to sing, move well, improvise with the
audience, and, above all else, be in command of what happens on the stage. The show is
Jolson and Jolson is the show. Everyone in the show must treat Al Jolson that way because
that is the magic of the man. Audiences should feel that Jolson is making it up just for
- In addition to a strong Jolson, the show
requires Ruby Keeler to be a true triple threat. Her voice and feet must be strong enough
to carry musical numbers by themselves. Also, some of Als most dramatic scenes are
opposite Ruby, so the acting needs to be strong.
- It should be noted that the show is not just
about a legendary entertainer. It is about a Jewish-American who was a legendary
entertainer. The majority of the characters in the play are Jewish and the idiosyncrasies
of the Jewish characters make the dialogue work.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
- Music: Andrew Lloyd Weber
- Lyrics: Tim Rice
- Entermedia Theatre, November 18, 1981 (824 perf.), moved to Broadway at Royale Theatre,
- January 27, 1982 (747 perf.)
- Director and Choreographer: Tony Tanner
- Musical Director: David Friedman
- Orchestration: Martin Silvestri and Jeremy Stone.
- Narrator- Laurie Beechman- Mezzo
- Joseph- Bill Hutton- Tenor
- Pharaoh- Tom Carder- Baritone
- Levi- Steve McNaughton- Baritone
- Mrs. Potiphar- Randon Li- VTI
- Potiphar- David Ardeo- Baritone
- Baker- Barry Tarallo- Baritone
- Butler- Kenneth Bryan- Baritone
- Reuben- Robert Hyman- Baritone
- Napthali- Charlie Serrano- Tenor
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 9M/8F
- The spot centers on the narrator who invites
the audience to listen to her tale of a dreamer. The curtain opens on a set of various
levels of rock formations and a small teepee, from which Jacob and his sons enter. As each
son is introduced he relates to Jacob and goes to his respective mother; Joseph, a blue
eyed, handsome, blonde youth, resplendent in white and gold, is the last to enter (JACOB
AND SONS- Mixed Chorus).
- A winged messenger enters on a scooter and
hands Joseph's father a package which contains a multicolored coat for Joseph (JOSEPH'S
COAT- Mixed Chorus). Joseph looks stunning in his new coat as is evidenced by the women
who flirt with him. The preferential treatment Jacob gives Joseph annoys his brothers but
they are more angered by his dreams which predict he will someday rule them (JOSEPH'S
DREAMS- F/M Duet to M Chorus).
- The brothers plot to kill him (POOR, POOR
JOSEPH- F Solo to Mixed Chorus), but stop when they spy two overly hairy Ishmaelites in
Groucho Marx noses leading two sculpted camels on wheels. His brothers sell Joseph to the
Ishmaelites, who drag him off in chains. The brothers cover the coat with animal blood as
proof that Joseph was killed by a wild animal.
- The narrator enters to comment on their
audacious behavior and the scene switches to Jacob in a rocking chair by a western fence.
The brothers re-enter in ten-gallon hats, with guns and lassos, to tell their father of
Joseph's plight (ONE MORE ANGEL IN HEAVEN- M Chorus).
- Meanwhile, Joseph and some dancing girls have
been taken to Egypt with a slave trader who sells him to Mr. and Mrs. Potiphar. Joseph is
an asset to Potiphar's business and quickly rises to a position of leadership.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Potiphar seduces the young man and the two are caught by an enraged
Potiphar who sends Joseph to jail (POTIPHAR- F Solo to Mixed Chorus).
- In jail, where Joseph reiterates his beliefs
in Israel, faith and peace, he is joined by a female chorus (CLOSE EVERY DOOR- M Solo and
F Chorus). The narrator arrives to describe his surroundings and bolster his spirits.
Joseph impresses his two cellmates, a baker and a butler, with his interpretations of
their dreams and all comment on the brightness of his future (GO, GO, GO, JOSEPH- F Solo,
3M and Mixed Chorus).
- The Act II curtain opens on the interior of
the palace with the narrator bringing on Pharaoh's dais. Joseph enters with his jailers
and a crowd of onlookers to question the ruler about his recurring nightmares. The Pharaoh
leaps from behind the dais wearing a white, Elvis Presley style outfit as the chorus
divides into various singing groups to provide musical back-up (POOR, POOR PHAROAH/SONG OF
THE KING- F Solo/M Solo and Mixed Chorus). Pharoah is so impressed with Joseph's dream
interpretation that he picks him as his second in command and the girls present him with a
gold cloak (STONE THE CROWS- F Solo and Mixed Chorus).
- Meanwhile, two of Joseph's brothers, Reuben
and Jacob are seen running a French style cafe in Paris and reminiscing, a la Chevalier,
about the good old days in Canaan (THOSE CANAAN DAYS- M Solo and M Chorus).
- The brothers go to Egypt to beg for food but,
ironically, are led to Joseph who forces them to grovel (THE BROTHERS CAME TO
EGYPT/GROVEL, GROVEL- F/M Solos to Mixed Chorus). He gives them the sacks of grain they
request, but hides a golden goblet in Benjamin's sack. He pretends to be angered, accuses
them of thievery and orders Benjamin to be thrown in jail (WHO'S THE THIEF- M Solo to
- The brothers beg for mercy in a Calypso
rhythm as the dancing girls enter with large fruit hats and perform a la Carmen Miranda.
Led by Napthali, the brothers offer to take the blame if Benjamin can be freed (BENJAMIN
CALYPSO- M Solo to M Chorus). Joseph is impressed by his brothers magnanimity and
makes his true identity known (JOSEPH ALL THE TIME- F/M Solos and Mixed Chorus).
- Jacob and his wives arrive in Egypt (JACOB IN
EGYPT- F Solo) to be greeted by Joseph who enters on a Rolls Royce style chariot and the
family is reunited (ANY DREAM WILL DO- M Solo to Mixed Chorus). Jacob hands Joseph his
colored coat as the company soars through the finale, which quickly reviews the story (MAY
I RETURN TO THE BEGINNING- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor
Dreamcoat was nominated for seven Tony Awards in 1982, but walked away with none,
being up against stiff competition.
- This interesting production is suitable for
all ages and tours extremely well. The show may be as simple or complex as desired as it
is almost a story theatre style show. The narrator must be multitalented, be able to
relate well to an audience, have a voice that projects well and charismatic warmth. It is
important to have an excellent director, as there are many creative moments that can be
added to enhance the audience enjoyment.
- The original play was written for schoolboys
to sing and subsequently was expanded. The entire production runs about an hour and has a
seven-minute curtain call. The shortness of the play makes it a perfect middle school
- The costumes are a mixture of period
biblical, modern overalls in various colors, and Carmen Miranda. It is an open-ended
production and the chorus may be increased or decreased. It is possible to use a unisex
cast in most of the parts, thereby allowing the brothers to be played by girls. If the
unisex approach is used it must be established in the beginning and maintained throughout.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- The songs in the production are an integral
part of the show and, as such, are difficult to perform out of context. Most of the
numbers in the show are memorable for they have different musical modes and performance
- Instrumentation: piano, trombone/tuba, trumpet, 2 reeds, guitar, bass guitar, drums,
- Script: Holt/Rinehart/Winston
- Score: Novello
- Record: MCA
- Rights: MTI
THE KING AND I
- Book and Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II
- Music: Richard Rodgers
- (Based on the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret
- The St. James Theatre, March 29, 1951 (1,246 perf.)
- Director: John Van Druten
- Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
- Musical Director: Frederick Dvonch
- Orchestration: Robert Russell Bennett
- Anna- Gertrude Lawrence- Mezzo
- The King- Yul Brynner- Baritone
- Lun Tha- Larry Douglass- Tenor
- Tuptim- Doretta Morrow- Soprano
- Louis- Sandy Kennedy- Boy Soprano
- Lady Thiang- Dorothy Sarnoff- Soprano
- Prince- John Juliano- Boy Soprano
- The Kralahome- John Juliano- VTNE
- Sir Edward Ramsay- Robin Craven- VTNE
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 14F/8M, 12 Children minimum
- The play opens in Bangkok harbor on the deck
of a ship. The English Captain, standing on deck, is greeted by Louis Leonowens, the young
son of Anna Leonowens, a British widow who has been hired to teach English to the King of
Siam's children. Anna enters, anxious to see the capital city of Siam. It is the early
1860s and this young widow and her son, nervously try to keep up their spirits and hide
their real fears (WHISTLE A HAPPY TUNE- F Solo to F/M Duet).
- The ship docks and the two are greeted by the
Kralahome, the Prime Minister, who gruffly informs Anna that she is to live in the palace.
It is obvious that he has little respect for her, but Anna, determined to succeed, follows
- In the palace, two weeks later, Kralahome
informs the King he has been disciplining Anna by making her wait two weeks before gaining
an audience. The King agrees to see her, but before Kralahome leaves to get Anna, Lun Tha,
a handsome young envoy from Burma, enters with the beautiful English speaking, Tuptim, a
gift from the King of Burma. The King declares he is pleased and Lun Tha leaves after
exchanging a worried look with Tumptim. Left alone, Tuptim is bitter that she is to be a
concubine and angrily sings (MY LORD AND MASTER- F Solo).
- The King returns to greet Anna and introduce
her to Lady Thiang, the first and favorite wife of the King. The King asks Anna to teach
English to his favored wives and children and to help him with his foreign correspondence.
She agrees, but becomes angry when the King absolutely refuses to give her a house. He
says she will teach and live in the palace or do neither. The King exits with Tuptim as
the King's favored wives gather around Anna and Lady Thiang. They discuss women's
positions in society and love.
- Anna tells them of her love for her husband,
Tom (HELLO, YOUNG LOVERS- Sc to F Solo). The King enters to introduce the children (MARCH
OF THE SIAMESE CHILDREN- Orchestra). The children graciously and formally greet the King
and Anna. Anna is so impressed that she glances at the King and slowly unties her bonnet.
The children all run to embrace her.
- While walking on the palace grounds, the
adolescent Prince Chulalongkorn, heir to the throne, questions the King about his new
found learning. He is confused because he has been taught that the world rides on the
turtle's back, yet Anna has told him the world is round. He turns to the King for help but
the King has been questioning his own beliefs and tells the boy he believes the world is
round. He abruptly orders the boy to leave him and slowly admits to himself he isn't sure
of anything (A PUZZLEMENT- Sc to M Solo).
- In the classroom, Anna teaches the students
an Alma Mater (ROYAL BANGKOK ACADEMY- Mixed Chorus). During a geography lesson, Anna
confesses to the children and wives that she likes them very much and has learned much
about Siam (GETTING TO KNOW YOU- Sc to F Solo to Chorus).
- Anna and the children get into a classroom
discussion about snow. The children do not believe that there is such a thing as snow and
they are very rowdy until the King enters to tell Anna he does not want this uproar and
that, as a servant, she should obey him. Infuriated at his attitude, she angrily tells him
she is leaving if she does not get her promised house and more polite treatment. She and
Louis leave the room, which upsets the wives and children who call after her to stay. The
King, upset at this outbreak of emotion, dismisses the class and slowly exits, feeling
very much alone.
- Tuptim quietly returns to the empty
schoolroom where her lover, Lun Tha, secretly joins her. Tuptim tells him that Anna has
fallen into disfavor and they will probably not be able to meet in the schoolroom anymore.
Lun Tha wishes they could openly declare their love (WE KISS IN A SHADOW- M/F Solos). Lady
Thiang quietly enters the room, sees the lovers and quickly leaves. Tuptim urges Lun Tha
to leave and finishes the song.
- Louis and Chulalongkorn meet in the palace
corridor and apologize for almost fighting. They can't figure out why grown-ups are very
uncertain about many things (A PUZZLEMENT [REPRISE]- Sc to Ch Duet).
- Alone in her bedroom, Anna vents her anger at
the King's refusal to give her the house she was promised (SHALL I TELL YOU WHAT I THINK
OF YOU?- F Solo). Lady Thiang enters the room and wisely urges Anna to see the King and
help him. She explains that certain politicians in England, feeling the King is a
barbarian, are determined to make Siam a protectorate of Great Britain and movingly
convinces Anna (SOMETHING WONDERFUL- Sc to F Solo).
- In the corridor Lady Thiang tells Kralahome
that Anna has agreed to see the King. Kralahome takes the cue and goes to ask the King to
- Anna arrives at the King's study and the King
tricks her into apologizing. He eventually admits to her that the British think he is a
barbarian and cleverly seeks Anna's advice. She tells him that he should throw a dinner
for the arriving British dignitary, Sir Edward Ramsay, and prove that Siam is a modern
country. They decide to dress everyone English style and serve a fine European dinner
party, complete with dancing and a theatrical entertainment Tuptim has written based on Uncle
Tom's Cabin. The wives and children arrive as the King instructs them in the
preparations that must be made. He leads them in prayer to Buddah and promises Buddah he
will give the unworthy schoolteacher a brick house per their agreement as Anna looks on in
- Act II opens in the schoolroom, quickly
converted into a dressing room for the ladies. It is bustling with activity. Lady Thiang
enters wearing a western bodice and a Siamese Penang skirt and the wives comment on the
oddity of the western dress (WESTERN PEOPLE FUNNY- F Solo to Chorus).
- Anna inspects the wives and realizes that
they don't have the proper undergarments, but the British have arrived and there is no
time to repair the oversight. When Sir Ramsay, wearing his monocle, wanders into the
schoolroom by mistake the wives exit screaming, terrified by his "evil eye."
After a short discussion they are called for dinner. Anna and Ramsay stay behind and
Ramsay reminds her that he still cares for her. They begin to dance and Sir Edward hints
at a marriage between them, but the King interrupts, irritated because of the closeness
between Anna and Ramsay.
- In the courtyard Lady Thiang sees Tuptim and
tells her she knows about her relationship with Lun Tha, which is why she has made
arrangements to send Lun Tha home to Burma. She exits as Lun Tha hurries on to ask Tuptim
to escape with him after her play is performed (I HAVE DREAMED- Sc to M/F Duet). Anna
comes to tell Tuptim it is time for the performance and wishes them luck (HELLO YOUNG
LOVERS [REPRISE]- F Solo).
- In the theatre pavilion, the play (SMALL
HOUSE OF UNCLE THOMAS- Mixed Chorus Ballet), a cleverly disguised Siamese style play about
slavery, is enacted. Tuptim, who narrates, begins to draw the parallel between the play
and her own life, but is stopped by the sound of a gong.
- In the King's study Sir Edward tells Anna and
the King that the play is a success and promises to send glowing reports about Siam to
Queen Victoria. After he exits, Anna tries to explain love to the King (SHALL WE DANCE?-
Sc to M/F Duet) and teaches him the polka and the waltz. Their romantic mood is broken
when Kralahome enters, followed by the guards and Tuptim. The King threatens to beat her
but Anna accuses him of being a barbarian and angrily stands to watch. Unable to proceed
in Anna's presence, the King leaves the throne room. Kralahome tells Anna he wishes she
had never come to Siam and she agrees.
- At the palace grounds, Captain Orton, who has
come to take Anna and Louis to Singapore, learns that the king is ill and Chulalongkorn,
coming by in a procession, is told to go immediately to the palace.
- In Anna's House, which is nearly empty of all
her furniture, Lady Thiang and Chulalongkorn wait anxiously for Anna and Louis. When Anna
enters, Lady Thiang delivers a letter from the King. It is a note of thanks for all she
has done for Siam and for him. The letter upsets Anna who goes to the Palace.
- Anna enters the King's study where the King
lies on his bed, surrounded by Lady Thiang, Chulalongkorn and Kralahome. Anna sits at the
foot of the bed. The King orders her to wear a ring he gives her and summons the children
who cluster around begging her not to leave. She sends Louis to tell Captain Orton to
return their things to the house. The King questions Chulalongkorn about the changes he
will make when he is king. The frightened boy begins a series of proclomations, which
include fireworks and boat races for the New Year's celebration. He hesitantly bans
kowtowing, but asks the King if it angers him. The King orders him to act like a king. As
the boy continues his proclamations the King dies, unnoticed by all but Kralahome, who
bows, and Anna, who kisses his hand.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- The King and I won five Tony Awards in
1952 for Best Musical, Best Actress, Supporting Actor, Scenic Designer, and Costumes.
- Yul Brynner, a relative unknown at the time
of his audition, went on to become a star for his excellent portrayal of the King. He may
be seen in the film where he acted opposite Deborah Kerr's delightful Anna and Marnie
Nixon's dubbed in singing voice.
- The show is probably the best constructed of
Oscar Hammerstein II's librettos. The plot develops in an interesting and dramatic manner
while the "Uncle Tom's Cabin" sequence, which parallel's the Siam situation with
the famous Stowe novel, is a brilliant example of how dance can further dramatic plot. A
choreographic masterpiece, it is one of Jerome Robbins' most innovative numbers, and
should be studied be anyone considering re-creating the choreography.
- The songs were written for Gertrude
Lawrence's limited vocal range which requires that the role of Anna go to one with charm,
character believability, and acting skills this is one show where the audience will
let a "singer" get away without acting very well. Casting the two leads requires
two excellent actors who can honestly react off each other. The role of the King, so often
associated with a bald Brynner, yet brilliant portrayed by Lou Diamond Phillips (who has
hair)is extremely complex and has to be handled with believability or it becomes a comic
caricature, which destroys the overall mood and charm of the play.
- The entire production is large and lavish and
must be budgeted accordingly. The period Western-style female costumes require a lot of
fabric while the court costumes of Siam have a rich look of brocaded and jeweled silk. The
sheer number of sets, actors, and costumes possibly account for the reason the show isn't
performed by more local groups. It is worthy of more productions, as the script is
humorous, dramatic, poignant, charming and sad. Given the right production, good
performers and a quality director/choreographer the show would be a highlight in any
theatre's memory book.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Hello, Young Lovers," Mezzo, ballad, not much range
- "I Whistle a Happy Tune," Mezzo, light hearted, movement
oriented, possible for audition
- "A Puzzlement," Baritone, dramatic, introspective
- "Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?" dramatic, Mezzo,
angry, excellent lines to song character study for class situation, good acting required
to make the transitions work
- "Shall We Dance?," Baritone/Mezzo, charm scene/song, dance
number, good for revue or class study
- "Something Wonderful," possible Soprano audition song,
shows off a legit voice
- Instrumentation: 4 violins, cello, viola, 5 reeds, 2 horns, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones,
harp, percussion, piano/conductor
- Script: 6 by Rodgers and Hammerstein
- Score: Williamson
- Record: Decca
- Rights: R & H
- (Revived in 1978 as Timbuktu, an all Black musical)
- Book: Charles Lederer and Luther Davis
- Music and Lyrics: Robert Wright and George Forrest (based on music by Alexander Borodin)
- (Based on the play by Edward Knoblock)
- Ziegfeld Theatre, December 3, 1953 (583 perf.)
- Director: Albert Marre
- Choreographer: Jack Cole
- Musical Director: Louis Adrian
- Orchestration: Arthur Kay
- Hajj- Alfred Drake- Baritone
- Caliph- Richard Kiley- Tenor
- Marsinah- Doretta Morrow- Soprano
- Wazir- Henry Calvin- Baritone
- Lalume- Joan Diener- Alto
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 6F/6M minimum, much doubling
- Iman, an old man, sets the scene for the
morning marketplace where the beggars of Baghdad prepare for work (SANDS OF TIME- M Solo).
A poet enters selling rhymes (RHYMES HAVE I- Sc to M Solo) and, when the Poet sits on the
steps of the mosque in begger Hajj's place, he is astonished to receive coins and comments
on the turn of events (FATE- L to M Solo). The poet, now mistaken for Hajj, is carried off
to a desert encampment by villains of Jawan, who plan on torturing him until he removes a
curse that beggar Hajj has placed on Jawan. The poet, quickly turns this difficulty to his
advantage and agrees to remove the curse if the villains will pay the sum of 100 gold
- It seems that Jawan's only son was stolen
from him fifteen years ago, immediately after Hajj's curse. The Poet promises Jawan he
will find his son that day in Baghdad. Since Jawan is a robber, he is not safe entering
the city but does so in hopes of finding his heir.
- At the palace in Bagdad, the Wazir's wife,
Lalume, sings of the enchantment of the city to three homesick princesses, the daughters
of Sheik of Ababu (NOT SINCE NINEVAH- F Solo to Mixed Chorus) who have arrived at court.
Lalume has promised to find wealthy mates for Ababus daughters in return for a loan
to enrich the Wazir's treasury.
- The Poet meets his lovely daughter, Marsinah,
in the bazaar, gives her the gold, and urges her to buy some pretty things and the house
she has always wanted. She is immediately surrounded by merchants who display pretty
trinkets (BAUBLES, BANGLES AND BEADS- F Solo to Chorus).
- The Poet is captured by the Wazir's police,
who see him carrying a moneybag bearing the insignia of a family that was robbed, and,
when he mistakenly mentions Jawan's name, they take him to the Wazir.
- Marsinah is followed to the garden of a house
she wants to own by the young Caliph, who is fascinated by her (STRANGER IN PARADISE- Sc
to M/F Duet). They agree to meet the next night, even though neither knows the other's
- Later that day at the palace, the Caliph
orders Omar, his servant, to send away his concubines and prepare for him to marry the
girl he has met in the garden (HE'S IN LOVE- Mixed Chorus).
- The Poet is brought before the Wazir who
wants the Poet's right hand cut off, the usual punishment for theft, but Hajj plays on
Lalume's sympathies and convinces them to give him a hearing (GESTICULATE- M Solo and
Mixed Chorus) before passing sentence. Jawan is dragged on by the police, cursing the Poet
for being a fake but, spying an amulet hanging from the Wazir's neck, he realizes he has
found his son and praises the Poet's skills as a prophet. The Wazir panics at this news,
for Hajj cursed him just moments before. He begs Hajj to remove the curse and agrees to
raise him to an Emir if he will stop the young Caliph's wedding to the unknown girl from
- The Caliph is on his way to meet Marsinah
(NIGHT OF MY NIGHTS- M Solo and Mixed Chorus), but she never arrives, for the Poet,
fearing they may be killed when he is unable to stop the Caliph's wedding, has hidden her
in the harem. The Caliph brokenheartedly returns to the palace and the Wazir is overjoyed
to discover that his new Emir is really a wizard (WAS I WAZIR- M Chorus).
- Lalume and the harem girls entertain the new
Emir (RHADLAKUM- F Solo to F Chorus). The Poet comforts Marsinah as she describes her lost
love; while, in another part of the palace, the Caliph describes Marsinah to the Wazir
(AND THIS IS MY BELOVED- Split 3M/F Quartet). The Poet and Omar exchange some poetic
verses. (THE OLIVE TREE- M Solo).
- The Wazir, discovering that Marsinah is in
his harem, prepares to marry her before the Caliph realizes her true identity. He does
this in order to guarantee the Caliph's marriage to one of the sheik's daughters.
- When the Wazir, not realizing Marsinah is the
Poet's daughter, tells him he is going to marry her and have her poisoned, the Poet drowns
him in the palace pool. Marsinah and the Caliph are united and Lalume and the Poet agree
to spend the rest of their days on a desert oasis.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- This musical fantasy, which won most of the
season's Tony's, was unusual because it was based on an old play and utilized Alexander
Borodin's music. It may be the only time a Tony Award will be given to a Russian composer,
who, incidentally, died in 1887. Kismet won six 1954 Tony Awards for Best Actor
(Alfred Drake), Musical, Producer, Author, Composer and Conductor.
- The musical was revived on March 1, 1978 at
the Mark Hellinger Theatre (243 perf.) and renamed Timbuktu. It was produced by
author, Luther Davis. The show starred Eartha Kitt, Melba Moore, Ira Hawkins and Gilbert
Price, but was unable to sustain a long run despite the lavish production and added music.
- This fantasy is still an audience pleaser and
an interesting treatment of the late night, non-musical film. The show is refreshing
because the Arabian Nights setting is so unusual. It is good summer stock and community
fare and may be performed within four basic sets which are interchangeable: the bazaar
area with the Mosque as a background wall, the interior of the palace, the house and
garden and the desert. In spaces with no fly space and little offstage storage, fold-over
flats have been utilized to specifically define areas. These flats, which might open,
similar to folding screens, allow for one permanent set to be utilized. The fold-outs have
different walls that denote specific location.
- The chorus may be cut to the bare minimum,
but this is only advisable in touring situations where cost might be a problem.
- The costumes should show the rising opulence
of Hajj's station and should reflect the Arabian Nights location. Props are not extensive,
choreography is not difficult and the entire production may be quickly mounted. The show
does require an excellent leading man and two romantic leads with superior voices.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "And This Is My Beloved," good class exercise and showcase
piece, emphasis on vocal and timing, Marsinah's ending section good for audition
- "Gesticulate," certain verses have audition potential for a
strong male baritone
- " Night of My Nights," audition for quality tenor voice
- Instrumentation: 5 reeds, 3 trumpets, horn, 2 trombones, tuba, 4 violins, viola, cello,
bass, harp, percussion, piano/conductor
- Script: Chappell, Random
- Score: Frank
- Record: Columbia
- Rights: MTI
KISS ME, KATE
- Book: Bella and Sam Spewack
- Music and Lyrics: Cole Porter
- (Based on The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare)
- New Century Theatre, December 30, 1948 (1,077 perf.)
- Director: John C. Wilson
- Choreographer: Hanya Holm
- Musical Director: Pembroke Davenport
- Orchestration: Robert Russell Bennett
- Petruchio/Fred- Alfred Drake-Show Baritone
- Lucentio/Bill- Harold Lang- Baritone
- Kate/Lilli- Patricia Morison- Soprano
- Bianca/Lois- Lisa Kirk- Mezzo
- 1st Man (gangster)- Harry Clark- Baritone
- 2nd Man (gangster) Jack Diamond- Baritone
- Baptista/Harry- Thomas Hoier-
- Hattie- Annabelle Hall- Alto
- Paul- Lorenzo Fuller- Baritone
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 8M/8F minimum and 3 male jazz dancers
- In a Baltimore Theatre, where the company has
just finished the final rehearsal of "The Shrew," based on Shakespeare's famous
comedy, Fred Graham, leading actor and director, gives some last minute notes, which
irritate his leading lady, ex-wife, Lilli Vanessi. As he stages the curtain call she
privately curses him and stalks off. He gives a morale boosting speech to the company and
exits as Hattie and the ensemble prepare for the show (ANOTHER OP'NIN', ANOTHER SHOW- F
Solo to Mixed Chorus).
- Lois is on the phone in a backstage corridor,
trying to locate her gambler-boyfriend/fellow actor, Bill Calhoun, who enters as she hangs
up the phone. He tells her he has signed director Fred Graham's name to a $10,000 IOU,
which upsets her because she is afraid Mr. Graham will be bumped off before he can make
her a star on Broadway. She asks him why he constantly gambles (WHY CAN'T YOU BEHAVE- Sc
to F Solo).
- The scene shifts to two adjoining dressing
rooms with a connecting door. Lilli's room is ornate, while Fred's is stale and
dilapidated. The two are arguing from their own rooms. They are still in love but are both
temperamental and self-centered, which causes them to constantly argue. Lilli shows off
her engagement ring from her wealthy boyfriend, Harrison Howell, and Fred seethes with
jealousy. As they talk, the mood changes and Lilli reminds him of the crazy things they
did together when they were married. He joins in the nostalgic game and they relive a
romantic moment (WUNDERBAR- Sc to M/F Duet). They kiss and Lilli asks whose fault it was
that they divorced; there is no answer and Fred returns to his room to prepare for the
- Two gunmen have come to collect on the
$10,000 IOU that bears Freds signature. Fred denies any knowledge of the phony
signature and dismisses the men who urge him to pay up and promise to return.
- In Lilli's room she receives flowers that
Fred intended for Lois, his newest flame. She mistakenly assumes he wants to rekindle his
love (SO IN LOVE- Sc to F Solo).
- Fred discovers that the flowers for Lois have
been mistakenly sent to Lilli and rushes in to Lilli's dressing room, hoping she hasn't
read the card and discovered the flowers were for Lois. Lilli puts the unread card in her
bosom and the two go the their places.
- The opening number of "Shrew"
begins (WE OPEN IN VENICE- Small Mixed Chorus) and the plot quickly unfolds. It seems that
Bianca cannot wed until after her elder, quick-tongued sister, Katherine, is betrothed.
Three suitors urge Bianca to marry one of them (TOM, DICK OR HARRY- Small Chorus, 3M/F
- Petrucio, an old friend of Lucentio who loves
Bianca, arrives in Padua to find a wife (I'VE COME TO WIVE IT WEALTHILY IN PADUA- L to M
Solo with M Chorus) and it seems that Kate may be an excellent choice for this confidently
- Katherine, extremely unhappy because her
father and all men favor Bianca, expresses her angry feelings (I HATE MEN- F Solo).
Petruchio bargains with Kate's father for her hand and implores Kate to let him glimpse
her face, but she tells him it is like anyone else's. He attempts to woo her (WERE THINE
THAT SPECIAL FACE- M Solo).
- Katherine exits, as Petruchio finishes the
song. She later appears holding Lilli's flowers which she hurls at Fred; she has obviously
read the note. He urges her to remember they have an audience. The play continues with
Lilli slugging him, partially in character but mostly for her own vengeance. The scene
ends as Fred takes her over his knee and spanks her.
- Backstage, Lilli confronts Fred who doesn't
deny the flowers were intended for Lois. The two bicker throughout and the scene finally
ends as the two leave for their dressing rooms.
- Lilli phones Harrison, promises to marry him
immediately and begins packing, but is stopped by Fred, who can't believe she would walk
out in the middle of a show. She scoffs and sends him back to his room where the two hit
men are waiting. Fred decides to get the hit men to persuade Lilli not to leave the show.
He admits to signing the IOU, but promises to pay once the show is a hit. When the men
understand that Lilli's sudden departure could cause the show to close, they enter her
dressing room and attempt to charm her into staying. They eventually show her their guns
as the lights black out.
- In front of the "Shrew" curtain,
the chorus performs a filler number to allow time for a set change (I SING OF LOVE- Mixed
- The curtain opens to reveal the exterior of
the church, where Kate has just married Petruchio. Couples are dancing happily and the
wedding guests comment on the bizarre ceremony. Petruchio enters carrying a whip followed
by Kate and the two gunmen, costumed in "Shrew" garb. When Kate refuses to kiss
her husband, Petruchio and the company urge her to comply with this simple request (KISS
ME, KATE- Mixed Chorus). He carries her off as the curtain falls on Act I.
- Act II begins by the stage door where the
actors are cooling off and watching Fred's dresser, Paul, and his friends perform a jazz
number (TOO DARN HOT- M Solo with M Trio).
- Fred comes from behind the "Shrew"
curtain to announce to the audience that the mule-riding scene will not be performed
because Miss Vanessi can't ride the mule. Thus they will perform the following scene,
which takes place in Petruchio's house. Petruchio, to force Kate to realize how badly she
has treated her own servants, begins ordering and kicking his servants about. He complains
about everything while she urges moderation. His plan seems to be working, but she locks
the door to their bridal chamber and refuses him admission. He thinks of his many former
girlfriends (WHERE IS THE LIFE THAT LATE I LED?- L to M Solo).
- Backstage, Harrison Howell, a Washington
big-wig, arrives to save Lilli from Fred, but Fred and the two gunmen convince him that
Lilli is under emotional duress and might say anything. They exit for their onstage
entrance as Lois enters and recognizes Howell as a former lover. He begs her to be
discreet, which she agrees to, and he leaves for Lilli's dressing room.
- Bill, who has overheard their conversation,
asks Lois about their relationship. She responds in song that she will always love Bill,
but he doubts her and exits. She continues the song, which explains her philosophy (ALWAYS
TRUE TO YOU IN MY FASHION- L to F Solo).
- Lilli greets Harrison with the story that she
is being held at gunpoint, but he thinks she is merely being temperamental and ignores her
pleas for help. Fred and Harrison describe the life Lilli will lead as Harrison's wife, a
picture of quiet social gatherings with stuffy statesmen. Lilli angrily orders Fred and
his thugs from the dressing room.
- A messenger and several men arrive with a
package for Lois from admirers and the chorus girls tease Bill who sings about his love
(BIANCA- M Solo and F Chorus). As he sings, the girls sing and tap dance. After they all
dance off in kick line style, the gangsters enter to phone their boss who they discover
has been bumped off. Ordered to report to their new boss, they say farewell to Fred and
Lilli. When Lilli realizes she is free to go, Fred urges her to stay, but she exits to a
waiting cab and Fred is left alone (SO IN LOVE [REPRISE]- Sc to M Solo).
- The two gunmen, in their street clothes,
attempt to leave the theatre but become confused and wind up onstage, where they happily
break into song (BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE- M Duet).
- At Baptista's house, Bianca and Lucentio's
wedding party is beginning but Fred and the company are afraid that Lilli has left and the
play will end a fiasco. When Kate dutifully enters to obey Petruchio's every wish (I AM
ASHAMED THAT WOMEN ARE SO SIMPLE- F Solo), the actors are jubilant, the play is a success,
and Lilli and Fred are reunited (FINALE- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Kiss Me, Kate won six 1949 Tony Awards
for Best Musical, Composer, Lyrics, Libretto, Producers and Costumes.
- The musical is well constructed with a clever
book by Sam and Bella Spewack and marvelous music and witty lyrics by Cole Porter.
However, the leading roles require vocal and emotional maturity to make the game
playing/argument sequences believable and enjoyable. It is essential that all the
"fight" sequences, both in the Shakespeare play between Kate and Petruchio and
in the backstage sequences between Fred and Lilli, be played as a sincere game. The
audience must always know that they are setting each other up or the play can become
uncomfortable and vicious. Much rehearsal time and improvisation work should be set aside
to accomplish this, for if they don't understand the relationship and enjoy the
"game," the play can never achieve the brittle wittiness and fun the libretto
- The costumes are modern and
"Shakespearean medieval" which is usually obtainable from classical companies or
those who have performed Once Upon a Mattress or Camelot. The essential sets
are the connecting dressing room and the backstage corridor. It is ideal to have an
outdoor alley for "Too Darn Hot." If companies have limited funds and space, the
"Shakespeare" play sequences may be permanent set pieces with all scenes being
played in front of the same basic location.
- The cast may be expanded to fit the size of
the stage. It was traditionally performed with a separate singing and dancing chorus, but
these may be combined if singers who move well are used and the longer dance numbers are
- The November 18, 1999 revival starring Marin
Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell garnished the following Tony (1999-2000) Awards: Brian
Stokes Mitchell-Best performance by a leading actor in a Musical, Don Sebesky for his
innovative orchestrations, Martin Pakledinaz for costumes, and Best Revival of a Musical,
Michael Blakemore won Best Direction of a Musical for his direction of Kiss Me, Kate and
also for his direction of Copenhagen in this same season.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Another Op'nin', Another Show," good opening number for
revue or club, good for beginning choreographer, simple movement, needs effective staging
- "We Open in Venice," may be done as quartet, good for
revue, good for beginning choreographer, as dance may be simple
- "I Hate Men," strong vocal, angry, clever lyrics comic in
tone, good for character work and learning to play to an audience
- "Too Darn Hot," dance oriented, jazz style, slick, good for
revue or nightclub
- "Where is the Life That Late I Led?" lots of specifics,
good for audition when trimmed, strong vocal
- "Brush Up Your Shakespeare," vaudeville style, clever
lyric, diction and inter-relationship emphasized
- "Always True to You in My Fashion," good for movement and
presentation work, sexy character with charm
- Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, 5 reeds, horn, 3 trumpets, trombone,
percussion, harp, piano-celeste, guitar/mandolin, piano/conductor
- Script: Chilton, 10 Great Musicals, Theatre Arts '55
- Score: V.S.
- Record: Columbia
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
LADY AUDLEYS SECRET
- Book: Douglas Seale
- Music: George Goehring
- Lyrics: John Kuntz
- (Adapted from the 1860 novel by Mary Elizabeth Braddon)
ORIGINAL OFF-BROADWAY PRODUCTION
- Theatre, October 3, 1972 (8 perf.)
- Director: Douglas Seale
- Choreographer: George Bunt
- Musical Director and Vocal Arrangements: John Cina
- Rick Atwell
- Donna Curtis
- June Gable
- Russell Nype
- Douglas Seale
- Danny Sewell
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 3M/3F
- Act I opens on the Lime Tree walk leading to
Audley Court. As the curtain rises the villagers are discovered in a tableau as though the
progress of a dance had suddenly been arrested. Phoebe, ladys maid to Lady Audley,
and Luke Marks, her betrothed, are among the dancers. The Butler and the housemaid have
been setting out a picnic. After a moment, the tableau is broken and the dance resumes to
the tune of "The English Country Life". As the dance ends, Luke takes Phoebe
aside and tries to steal a kiss, but she reputes him immediately. Lady Audley comes
running in, closely followed by Sir Michael, he is seventy years of age and somewhat out
of breath and the villagers cheer and throw rose petals. It is Sir Michaels birthday
and Lady Audley, "the perfect wife," has planned special festivities to honor it
(THE ENGLISH COUNTRY LIFE- Mixed Chorus).
- After the number, Luke seizes Phoebe roughly,
but again she pushes him away forcefully and he exits. Lady Audley notices that Phoebe
seems depressed and comments on it. Phoebe explains that it was her dead mothers
wish that she marry her cousin Luke. Lady Audley promises to help her. (A MOTHERS
WISH IS A DAUGHTERS DUTY- F Solo).
- After the number a horse is heard offstage.
Sir Michaels daughter, Alicia, enters and tells her father that she has been riding
along the road in hopes of meeting her cousin and fiancé, Robert. He is expected at Sir
Michaels home at any time. A train whistle is heard in the distance and Sir Michael
suggests that Roberts train has been delayed and that he will arrive shortly. Lady
Audley begins to talk to Alicia about the lack of thoughtfulness in younger men. It is
apparent immediately that stepmother and stepdaughter are not on altogether friendly
terms, although they are only a few years apart in age. Lady Audley tells Sir Michael that
she admires him because he is older and thus more experienced (THE WINTER ROSE- M and F
- Both Lady Audley and Sir Michael exit as
Phoebe enters alone. She begins to talk out loud, saying that Lady Audley, who started out
as a governess for Sir Michael and ended up marrying him, has a hidden secret which will
be safe with her. She tells the audience that she and Lady Audley once shared an attic
room together and that Lady Audley was good and kind to her. Phoebe is her loyal friend.
- Robert Audley is heard singing a martial
offstage. He enters with his friend George. Robert is a handsome young gentleman dressed
in a military uniform and George, his friend, is dressed in deep mourning. They meet
Phoebe and Robert asks her questions about the new Lady Audley. After she answers his
questions, Phoebe curtsies and then exits. George, depressed, tells Robert about the death
of his wife, whom he feels terribly guilty about because he left her and went off to sea
(THAT LADY IN ENG-A-LAND- M Duet).
- Alicia enters and shows Robert and George a
watch with a picture of Lady Audley on it. George is silently horrified as he sees that
Lady Audley is, in fact, his wife whom he believed to be dead. Yet instead of telling
Alicia and Robert, he keeps the information to himself and exits, leaving Alicia and
Robert to themselves.
- Alicia, thinking that Robert has comes to
propose to her, asks if he has something of a personal nature to say to her. He replies
that he doesnt and she is furious. Lady Audley soon enters. She is very courteous
toward Robert. (CIVILIZED- M/F Solos with Mixed Chorus), but she says in an aside that
Robert may be more trouble than she had planned on. Alicia, observing that Robert and Lady
Audley are a little too friendly, becomes jealous. She asks Robert to accompany her on a
walk, and Robert kisses Lady Audleys hand and he and Alicia exit.
- Lady Audley is left alone to tell her
thoughts to the audience. She is surprised that she is affected so much by the handsome
Robert Audley. Remembering her drunken, lecherous father, she becomes upset, but calms
herself by thinking about her future. As she stands there, lost in her own thoughts,
George enters and confronts her. Lady Audley tells him that she will use her position to
silence him, but he seizes her by the wrist and promises to expose her. Lady Audley tells
him that she will inform Sir Michael right away, but first she must have some water to
- As Georges back is turned, she goes to
the well, takes off the iron handle, and conceals it in her right hand behind her. As he
stoops down to the well to wet her handkerchief, she creeps up behind him and strikes him
on the head and he falls down the well. Luke, who has been looking on unseen, exits. Lady
Audley is thrilled with what she has accomplished. (DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES- F Solo). The
- Act II begins at the Conservatory in Audley
Court, twelve months later. The butler and maid are setting up the table and chairs for
tea as Sir Michael and Alicia enter. She is telling Sir Michael that Robert is very
worried about his friend George and can think of nothing else. She is also terribly upset
because she is afraid that Robert will change his mind and decide not to marry her. (AN
OLD MAID- F Solo) Lady Audley enters. Alicia tells her father that she does not trust Lady
Audley and Sir Michael is extremely angry with her for saying anything against Lady
Audley. Lady Audley, instead of getting angry with Alicia, plays the role of a martyr and
Alicia exits angrily, crying for the loss of her mother. She screams offstage and Sir
Michael exits to see what is wrong. Lady Audley congratulates herself on her victory so
far. She is pleased that a year has gone by since she pushed George into the well (REPOSE-
- Luke enters and attempts to blackmail Lady
Audley, requesting one hundred pounds for now. She tells Luke that she will meet him later
at his house with the money. Before he leaves, Luke grabs Lady Audley and kisses her
roughly, but this, he says, is nothing compared to "the real harvest, which is yet to
come." As Luke exits, Robert enters without having seen the other man. Robert
approaches Lady Audley with a letter of hers that she had written to George. Robert knows
that she is Helen Talnoys, Georges wife, but she tells Robert that he cant
prove it and, even if he attempted to, it would soil the Audley name. (THE AUDLEY FAMILY
HONOR- M/F Duet). Robert tells her that she must leave England or he will expose her. He
will bring her to a boat train tomorrow, when she will then leave for Paris. He exits.
- She starts to exit as Alicia is heard crying
offstage. Meeting Sir Michael and Alicia, Lady Audley re-enters with them. Alicia is
convinced that her stepmother and Robert are having an affair. Lady Audley, aware of her
feelings, tells both Alicia and Sir Michael that Robert has been too forward with her. Sir
Michael promises to make Robert leave without mentioning her name as she tells him about
the shameful things that Robert has done. (LA DE DA DA- Mixed Chorus). Lady Audley and
- Robert enters and tells his uncle that he
will be leaving Audley Court for a few days, on a matter of business with Lady Audley. Sir
Michael, construing the worst, demands that Robert leave forever. In this moment of
passion, Sir Michael chokes, clutches his heart and must be carried off-stage. Robert
realizes that this is Lady Audleys work and says that he will not go far. But as he
exits, Lady Audley, who has been hidden from him, watches and lets out a sigh of relief.
- Scene two is set on the road to Audley Court.
Luke, who is drunk, and his drinking companions enter. Luke tells them that his ship has
finally come in. (I KNOWS WHAT I KNOWS- Mixed Chorus). The men exit, leaving Luke fooling
around with the "wenches" present. After a few moments, Phoebe enters and he
shoves the wenches away. Luke tells her that he has some business with Lady Audley which
will make them rich (I KNOWS WHAT I KNOWS [REPRISE]- M Solo).
- Scene three opens in the interior of the
Castle Inn, where Phoebe is alone. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door and, when she
answers the door, Robert Audley is revealed. He asks her if he can stay there for the
evening. She tells him that it is all right and then tells him that she is frightened by
Lukes behavior. Luke arrives, overhears Phoebe and tells her to quiet down. Phoebe
exits while Robert tries to discover what Luke knows. He decides to take him to a bar,
offer him more drink and then to attempt to discover the information.
- Lady Audley enters in cloak and hood, as
Phoebe returns. Lady Audley tries to find out what Phoebe knows and is relieved that
Phoebe knows nothing. She asks Phoebe to conceal her and she hides her in the cellar. Luke
and Robert reenter. Luke has not told him anything, but Robert hopes to gain more later.
Luke demands ale from Phoebe and, when she refuses to get it, he strikes her. Robert,
overcome with disgust, strikes Luke and knocks him cold. Phoebe exits.
- Robert, alone, thinks aloud about his friend
Georges disappearance. (HOW? WHAT? WHY?- Mixed Chorus). The music continues and Lady
Audley appears as Phoebe enters. She asks Phoebe to send Luke to her, but she cant,
as he is unconscious and the three continue singing the previous number. Lady Audley
returns to the cellar and Phoebe takes Robert to his room.
- Lady Audley quickly returns from the cellar
and tries to rouse Luke without success. Phoebe re-enters and Lady Audley talks her into
walking part of the way home with her. She suggests that Phoebe leave now and then she
will catch up with her. After Phoebe leaves, Lady Audley locks the door to Roberts
room, takes up a hurricane lamp, goes to the cellar and throws the lamp in. She exits. The
fire grows stronger and Luke comes to. He tries to escape but staggers and falls.
- Scene four begins again on the road to Audley
Court. Phoebe is walking along the road as Alicia enters. She is looking for Lady Audley
as her father is in terrible condition and asking for her and Robert. Alicia exits when
Phoebe promises to tell them both the news. Lady Audley arrives and, when Lady Audley
attempts to stop her from returning to the inn where she sees smoke, Phoebe figures out
what Luke was going to do to Lady Audley. At that point, to prevent her from returning to
save her husband and Robert, Lady Audley drags Phoebe off by the hair. Four firemen then
break upon the scene. (THE FIREMENS QUARTET- M Chorus)
- Scene five is set at the Lime Tree Walk where
moonlight falls on the old well. Phoebe is heard calling for help and is dragged on by
Lady Audley. Robert enters and then takes Phoebe from Lady Audleys grasp. After they
argue a few moments, she takes a stiletto from her stockings. Lady Audley and Robert
struggle and he eventually wrenches the stiletto from her hand as Luke and Phoebe enter.
Luke, who is in terrible shape, falls to the ground and, after he promises to keep silent
for Sir Michaels sake, Lady Audley assumes that her last witness is dead and
therefore she will be victorious. Sir Michael and the Villagers enter and he sings with
Lady Audley (THE WINTER ROSE [REPRISE]- M/F Duet). He then dies. Now that Sir Michael is
dead, the scandal can be exposed. Luke revives long enough to accuse Lady Audley of
murdering George, then dies. George, who is still alive, having been saved by Luke, enters
and Lady Audley screams hysterically. George tells all that she is mad, as her mother was
before her and Lady Audley falls and then dies (FORGIVE HER, FORGIVE HER- Mixed Chorus).
The curtain falls.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
The musical is delightful and funny.
Excellent for schools hoping to give students a look at melodrama in an interesting way.
Highly stylized it is a fun piece for dinner and community theatres to perform. More
successful in the Wilbur Theatre in Boston than in New York the show deserves a closer
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
LADY IN THE DARK
- Book: Moss Hart
- Music: Kurt Weill
- Lyrics: Ira Gershwin
- (Based on Mary Braddons novel)
- Alvin Theatre, January 23, 1941 (467 perf.)
- Director: Moss Hart
- Choreographer: Albertina Rasch
- Musical Director: Maurice Abravanel
- Orchestration and Vocal Arrangements: Kurt Weill
- Dr. Brooks- Donald Randolph-
- Miss Bowers- Jeanne Shelby-
- Liza Elliott- Gertrude Lawrence- mezzo
- Sutton/Miss Foster- Evelyn Wyckoff-
- Miss Stevens- Ann Lee-
- Maggie Grant- Margaret Dale-
- Alison Du Bois- Natalie Schafer-
- Russell Paxton- Danny Kaye- tenor
- Charley Johnson- Macdonald Carey-
- Randy Curtis- Victor Mature-Baritone
- Kendall Nesbitt- Bert Lytell
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 11M/12F
- Act I begins in the office of Dr. Alexander
Brooks, a psychoanalyst. Dr. Brooks is a man in his middle forties, "good-looking
without being in any way handsome" with a lively sense of humor. Miss Elliott, an
executive for Allure, the popular womens magazine, enters the room. She is obviously
nervous and resents being there. The Dr. asks her about her problem and she remarks that
it is an illogical one; one that is unjustified. She is successful in every way; her job
could not be better and she is having a wonderful relationship with a gentleman, although
he is married. Nothing should be wrong, yet she has been having attacks of depression and
mood swings, not to mention a constant nagging fear. She is also finding it difficult to
concentrate on her work. Dr. Brooks asks her to lie down and then to tell him anything
that comes to mind.
- She remembers a particular childhood melody,
which she has been hearing in her dreams, and Dr. Brooks asks her to hum it. As she does,
she begins to dream. The lights dim and, as the music swells, twelve men dressed in
faultless evening clothes and carrying signs march on. One carries a sign that says,
"New York Chapter- Liza Elliot Admirers" (OH, FABULOUS ONE IN YOUR IVORY TOWER-
- The dream continues, all done in song, as a
maid, Sutton, who will later be identified as Miss Foster, Lizas secretary, appears.
She sings to the men, thanking them for Liza but telling them that she is resting. A
package is brought in for Liza. It is a gift of a sable coat. Next Beekman, the chauffeur
enters. He will later be identified as Russel Paxton, the photographer for Allure. He
dances off after he has lavishly praised Liza. The music changes to a more romantic and
glamorous mood and Liza enters and she and Sutton discuss her extraordinary schedule (THE
WORLDS INAMORTA- F Duet). The lights dim and Liza is seen waltzing in the spotlight
until Beekman reenters. He begins to drive her to a party, but Liza asks him to stop
because she would like to get on a soapbox to address the crowd (ONE LIFE TO LIVE- M/F
- They get back in the car and head for the
Seventh Heaven where couples are dancing. Pierre, the headwaiter who is later identified
as Kendall Nesbitt, rushes to Liza. He makes a fool of himself by the flourish of praise
that he gives her, then he calls for everyones attention. The crowd toasts Liza
(GIRL OF THE MOMENT- Ensemble).
- Suddenly a bugle is heard and in marches a
soldier, sailor and marine. The marine will later be identified as Charley Johnson, the
advertising manager of Allure. He brings a message from the President who wishes for
Lizas portrait to be painted. The portrait is painted and unveiled, but it is not
flattering. Liza appears as she appeared in the doctors office- austere and somewhat
forbidding, entirely without glamour. She looks at it and screams, then covers her face.
The crowd, who is at first perplexed, becomes cynical (IT LOOKS LIKE LIZA- Company) and
they all begin to laugh and mock her.
- Now the lights come up again and we are in
Dr. Brooks office. Dr. Brooks remarks that it is interesting to see the polarized
differences of the woman in reality and the woman in her dreams. He makes an appointment
for the next day and Liza leaves.
- Scene two opens in Lizas office where
Miss Foster, Lizas exceptionally beautiful secretary is putting letters on her desk.
The telephone rings and it is Kedall Nesbitt who leaves a message for Liza. Miss Stevens,
the receptionist, and Maggie Grant enter. They briefly discuss Randy Curtis, the handsome
star that is modeling for Allure before Liza enters. Maggie, slightly cynical about
psychiatrists, asks her about the appointment with Dr. Brooks. Alison, another employee of
Allure, bursts into the room with a very strange idea for the magazine. She is the type of
woman who is only concerned with things that are "chic." In essence she is a
- Next Russell the photographer enters the room
in a flurry. He is hysterical with praise over the new model Randy Curtis, whom he wishes
Liza to meet. Charley Johnson enters and Liza asks him to wait while she meets Randy.
Charley, a slightly mischievous man, asks Curtis for his autograph and it is an
embarrassing situation. All leave except Charley and Liza and she attempts to apologize to
Charley for getting angry the day before and throwing a paperweight at him, but does it
very badly. The two part angrily as Kendall Nesbitt enters. He tells her that he has
divorced his wife for her, but, instead of being pleased, she becomes visibly upset. Randy
enters and asks Liza for a dinner date and she accepts in order to get rid of him. Kendall
leaves and Liza becomes more upset, cancels all of her appointments and locks the door.
She lies on the couch and begins to hum her melody. A dream begins again as the lights
- We see a graduation ceremony a generation ago
as boys and girls enter carrying diplomas (MAPLETON HIGH CHORAL- Mixed Chorus). Next Liza
and Kendall enter. They are choosing a ring for Liza, yet she is hesitant. The jewelry
salesman is Charley Johnson and, when Liza finally decides on one, Johnson, instead of
handing her a ring, offers her a dagger. Liza recoils and covers her eyes as both men
disappear. Randy comes to her and takes her hands and she smiles up at him (THIS IS NEW-
- Liza is now dancing with Johnson as six women
enter, all wearing wigs and dressed like Liza. Johnson disappears and Randy is again
discovered. He sings to the six women and, as they dance, Liza merely watches. Finally,
Liza is alone on stage. Slowly she hums the beginning of that phrase of song and soon she
remembers the rest (THE PRINCESS OF PURE DELIGHT- F Solo to a Mixed Chorus of Children).
- The dream changes to Liza and Kendalls
wedding day, but Liza has forgotten what day it is. The others lead her to the altar where
Charley is the minister. He asks whether any one knows why this couple should not marry,
then answers himself. "This woman knows she does not love this man." Liza says
that this is not true (THIS WOMAN AT THE ALTAR- Company). As she yells, "I do! I do!
I do!" the dream ends.
- Scene three is set in Dr. Brooks
office. Dr. Brooks is at his desk. Maggie Grant sits in the chair facing him. Maggie has
come to see him because she is so concerned for her friend. Dr. Brooks tries to reassure
her and she leaves feeling better. Liza enters for her appointment and they discuss her
extreme reaction at the news of Kendalls divorce. Dr. Brooks points out that Liza is
another glamorous woman in this dream. He also suggests that perhaps she is afraid to
compete with other women. When he tells her this, Liza becomes upset. She tells him that
she will not be continuing counseling.
- Scene four switches to Lizas office
late in the afternoon where Alison, Russell and Maggie have been waiting for hours for
Lizas return. Maggie is concerned because this is so unlike her. Liza finally enters
and apologizes, then suggests that they all go right to work. Alison and Russell leave
which allows Maggie and Liza to have a conversation about Kendalls proposal. Kendall
arrives and Liza finally admits to him that she does not want to marry him. Russell enters
and interrupts with an idea for a photograph and Kendall leaves promising that he will
fight for her.
- Soon after, four models, Alison and Russell
arrive. Charley enters and gives Liza his resignation. Liza tells him that she will meet
whatever offer has been made to him, but Charley refuses, telling her that he now has the
same position as hers. The discussion quickly becomes an argument. Charley accuses her of
being married to her desk and having magazines instead of babies and she picks up a
cigarette box and throws it at him. When he leaves she crumples on her desk, crying
uncontrollably. Miss Stevens enters with the news that Randy Curtis has arrived for her.
Liza has forgotten about the appointment. Randy enters her office saying that he is so
relieved that he wont be seeing another glamour girl and she tells him to wait
outside for her while she changes. Barely waiting for the door to close, she rips off her
dress then takes off the dress on the mannequin and flings it on. Maggie enters. When she
sees Liza wearing the dress, she asks if everything is all right, but Liza tells her to
leave her alone and the curtain comes down.
- Act II begins in Lizas office late the
following afternoon. She is at her desk, intent on a magazine layout. First Maggie, then
Alison enters asking her to go out and have a cocktail on the way home. Liza refuses and
they leave. She tries to concentrate on her work, but begins to have a difficult time as
voices taunt her from behind the scenes. One of the voices tells her to decide on this
months cover, either a circus cover or an Easter cover and another dream begins as
the lights dim. The lights come up showing that the walls of the office have disappeared
and in their place is a huge circus cover for a magazine- the cover that Liza has been
staring at. While voices are saying, "Easter cover or circus cover?" we faintly
hear circus parade music. Paraders, the Ringmaster and others enter singing about the
greatest show on earth (THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH- M Solo and Ensemble).
- The Ringmaster presents Liza as a freak
because she is one "who cant make up her mind." Charley enters as a
prosecuting attorney in a trial and the defense attorney is Randy Curtis. Soon the jury
arrives in a fit of tumbling (DANCE OF THE TUMBLERS- Albertina Rasch Dancers). After this
fanfare, Charley and Randy battle over Lizas innocence or guilt (THE BEST YEARS OF
HIS LIFE- M Duet). This time, she is accused of not being able to make up her mind about
marrying Kendall. The Ringmaster remarks in the middle of the trial that he likes the
music that is being sung. The jury answers "Tschaikowsky!" He says,
"Tschaikowsky! I love Russian composers!" (TSCHAIKOWSKY- M Solo and Ensemble)
- They proceed with the trial and Liza defends
herself by telling a story about a girl named Jenny who could always make up her mind, but
then in the end did not fare well (THE SAGA OF JENNY- F Solo and Chorus). During the
continuing music, Randy, the jury and the Ringmaster all congratulate her. She finally
goes back to her seat and picks up the drawing of the circus cover. Charley and the jury
look at the circus cover, then begin to sing the opening bars of the childhood melody that
Liza knows so well. She screams and snatches the drawing from Charleys hand. Charley
says to Liza, "As you are afraid to compete as a woman- afraid to marry Kendall
Nesbitt- afraid to be the woman you want to be- afraid- afraid- afraid," as the
lights go out.
- Scene two take place in Dr. Brooks
office. Liza is telling him that in the previous dream, she was reminded of feelings that
she felt before. The lights dim as Liza tries to remember when she felt that way before
and the lights come up on a small group of people dressed in the evening clothes of 1904.
Liza, the Liza of today, stands alone in the spotlight at one side. In the group, a woman
of great beauty stands out from the others. It is Lizas mother. Into the group comes
a man carrying a small child in his arms. This is the Liza of many years ago. The women
present remark that Liza is a beautiful girl, but both parents laughingly deny this is
true. The Liza of today says, "I wanted to cry out, Its not true!
Its not true! Im like my mother! I wanted to shout and make them
stop." The child is silent for a moment, looking up into their faces and then,
struggling against tears, she begins the little song that we know. Only the first bars
emerge. Then, suddenly the child breaks into sobs and runs from the room. Liza tells Dr.
Brooks that she hated her mother for being so beautiful.
- Next, the lights come up on a group of school
children and their teacher on the other side of the stage. The teacher is picking children
for parts in a play. She chooses David Reed for the prince and Liza Elliot for the
princess, but David refuses to be the prince unless they find a pretty princess. Little
Liza is deeply embarrassed and runs from the room.
- Next the lights come up on a little girl of
ten who is reading a book and munching on her apple. Her mother is ill, and when Mrs.
Bennett enters the room and Liza asks if her mother is all right. Mrs. Bennett can not
answer. The adult Liza says, "I loved my mother, but I could feel no grief." She
runs and gets a clock and a mirror of her mothers, then practices looking at
herself. Her father enters and sees her; he is angry and horrified.
- Next the lights come up on a group of
seventeen-year old boys and girls dancing. It is graduation day for them and Liza begins
dancing with Ben after they hear that he has won the award for most handsome boy and she
the most popular girl. They detach themselves from the dancers and walk to a bench on the
opposite side of the stage where Ben promises to take Liza to the graduation supper. Liza
begins singing that melody, but this time she remembers it all (MY SHIP- F Solo). Another
girl, Barbara, walks over to them. She is Bens girlfriend, although they have been
fighting. Ben leaves with Barbara, but promises to be right back. He never returns.
- This time when the lights rise we are in Dr.
Brooks office. He tells her that she has withdrawn into herself as a woman, that she
could no longer take the risk of being hurt by competing with them. "But the longing
remained and so did the rage and that deep sense of injustice. And what you are facing now
is rebellion- rebellion at your unfulfillment as a woman." The curtain falls.
- Scene three begins in Lizas office a
week later. Charley and Maggie are waiting for her. Charley tells her that although he
enjoys irritating Liza, he still admires her. Its just that as a woman she makes him
sick. Russell runs in, furious at Alison who has broken his color plates. Liza enters,
followed by Randy and the rest leave. Liza and Randy speak about the wonderful afternoon
they have had then he exits. Liza asks Charley in to her office. She has decided that she
has a few answers for Charley, who usually has them all, but he refuses to bicker with her
and, when Kendall arrives, Charley leaves. Liza tells Kendall that their relationship is
over and they part friends. After Kendall exits, Randy arrives. He proposes to her and she
is so surprised that she tells him she will answer later. Randy leaves and Charley strolls
in. This time Liza asks him to share her job with her. He agrees, ecstatic, then dashes
into the other room to gather his materials. Upon her return, Maggie is astonished to see
the two working peacefully together. Liza smiles, then slowly begins to sing the melody.
Charley, as the remembered words come back to him, softly joins in. Maggie looks curiously
from one to the other, then elaborately sinks into a chair and folds her hands in her lap.
Liza is singing gaily, oblivious to Maggie. She and Charley half smile at each other. The
curtain slowly descends.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "This Is New," F Solo
- "My Ship," F Solo
- "The Saga of Jenny," F Solo
- "Tschaikowsky," M Solo
- Script: World Publishing Co.
- Record: Columbia Masterworks
LEAVE IT TO ME
- Contributed by UNH alum John Garand
- Book: Bella and Samuel Spewack
Music and Lyrics: Cole Porter
- (Adapted from the play Clear All Wires
by Bella and Samuel Spewack)
- Imperial Theatre, November 9, 1938 (291 perf.)
- Director: Samuel Spewack
- Choreographer: Robert Alton
Musical Director: Max Meth
Orchestration: Don Walker
- Buckley Joyce Thomas- William Gaxton-
- Alonzo "Stinky" Goodhue- Victor Moore-
- Mrs. Goodhue- Sophie Tucker-
- Colette- Tamara-
- Dolly- Mary Martin-
- Joseph Stalin- Walter Armin-
- Edward H. Robins
- Alexander Asro
- George Tobias
- Chorus and Smaller Roles:
- As Act I begins we see an onscreen
reproduction of page one of the Paris and Chicago World Tribune. We also see a huge
reproduction of a photograph of Buckley Joyce Thomas and his publisher. The caption reads,
"Worlds greatest correspondent greets worlds greatest publisher."
Page one turns on the screen to reveal page two and the headline reads, "J.H. Brody
Rumored New U.S. Ambassador to Moscow." The second page turns to the third and
another photograph is shown. This time, Thomas is alone and the caption says,
"Worlds greatest correspondent says worlds greatest publisher will be
worlds greatest ambassador."
- Scene one opens in the Paris, France press
room of the Paris and Chicago World Tribune. There are eight reporters at their desks,
working and typing while four secretaries serve them. They all sing about the current news
(HOW DO YOU SPELL AMBASSADOR- Mixed Chorus).
- The phone rings and the secretary answers.
She calls for Buckley Joyce Thomas to pick up the phone as the Duke of Windsor is calling.
Soon it becomes apparent that Thomas has set these calls up in order to impress his boss,
J.H. Brody. Dolly, Brodys daughter, walks in and quickly embraces Thomas. As Brody
arrives, the two instantly separate, seeming to barely know each other, and Thomas pays
tribute to Brody (WE DRINK TO YOU, J.H. BRODY- M Solo and M Chorus)
- Soon a news bulletin is heard. It says,
"Secretary of State Hull announced today that the new American envoy to Russia would
be Alonzo P. Goodhue of Topeka, Kansas." Brody is furious. He decides to send Thomas
to Moscow; his job will be to disgrace the new ambassador. Now Dolly and Thomas are
- The screen is lowered again and on it is seen
the Paris and Chicago World Tribune Editorial Page with a cartoon depicting Goodhue in a
bath tub rowing. The heading says, "The Vulgar Boatman."
- Scene two opens at a railroad station in
France. Showgirls and Porters enter (VITE, VITE, VITE- Mixed Chorus). Prince Alexander
Tomofsky and Jerry Grainger enter separately and the Prince tries to get Grainger to
change a counterfeit bill. Dolly enters asking the conductor to put her bags on the train
with Thomass. She exits as Mrs. Goodhue enters. Mrs. Goodhues entourage is
complete with showgirls and caviar, much to the porters dismay, and, as she speaks,
one sees that this is indeed a strong, matronly woman who has peculiar ideas about class
and also about the Russian culture. We learn that she has been the driving force behind
her husbands career. Her five daughters enter and, along with them, her secretaries
and the showgirls. Mrs. Goodhue sings about what her influence on the Russians will be
(TAKING THE STEPS TO RUSSIA- F Chorus).
- Thomas appears followed by Brody. They meet
Mrs. Goodhue who rebukes them for their cartoon and exits with her daughters. J.H. leaves
after telling Thomas that he had better do his job right as Grainger, a young diplomat
sees Thomas, his old friend.
- Grainger remarks that a mutual friend,
Colette, is in Moscow working for a news agency. He tells Thomas that she has not
forgotten him and will not marry because of it. Grainger asks Thomas to convince her what
a terrible guy he is so that she will forget him, thereby leading the way for Grainger.
Thomas agrees and Grainger exits while a number of reporters enter, all waiting for
Goodhue. It becomes obvious what a bumbling idiot Goodhue is when Thomas gets him to enter
by asking some buglers to play "Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean." Goodhue enters,
immediately dropping his parcels and taking off his hat. Thomas interviews him and
discovers that the ambassador was pushed into this appointment by others, especially by
his wife. Thomas promises to get him recalled.
- The setting of scene three is a park in
Moscow where a sign reads "Park of Culture and Rest." Colette is seated at a
bench reading a telegram. On the stage there are singing boys and showgirls. They are
dressed as peasants and Russian characters. Kostya, a gofer of Thomas enters with a
message for Colette saying Thomas wants to see her immediately. She responds by telling
Kostya to tell Thomas to get out of town (GET OUT OF TOWN- F Solo and M Chorus).
- Scene four opens in the anteroom in the
American Embassy, Moscow. Grainger, a military attaché, a naval attaché and two
secretaries are present. Goodhue enters reading a speech to himself. Goodhue meets both
attaches and his ignorance is revealed when he has no idea if they are Americans or what
their jobs entail. Mrs. Goodhue enters followed by two male decorators. She is giving them
instructions. The children now enter. Goodhue reads his speech, which he will give to the
Foreign Minister. It is insulting the way Thomas has written it and Goodhue hopes that it
will get him recalled. When all leave but Mrs. Goodhue and her daughters, she tells them a
story about what to expect from men (MOST GENTLEMEN DONT LIKE LOVE- F Solo).
- After Mrs. Goodhue and her daughters exits,
Thomas and Kostya enter. Thomas tells Kostya to go find him a Russian peasant and a worker
to interview. Kostya exits as the Prince enters. He tries to get Thomas to change a
hundred ruble note, but Thomas refuses because it is also counterfeit and the Prince bows
and leaves. Colette enters with the secretary and Thomas flirts with her, but Colette
tells him that she will work with him, nothing else. She exits and Kostya enters with a
peasant and a worker. Thomas interviews both men in a quite humorous way, making them both
look slightly crazy, and they exit. Goodhue enters with a medal on the lapel of his coat
and Thomas cannot believe that his plan didnt work. Grainger enters with a message
for Goodhue. It seems that a number of foreign ambassadors have come to pay their respects
and, when Thomas refuses to see them as a favor to Goodhue, Grainger tells him that the
German ambassador will march in if he will not see him. Thomas devises a plan and, when a
fierce, snarling Nazi enters, Goodhue kicks him in the belly.
- Scene five opens in Goodhues bedroom at
the embassy. Goodhue is in bed wearing a robe lined with red and white strips. His foot is
in bandages. The French and Latvian ambassadors enter to congratulate Goodhue but the
British ambassador is indecisive over the matter. Mrs. Goodhue, whose only dream is to go
to London, is thrilled by her husbands success. Goodhue receives a secret message
from the United States. It says, "Sock him again!" Goodhue is getting
discouraged. All leave but Thomas, who entered during the confusion. Thomas devises
another plan using the Prince. As all else exit, Dolly enters and both she and Thomas
decide to end their relationship (WHEN ALLS SAID AND DONE- M and F Duet).
- As scene six begins, we see another part of
the park where a platform is present. The showgirls and singing boys enter and complete
the previous number with Dolly and Thomas. With the end of the song, the scene switches to
Thomas hotel suite in Moscow.
- Thomas and Goodhue are present, waiting to
put their plan into action. Thomas has invited the Prince to dinner at 6:30 p.m. He has
decided that the only way to get Goodhue out of the ambassadorship is to have him commit
murder. Therefore, the plan is to have Goodhue shoot the Prince, but not kill him, from
Thomas balcony while the Prince is enjoying his meal with Thomas. Thomas is
convinced that this will tarnish Goodhue without actually ruining him.
- Unfortunately, all goes wrong. As the Prince
enters, Goodhue discovers that there is a screw loose in his gun. Thomas sends the Prince
into the bathroom to take a refreshing bath before dinner and, while Goodhue is fiddling
with the gun, Colette, Kostya and, later, two secret service men enter with the Russian
foreign minister. Thomas is terrified that Goodhue will mistake this man for the Prince
and shoot him, starting an international incident. At that moment, Soyanoff, the worker
that Thomas had interviewed enters with a gun, threatening to shoot the foreign minister
over ideological differences pertaining to the new Russian government. Yet, just as
Soyanoff is ready to shoot, Goodhue enters from the balcony and accidentally shoots
Soyanoff, saving the foreign ministers life. Thomas is furious. The curtain is
dropped. Colette followed by the entire ensemble dressed in peasant and Russian character
costumes, enters in front of the curtain (COMRADE ALONZO- Mixed Chorus).
- The curtain rises and we see a platform where
Colette, Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. Goodhue, Stalin, the foreign minister and Graustein are
standing. The crowds are cheering as Stalin kisses Goodhue. The ambassador responds that
he just wants to go home.
- As Act II opens, the same people, with the
exception of the foreign minister, are discovered on a platform again, but this time in
Red Square. As Colette, Thomas and the Goodhues emerge from the grandstand, Goodhue speaks
about how miserable he is. Thomas accuses Colette of changing him and thus ruining his
ability to manipulate situations. This, Thomas feels, is why he has failed Goodhue. Scene
one closes as Thomas and Colette call for a droshky, a Russian taxi.
- Scene two begins as they enter the droshky.
Thomas receives a wire from Dolly saying that she got on the wrong train and is stranded
in Siberia. She demands one thousand dollars or shell tell J.H. that Thomas has no
money to send her. Colette moves closer to him and their love is renewed (FROM NOW ON- M
and F Duet).
- Goodhue enters, raving mad at Thomas, who has
promised to get him recalled and instead has made him a hero. Thomas promises not to let
him down. Goodhue reminisces about his home, Topeka, Kansas, while the screen flashes
images of Goodhues daydream (I WANT TO GO HOME- M Solo)
- It is now Goodhues bedroom at the
embassy. Thomas enters with another idea for Goodhue. He says that he has misunderstood
the changes in the world. He was "old fashioned" instead of being aggressive and
violent. So, in the spirit of their new strategy, Goodhue will have to be good. He will
have to do a good deed, plus wear a bulletproof vest. They agree to try it.
- Scene four opens somewhere in Siberia where
Dolly is standing at a signpost. On the music cue, six boys, dressed in furs for the
Siberian winter, enter and group around her. As she sings, Dolly does a mock striptease
(MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY- F Solo).
- Now we are in the anteroom at the American
embassy in Moscow. Goodhue is going to give a speech, which Thomas has written, called the
Goodhue Plan. As he practices reading it to Thomas, we discover that the plan is full of
hope and good wishes that are unrealistic, but strangely logical at the same time. Mrs.
Goodhue, who knows nothing about the plan, is asked by reporters to explain it. She
cant, but in the true political spirit, pretends that she can (TOMORROW- F Solo).
- As the curtain rises for scene six, we are
now in the embassy reception room. Mrs. Goodhue and ensemble finish the song as the screen
next flashes the news bulletin, "Goodhue recalled. War averted" (TOMORROW- Mixed
- Scene seven opens in a Moscow Park where
Thomas and Colette enter congratulating themselves on the Goodhue plan. Goodhue enters,
extremely happy. He thanks Thomas then exits, saying that Mrs.Goodhue is furious. Thomas
begins discussing his new assignments and Colette asks him where she fits in. They plan to
marry (FAR AWAY- M and F Duet).
- Soon Brody and Dolly enter. Brody fires
Thomas as he has discovered the previous relationship between Thomas and Dolly. He then
promises to blackball him out of journalism.
- It is now scene eight, and the setting is a
railroad station in Moscow. Brody receives a cablegram which says that he has indeed been
appointed an Ambassador, but to Liberia. Brody furiously exits with Dolly as Goodhue and
his family enter. Goodhue is ecstatic while his wife is depressed (FROM THE USA TO THE
USSR- M Solo and F Chorus).
- Thomas, who is depressed because his career
is now over, enters. Goodhue tells him that he has bought the World Tribune from the
dejected Brody and offers him the job of executive editor. Thomas is thrilled and accepts
(TOMORROW [REPRISE]/FROM NOW ON- Company).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Mary Martins debut. Gene Kelly had
minor role as an eskimo.
- First show after Cole Porters accident.
Disappointing, but typical after his accident
- Originally communist friendly, became too hot
politically after Stalin and Hitler signed their pact, just after the national tour
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," Mezzo solo
- "Get Out of Town," sung by Tamara
- "Most Gentlemen Dont Like Love," sung by Sophie
- THE LIFE
- Book: David Newman, Ira Gasman and Cy Coleman
- Music: Cy Coleman
- Lyrics: Ira Gasman
- Ethel Barrymore Theatre, April 26, 1997 (466 perf.)
- Director: Michael Blakemore
- Choreographer: Joey McKeenly
- Musical Director: Gordon Lowry Harrell
- Dance and Vocal Arrangements: Cy Coleman and Doug Katsaros
- Music Coordinator: John Miller
- Orchestrations: Don Sebesky and Harold Wheeler
- Queen- Pamela Isaacs- *
- Sonja- Lillias White- VTI
- Mary- Bellamy Young- *
- April- Felicia Finley- VTI
- Cichi- Sharon Wilkins- VTI
- Carmen- Lynn Sterling- VTI
- Frenchie- Katy Grenfell- VTI
- Tracy- Judine Richárd- VTI
- Fleetwood- Kevin Ramsey- *
- Jojo- Sam Harris- *
- Memphis- Chuck Cooper- *
- Lacy- Vernel Bagneris- *
- Lou- Rich Hebert-
- Snickers- Gordon Joseph Weiss- VTI
- Bobby/Cop- Mark Bove- VTI
- Silky/Enriqué- Rudy Roberson- VTI
- Oddjob/Shoeshine- Michael Gregory Gong- VTI
- Slick/Shatellia- Mark Anthony Taylor- VTI
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 3F/3M minimum
- It is Time Square in the 1980s. The curtain
is raised as the audience enters. The set is an empty lot with three filthy brick walls
from bordering buildings defining the space. There is a Port Authority Bus Terminal on an
adjacent side street, and a sign close by reads "BIG APPLE WRECKING CORP."
- Jojo enters and sets the scene, explaining
how things are now in Times Square, and how they used to be in the 1980s. As Jojo explains
the street comes alive with hookers, pimps, hustlers, dealers, hot dog vendors, etc.
(check it out) Jojo continues to introduce the cast who pose as they are mentioned, he
then explains his philosophy on life (USE WHAT YOU GOT). The lights fade, we are on a side
street off Eighth Ave., in the early morning. All of the other characters have dissolved
into the alleys and only Jojo and Queen remain. The story begins.
- Queen has spent the night in jail. She tells
Jojo how she is through with life on the streets. Sonja joins them, and Queen tells of her
new outlook on life (A LOVELY DAY TO BE OUT OF JAIL).
- The scene switches to a sketchy Times Square
room where Fleetwood is waiting. Queen Bursts in, excited to see her man. They talk of
their dreams together (OH DADDY). The fantasy quickly ends when Queen discovers that
Fleetwood has spent half of their savings on drugs: $2,000 in on night. She fumes out the
door, slamming it in her wake.
- Out on the street Fleetwood plans to make it
big (A PIECE OF THE ACTION). Jojo emerges from a doorway, and teases Fleetwood. Silky,
Bobby, and Snickers enter; they laugh at Fleetwood for having his girlfriend for his only
hooker. They exit as Jojo restrains him. Jojo tells him how he should be handling his
business, and helps Fleetwood hustle a young girl who has just gotten off the Greyhound
bus. Her name is Mary, and this is her first time in New York.
- The Pimps and Jojo sit with drinks in
Lacys Bar as the hookers enter. Its early evening, about six. The hookers
enter, complaining about their slow business. Lacy brags about the old days for a bit
while Sonja enters, and laments over a beer (THE OLDEST PROFESSION). Memphis, the
girls pimp enters with Snickers and April. The girls exit in a hurry, not wanting to
upset him for taking a break. Carmen (who is not one of his hookers) and Sonja stay.
Memphis glares at Sonja who wont budge. He pours her beer into her purse and tells
her to finish it outside. Mary and Fleetwood enter. He gets into an argument with Memphis,
but Memphis just mocks him and his pimping style (DONT TAKE MUCH). As he exits Queen
enters. She and Fleetwood make up from their previous fight, he introduces Mary as their
new means of income (HEY DADDY). Out on the street Queen tells Mary she has a lot of
learning to do about life on the street, although she remains optimistic (GO HOME).
- Later that night out on the street Sonja,
Carmen, Tracy and some other hookers are out on the street soliciting men passing by. As
Carmen spots a group of college boys off stage all the girls but Sonja and Queen exit. As
they converse a gospel group enter singing. Sonja is annoyed but Queen is delighted and
joins in the singing (YOU CANT GET TO HEAVEN). The other girls enter and Frenchie
complains of a man she just hooked, who after she had done the deed, gave her a pamphlet:
Sinner Repent. Stop your evil ways, Give yourself to God." The girls respond with
their attitude on hooking (MY BODY).
- The Doll House is a Topless bar where Jojo
has gotten Mary a job as a cocktail waitress. A dancer grinds on top of the bar, but as a
customer tries to pull off her G-string, she flips and quits. The crowd starts to get ugly
and Jojo shoves Mary onto the bar telling her to dance. The patrons begin shoving bills
into her panties and bra, telling her to "Take it off!" For a moment Mary is
bewildered, but the suddenly takes off her bra: Blackout.
- Back on the street the next night, the girls
are selling their wares. A loud whistle sounds, and the girls run off, tailed by the
police. The pimps come pouring into the streets and complain of damage cops do to their
business (WHY DONT THEY LEAVE US ALONE). Lou enters looking for some fresh new
talent. He begins to describe the girl he wants, and Jojo says he thinks he can get it for
him (EASY MONEY). Meanwhile, Mary bursts into the empty hotel room, she twirls around in
pleasure, posing in front of the mirror. Bills are bursting from her purse and she
continues the song. Jojo and Fleetwood enter and join her Jojo gives some coke to
Fleetwood and Mary gets her first blow. Fleetwood suddenly remembers that Queen is in
jail, but Mary urges him to stay with her. We find out that she is not as innocent as she
has pretended. She says she wasnt born yesterday, but does look that way. That is
the secret of her appeal. She leans into Fleetwood and Jojo begins to exit. Mary invites
him to join the party. He is taken aback, but does. Blackout.
- In the City Jail, the girls are packed into a
holding cell. A guard lets all the girls out except Queen whose "employer" did
not make her bail. Sonja is angry with Fleetwood, but Queen sticks up for him. The guard
makes Sonja leave, leaving Queen alone in her cell (HES NO GOOD).
- Out on the street Mary exits the hotel, Sonja
sees her and begins and inquiry, but Mary tells her to mind her own business. Jojo comes
out and joins her. He insinuates what they have been up to, and an angry Sonja decides to
make bail for Queen herself.
- A few days later in Lacys Bar a few of
the girls are hanging out, Tracy has lifted someones wallet and is buying everyone a
drink. Sonja declares she hasnt been feeling herself, but the doctors dont
know whats wrong with her. Fleetwood and Mary enter. They join Jojo. Fleetwood
presents her with a pair of $300 shoes to wear at the hookers ball. Queen enters and
is outraged at Fleetwood for inviting Mary, she makes a scene and Mary storms out,
Fleetwood chases after her. Jojo takes advantage of the opportunity, and tells Memphis to
strike while the irons hot. Memphis goes over to queen and tells her that if she
ever wants to, hell take care of her. He gives her the number to his private line.
- Out on the street Fleetwood is waiting for
Queen as she exits the bar. He blocks her path and tries to cajole her, but she wont
have any of it (IM LEAVING YOU).
- This scene is a traveler. We see hookers and
pimps enter from the wings. We watch them dress up in their outrageous outfits for the
hookers ball as Lacy sings (THE HOOKERS BALL).
- At the hookers ball Jojo and Lou enter
together. When Mary and Fleetwood enter, Jojo points out his discovery to Lou. Jojo
introduces them, and Lou sweeps Mary off without giving Fleetwood a chance to protest.
Queen then enters dressed to kill; it is obvious she is wearing an extremely expensive
gown. She is dressed with much more class than any of the women there. Fleetwood rises to
greet her, but she breezes past him to Memphis table. The message is apparent. As
the curtain closes Queen sits with Memphis, Lou is putting the moves on Mary, Jojo is
smiling to himself, and Fleetwood sits alone.
- About an hour later, Shill is running a card
game. A few pimps, hookers, and Jojo have just exited the hookers ball. April complains
the Miss Super Fox contest was fixed because Mary won. Jojo explains that everything is
fixed. He used to run card games when he first started with his partner (MR. GREED).
- In Memphis bedroom, we see the height
of Pimp Décor. Memphis and Queen enter still in their fancy attire. She is in awe of her
surroundings. Queen thanks Memphis for loaning her the dress. He hardens, and says she
bought it at $7,000. Queen is frightened. Memphis tells her that she can work off the
debt. Queen understands that she has gotten herself into a world of trouble. Memphis
explains his ways to her (MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY). Sonja enters and quickly sizes up the
situation. She asks Queen to help her get into her apartment because shes feeling
drunk. Memphis allows Queen to go, but not before threatening her with her and
Fleetwoods lives if she thinks about skipping town.
- In the elevator, Sonja and Queen decide to
skip town. Jojo enters, and Queen asks him to have Fleetwood meet her at Lacys at
nine in the morning. Sonja thinks this is a mistake, but Queen has faith in Jojo.
- On an outdoor terrace of a hotel suite Mary
takes in the view as Lou emerges. He tells Mary that he can make her a star of Eros
Entertainment. She I put off at first, but he coaxes her with the dream of real money and
fame (PEOPLE MAGAZINE).
- At 8:40 am Queen enters Lacys bar. She
waits for Fleetwood while Lacy makes her a drink, but it is Memphis, Snickers and Jojo who
enter. Jojo is paid by Snickers, but sticks around to watch the fun. Lacy is beaten for
trying to lighten the moment and an already frightened Queen is now terrified. She begs
forgiveness but receives a brutal beating instead. Memphis and Snickers laugh at her ugly
appearance before exiting.
- Queen sits in utter despair cleaning her face
with a damp dishrag as Fleetwood enters. He has nothing but cruelty for her. Queen
cant believe that this is all he has to say to her (WE HAD A DREAM). He exits
leaving her alone with Lacy who puts a comforting arm around her: Blackout.
- Fleetwood arrives at the front door of his
hotel to see Mary, Lou and Jojo leaving. Mary tells him that shes making money in
the movies now. He tells her to go to hell, but she opts for LA. An angry Fleetwood stomps
off. The three of them merrily head off to the airport.
- The mouth of Lincoln tunnel is a low spot
even for whores. Sonja, April and Frenchie are present. The other hookers (bottom feeders)
are new to the audience. Queen enters wearing sunglasses to hide her bruises. Snickers
forces her to go with some lowlife scum. As she exits, he tells the girls to see she gets
plenty of action. Sonja is frustrated and infuriated ("SOMEDAY" IS FOR SUCKERS).
- At 5:00 am on the West Side Waterfront, Queen
waits anxiously, constantly looking over her shoulder. Sonja enters, suitcase in tow.
Queen asks Sonja to leave with her, but Sonja says she cant live a normal life
anymore. Suddenly Fleetwood runs onstage. He begs for Queen back, but her heart is cold to
him. She knows why he came. Fleetwood pleads with her (WE GOTTA GO). As the song ends
Memphis and Jojo enter. Memphis tries to pull Queen away with him. Fleet pulls a gun on
Memphis who stops cold. Jojo knocks the gun from Fleetwoods hand and Memphis pulls
out a knife. Memphis stabs Fleetwood, but Queen grabs the gun and shoots Memphis dead.
Queen kneels over a bloody Fleetwood who dies in her arms. Sonja urges her friend to move
on and get out before the police come and the two have an emotional goodbye (MY FRIEND).
- As Queen leaves, Sonja begins wiping
Queens fingerprints off the gun and replacing them with her own. As police sirens
near, Sonja exits in their direction. Jojo takes on his narrator role again, wrapping
things up. He explains that theres always talent everywhere you look. A beautiful
black girl enters, and Jojo takes advantage of the opportunity. He gallantly offers to
take her suitcase for her. As they exit the chorus finales with a haunting reprise (CHECK
IT OUT [FINALE]- Mixed Chorus). Freeze. Blackout.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- The Life won 1997 Tony Awards for Best
Featured Actress in a Musical (Lillias White) and Featured Actor in a Musical (Chuck
Cooper). This was the year that Fosse won for Best Musical.
- Canby from the New York Times wrote about The Life " . . . Mr. Coleman
has composed not only his most driving, big-beat score since Sweet Charity, but
also his most varied and melodic work since On the Twentieth Century."
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
Vocal Selections: Warner Bros.
- L'IL ABNER
- Book: Norman Panama and Melvin Frank
- Music: Gene de Paul
- Lyrics: Johnny Mercer
- (Based on the Al Capp comic strip)
- St. James Theatre, November 15, 1956 (693 perf.)
- Director and Choreographer: Michael Kidd
- Musical Director: Lehman Engel
- Orchestration: Philip J. Lang
- Daisy Mae- Edith Adams- Mezzo
- Mammy Yokum- Charlotte Rae- VTNE
- L'il Abner- Peter Palmer- Tenor
- Appasionata- Tina Louise- VTNE
- General Bullmoose- Howard St. John- Baritone
- Marryin' Sam- Stubby Kaye- Tenor
- Earthquake McGoon- Bern Hoffman- Bass
- Evil Eye Fleagle- Al Nesor- VTNE
- Senator Jack S. Phogbound- Ted Thurston- VTNE
- Pappy Yokum- Joe E. Marks- VTNE
- Dr. Finsdale- Stanley Simmonds- Baritone
- Dr. Smithborn- George Reeder- Baritone
- Dr. Krogmeyer- Ralph Linn- Baritone
- Dr.Schleifetz- Marc Breaux- Baritone
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 6M/6F Minimum (the three scientists may be in Dogpatch scenes
- The curtain rises on the hillbilly town of
Dogpatch USA, as the residents introduce themselves (A TYPICAL DAY- Mixed Chorus). They
are preparing for the annual Sadie Hawkins Day race, where the Dogpatch women marry any
man they capture in the race.
- At the fishing hole, L'il Abner tells his
friends he doesn't plan on letting Daisy Mae, his girlfriend, catch him on race day
because he enjoys his freedom (IF I HAD MY DRUTHERS- Sc to M Solo with M Chorus). Daisy
arrives to summon the boys to the town meeting in Cornpone Square.
- At the meeting, Marrying Sam tells the story
of the square's namesake, the illustrious Civil War hero (JUBILATION T. CORNPONE- M Solo
with Mixed Chorus).
- Senator Jack S. Phogbound arrives with Dr.
Finsdale to tell the people that Dogpatch has been chosen by the U.S. Government as the
most unimportant place in the country and will be honored by being blown up during an atom
bomb test. The Dogpatchers are excited to be recognized by the government (RAG OFFEN THE
BUSH- Mixed Chorus). Since the town will be obliterated before Sadie Hawkins day, the
citizens must return to the code of the hills, whereby next of kin may arrange the
marriage of an eligible female. When Mammy Yokum discovers that a distant relative has
promised Daisy to the odorous Earthquake McGoon, she urges the people to find something
necessary so the townsfolk can have the Sadie Hawkins Day race. Away from the crowd, Abner
promises to let Daisy catch him and assures her she deserves something better than
Earthquake (NAMELY YOU- Sc to M/F Duet).
- Back in Cornpone Square, the residents
despair of their inability to find something to make the town necessary. They try to
explain to Dr. Finsdale how they feel (UNNECESSARY TOWN- Mixed Chorus). They are saved
when the government discovers that Mammy's Yokumberry Tonic produces super-men like Abner.
The government orders Abner and a group of male Dogpatchers to Washington for tests.
- In Washington, three radio towers and
commentators flash out the news that the tests are under-way. Pappy assures the President
of the United States that he intends on donating the fruit from the Yokumberry tree to the
- General Bullmoose, a business tycoon is seen
in his Washington office enlisting the help of Senator Phogbound in securing the tonic for
himself. His male secretaries agree that what is good for the U.S. is good for Bullmoose
(WHAT'S GOOD FOR GENERAL BULLMOOSE- M Chorus). He offers Abner $l million for the rights
to the tonic, but Abner turns him down, and returns to Dogpatch.
- The Dogpatchers eagerly greet Abner (THERE'S
ROOM ENOUGH FOR US- Mixed Chorus) with the news from Washington. They assure the crowd
that the country is doing fine (THE COUNTRY'S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS- M Duet with Mixed
Chorus). Abner tells Daisy he is going to do his darndest to let her catch him in the
afternoon Sadie Hawkins' day race.
- General Bullmoose, furious that Abner has
refused him, sends Appassionata Von Climax, his mistress, and Evil Eye Fleagle to trap
Abner in the Sadie Hawkins Day race. Fleagle has the ability to paralyze people with his
eyes and promises to freeze Abner until appassionata can claim him.
- In Dogpatch the race begins (SADIE HAWKINS
DAY BALLET- Mixed Chorus Dance). Appassionata claims Abner and Fleagle and Bullmoose take
Abner back to Washington while Daisy and the family sadly bid him farewell.
- Act II begins in a Washington government test
lab. Drs. Finsdale, Smithborn, Krogmeyer, and Schleifetz and the scientists are wrapping
up their tests on the Yokumberry tonic. The results delight them (OH HAPPY DAY- L to M
- Back in Dogpatch, Daisy worries about her
lost youth and confides to Marryin' Sam that she is getting old (I'M PAST MY PRIME- Sc to
M/F duet). When Mammy has a vision that Abner is going to be killed by General Bullmoose
immediately after he marries Appassionata, Daisy agrees to marry Earthquake if he will go
to Washington and help her save Abner's life. Daisy, Earthquake, Mammy, Pappy, Sam and the
other Dogpatchers set out for Washington to save Abner.
- General Bullmoose, running out of time to get
the formula of Yokumberry tonic from Abner, hires Evil Eye Fleagle to put a truth whammy
on Abner at an engagement party he's planned for Abner and Appassionata. Daisy tries to
convince Abner to run away with her (LOVE IN A HOME- Sc to M/F duet) but he feels honor
bound to marry the girl who caught him in the race no matter what the outcome is. Daisy
and the Dogpatch crowd decide to crash the party to try and save Abner.
- In a corridor of the bullmoose mansion,
Bullmoose fearing a scandal, tells his Secretaries to let the Dogpatchers in. When urged
to consider his dignity he complains of the problems of modern life (PROGRESS IS THE ROOT
OF ALL EVIL- L to M Solo).
- In the ballroom the Dogpatchers resuce Abner
when Earthquake grabs a tray and reflects Evil Eye's whammy to General Bullmoose, who
tells about his crimes and is arrested. Daisy thanks Earthquake and tells him she is ready
to marry him.
- In a corridor, Bullmoose, accompanied by a
policeman, bemoans his capture (PROGRESS IS THE ROOT [REPRISE]- M Solo.
- Meanwhile, the government experiments have
been deemed a failure because the men have all become cold, unfeeling, self-centered
creatures...just like Abner. The wives beg the government scientists to return their
husbands to their normal selves (PUT 'EM BACK THE WAY THEY WUZ- F Chorus). The Dogpatchers
arrive but are informed by the Scientists that Abner and the men must stay for more tests.
Daisy sadly bids Abner farewell (NAMELY YOU [REPRISE]- F Solo) and exits. Pappy takes
Abner and the boys aside and tells them they can solve their problems by taking Cornpone's
Powerfully Potent Romanticizing Potion which makes all men, including Abner, capable of
love. The boys agree to try it and Pappy sends a telegram to Dogpatch to stall the
- In Dogpatch, the wedding of Earthquake McGoon
and Daisy is slowly proceeding as Daisy Mammy and Sam stall until Pappy and Abner arrive
from Washington. Sam describes the problems of marriage to the repulsive Earthquake (THE
MATRIMONIAL STOMP- M Solo with Mixed Chorus). By the end of the number Earthquake is
convinced that marriage isn't for him and gives Daisy to Abner. The husbands return to
their normal selves, eagerly greeted by their wives (PUT 'EM BACK THE WAY THEY WUZ
[REPRISE]- F Chorus) as Dr. Finsdale enters and orders evacuation to begin. The citizens,
refusing to leave without their statue of Jubilation T. Cornpone, discover a letter inside
signed by Abraham Lincoln proclaiming the statue a National Shrine. This unexpected news
means the town is saved (FINALE- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Lil Abner won two 1957 Tony
Awards for Supporting Actress (Edith Adams) and choreographer (Michael Kidd).
- Because of the political humor, the show is
extremely dated. A successful production is much more likely if the humor is updated to
reflect the present political climate. Unless the show is quickly paced it may seem
overburdened with overly long musical numbers. A director may want to examine the
possibility of editing numbers that rely too heavily on creative staging and exuberant
dancing. It is also possible through careful streamlining to reduce the cast size by
reassigning dialogue. The show may be considered "politically incorrect" by
modern standards so the directors must make sure that the show "captures" and
era and clearly represents the cartoon from which it is taken. Care should be taken when
casting that the performers chosen look as much as possible like the characters they are
portraying. A study of old comic books and anthologies of the Abner Sunday funnies will
help with make up and costume suggestions.
- The set should be cartoon in style and may
utilize the same basic exterior of ground rows and trees for the Dogpatch sequences and
Washington. Most companies try and have two sets, one with Cornpone's statue, and the
exterior of a Dogpatch shack and one with a background that represents Washington.
Specific delineation of location is provided by props, i.e. desks, barrels etc.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Jubilation T. Cornpone," M Solo
with Chorus, country style, possible as a character audition when paired with a very
different piece to show range of acting
- "I'm Past My Prime," M/F Duet,
focus on young Daisy Mae worried that she is getting too old to catch a man, reactions of
Marryin Sam make this a humorous song for class study
- "Progress is the Root of All Evil,"
Baritone Solo, character-oriented song, good for class study or for Revue
- "Put em Back the Way They
Wuz," F Chorus with lots of volume, character opportunities, and comic movement, good
choice for class or Revue situation, country twang
- Instrumentation: 3 violins, viola, cello, bass, 5 reeds, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones,
- Script: NP
- Score: Commander
- Record: Columbia
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE
Book, Music and Lyrics: Rick Besoyan
- Orpheum Theatre, November 18, 1959 (1,143 perf.)
- Director and Choreographer: Ray Harrison
- Orchestrations: Rick Besoyan
- Musical Direction: Jack Holmes
- Captain Jim- William Graham- Baritone
- Corporal Jester- John McMartin- Tenor
- Little Mary- Eileen Brennan- Soprano
- Nancy- Elmarie Wendel- Alto
- Mme. Ernestine- Elizabeth Parrish- Soprano
- Oscar- Mario Siletti- Baritone
- Fleet Foot- Robert Chambers- VTNE
- Chief Brown Bear- John Aniston- VTNE
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 5M/5F
- The house lights dim and a spot focuses on a
young woman in a turn of the century costume "lighting the footlights" in a turn
of the century theatre. As she works she invites the audience to come back in time to the
innocence and fun of the operettas of Strauss, Friml and Herbert. She exits and the scene
opens on the exterior of Little Mary's Inn, in the mountains of Colorado. A group of
forest rangers, led by handsome, Captain Big Jim Warrington, are returning from maneuvers
and sing about their achievements (THE FOREST RANGERS- M Solo to M Chorus).
- At the end of the song Cpt. Warrington
promotes Corporal Billy Jester to second in command and exits leaving a befuddled Billy
who quickly refers to his Ranger's Rule Book. He begins to lecture on courage but is
interrupted by Chief Brown Bear, of the Kadota tribe, who tells the rangers that Little
Mary, his adopted daughter is coming to greet them. He leaves as the rangers sing a
tribute to her (LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE- M Chorus and F Solo).
- Mary invites the Rangers to a garden party
with some visiting young ladies and Billy accepts for the group. When he mentions her
present difficulty she is undaunted that the U.S. Government plans to foreclose on her
property for back taxes (LOOK FOR A SKY OF BLUE- F Solo and M Chorus).
- Cpt. Jim enters, salutes Mary and dismisses
the men. He confides his desire to be more than friends but can't commit further due to
the fact that his life is threatened by an evil band of marauding Indians. When he asks if
she knows his guide, Fleet Foot, she excitedly responds that he saved her life when she
was a child and is her adopted father's best friend. She asks him to stroll in her garden.
- The garden drop comes in as Cpt. Jim
expresses his feelings to Mary by comparing her to the garden itself (YOU'RE THE FAIREST
FLOWER- Sc to M Solo). At the end of the number a female operatic voice is heard and
Little Mary recognizes the Germanic voice of the plump Madam Ernestime who grandly greets
them. Mary introduces Mme. Ernestine, an opera singer and frequent visitor to Little
Mary's Inn and Mary and Cpt. Jim leave the opera singer to reminisce about her youth in
Bavaria (IN IZZEN SCHNOKKEN ON THE LOVELY ESSEN ZOOK ZEE- Sc to F Solo).
- At the Inn, Cora, Maud, Gwendolyn, Henrietta
and Mabel, five wealthy young ladies, from Eastchester Finishing School, are passing the
time (PLAYING CROQUET- F Chorus). They soon get bored with croquet and find amusement on
their swings but are surprised by the entrance of the forest rangers (SWINGING/ HOW DO YOU
DO- F and M Chorus).
- The girls, except Cora, are eager to flirt.
As two of the girls slip off with a ranger Cora, Henrietta and Gwendolyn agree to answer
ranger Pete's question regarding their beauty (TELL A HANDSOME STRANGER- Mixed Chorus). As
they exit Nancy Tweakle the overly friendly maid, who welcomes attention from men enters
with several rangers. A jealous Billy dismisses them as Nancy rushes to kiss him. He
refuses to accept her outlandish behavior until she promises never to look at another man
(ONCE IN A BLUE MOON- Sc to M/F Duet).
- Cpt. Jim, alone onstage, rehearses his
proposal scene, but is interrupted by an arriving Billy. Jim commands Billy to disguise
himself as an Indian brave and go into the enemy camp if Cpt. Jim's mission fails. Billy
nervously exits as Mary enters with an almost blind, ancient Indian who keeps walking into
things and toppling over. It is Fleet Foot. Cpt. Jim tries to get the old fellow to draw a
map but he insists on accompanying Jim and exits to prepare for the journey.
- When Cpt. Jim tells Mary the Indian they seek
is Yellow Feather who is Chief Brown Bear's son, Many fears that the Chief's shame will be
great for she told him his errant son died trying to save her life. Jim promises to keep
the truth from the old Chief and falls to his knees to ask Little Mary to marry him when
he returns (COLORADO LOVE CALL- Sc to M/F Duet). She agrees and they exit in different
- Yellow Feather's call is heard and Little
Mary is frightened by a singing Mme Ernestine who comforts her (EVERY LITTLE NOTHING- Sc
to F Duet). Mary hears Yellow Feather's call and screams. The ensemble appears to find out
what is upsetting her (WHAT HAS HAPPENED- Mixed Chorus) and Little Mary tries to remain
optimistic (FINALE- F Solo to Mixed Chorus).
- As Act II begins the young ladies and the
forest rangers are engaged in a party (SUCH A MERRY PARTY- Mixed Chorus), when Oscar
Fairfax, a retired wealthy General, arrives. He is quite enamored of all the ladies and
after sending the rangers off to find Capt. Jim he gives the girls jewelry and urges them
to think of him as their uncle (SAY UNCLE- M Solo and F Chorus).
- In front of Brown Bear's teepee, Billy gets
Indian lessons and clothes from Chief Brown Bear, who adopts him as his son. Billy is
pleased at the honor (ME A HEAP BIG INJUN- Sc to M Solo). In front of Brown Bear's teepee
the ladies are saddened by the absence of the forest rangers, but Nancy is too busy
disguising herself to notice their depression. Mary discovering Nancy's plan to help
Billy, admonishes her headstrong, careless ways (NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY, NANCY- F Solo and F
- After Mary exits Nancy enters dressed like
Theda Bara and excites the girls with her tales of the most famous of women spies (MATA
HARI- F Chorus). As the song ends she climbs out the window on a rope of sheets. Mme.
Ernestine is exercising in the garden when Oscar backs on with a pistol. The two happily
discover they were both in Vienna at the same time; he to sell his paintings, and she to
study opera-they reminisce (DO YOU EVER DREAM OF VIENNA?- Sc to M/F Duet).
- At the Inn, Mary is sadly waiting for Captain
Jim's return when a cuckoo bird brightens her thoughts (COO COO- F Solo). Yellow Feather
captures Mary but Captain Jim arrives in time to save her (COLORADO LOVE CALL [REPRISE]-
M/F duet). The rangers take off Yellow Feather before Brown Bear can discover his son
lives. Oscar Fairfax, on behalf of the U.S. Government awards Brown Bear one quarter of
the State of Colorado. The old Chief gives Mary the Inn and the remainder to Billy to make
a National Park. Fleet Foot arrives as the company bursts into song (FINALE- Mixed
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- This small musical spoof on the operetta
productions of Friml, Kern, Herbert, and Romberg, has a delightful script, and is perfect
for school, summer theatre or community productions. The music is lilting, the lyrics true
to the period, and the dialogue humorous. It is important to have an excellent director
who understands the operetta form and is able to spoof the production with loving
sincerity. The show only requires 3 main settings, the Inn exterior, the garden, and the
bedroom. Brown Bear's Teepee, may be on stage throughout as if in a separate area. It may
be possible to play the bedroom scene on the porch of the house but it will take some
re-adaptation of dialogue.
- There are two costumes each for the younger
females. The Mounties are in uniform and the Indians are appropriately dressed. Three
Indian costumes must be identical for a confusion chase with Nancy, Billy and Yellow
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Colorado Love Call," Soprano/Baritone, heavily stylized
spoof of Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy movies, overdone, good for revue or period
- "Do You Ever Dream of Vienna?," Soprano/Baritone, charm,
older character duet, good for revue
- "Mata Hari," Small F chorus which gives a student director
a chance to work on developing characterizations and staging contrasts of solo to choral
- "Once In a Blue Moon," Alto/tenor, charm duet for young
comedian and soubrette
- Instrumentation: piano/conductor, 5 reeds, 2 trumpets, 2 horns, trombone, percussion, 2
violins, viola, cello, bass, harp. Duo piano arrangement also available
- Script: Theatre Arts Dec 60, French
- Score: Valando
- Record: Columbia
- Rights: Samuel French
- Book: Neil Simon
- Music: Cy Coleman
- Lyrics: Carolyn Leigh
- Lunt-Fontanne, November 17, 1962 (257 perf.)
- Director: Cy Feuer
- Choreographer: Bob Fosse
- Musical Director: Charles Sanford
- Orchestration: Ralph Burns
- Noble/Val du Val/Mr. Pinchley/Prince Cherney/Otto Schnitzler/Fred Poitrine- Sid Caesar-
- Young Belle- Virginia Martin- Mezzo
- Patrick Dennis- Peter Turgeon- VTNE
- Old Belle- Nancy Andrews- Alto
- George- Swen Swenson- Baritone
- Benny Buchbaum- Mort Marshall- Baritone
- Bernie Buchbaum- Joey Faye- Baritone
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 6M/6F minimum
- Patrick, Dennis, noted author, arrives at
Belle Poitrine's lavish drawing room, prepared to write the famous woman's memoirs. He
waits with her Butler as the large flamboyant woman enters followed by her three
hairdressers from New York. Patrick insists she tells him all the facts and intimacies of
her life (THE TRUTH- F Solo to Small Male Chorus).
- As she begins her story the scene flashes
back to Venezuela, Illinois, the town where sixteen-year old Belle is growing up in
- Belle is an extremely attractive, sexy young
girl who only has eyes for the wealthy, handsome, captain of the football, baseball,
debating and tumbling teams, Noble Eggleston.
- Noble first meets Belle when he and his
friends give her family some food. As he hands her the basket, their hands touch and the
music crescendos. He asks her to his sixteenth birthday part and exits. Belle yearns to
marry Noble and change her life (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS- Sc to F Solo).
- At the party the rich kids dance (THE RICH
KIDS RAG- Dance and Mixed Chorus). When Noble's mother discovers her son has invited a
girl from Drifter's Row to the party she insists he marry an equal, someone with navy blue
blood. Belle enters in her mother's red working dress and Noble tells her of his mother's
mandate, yet confesses that he loves her (I LOVE YOU- Sc to M/F Duet with Mixed Chorus in
an Echo Effect).
- Realizing she must achieve wealth and social
position in order to marry Noble, Belle sets out to achieve her life's desire (ON THE
OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS [REPRISE]- F Solo). George Musgrove, a boy from Drifter's Row,
who is attracted to Belle, bids her farewell and promises help if she ever needs it.
- The lights rise on an older Belle narrating
her story to Patrick Dennis. As she continues the lights cross fade to the interior of a
small town bank owned by the cranky eighty-eight year old Amos Pinchley who is wheeled on
by his nurse. He terrorizes his son, Junior, and the people of Drifter's Row, who have
come to ask him not to evict them. Belle calls him a rotten man and forces him to realize
that no one loves him. She tries to demonstrate the way he can change his image (DEEP DOWN
INSIDE- Sc to M/F Duet to Mixed Chorus). During the number Pinchley tears up the mortgages
on Drifter's Row and befriends everyone. The new Pinchley is overjoyed and sets Belle up
in Pioria where she tries to gain culture and refinement.
- Older Belle tells Patrick the gossip mongers
were upset that Pinchley spent every weekend in Belle's hotel room and proceeds to
describe the event that caused a tremendous sensation.
- The lights rise on the hotel room where Belle
practices her poise and diction exercises while waiting for Pinchley to arrive. Pinchley
dances on excited that he can walk and asks Belle to marry him. She agrees when he
promises to leave her all his money. They embrace and Pinchley's gun, in his breast
pocket, accidentally goes off killing the old man.
- Belle is tried, acquitted, and booked into
vaudeville by the Buchsbaum Brothers, Bernie and Benny, who comment on her obvious talent
(BE A PERFORMER- Sc to 2M/F Trio). Belle triumphantly performs with four policemen
(DIMPLES- F Solo and Male Quartet).
- Lights rise on an older Belle sculpting a
clay figure of Patrick Dennis in a tiger skin. She tells him her vaudeville career
suddenly ended when the Buchsbaum Brothers dropped her for Peaches Browning, who killed
her millionaire husband at the wedding. Belle found work as a photographer in a nightclub.
- In the nightclub, Belle is taking pictures of
the patrons when Noble, his mother, and his fiance Ramona, a childhood friend appear.
Belle is crushed that Noble didn't wait for her, but he blames it on his mother. As they
exit, Val Du Val, an egotistical star is introduced by three French coquettes. Val enters
with his partner Collette who emphasizes his lyrics with her drum and the girls sing back
up (BOOM BOOM- M Solo to F Trio).
- At the end of the number Val takes his bows
and exits backstage to discover the heartbroken Belle preparing to leap from a window's
edge. He dissuades her by telling her the story of his last love and leaves her with a
tall handsome man who turns out to be George Musgrove from Drifter's Row. As the club
empties, he ignores the fact that she still loves Noble and invites her to his downstairs
apartment (I'VE GOT YOUR NUMBER- Sc to M Solo). War is declared and Belle succumbs.
- Older Belle in the middle of a ballet lesson
continues to tell her story. It seems George joined the Navy and unknowing left her
pregnant while Noble was shipped overseas before he could marry Ramona.
- The scene shifts to a small World War I
apartment party which the sixth month pregnant Belle is attending. Her friends introduce
her to Fred Poitrine, a thickly bespectacled wimpy individual who is simplistically happy.
He offers to marry Belle because she reminds him of his mother who is also
"fat". She tells him the truth but he is oblivious to her condition and insists
that everyone get married before leaving for the front. The preacher arrives to marry
everyone and Fred admits to Belle that he has never kissed a girl (REAL LIVE GIRL- Sc to M
- A series of lights rise on various girls
reading letters from the front while their husbands are shown in fighting conditions. As
Belle reads the lights rise on Fred who is typing orders. A letter arrives that Fred has
died from wounds received while typing. Hearing that Noble has been shot down she leaves
her daughter with her mother and goes to France to find him.
- In a French base hospital the soldiers
discover Belle and her girls are coming (REAL LIVE GIRLS- Small Male Chorus). Belle
arrives and discovers Val Du Val suffering from amnesia. As the cannons sound in the
distance, she helps him regain his memory and promises never to leave him. As he goes to
evacuate his orchestra, Noble arrives and begs her to marry him. She agrees and Noble
exits into the hospital as Val Du Val enters. When she tells Val she is going to marry
Noble, the amnesia returns and he exits. Afraid that her departure will cause a permanent
relapse, she bids the entering Noble farewell. Noble exits and Val Du Val returns. She
agrees to the wedding and the troops move out.
- Act II opens with older Belle in a steam bath
continuing her memoirs. It seems she and Val booked cruise tickets on the SS Gigantic.
- The scene shifts to the ship's decks where
Belle is greeted by the Buchsbaum Brothers who had become Broadway producers. Noble is
also on board, now a famous judge, doctor, husband, and father. When the ship hits an
iceberg, Noble takes over the ship and tirelessly saves everyone except Val, who drowned
when his amnesia returned and he forgot how to swim.
- Older Belle finishes telling the story to
Patrick on a masseur table. It seems that Belle sued the company for two million dollars
and Mrs. Eggleston had Ramona and Noble's marriage annulled when she discovered that
Ramona's family lost their money in the stock market crash. Belle, knowing Mrs. Eggleston
won't accept her without culture contacts the Buchsbaum Brothers.
- Young Belle becomes a partner to Bernie and
Benny and tells of the loneliness of being a Hollywood starlet. As she sings various
theatre marques and variety headlines are displayed with letters of her various hits (POOR
LITTLE HOLLYWOOD STAR- F Solo).
- In Bernie and Benny's office, the three are
desperately searching for a director when an elderly delivery boy arrives with their
lunch. They discover the delivery boy is none other than Otto Schnitzler, former German
film director who has hit the bottom. The filming begins. As Schnitzler is demonstrating
the knife scene he accidentally stabs himself with a real knife and Belle is forced to
direct the picture which is a financial flop but a cultural smash according to the
- Older Belle tells Patrick, after a game of
tennis that she discovered oil on the studio back lot and became one of the world's
wealthiest women but still had no social position. She sings with young Belle (LITTLE ME-
- In the casino at Monte Carlo Belle meets
Prince Cherny who has come to win money for his bankrupt kingdom. At the last minute Belle
switches his bet which causes him to lose the last of his royal treasury. He collapses,
but Belle, determined to minister his needs, moves into his bedchamber for two weeks. The
weakened Prince rallies enough to bid his subjects farewell (THE PRINCE'S FAREWELL- Sc to
M Solo). The number builds into a rousing dance in the Russian style. When Belle arrives
to give the prince a check to save his kingdom he gives her a title and dies. She returns
to the U.S. with wealth, culture, and social position.
- Noble is sworn in as Governor of North and
South Dakota and has asked Belle to marry him. The future looks rosy until Belle urges him
to take a drink and he becomes an alcoholic bum.
- Older Belle continues her story. The drunken
Noble, disgraced and impeached, disappeared and she returned to her estate to await his
return. One night Belle and her friends were gathered to toast the occasion (HERE'S TO US-
F Solo to Mixed Chorus) when Noble, now a bum, arrives, takes George Musgrove aside and
confides he is going to the South Seas to kick the habit.
- Years later he returns after Belle's daughter
and Junior Eggleston have become engaged and Belle has married George. As he enters
Belle's home, Mrs. Eggleston enters with a gun to kill Belle, but kills Geoge instead. At
last Noble and Belle are free to be with each other (FINALE- Company).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- The show ran opposite A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way to the Forum and Oliver!, two shows that took most of the
Tony Awards. However, Bob Fosse's choreography won an Award.
- The show is extremely humorous and fun for a
community theatre, high school, or college, for it can be performed by a small cast. Much
of the enjoyment is derived from the fact that the leading male performer plays many roles
and must constantly run offstage as one character and return a few seconds later in a
different part. The chorus plays a variety of parts and is constantly busy-either offstage
changing costumes or onstage performing. The use of a smaller chorus makes the show more
fun for the audience who is constantly amazed to see the same performers in a variety of
- There are quite a few costumes, a different
one for each scene and each character in the scene. The show covers a wide time frame and
this must be reflected in the costumes. The set may be comprised of small pieces which
establish location. A unit of levels would be the most adaptable.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Be a Performer," Trio, good for Revue situation and for
beginning choreographer as the two men must move a lot in the vaudeville style, good
character relationship important
- "I've Got Your Number," Baritone, Soft shoe, suave, good
for class and playing an audience
- "The Other Side of the Tracks," Mezzo Solo, shows off
voice, good for audition, spunky, up tempo, some belt
- Instrumentation: 3 violins, cello, bass, 5 reeds, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 2 percussion,
harp, banjo, piano/conductor
- Script: Collected Plays of Neil Simon, Vol. II
- Selections: Hansen
- Record: RCA
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
- Book: Hugh Wheeler
- Music and Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
- (Based on "Smiles of a Summer
Night," a film by Ingmar Bergman)
- Shubert Theatre, February 25, 1973 (601 perf.)
- Director: Harold Prince
- Choreographer: Patricia Birch
- Musical Director: Harold Hastings
- Orchestration: Jonathan Tunick
- Mme. Armfeldt- Hermione Gingold- Alto
- Desiree- Glynis Johns- Alto
- Fredrika- Judy Kahan- Soprano
- Petra- D. Jamin Bartlett- Mezzo
- Fredrik Egerman- Len Cariou- Baritone
- Henrik- Mark Lambert- Tenor
- Anne- Victoria Mallory- Soprano
- Charlotte- Patricia Elliott- Mezzo
- Count Carl Magnus- Laurence Guittard- High Baritone
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 4M/5F, includes the vocal quintet comprised of 2 M/3F must
blend well together and be able to move with style
- The play opens with the quintet vocalizing
and singing of what is to come and what has passed (REMEMBER- Quintet).
- The plot revolves around Anne Egerman, a
pretty eighteen-year old virgin bride of eleven months; Henrik, Fredrik's nineteen year
old son; Fredrik, a lawyer in his forties; Desiree Armfeldt, a popular actress; the
Countess Charlotte and her husband, Carl Magnus, Desiree's lover. Fredrik arrives home
with tickets to the theatre as Anne excitedly rattles on about the day's events. He
wonders if he should nap or attempt to consummate their marriage (NOW- M Solo with F
Lines). He decides to nap.
- Henrik, the melancholy 19-year old bible
scholar and cellist son of Fredrik, is in the parlor below, reading, when Petra, the easy
going young maid, sexually teases him. Henrik attempts to kiss her and she breaks away,
promising later. Henrik angrily wonders when later is (LATER- M Solo). Meanwhile in the
bedroom, Anne looks at the sleeping Fredrik, and promises that soon she will be his (SOON-
F Solo). The three, unaware of each other, sing in unison.
- The scene switches to Desiree's mother's
house where Fredrika, Desiree's thirteen-year old daughter, plays scales on the piano
(ORDINARY MOTHERS- F Solo). Desiree enters in a flurry to talk with her mother and
daughter. The quintet comments (ORDINARY MOTHERS- Mixed Chorus).
- The Egerman's arrive in a box at the
performance where Desiree is starring. The actress enters the stage and obviously
recognizes Fredrik. Two of the quintet comment on the moment (REMEMBER- M/F Duet) while
Anne, who is upset rushes from the theatre.
- Meanwhile, in the Egerman parlor, Henrik
quickly putting on his trousers, laments his failure to seduce Petra. She is busy
comforting him, as Anne and Fredrik enter. While Anne sleeps, Fredrik seeks out Desiree in
her apartment and uncomfortably tries to explain his reason for coming to see her (YOU
MUST MEET MY WIFE- Sc to M/F Duet). Desiree is shocked that Anne hasn't allowed her
husband to make love to her and realizing his needs ushers him into the bedroom. The scene
switches to Mme. Armfeldt, who sings (LIAISONS- F Solo).
- When Desiree's present lover, a count in the
dragoons, unexpectedly arrives in the dressing rooms, Henrik and Desiree fabricate a story
to convince the count that she has not been unfaithful. He is doubtful (IN PRAISE OF
WOMEN- L to M Solo).
- Carl Magnus forces his wife, Charlotte, to
visit Anne and tell her about Frederik in Desiree's apartment. The two lament the problems
of love (EVERY DAY A LITTLE DEATH- Sc to F Duet).
- Desiree, anxious to be with Fredrik,
convinces her mother to send a weekend invitation to Fredrik and his family. When Petra
excitedly delivers the invitation to Anne, who is appalled, Charlotte convinces her to go
and tells Carl about the invitation. He informs her that they will also visit Desiree and
the groups set off (A WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRY- Mixed Chorus).
- Act II begins with the quintet setting the
mood for the weekend visit on the estate (SUN WON'T SET- Mixed Chorus).
- As Fredrik and Carl Magnus wait for Desiree,
on the lawn in front of the estate, each sings his inner thoughts (IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
WONDERFUL- Sc to M Duet). The dinner is a shambles with the Countess trying to infuriate
Carl Magnus by flirting with Fredrik, Henrik rushing off because of the phoniness of the
people present, and Anne hastening to find him. Fredrik and Desiree both admit they wanted
to recapture time and Desiree comments on their foolishness (SEND IN THE CLOWNS- Sc to F
- Anne finally discovers Henrik in the garden
attempting suicide, they embrace and tell each other of their love. Nearby, Anne's maid,
Petra, has finished a night of lovemaking with Fred, a servant. As Fred sleeps, Petra
dreams of her future (THE MILLERS SON- F Solo).
- Henrik and Anne leave together as Charlotte
tells Fredrik she really loves her husband. Carl Magnus jealously accuses her of
infidelity and challenges Fredrik to Russian Roulette. A shot is heard and Fredrik is
carried on with a grazed ear. Carl Magnus and Charlotte leave-she has achieved her aim.
- Desiree and Fredrik are left to each other.
The play ends with the lovers waltzing with their respective partners (FINALE- Mixed
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- A Little Night Music won seven Tony Awards in 1973 for
Director, Score, Book, Actress, Supporting Actress, Musical, and Costumes.
- The show is a charming one and is a musical pastiche that captures
the flavor of turn of the century-Sweden. The actors must be superb or the show shouldn't
be considered. It is musically quite difficult; there are quite a few period costumes for
each character, including formal dinner wear; the sets may be simplified by using the wing
and border system if the stage is proscenium. In fact, the sets aren't as important as the
performances or the costumes.
- The production must be extremely fluid and the movement must be
smooth and flowing. While there are no "dance numbers" per se-, a choreographer
should be utilized to train the performers in the art of movement and period decorum. In
order to be successful and interesting the audience must experience the
"evening" as an entire believable theatrical entity.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Every Day a Little Death," Mezzo-Alto/Soprano Duet,
relationship, lyric and underlying emotion of importance, good for drama and pain
- "Liaisons," older character woman, philosophic number,
class work only, Low alto without much vocal quality
- " The Millers Son," Mezzo, movement possible but not
necessary, emphasis is on lyric and emotion, character study
- "Send In the Clowns," bittersweet, now a standard, good for
character study when coupled with scene before and after
- "You Must Meet My wife," Baritone, alto, clever lyric and
underlying story make this an excellent number for relationship development, takes a
mature actress to make the number work
- "A Weekend in the Country," Excellent for vocal work and
showcase or Revue, characters are important, movement is necessary, good for beginning
choreographer, small chorus
- Instrumentation: 5 reeds, 3 horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, percussion, harp,
celeste/piano, 3 violins, viola, cello, bass, piano/conductor
- Script: Dodd, Mead
- Score: Revelation
- Record: Columbia, RCA
- Rights: MTI
LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
- Book and Lyrics: Howard Ashman
- Music: Alan Menken
- (Based on the film by Roger Corman)
- Orpheum Theatre, July 27, 1982 (2,209 perf.)
- Director: Howard Ashman
- Musical Staging: Edie Cowan
- Musical Direction/Vocal Arrangements: Robert Billig
- Instrumental Arrangements: Robby Merken
- Puppets: Martin P. Robinson
- Chiffon- Marlene Danielle- VTI
- Crystal- Jennifer Leigh Warren- VTI
- Ronnette- Sheila Kay Davis- VTI
- Mushnik- Hy Anzell- Baritone
- Audrey- Ellen Greene- Mezzo
- Seymour- Lee Wilkof- Tenor
- Orin/Bernstein/Snip/Luce and Others- Franc Luz- Baritone
- Audrey II- Martin P Robinsin & Ron Taylor- Bass
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: There is no chorus in the production. Chiffon, Crystal and
Ronnette act as a Greek Chorus by commenting on the action. Their vocal types are
- After a God like voice thunders out a
pronouncement of danger, a la a grade B science fiction film, the lights rise on Crystal,
Ronnette, and Chiffon, three street urchins who exemplify the 1960's singing groups
(LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS- F Trio).
- The act begins as the three move downstage to
sit on a stoop, where a wino sleeps, to read monster magazines. Upstage, the shop lights
rise on the interior, which is dismally decorated with a large clock, which revolves to
show the passage of time. Mr. Mushnik, the owner of this very faded, unpopular, shop in
the skid row area, comments on the poor business to his two shop clerks, Seymour, a
balding wimp in his mid twenties, and Audrey, a well built, not very bright, bleached
blonde. He yells at the three urchins on the stoop to go out and better themselves, but
they retort on the impossibility of their situations. The wino, Mushniik, Audrey and
Seymour add in their own reasons for living in the seedy section of town (SKID ROW- Mixed
- The clock slowly ticks off the hours and
stops at six; no one has been in the shop all day. The defeated Mushnik announces the
closing of the business but Seymour and Audrey, convinced that the addition of exotic
plants would help business, beg him to renovate his stock to highlight the unusual.
Seymour rushes into the workroom and re-enters with a weird plant he has romantically
named Audrey II.
- Within seconds of placing the plant in the
window, a customer arrives to inquire into the history of the plant. Seymour relates the
story of the purchase of Audrey II as the urchins, outside the store, vocally back him (DA
DOO- M Solo/3F Trio).
- The customer buys one hundred dollars worth
of roses and Mushnik deliriously invites his clerks to dinner. Audrey sadly refuses, for
she has a prior date with her sadistic boyfriend, and a sudden drooping of the plant
forces Seymour to discover the problem. Mushnik exits leaving Seymour, alone with Audrey
II, to ponder the problem, he begs her to grow (GROW FOR ME- L to M Solo).
- When Seymour accidentally pricks his finger,
which causes the plant to perk up, it dawns on him that Audrey II needs blood to stay
healthy. He gives the hungry plant a few more drops and begs it to grow. As he exits the
plant grows several sizes before the lights blackout.
- Mushnik, Crystal, Chiffon, And Ronnette are
seated outside the shop listening to a radio interview where Seymour discusses his new
plant. Mushnik is amazed at the success of Audrey II and Seymour. As he announces his
astonishment to the urchins, Seymour enters to extol in his glory (DON'T IT GO TO SHOW YA
NEVER KNOW- Sc to 2M Solo to 3F Trio). The plant, which Seymour carries in a medium size
pot, becomes extremely involved in the number by attempting to take nibbles out of the
urchins. Seymour rushes her off as Audrey enters with a black eye.
- The urchins urge Audrey to dump her creepy
boyfriend and take up with Seymour. She is touched to think that Seymour could care for
and dreams of a place they could be happy together (SOMEWHERE THATS GREEN- L to F
- One week later, Mushnik, Seymour and Audrey
are busy renovating the shop (CLOSED FOR RENNOVATION-2M/1F Trio). At the end of the song
Audrey II is revealed, she has reached five feet in height and has sprouted ominously
spiked leaves. Audrey is impressed with Seymour and offers to help him choose new clothes
for his garden club lectures and Television interviews. They are obviously in love, but
Audrey has a date with her motorcycle owner boyfriend whom she is afraid to leave.
- On the street, the Urchins meet Orin
Scrivello, Audrey's boyfriend, and immediately attack him for his awful treatment of her.
He nonchalantly explains he has always loved the pain of others, which is why he became a
dentist (DENTIST- Sc to M Solo with F Trio).
- Orin enters the shop and begins telling
Seymour to sell Audrey to another florist shop at top price. Mushnik overhears this and
ponders his life without Seymour. After Audrey and Orin exit Mushnik asks Seymour to be
his son to which Seymour agrees (MUSHNIK AND SON- Sc to M Duet).
- Mushnik leaves Seymour alone to consider his
good fortune but his thoughts are interrupted by the plant, who begs for food. Seymour,
whose fingers are bandaged has nothing more to give for he has become anemic. Audrey II
orders him to get blood, reminding Seymour that his recent success is due to her (GIT IT-
Sc to M/Puppet Duet).
- Audrey cunningly suggests that Seymour should
consider how many evil people deserve to die and Seymour agrees that Orin Scrivello, the
sadistic dentist, would be an excellent candidate.
- The scene shifts to a small antiquated
dentist office where Seymour arrives, gun in hand, to shoot Orin, but the dentist quickly
takes the gun away and decides to pull one of Seymour's teeth without the benefit of a
- He exits to give himself some laughing gas,
so he can have a more memorable experience and re-enters wearing an enormous clear plastic
bubble on his head with a hose extending to the gas line. He is hysterical with laughter
but panics when he discovers he is unable to remove the mask. Seymour ponders the
situation as Orin laughingly begs him to remove the mask (NOW/IT'S JUST THE GAS- Sc to M
Duet); Orin drops to the floor dead as Seymour returns to feed the hungry plant.
- The Act II lights rise on Audrey II who takes
up approximately one third of the shop. Business is booming, as evidenced by the increase
in phones and the constant phone calls (CALL BACK IN THE MORNING- Linear M/F Duet). At six
they close the shop and Audrey hesitantly reveals her past to an understanding Seymour.
She is overjoyed that he loves her (SUDDENLY SEYMOUR- Sc to M/F Duet with F Trio).
- Mushnik enters to find them embracing, sends
Audrey home and confronts Seymour with his suspicions concerning the dentist's death. The
plant, in the background, hints that it is hungry (SUPPERTIME- 2 M Scene interspersed with
Plant Solo). Mushnik wants Seymour to go to the police and proclaim his innocence but
Seymour tells Mushnik they better not leave the cash receipts, which are in the plant.
Mushnik enters the plant, which greedily swallows him.
- Seymour leaves the shop but is instantly
surrounded by the urchins who represent teenage fans. He is subsequently approached by
Bernstein, a high spending, fast talking, television producer who offers him a contract
for a TV gardening show; the wife of the editor of Life, who wants his picture on the
cover; and a slick talent agent, who wants him to sign for lecture tours. Seymour is
overwhelmed at the possibilities but nervous about the outcome of the continued feeding of
Audrey II (THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT- 2M Solo and 3F Trio).
- One stormy night Seymour is in the shop with
the starving plant when he decides he must kill the plant. He and exits feeling very
satisfied and relieved. Later that same evening Audrey re-enters the shop looking for
Seymour. The hungry plant grabs her and Seymour arrives in time to pull her crushed body
from its tentacles. He confesses to Audrey that Orin and Musnik are inside the plant and
she lovingly begs him to feed her to her namesake; she would like nothing better than
sacrificing herself for Seymour's continued fame. As a sunset appears in the background,
Seymour dramatically feeds the dead Audrey to the waiting plant.
- Seymour's sadness is interrupted by yet
another opportunist, a Patrick Martin, who wants to take cuttings of the exotic creature
and sell them across the country. After he exits, Seymour turns to the plant realizing
that the plant was sent to conquer the world. He shoots the plant, he tries poison, and in
desperation he picks up a machete and climbs into the plant to hack at its insides. The
creature's jaws close around Seymour and re-open to toss the machete to the floor.
- Martin re-enters with the urchins, whom he
has hired to take cuttings of the plant. They move downstage, as the shop screen closes,
to tell of the horrible fate of the world as entire towns were eaten by Audrey II's
offspring. The screen opens to reveal a nine foot tall Audrey II complete with four blood
red flowers containing the faces of the dead Seymour, Mushnik, Adurey and Orin. They urge
the audience not to feed the plants (FINALE- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- This wonderful small cast spoof on horror
films is a delight for audiences and performers alike. It is best produced in smaller
theatres for the audience should feel they are in danger of being swallowed by the plant.
Many of the reviewers who saw productions in both New York and in on the road felt the
show lost a great deal by being performed in larger theatres.
- The costumes are few and simple, the set is
primarily a one set location with the shop interior upstage left, a step unit stage right
which represents a stoop and an entryway to the shop's exterior downstage left. There
should be a curtain or folding door arrangement to conceal the "growing" plant.
- The major problem in producing the show
revolves around the different puppets which represent Audrey II. The excellence of the
puppet is what makes the show so much fun and it should not be attempted by a company
without a good puppet maker and manipulator. Audrey begins as a small hand puppet in a
small pot, is later seen, and operated, in a medium size pot, and finally consumes entire
human beings. The enormous Audrey also moves around in dance style and this must be
considered when staging the "Feed Me" Number. Companies planning a production of
Little Shop should have the puppets completed by the time rehearsals begin.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Dentist," may be done as a Baritone solo in a classroom
situation, characterization and laughter important
- "Mushnik and Son," Baritone/Tenor, strong character
oriented duet, good for class study
- "Skid Row," good small chorus, representative of the 60s
style singing groups, characterization work
- "Somewhere That's Green," Mezzo/Tenor, wonderful lyrics
make this an excellent number for a musical revue or class situation, characterization
believability and sincerity important
- Instrumentation: piano/conductor, percussion, guitar (6 string electric, 6 string
acoustic), keyboards (synthesizer, organ, electric piano), bass
- Script: Nelson Doubleday
- Selections: Menken
- Record: Geffen
- Rights: Samuel French
- Book: Kenny Solms and Gail Parent
- Music: Jule Styne
- Lyrics: Betty Comden and Adolph Green
- (Based on the musical comedy Gentlemen
Prefer Blondes which ran for 740 performances in 1948 with a book by
- Anita Loos and Joseph Freed, music by Jule
Styne and the lyrics of Leo Robin)
- Palace Theatre, January 27, 1974 (320 perf.)
- Director: Robert Moore
- Choreographer: Ernest O. Flatt
- Musical Director: Milton Rosenstock
- Orchestration: Philip J. Lang and Don Walker
- Lorelei- Carol Channing-
- Dorothy- Tamara Long-
- Mrs. Spafford- Dody Goodman-
- Gus Esmond- Peter Palmer-
- Henry Spafford- Lee Roy Reams-
- Chorus and Smaller Roles:
- The play opens in a cemetary where widow
Lorelei Lee is paying her last respects to her deceased husband. Lorelei, complete with
diamonds, tells the audience about her wonderful life with Gus (LOOKING BACK- L to F
- The scene flashes back from 1944 to 1924
where Lorelei is preparing to sail on the Lle De France without Gus, whose father insists
he attend the button makers convention in Atlantic City; Gus bids her farewell,
complete with a gift (BYE BYE BABY- Sc to M/F Duet and Mixed Chorus).
- Dorothy, an Earl Carrol Vanities Chorine, is
acting as Loreleis chaperone, but with the Olympic team on board, Dorothy probably
wont do much chaperoning (ITS HIGH TIME- F Solo and Chorus).
- Lorelei, after meeting Henry Spafford, a
wealthy young man, decides that Dorothy and he would be a perfect match. After all, why
waste time on athletes when theres wealth around?
- Gus sends Lorelei a telegram, notifying her
that Mr. Esmond is searching Loreleis past. She confides to Dorothy that her
background is a lie; she wasnt from an old Virginia family (A LITTLE GIRL FROM
LITTLE ROCK- L to F Solo). Dorothy is convinced that Lorelei should tell Gus the truth,
but she ignores the advice and sets out to find a wealthy substitute, just in case.
- She chances to meet Mr. Gage, a wealthy man
with world wide patent rights to the zipper. She instantly foresees the button as becoming
obsolete and sets her cap for the Zipper King, but Mr. Gage is a very quiet man (IM
A TINGLE, IM A GLOW- M Solo and M Chorus).
- The Olympic team works out daily (WORK OUT
SONG). Dorothy ignores Loreleis advice; she is a sucker for spirited athletes (I
LOVE WHAT IM DOING- F Solo).
- The Lle Lands in Paris, a mecca for American
tourists (PARIS, PARIS- Mixed Chorus).
- In Paris, Henry vows undying love for Dorothy
(I WONT LET YOU GET AWAY- Sc to M Solo).
- At the hotel, Lorelei and Dorothy greet the
Olympic team, who have just lost but vow to keep trying to win for their President
(KEEPING COOL WITH COOLIDGE- 2F/M Trio and Chorus).
- In the midst of the hotel party, Gus enters,
shocked at Loreleis behavior and furious that her new dress is closed by a zipper.
He storms out while Lorelei vows never to marry him. Lorelei and Dorothy sing their views
of the opposite sex (MEN- F Duet, Vaudeville style).
- Act II opens at a Paris nightclub, where
Lorelei, to further infuriate Gus, is performing a specialty act in her new zipper dress
(MAMIE IS MIMI- F Solo).
- A fight ensues when Gus discovers Gage is a
zipper manufacturer. He is knocked out, but, upon reviving, tells Lorelei he loves her and
has left his fathers business for her (LORELEI- M Solo). Lorelei wisely tells Gus
she will only marry him with his fathers permission, so everyone heads home on the
Lle de France (HOMESICK BLUES- F Duet to Mixed Chorus).
- At the wedding party, where Dorothy and Henry
have been dancing for seventy two hours while waiting for Guss father to make a
decision, Henry declares he could dance with Dorothy forever (JUST A KISS APART- Sc to M/F
Duet) and proposes they get married alongside Lorelei and Gus. Guss father breaks
down when he hears Loreleis business idea and happy couple is united.
- The scene returns to 1944 where Lorelei
comments on her wonderful marriage and all she has to show for it (DIAMONDS ARE A
GIRLS BEST FRIEND- F Solo).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
A remake and update of the original Carol
Channing musical needed its star to make it work. While not actually a revival, most of
the best material was retained from the original and it did serve as a way to bring Miss
Channing plausibly into the role of the young Lorelei Lee.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- Script: NP (see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)
- Vocal Selections: Consolidated Music Publishers
- Record/CD: MGM
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
- LOST IN THE STARS
- Book and Lyrics: Maxwell Anderson
- Music: Kurt Weill
- (Based on Alan Patons poetic novel Cry,
the Beloved Country)
- Music Box Theatre, October 30, 1949 (273 perf.)
- Director: Rouben Mamoulian
- Musical Director and Orchestration: Kurt Weill
- Stephen Kumalo- Todd Duncan- Baritone
- Grace- Gertrude Jeanette-VTI
- Absalom- Julian Mayfield-VTI
- James Jarvis- Leslie Banks-VTI
- Irina- Inez Matthews- Soprano
- Chorus Leader- Frank Roane- Tenor
- Linda- Sheila Guyse- Mezzo
- John Kumalo-Warren Coleman-VTI
- Alex- Herbert Coleman- Baritone
Chorus and Smaller Roles:
As the curtain goes up in darkness, a
picture of Ixopo Hills gradually develops in the background. The first scene is in the
tiny and cheap, but clean, sitting room in the home of Stephen Kumalom near St. Mark's
church near Notsheni Natal, South Africa. As the curtain rises, we see singers entering
from the pit onto the center stairs and also from right and left stage to positions on the
side steps. The leader begins a song (THE HILLS OF IXOPO- Mixed Chorus).
Stephen Kumalo enters and sits on a chair
behind the table. As the last of the singers go out the lights come on in the sitting
room. Grace Kumalo enters while a small Zulu girl runs in with a letter for Stephen. The
letter is from his brother John asking him to convince their sister, Gertrude, to leave
Johannesburg as she has turned to prostitution. Grace tries to convince Stephen to spend
his sons college money in order to go to Johannesburg to find their son as well as
see his sister. Their son, Absalom, has gone to Johannesburg in order to raise more money
for his education. Stephen doesn't want to do this, although he has not heard from his son
in a year (THOUSANDS OF MILES- M Solo). He finally agrees to make the trip.
Scene two opens at the train station. The
leads and chorus who were present in the opening are there and they sing (TRAIN TO
JOHANNESBURG- Mixed Chorus). A white father, son and grandson enter. The son, Arthur, and
his son, Edward, are leaving on the train. Arthur sees Stephen and approaches him with a
friendly greeting. They talk quickly, small talk. Jarvis, the father, reprimands his son
for talking to a black man, but Arthur refuses to listen. All leave on the train.
Next it is John Kumalo's tobacco shop in
Johannesburg where John and his friends discuss the political situation in South Africa.
Stephen enters the shop and tells John that his sister would not agree to leave, but that
she was willing to let Stephen take her son back to the hills. John accuses him of
collaborating with the government by virtue of the fact that he is an Angelican priest,
but Stephen, ignoring him, asks if he has seen Absalom. John tells him that Absolom and
Matthew, his son, are off working in the textile mill.
Scene four opens with the light coming up on
the chorus on the orchestra pit steps. They begin to sing as Stephen goes from place to
place looking for his son. Finally he meets Absalom's parole officer who promises to take
him to Absalom's girlfriend in the morning (THE SEARCH- Mixed Chorus).
The lights come up as we see Stephen
striking a match and lighting a candle in a tiny, squalid room. Alex, his nephew, is with
him. Stephen tells Alex about his home in the countryside (THE LITTLE GREY HOUSE- M Solo
and M Chorus).
Scene six opens in a dive in Shanty Town.
Some strange harmonies have crept into the last few bars and we discover that they are
indicators of another song that begins to come from another part of the stage, still in
darkness. It's sung in the manner of a nightclub entertainer and, as the lights come up,
we see Linda, the singer, Matthew Kumalo, Johannes Pafuri and Rose and Sutty, two girls
who came with the young men. Absalom Kumalo sits alone and moody. Two dancers, a man and a
girl, dance to Linda's singing (WHO'LL BUY- F Solo). Matthew and Johannes approach Absalom
about a robbery. Absalom has agreed to do it, but he doesn't want to use a gun. Irina,
Absalom's girlfriend, enters. He tells her that he will be leaving in order to earn money
working in the gold fields, so that he can return to her, but Irina discovers the robbery
plans. She talks Absalom into going home with her instead, until Matthew and Johannes
convince him otherwise. The lights dim as they go out.
Scene seven takes place in Irina's hut in
Shanty Town. Stephen arrives alone to speak with her and she tells him that Absalom is
gone. Stephen attempts to test her loyalty and discovers that her morals are not the same
as his because of the terrible conditions that she lives in, but he accepts her when he
finds that her love for Absalom is sincere (TROUBLE MAN- F Solo).
Scene eight begins in the kitchen of Arthur
Jarvis' home where the robbery occurs. Nothing goes as planned for the robbers; Matthew,
Johannes and Absalom end up shooting his father's friend, Arthur Jarvis (MURDER IN
PARKWOLD- Mixed Chorus).
Scene nine opens in Arthur Jarvis' library.
As the lights come up we see James Jarvis seated in a chair by a desk, motionless and
alone. Eland knocks and then enters. He tells Jarvis that one of the offenders has been
caught. They discuss the irony in the death of Arthur, who strongly believed in black
equality and Eland exits.
A street in Shanty Town is the setting for
scene ten. As the lights come up the street is empty. A man and a woman run through,
knocking at doors. The Zulus come out of their houses and gather in groups around three
newspapers, reading intently. There is a whistle from off right and the street empties as
the houses go dark. A policeman passes through and disappears and the people emerge from
the houses and cluster again around the papers. A white man and woman enter from the
right. They begin to talk about fear. Then a black chorus and later a white one, begin to
sing (FEAR- Mixed Chorus).
The lights come upon Eland, who is pacing up
and down. Stephen enters from the right and crosses to him. Eland takes him to see Absalom
in jail and Absalom tells him truthfully what happened. Stephen's heart is broken and he
turns to go and the lights fade.
The lights come up on Stephen in his Shanty
Town lodging, where he sits at a table trying to write. Alex, in the cot near him, wakes
and asks what he is doing and Stephen tells him that he is writing a letter to his wife,
the hardest thing he has ever had to do. Alex suggests that he should ask God for help.
Stephen sings (LOST IN THE STARS- M Solo and Mixed Chorus).
Act II begins as the curtain goes up on a
dark and bare stage. The chorus enters in the dark and the lights come up after the music
has begun (THE WILD JUSTICE- Mixed Chorus). The lights come up on John's tobacco shop.
John stands behind the counter and Stephen sits before him. John is telling him that he
will get a lawyer but the boys must all agree to the same story. Stephen tells him that
Absalom has refused to lie, but John explains the law game to Stephen, saying that Absalom
had better coincide with the other two. John goes out and Stephen sings (THE SOLILOQUY- M
The lights dim out and come up on the door
of a well-kept residence in Johannesburg. Stephen goes to the door, knocks, gets no answer
and begins to go. Suddenly James Jarvis opens the door and Stephen hesitantly asks him to
intercede on his son's behalf, but Jarvis refuses because he is afraid that, without
punishment, these kinds of events would never stop. Jarvis turns to go inside.
Scene two begins with the lights coming up
on Irina's hut where we see Irina hanging some clothes on a line (STAY WELL- F Solo).
Stephen enters and tells her about the trial. His hope is that Absalom will tell the truth
and only get a prison sentence instead of execution. She says that she will wait for him,
but Stephen asks her if she will marry him in prison. She agrees and he leaves. Irina
finishes her song.
In the courtroom, the judge's bench is at
the left and the judge is seated. The trial begins with the questioning of Johannes,
Matthew and Absalom. Matthew and Johannes have the same story. Absalom tells the truth.
The lights dim in the courtroom and the chorus comes forward to sing one refrain from
"Wild Justice". The courtroom lights come up again and the spectators are
standing. The Judge sits and they all sit except the three boys who are awaiting sentence.
The judge pronounces Matthew and Johannes not guilty. Then he pronounces Absalom guilty
and sentences him to death by hanging.
Scene four takes place in Absalom's prison
cell. The lights come up on the chorus (CRY, THE BELOVED COUNTRY- Mixed Chorus). Stephen
marries Irina and Absalom. She will go back to the hills with Stephen who has promised to
raise the child she is carrying as his own. They all say goodbye.
Scene five opens in the hills of Ixopo. Alex
is playing with a little boy and girl from the same village. There is a small handmade toy
between them. Alex sings as he plays (BIG MOLE- M Solo) and Edward Jarvis, James Jarvis'
grandson, enters. The two boys begin to play together until the elder Jarvis calls Edward
to him. James hears Stephen speaking from the pulpit. Stephen tells his parish that he
connot be their priest anymore because he has been questioning his faith. He starts to
leave and they all reach out to him. A villager begins a song and Stephen pauses as he
listens (A BIRD OF PASSAGE- Mixed Chorus).
Scene six, the last scene, begins. The next
morning Stephen is sitting on a chair in front of the table in the room where we saw him
in the first scene of the play, watching the clock on the shelf. At four o'clock, Absalom
will be hanged. Jarvis knocks on the door and Stephen reluctantly lets him in. Jarvis
tells him that he heard his speech at the church. He realized that the grief Stephen is
feeling is the same as his grief at the death of his son and, as a result, his wife.
Jarvis wishes to be friends and asks Stephen if he can sit with him during this great
moment of pain. Also, he tells Stephen that out of this painful situation there have been
gains and that, although he tried not to, he respected Absalom for telling the truth.
Stephen agrees to this friendship and they forgive each other as the clock strikes four.
Stephen sits and buries his head in his hands. Jarvis goes to him and puts an arm around
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
Based on Alan Patons novel of South
Africa, "Cry, the Beloved Country," Anderson-Weill brought the tragedy to the
musical stage in what critics might term a "folk opera." It is dramatic,
inspiring, and a show that is worthy of revival. Vocally and musically complex, it became
part of the repertoire of the New York City Opera in 1958 and a film in 1974 during the
period that the American Film Theatre was preserving notable dramatic art. Brock Peters
and Melba Moore were featured in the film. The story deals with Apartheid in South Africa
but hit very close to home during the period of time in which it was written.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- Script: Great Musicals of the American Theatre, volume 2
Vocal Score: Chappell