One of many versions of the Arthurian legend, Camelot is certainly one of the best known and best loved.
The lords and ladies await the arrival of Guenevere, King Arthur of England's future Queen. A nervous Arthur tries to persuade Merlyn, his teacher, to tell him about her. Merlyn, who lives backwards in time and can recall the future as well as the past, refuses. An equally apprehensive Guenevere avoids the waiting crowd and on meeting Arthur alone becomes charmed with him and his description of the magical Camelot. Merlyn is lured away by a spirit and Arthur is on his own to run his kingdom and deal with his new marital status.
Five years pass and Arthur finally grasps the course of wisdom set for him by Merlyn. He develops a new philosophy: a concept of chivalry whose advocates are charged with improving rather than destroying. The Knights of the Round Table are created.
Word of the Round Table spreads to France where Lancelot du Lac heeds its call and journeys to Camelot. In a chance encounter he almost kills Arthur, but is forgiven and accepted as a member of the Court. Guenevere and the Court have gone a-Maying and are entertained by the arrival of Pellinore, a comic old knight in search of a "questing beast". The joyous mood is soon altered when Lancelot pontificates on his virtue and strength. Guenevere arranges for a joust against her three strongest knights, hoping he will be defeated and will learn a lesson in humility. However, Lancelot defeats all three and is invested as a Knight of the Round Table.
As time passes, Guenevere and Lancelot find themselves falling for each other, but vow never to consummate their love for fear of destroying the Round Table and Arthur himself. Arthur, realizing the situation, becomes despondent over the choice he will one day have to make: save Guenevere from herself or save the Round Table.
Mordred, the conniving bastard son of Arthur, arrives at the Court and begins to undermine Arthur's authority and plot his downfall. He persuades his aunt, Morgan Le Fey, to detain Arthur and Pellinore overnight during a hunting expedition. That night, as Guenevere and Lancelot meet in her bedroom, Mordred and several guards burst in and arrest them for treason. There is a fearsome struggle but the lovers escape and flee to France. Arthur sets off after them, knowing that he must declare war on France if the Round Table is to retain its integrity.
Prior to the battle, they meet. Aware that he has lost the love of Guenevere, Arthur forgives them and prepares for battle. Whether or not he is killed, he knows that the Order of the Round Table as he envisioned it will probably die. In a final gesture of hope, he dispatches a young boy back to England to spread the word and help keep alive the dream that was his Camelot.
Conrad Birdie, a young Elvis Presley type rock and roll singer, is about to be inducted into the army. His agent, Albert Peterson, faces bankruptcy without his star - not to mention only - client. The fun starts when Rosie Alvarez, Albert's faithful secretary/fiancée, concocts the idea of a national publicity stunt before Birdie leaves for boot camp: He will bid a typical American teenage girl goodbye with the song "One Last Kiss", leaving Almaelou Music Company with a hit song to tide them over while Conrad serves his country.
Kim MacAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio, wins the honour. The telephones in town are buzzing because Kim has just been "pinned" to Hugo, a local boy. Needless to say, the arrival of Conrad Birdie causes a much larger buzz - as well as spontaneous swooning - with young and old alike. Kim's household is completely upset by the visiting celebrity. To add to the commotion, it is decided that Birdie will give away his "One Last Kiss" on the Ed Sullivan Show. Kim's father, who has been lamenting the whole situation, changes his tune when he learns that he is to be included on the television broadcast. The big night finally arrives... only to turn into a fiasco when Birdie is knocked out by Kim's jealous boyfriend on national television!
Back at the MacAfee home, Conrad, fed up with the trappings of celebrity, sprints out on the town with the teenagers. The parents of Sweet Apple commiserate as they reflect on the younger generation. Meanwhile, Rosie, still waiting for a band of gold from Albert after eight years, decides to have some fun as the Latin spitfire she is painted as by Albert's catastrophe-ridden mother. She crashes a Shriners' meeting and disrupts it completely as "Spanish Rose".
Don't worry. In the time-honoured musical tradition everything is eventually sorted out and everybody ends with the partners they deserve.
Countess Marietta, the young daughter of a noble Italian family residing in France, being unhappy at home, runs away and disguises herself as one of a number of marriageable 'casquette' girls sent by the King of France to the French settlement of New Orleans.
Upon her arrival, Marietta is befriended by an American frontiersman, Captain Richard Warrington, and falls in love with him. She also arouses the affection of the Acting Governor's son, Etienne Grandet, a polished young villain also known as 'Bras Piqué', the leader of a movement to establish Louisiana as an autonomous territory, separate from both France and the burgeoning United States of America. He has recognized Marietta as the missing Countess and is anxious to win her hand, but he has troubles of his own in getting rid of a former attachment, the quadroon Adah.
Marietta, in order to escape detection, with the connivance of Captain Warrington, disguises herself as the daughter of Rudolpho, keeper of a theatre. Here Etienne visits her and she is persuaded by him to attend a masked ball, where she is on the point of accepting his hand in marriage when Captain Warrington arrives on the scene with his men, reveals Etienne as the notorious 'Bras Piqué', and discovers that Marietta returns his love. All ends happily.
The plot of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum concerns the efforts of a wily slave, Pseudolus, to win his freedom by procuring the beautiful but vapid courtesan Philia (a virgin) for his master, Hero (also a virgin). Only these two walking anachronisms could sing "Lovely" and actually mean it. Pseudolus' plans are hindered somewhat by Hero's father, Senex, who is himself smitten by Philia, but Senex has to admit that with love, at his age, sometimes it's just "Impossible". This sentiment is echoed by his wife Domina in the haunting lovesong "That Dirty Old Man".
As if that weren't enough, Philia is betrothed to Miles Gloriosus, a macho warrior, whose ode to love is "Bring Me My Bride". By the way, Philia was purchased sight unseen from the local dealer in courtesans, Marcus Lycus, who guarantees that she is untouched by human hands (and that includes the eunuchs). Infinitely more accessible are his other courtesans Panacea, Vibrata, Gymnasia, Tintinabula and the Geminae. These lovely ladies are real crowd pleasers and nobody is more pleased than Pseudolus, who dreams of buying one when he is finally "Free". Poor faithful Hero only wants Philia and so the plot continues.
To put Philia out of the running, Pseudolus concocts a plot that she is suffering from the plague, and blackmails Hysterium into aiding and abetting. Macho Miles arrives to claim his bride. Panic, chases and life-threatening situations ensue. The entire fiasco is finally saved by Erronius, a doddering old man who has just walked around the seven hills of Rome seven times, and the evening ends with "something for everyone - a comedy tonight".
Chicago is a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery-all those things we hold near and dear to our heart. It is jurisprudence-as-show-business and trial-by-publicity. It is a tale of the sensational murderess Velma Kelly, the reigning queen of the Cook County jail, and Roxie Hart, the newest of the merry murderesses, who, of course, haven't really committed any crime (their men had it coming).
Velma won't give Roxie the time of day, so she turns to the jailhouse matron for advice. For a small bribe, the matron tips Roxie to Billy Flynn, the legal Mr. Fix-it, who knows everything about women, juries, and how to weave sympathy into the press conferences he holds for his clients. As her mouthpiece (using her as a ventriloquist's dummy), Billy pulls the strings that make Roxie the new queen of the self-defense killers.
Since no woman has been hanged in Cook County in 47 years, it seems only a short time until she can parlay all the publicity into vaudeville stardom. Roxie has bumped Velma off the front pages, stolen her lawyer, even her court date. Now, Velma tries to persuade Roxie to do a sister act.
Remembering her treatment earlier, Roxie returns the cold shoulder. Roxie is a star, a single, until Go-to-Hell Kitty, the most sensuous murderess yet, comes on the scene. Roxie, realizing she could quickly lose all she has gained, faints and announces that she is going to have a baby. Refusing to go along with the courthouse charade, an innocent girl is found guilty and hanged-breaking the 47 year tradition. Velma and Roxie both panic and plead with Billy to get their cases over with in a hurry.
They are found innocent, of course, but at the moment of Roxie's triumph another woman shoots up the courthouse and steals all the headlines. Roxie and Velma shrug as if to say That's show biz and decide to salvage as much publicity as they can by doing the sister act-and all that jazz!
The madcap life of eccentric Mame Dennis and her bohemian, intellectual, arty clique is disrupted when her deceased brother's 10-year-old son Patrick is entrusted to her care. Rather than bow to convention, Mame introduces the boy to her free-wheeling lifestyle, instilling in him her favorite credo, "Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death." Figuring in the storyline are Agnes Gooch (Mame's personal secretary and nanny-in-law), Vera Charles (her "bosom buddy" baritone actress and world's greatest lush) and Dwight Babcock (the stuffy and officious executor of her brother's estate). Mame loses her fortune in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and tries her hand at a number of jobs with comically disastrous results but perseveres with good humor and an irrepressible sense of style.
Mame then meets and marries Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, a Southern aristocrat with a Georgia plantation called Peckerwood. The trustees of Patrick's father force Mame to send Patrick off to boarding school (the fictional St Boniface, in Massachusetts), and Mame and Beau travel the world on an endless honeymoon that stops when Beau falls to his death while mountain climbing. Mame returns home a wealthy widow to discover that Patrick has become a snob engaged to an equally priggish debutante, Gloria Upson, from a bigoted family. Mame brings Patrick to his senses just in time to introduce him to the woman who will eventually become his wife, Pegeen Ryan. As the story ends, Mame is preparing to take Patrick's young son, Peter, to India with her usual flair.
Adapted from Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, the musical stage version tells the tale of an orphan boy who dares to ask for more food at the workhouse where he and his fellow orphans are treated horribly. Oliver is thrown out of the workhouse and, while on the street, encounters the Artful Dodger who takes him under his wing and into the seedy underside of London where he joins a band of pickpockets who are controlled by Fagin. Eventually, Oliver is rescued from his life of crime by a wealthy and kind gentlemen, Mr. Brownlow, who turns out to be Oliver's grandfather.
Director : Sheila Shields
Musical Director: John McGovern
Choreographer: Debbie Miller-Smith
Irene O'Dare is the daughter of the widowed Geraldine O'Dare. They have opened the AAAAAA piano store on lowly 9th Avenue and their very first request for a piano tuning comes from Donald S. Marshall III of Long Island. Responding to the call, Irene rushes to the Marshall Estate where she meets Donald. It is obvious that this piano-tuner has struck the right chord with Donald and that they will make beautiful music together. Irene confesses that she has lofty ambitions; having read four chapters of a business text, she aspires to reach the very pinnacle of the financial world. Donald's ne'er-do-well cousin Ozzie wants help to jump-start a fashion business to be run by his friend, "Madame Lucy", a flamboyant male artiste, who pretends to be a famous French couturier. Irene is hired by Donald to get this business back on its feet. At the same time, Irene and two of her friends, Helen and Jane, are pressed into service as models.
In order to impress Donald's mother, Irene, Helen, and Jane appear as exotic foreign models at a soirée sponsored by Mrs. Marshall. However, even though everyone else seems to be getting their wishes fulfilled, Irene and Donald end up having a terrific row because Donald can't see Irene as anything but a business associate. Irene runs off in tears and Donald is left waiting for Act II.
As Act II opens Madam Lucy, Helen, Jane, and Ozzie are overjoyed at having won the day. Madame Lucy's creations are now world-famous. Having had time to think things over during intermission, Donald has come to realize how much he cares for Irene. He immediately leaves the estate and goes to the piano store. On the way he is waylaid by some young toughs but manages to stagger into the piano store where he collapses. A tender scene ensues, but as usual it degenerates into an argument. This time Donald rushes out, leaving Irene to wait for the next scene.
Just as everything seems hopeless, Helen and Jane arrive to save the day. They inform Donald that he is a stuffed shirt and the 1927 version of a wimp. This they fix with a few bars of music and Donald is sent on his way to find Irene. When he does, he sweeps her into his arms, kisses her passionately, and, as a result, gets flattened by a left hook. Undaunted, he sings of his love, she sings of her love, and Donald carries Irene off into the sunset.
Everything comes together at the grand ball at the Marshall Estate. Mrs. O'Dare arrives bedecked in her finest to find and console Irene despite her own broken heart - broken by the loss of the second great love of her life, Liam O'Dougherty. When she makes her entrance, she bumps into Madame Lucy. This is one of the great dramatic moments in theatre. To the surprise of everyone, Madame Lucy turns out to be the long-lost Liam O'Dougherty! They sing of their undying love and exit to await the Finale, where Donald tells everyone that he loves Irene O'Dare from 9th Avenue. Absolutely everybody is pleased with this turn of events and pairs off with somebody, thus guaranteeing a Happy Ending.
Hello, Dolly! is the story of Mrs. Dolly Levi’s efforts to marry Horace Vandergelder, the well-known half-a-millionaire, and send his money circulating among the people like rainwater the way her late husband, Ephraim Levi, taught her. Along the way she also succeeds in matching up the young and beautiful Widow Molloy with Vandergelder’s head clerk, Cornelius Hackl, Cornelius’ assistant, Barnaby Tucker, with Mrs. Molloy’s assistant, Minnie Fay, and the struggling artist, Ambrose Kemper, with Mr. Vandergelder’s weeping niece, Ermengarde.
Dolly tracks Vandergelder to his hay and feed store in Yonkers, then by train back to Mrs. Molloy’s hat shop in New York, out into the streets of the city where they are all caught up in the great Fourteenth Street Association Parade, and finally to the most elegant and expensive restaurant in town, the Harmonia Gardens. There Dolly is greeted by the waiters, cooks, doormen, and wine stewards in one of the most famous songs in the history of American musical comedy, Hello, Dolly!
What happens in the end? Dolly gets her man, of course, even making him glad she did. Dolly leaves the stage at the end of Act II with a wink to the audience as she takes a peep into Vandergelder’s bulging cash register, and promises that his fortune will soon be put to good use. She quotes her late husband as she says, “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.”
Damn Yankees is about a fanatic, middle-aged, Washington Senators' fan who keeps glued to his T.V. set during the baseball season. The distraught real estate agent rants against the Yankees who are clobbering the league's clubs, including his beloved Senators. In an impulsive oath, he says he would sell his soul if he could just stop those Yankees. A happily cynical Devil appears and the fan is transformed into something the Senators need: a young, phenomenal, long-ball hitter.
Joe Boyd becomes Joe Hardy, the sensation of the leagues, leading his team as they rise in the league standings. This newcomer with his success is the target for speculation by the press. As a safety precaution to keep Joe in line and to cure his unexpected loneliness for his wife, the Devil introduces Joe to Lola, his prize powerful weapon. However, when the Devil is ready for Joe to live up to his end of the bargain, Joe outwits him in the final moments of the big game.
Artistic Director: Mark Morton
Musical Director: Neil Bateman
Choreographer: Debbie Miller-Smith
At the end of the 16th century, in a bleak dungeon, the imprisoned playwright Miguel de Cervantes is awaiting trial by the dreaded Spanish Inquisition. First he must face a court of fellow prisoners anxious to relieve him of his few possessions – including a precious unfinished manuscript. In order to save himself, Cervantes proposes a trial in which he will prove the merit of the manuscript through a re-enactment, enlisting his fellow prisoners as characters in his play. Together they tell the story of the aged Alonso Quijano, who believes himself to be a knight errant named Don Quixote on a quest to attain an impossible dream. Against all odds, Quixote and his trusty squire Sancho Panza embark on a chivalrous journey to seek out the good and innocent in a world filled with darkness. Through the story all the prisoners– at least for a moment – are transformed. The mad Don Quixote may think a windmill to be a giant and a tavern to be a castle, but along the way he also transforms a wretched woman into a beautiful lady – and proves that an old man’s belief can truly make him a hero.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I is a moving, radiant story of East meets West. It is the early 1860s when newly widowed Anna Leonowens and her son, Louis, set sail from their native England for Bangkok, Siam (now Thailand). Anna, still grieving, has set her sights on a new adventure and taken a position as the schoolteacher for the royal offspring of the King of Siam.
The King is determined to usher Siam into the modern world, and he thinks Western education can be a part of that – yet, Anna is horrified at first by many of the traditions that he holds dear. Anna and the King struggle to find common ground. The King is largely considered to be a barbarian by rulers of the West, and he takes Anna on as an advisor, asking her to help change his image – if not his actual practice. With both keeping a firm grip on their respective traditions and values, Anna and the King teach each other about understanding, respect, and love that can transcend the greatest of differences. Beneath the fraught, fiercely opinionated, conflict-ridden surface of Anna and the King’s relationship lies one of the most unique love stories in the musical theatre canon.
Artistic Directors: J.A. Wallace and Sheila Shields
The play is set in New York City. Two rival gangs are fighting for turf: the American gang, the Jets, led by Riff, and the Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks, led by Bernardo.
The show opens with the two gangs fighting until it is broken up by the arrival of Krupke, a flat-foot beat cop and Shrank, an ill-tempered, bigoted detective. After the cops leave, the Jets decide the only way to solve the turf problem is to challenge the Sharks to a rumble. Riff decides to challenge Bernardo that night at the dance at the gym. Riff enlists the aid of his best friend, Tony. Tony, although a founder of the gang, has found the Jets' activities no longer interest him but agrees to come to the dance and help out the gang.
At the dance, the Jets and Sharks are competing again, only this time it is with wild dance steps. Tony spots a fresh, beautiful girl, with whom he ends up dancing. It is only when Bernardo angrily separates them he realizes he has been dancing with Maria, Bernardo's sister. Later that night, Tony secretly visits Maria and they pledge their love for each other in spite of their belonging to rival gangs.
Meanwhile, at Doc's drugstore, the gangs meet, and time and place for the rumble are set. Tony arrives late but manages to change the rumble from a pitched battle to a two-man fist fight.
The next day, Tony bounds into the Bridal Shop where Maria works with Bernardo's girlfriend, Anita. Anita is let in on the lovers' secret and agrees not to tell Bernardo.
The rumble is about to begin, but Tony arrives and tries to reconcile the two factions. Bernardo insults him and Riff leaps forward to defend his friend. Suddenly, knives appear and Riff is killed by Bernardo. Tony grabs Riff's blade and slays Bernardo.
Tony flees to tell Maria. She finds she cannot hate Tony, saying, "It's not us. It's everything around us." When Anita realizes Maria has forgiven Tony, she is furious with her. Shrank arrives suddenly and begins to question Maria. Anita, forgiving Maria, agrees to go to the drugstore to tell Tony that Maria will be delayed.
At the Drugstore, Anita is mauled by the Jets before she can even see Tony. In a rage, she tells them Chino found out about the lovers - and shot Maria. Doc relays this to Tony who then walks numbly into the streets screaming for Chino to come and get him too. He sees a figure in the dark: Maria. Just as the lovers reach each other, Tony is shot by Chino...
The Fantasticks, "a parable about love" was written by Tom Jones with music composed by Harvey Schmidt. It opened May 3, 1960 at the tiny 200-300 seat Sullivan Street Playhouse, Off-Broadway. The original cast featured Jerry Orbach as El Gallo, the Narrator.
The play is based on a play called Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand.
Since the day it opened, this gentle play with music has enchanted theatre-goers and received wide critical acclaim. The original production cost the producers $16,500 and by 1984, this tiny show had made $2,686,000.
Perhaps one of the reasons the play is so popular is due to its simplicity and universality. The theme of falling in love, losing love, and finally gaining knowledge in love, is basic to all of us.
This topic is presented in a stylized way, not at all like a conventional musical, which can feature large casts, lavish sets and big production numbers. The Fantasticks has only nine players and a simple black set which never changes. The Mutes, two mime/dancers, are used to set and remove benches and chairs and arrange props.
Here is what the author of the piece has written about the style:
"We all know what regular musicals are like and how they are normally staged. And yet this musical is different. It has a small cast. It has no scenery to speak of. The people in it are realistic and at the same time stylized too... It should be played as closely to audience as possible... Each actor considers the audience to be his friend... Search for the reality of the people. Try to believe in their existence. Try to feel what they feel."
The story is set in New York, Christmastime, 1933. Annie was left on the steps of the Municipal Orphanage with half a silver locket around her neck and a note saying her parents would someday return for her. She decides to run away from the mean-tempered Miss Hannigan, who runs the Orphanage, and find her parents. Along the way she befriends a stray dog whom she calls Sandy. But their friendship is short-lived; Annie is found by the police and returned to face Miss Hannigan's wrath.
She is saved by the arrival of Miss Grace Farrell, who has been sent to the Orphanage by billionaire industrialist Oliver Warbucks to select an orphan to spend Christmas with him. Grace chooses Annie. Warbucks is so taken with Annie he decides to adopt her, but before he can bring the subject up with her, she tells him the story of her locket and that she is desperate to find her parents. Warbucks offers $50,000 to anyone who can prove they are Annie's parents. Miss Hannigan, assisted by her crooked brother, Rooster, and his girlfriend, Lily, hatches a plot to get the reward money. None of the hundreds of couples that turn up know the secret of the locket except one - "Mr. and Mrs. Mudge"...
Fiddler on the Roof, composed by Jerry Bock, with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and book by Joseph Stein, is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905 and is very closely based on the books Tevye and his Daughters and Tevye the Dairyman by Jewish author Sholem Aleichem. The story focuses on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He tries hard to cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters - each one's choice of husband moving farther away from the customs of their faith - and with the edict of the Tsar that will eventually evict his family and all the Jews from their little village of Anatevka.
Welcome to the Greatest Show on Earth, the world of Phineas Taylor Barnum, full of spectacle and humbug. Sometimes with her support, and sometimes against her objections, P.T. Barnum works with his wife Chairy to create unbelievable attractions in a variety of ways, from the American Museum in New York City to a national tour featuring Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale.
Along the way, Barnum meets Joice Heth (the oldest woman alive) and Tom Thumb (the smallest man in the world). He dabbles in politics and begins a lecture tour, culminating in his founding of the Greatest Show on Earth with partner James Bailey.
Director: Nancy Turner
Music Director: Gary Morton
Choreographer: Susie Bregg
The workers at Mr. Hasler's Sleep-Tite pajama factory are pushing for a 7 1/2-cent raise. The new superintendent, Sid Sorokin, is trying to get the plant into peak production. In the process he falls in love with Babe Williams, a member of the union's grievance committee. Vernon Hines, the plant's jealous time-study man, is similarly inclined towards Gladys, Mr. Hasler's secretary. The romance between Babe and Sid has built concurrently with union ferment over wage demands. Events surrounding the company picnic give evidence wedding bells are in the air. But the union has decided on a slowdown. When Sid manages to get things speeded up, Babe short circuits the machines in her department. It's a blatant act that forces Sid to fire her. In an attempt to reconcile their differences and head off a strike, Sid takes Gladys out and gets her drunk in order to get the key to Mr. Hasler's private files. Meanwhile a strike vote is affirmed at a union meeting. Babe sees Sid out with Gladys and is even more inflamed. Sid's research pays off. He calls the union delegation to his office and asks them to hold off the union rally until they hear from him. Babe sees that he is trying to get to the bottom of things and agrees to cancel a previous date in order to meet Sid after the rally. Sid has found that Hasler had added the 7 1/2-cent raise to costs six months before. When he confronts Hasler, he agrees to a settlement. Everyone is reunited and Hasler throws an employeerelations party where the latest styles of pajamas are modeled.
Director: Eoin McManus
Musical Director: Drummond Hudson
Choreographer: Bob Riddell
Applause is adapted from the classic movie All About Eve. Eve Harrington starts off as an apparently star-struck fan of actress Margo Channing. Over time she ingratiates herself into Margo’s inner circle and then slowly works on usurping — with varying degrees of success — Margo’s friends, career, and fiancé.
Lovestruck Billy Crocker stows away on a Britain-bound liner in an attempt to woo the lovely Hope Harcourt out of the arms of her English Lord and into his own. Of course, the stowaway has to keep one step ahead of the pursuing purser, and so Billy is put through a series of disguises, helped both by a fondly friendly chanteuse called Reno, and by a minor criminal who has obligingly loaned him a much more successful criminal's ticket and berth. Billy and his crook pal end up exposed and in the brig, but they get out in time to tie up the happy ending.
Director, Set Designer, and Programme Director: Eoin McManus
Professor Henry Higgins, a brilliant, irascible bachelor and England's leading phoneticist, first encounters Eliza Doolittle outside the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden late one evening. She is a Cockney flower girl and Higgins, together with Colonel Hugh Pickering, a noted linguist, chooses her as his next project. She moves into his London flat, together with Pickering, to be transformed into a "lady"; Higgins thus responding to Pickering's challenge.
After weeks and weeks of drilling, Eliza finally improves and Higgins introduces her to his mother and her snobbish friends at the Ascot races. The son of one of these friends, Freddy Eynsford-Hill, falls hopelessly in love with Eliza, despite her unladylike cheering at the races.
Higgins' final test of his experiment comes at the Embassy Ball where Karpathy, a Hungarian phonetics expert comments on the pureness of her English. After Higgins and Pickering engage in a rollicking celebration over "their" success, Eliza storms out, meets Freddy and rages at him and spends the rest of the night wandering aimlessly around London. She encounters her father, Alfred P. Doolittle who is about to marry Eliza's stepmother and is celebrating that occasion with his friends.
Higgins discovers that he is hurt by Eliza's sudden departure and goes to his mother's flat for comfort. Eliza is there, getting advice. They argue, and she storms out. Higgins finally admits to himself that he will have difficulty getting on without her and, back at his flat, sinks, dejectedly, into the sofa. Eliza emerges from the shadows and Higgins, sighing contentedly, gently asks her for his slippers.
The Music Man is the story of Professor Harold Hill and his impact on the sleepy town of River City, Iowa. Hill arrives in that small community on July 4, 1912, with every intention of fleecing the town's citizens. But even with nothing but the lowest intentions, he inadvertently brings joy into their lives and into his own life, as well. His "con" is simple but effective: he convinces the town's residents he can teach their children to play in a marching band if they buy the instruments and uniforms he has for sale. Then he simply collects the money and escapes without fulfilling his promises. His best laid plans, however, go wonderfully awry when he falls in love with the town librarian, Marian Paroo, who makes an honest man of the perennial huckster. Trapped by his own love for Marian, Hill is literally forced to face the music when he is made to "conduct" his rag-tag orchestra.
Little Mary Sunshine is a witty, melodious takeoff on the Rose-Marie school of robust heroics and excessively ardent love songs. Set in the Colorado Rockies early in the twentieth century, the tale is primarily concerned with Mary, proprietress of the Colorado Inn, and valorous Capt. "Big Jim" Warrington of the Forest Rangers, who gets to rescue his beloved from the clutches of the lecherous Indian Yellow Feather just in time for their echoing "Colorado Love Call" duet.
Billy Bigelow is a carousel barker at a New England amusement park. Julie Jordan, shyest of the local millworkers and Carrie Pipperidge, her best friend, visit the park and ride on the carousel. Carrie is blissfully happy because she is engaged to the worthy Enoch Snow. Julie is strangely attracted to the rough and lonely Billy, and the two are soon married. Shortly after, Billy loses his job, becomes desperate, and bullies his wife, until he learns that he is to become a father. In order to get money to bring up the forthcoming child, Billy is persuaded by Jigger Craigin to take part in a robbery. Their ill-laid plans go awry, and while Jigger escapes, Billy kills himself to avoid capture.
After 15 years in purgatory, Billy learns that he will never get into heaven unless his soul is redeemed. He is given one final chance to return to earth and perform a good deed. At his unhappy daughter's school graduation, Billy manages to whisper words of comfort and hope to her that free her from her ongoing unhappiness.
OPENING NIGHT - THE FIRST 75 YEARS features music from various memorable shows presented over Orpheus's first 75 years. The show was developed by long-time Orpheans Nancy Turner, Paul Gaffney and Frank Burke and highlights the different phases that Orpheus went through ranging from Glee Club Recitals (1906-16), through Operettas (1917-54) and then to Broadway musicals from 1955 to 1981. Close to 50 numbers from 42 Orpheus productions feature as much of this memorable music as can fit in the time available. Continuity and context are provided by two hosts as well as film clips and still projections.
The Jazz Age lives on in Sandy Wilson's The Boy Friend,a light romantic spoof of 1920s Golden Age musical comedy.
Set against the backdrop of the French Riviera, The Boy Friend tells the story of English heiress Polly, who is longing for only one thing: a boy friend. Polly's father, convinced that any boy who isn't wealthy will court Polly strictly for her financial situation, forbids her to encourage any potential suitors. Honouring his wishes, Polly explains to Tony, the messenger boy with whom she's fallen in love, that she is no rich girl. This is just the tip of the mistaken identity iceberg, as love proceeds to find its way charmingly through nearly every member of the cast and bring them all to a happy ending.
Two weary Americans, lost in the Highlands of Scotland, stumble upon the village of Brigadoon, unlisted on their map, on the wedding day of Jean MacLaren and Charlie Dalrymple.
Befuddled by the strange habits and comments of the villagers, the Americans finally hear of the “miracle” whereby Brigadoon has been preserved from change for hundreds of years, coming back to life for one day each century. If a villager leaves, Brigadoon will be gone for good, but an outsider can enter and stay if their love for a villager is so strong that they will give up the outside world.
Tommy — one of the Americans — falls in love with Fiona MacLaren, but feels unable to commit to Fiona and Brigadoon. After returning to New York for some months, he finds his way back to Scotland where his love for Fiona is now powerful enough to allow him to find and enter Brigadoon forever.
With extreme cleverness and a fair amount of luck, the poor but wily Poet rises from the streets of Baghdad, avoids losing a hand when put on trial for theft, and is instead given the title of Emir by the Wazir of Baghdad. Meanwhile, the Wazir is in debt and has taken out a loan with the King of Ababu. In return, he must now marry the Caliph to one of Abbabu’s princesses...or all three! This plan hits a snag when the Caliph falls in love with the Poet’s beautiful daughter, Marsinah, while traveling around the city incognito. He announces his plans to the Wazir, who is not best pleased and relies on the assistance of his new Emir. In a series of unfortunate circumstances, Marsinah is spotted within the Wazir’s harem and announced as his new bride to the devastated Caliph. Realizing what has occurred, the Poet tricks the Wazir into entering a pool of water where he is drowned. Caliph and Marsinah are reunited, the Poet is pardoned for the Wazir’s murder and, for his “punishment” he is rewarded with a life in luxurious exile with the Wazir’s beautiful widow, Lalume. Exotic, seductive, and Golden Age Broadway, these events could only happen on an Arabian Night!
Gittel Mosca, who is Jewish (she says “GIttel” means “things fall apart”), single, and has ulcers, is a “lovable lunatic” who knows her weaknesses only too well. One of those weaknesses is love in the person of Jerry Ryan, fresh from Nebraska and a falling-out with his wife.
Jerry’s relationship with Gittel is an on-again, off-again battle of strong emotions enmeshed in conflicting personalities. Gittel has a shoulder to lean on in David, her gay dancing partner. But when David’s big break is within his grasp, Gittel finds herself alone in a situation with Jerry that cannot ever match her dreams.
On a seesaw, you’re either high or low, going up or down, up, down….
Guys and Dolls has been called the quintessential Broadway musical. It sets wonderful Loesser music to Damon Runyonland, the Broadway of the 1940's inhabited by gamblers, nightclub performers, and Salvation Army members trying to cure the sins of the Times Square population. The rich plot revolves around a bet made by gambler Sky Masterson with Nathan Detroit, organizer of a floating crap game.
Sky bets Nathan that he can woo any doll Nathan chooses and take her to a romantic Havana getaway. Nathan chooses none other than straight laced Sarah Brown of the Salvation Army.
The status of the bet, the crap game, and the end of the 14-year engagement of Nathan and his girl, Adelaide, result in confusion amidst great song and dance.