The Sixties (1960 - 1970)

The King and I

1969 - 1970

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.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

1969 - 1970

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".


Dramatic Director: Bob Gardiner

Musical Director: Rod Holmes

Choregrapher: Denise Smith

Beauty and the Beast and the ???

1969 - 1970

Guys and Dolls

1969 - 1970

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.


Dramatic Director: Joseph L. Shaver

Musical Director: John Murdie

Choreographer: Judy Hayes

Flower Drum Song

1968 - 1969

Flower Drum Song, the locale of which is San Francisco's Chinatown, tells a love story against a background of family tradition and the age-old differences in viewpoint of the elder and younger generations.


At the centre of what is really a three-fold romance stands Wang Ta, eldest son of Wang Chi Yang, a wealthy, retired, conservative gentleman with much influence in his community.  Wang Ta, a fine but inexperienced young man rejects his father's advice that he marry Mei Li, a lovely and modest Chinese Girl, who has come to the United States as a "picture bride".


Mei Li has been brought to this country for the purpose of marrying Sammy Fong, a gambler and night-club operator.  Mei Li and her father, Dr. Li, are guests in Wang Chi Lang's house.


Wang Ta has been smitten with the bold and brassy Linda Law whom, in his naivete, he has taken for an unsophisticated young lady, but who actually is an entertainer in Sammy's club and also his girl.


When Wang Ta discovers his mistake, he deeply regrets having defied his father's wish.  Another painful difficulty that besets the young man is that he cannot return the love of a third girl, Helen Chao.


At its darkest, the situation is resolved to the satisfaction of nearly all concerned through a clever idea conceived by the innocent Mei Li.  Trouble with the various families which, in an association, sit as a court in ancient Chinese fashion, is avoided, and it is breaking nobody's confidence to say that practically everyone lives happily ever after.


Dramatic Director: Joe O'Brien

Musical Director: Berthold Carriere

Choreographer: Joanne Ashe

Orpheus Presents

1968 - 1969

Orpheus presents...an evening of the music Orpheus patrons have enjoyed and loved over the years, music that Orpheus members take a great deal of pleasure presenting at this time.


The construction, painting and storage of sets has long been a problem at Orpheus House and has stimulated the conception of "ORPHEUS PRESENTS" as an aid to the building fund for a much-needed workshop extension.


In 1906, Choir Director James A. Smith felt a need to provide another outlet for choristers to sing secular music. With the aid of Ottawa citizens who agreed with Mr. Smith, he formed the Orpheus Glee Club.  No one knows if he foresaw the present Orpheus organization at that time, but until his death on May 6, 1969, he retained an interest in the organization and continued to serve as Honourary Vice-President.


It is to Mr. Smith's memory that Orpheus dedicates this programme, in the hope that we may continue to present entertainment worthy of the support he lent Orpheus for 63 years.


Choreography and Staging: Judy Hayes

Musical Director: Rod Holmes

The Pajama Game

1968 - 1969

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, Designer: Bill Glenn

Musical Director: Berthold Carriere

Choreographer for "Steam Heat": Joanne Ashe

The Sound of Music

1967 - 1968

Austria, 1938  


Maria Rainer, a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey in Austria, is sent to the home of a widower, Captain Georg Von Trapp to serve as governess for his seven children.


Although the Captain is engaged to wealthy Elsa Shraeder, both he and Maria find themselves falling in love with each other. After their marriage their happiness is short-lived because the Germans, who have invaded Austria, want Von Trapp to serve in their navy.


Director: John C. Knight

Musical Director: Berthold Carriere

Choreographer: Paulette Roberts

Funny Girl

1967 - 1968

Funny Girl is a generally faithful re-telling of parts of the career of Fanny Brice who was born in New York City in 1891 and was, for 25 years, one of the brightest comedians of the American musical theatre.  The story of Fanny Brice's won't-take-no-for-an-answer battle to bash her way into a burlesque chorus line and then to catch star-maker Florenz Ziegfield by the ear isn't really much different from any other major performer's successful assault on Broadway, but Isobel Lennart's understanding libretto and the tuneful Jule Styne-Bob Merrill score make it different.


The musical is also intent on telling the story of how Fanny loved and lost Nicky Arnstein.  It is most fun, however, when it is revelling in Fanny's preoccupation with show business. Bursting with energy and eagerness to improve her routines, Fanny is an impudent dancing doll who refuses to run down, and when imagining herself in a radiant future in "I'm the Greatest Star", she is not only Fanny Brice but all young performers believing in their destiny.  And then there are the two production numbers which recall the Ziegfeld theatre of the early 1900's - one an opulent salute to American beauties decked out in bridal gowns and diaphanous little nothings, the other a World War I extravaganza with dough boys and dough girls tapping out a rousing "Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat" - which are rare nostalgic treats.


Director: Joseph L. Shaver

Musical Director: Berthold Carriere

Choreographer: Richard Jones

Once Upon a Mattress

1966 - 1967

The “inside story” of what really happened to the famous princess who was so sensitive that she couldn’t sleep on twenty downy mattresses when one pea was placed underneath. The action takes place in a small kingdom in the year 1428.


Director: Barry Stewart

Musical Director: Berthold Carrière

Choreographer: Paulette Roberts

West Side Story

1966 - 1967

This brilliant musical combines a modern interpretation of Romeo and Juliet with a story of vivid sociological comment.


Tony, a member of a street gang called the Jets, falls in love with Maria, sister of the leader of the rival gang, the Sharks.  He is caught between the new emotions he feels and his old gang loyalties when the Jets determine to drive the Sharks from the streets.  The young lovers are tortured by insurmountable barriers of hate and fear, but manage to find a few tender moments together, until the gangs meet for a "rumble" in which Tony kills Maria's brother.  Despite this, Maria tries to protect Tony from the vengeance of the Sharks.  The two are reunited for a fleeting moment, but are discovered by the Sharks, and Tony is killed.  Stunned by the fruits of their violence and Maria's grief, the two gangs are awakened to the bitter realities of prejudice, and trudge silently away with Tony's lifeless body.


Dramatic Director: Joseph L. Shaver

Musical Director: Berthold Carriere

Choreographer: Richard Jones

My Fair Lady

1966 - 1967

Professor Henry Higgins, the 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.


Dramatic Director: John Knight

Musical Director: Berthold Carrière

Choreographer: Paulette Roberts

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

1965 - 1966

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".


Director: Barry Stewart

Musical Director: Berthold Carrière

Choreographer: Richard Jones

South Pacific

1965 - 1966

South Pacific is a World War II story of a Navy nurse who falls in love with a French planter many years her senior. It is also the story of a young Marine Lieutenant’s poignant attachment to a Tonkinese girl which is ruined by his inability to lose his Princeton background prejudices. Both romances are flavoured with the accents of two worlds meeting, of alien individuals thrown together in a remote part of the world against the background of war’s boredom and violence.


Dramatic Director: Stan White

Musical Director: Berthold Carrière

Choreographer: Richard Jones

Fiorello!

1965 - 1966

Fiorello H. LaGuardia was not only the best mayor New York has seen but was also the greatest actor who ever occupied the municipal stage.  The public quickly bestowed stage names on the five-foot-four, bulky little performer.  He was affectionately knowns as "The Little Flower", "Butch", and "The Hat", the latter because of the large black hat he invariably wore while rushing to fires, campaigning all day and night or hurrying to look into difficulties or scandals.


Long before he opened on the City Hall stage as Mayor of New York at noon on January 1, 1934, Fiorello H. LaGuardia was acting in Washington and New York, as well as performing superb public service.  When he was President of the Board of Aldermen from 1919-1921, the newspapers covered his conflicts wit Comptroller Charles L. Craig as if they were first nights or prize fights.  The State Legislature got so mad at that time that it raised every alderman's salary except his.  He appeared next day in his Army khaki shirt, announcing that he had to save laundry bills, and urging all veterans to get out their Army shirts to dramatize the high cost of living.


Research indicates that much more than the outline of Fiorello! is authentic.  Marie and Thea were real. Morris is real.  Neil lived to write a book about it.  The Shirtwaist Strike happened, and LaGuardia's opponents did drop a baby carriage full of paving bricks on him.


LaGuardia enjoyed practical jokes. On one occasion when his doctor ordered the Mayor to go to a hospital for X-rays, the attendant after he had taken the pictures noticed the Mayor fumbling wiht something behind his back.  "What's that?" he asked and discovered that the Mayor had put his house key between his kidneys and the plate so that the doctor would think he had swallowed a key.


LaGuardia loved fires.  He followed the reels in his own red chief's helmet, and there was no way to prevent the Mayor from directing operations when he got there.


LaGuardia was the first Congressman and Mayor to make extensive use of radio. His broadcasts were intimate and never dull.  Perhaps the most famous performance he gave were his weekly readings of the comics to the children during the newspaper strike of 1945.


Dramatic Director: Stan White

Musical Director: Berthold Carrière

Choreographer: Richard Jones

Oklahoma!

1964 - 1965

Indian Territory (soon to be Oklahoma)  early 1900s


The story of Oklahoma! concerns the romance of a young cowman, Curly McLain, who is in love with Laurey Williams, who lives on a Territory farm with her Aunt Eller. The two women operate the farm with the aid of a hired hand, Judy Fry, whose warped passion for Laurey is a cloud in her otherwise sunny existence. Also of some concern to Laurey are the machinations of Gertie Cummings, her chief rival for Curly’s affections.


Laurey’s friend, Ado Annie Carnes, is promised to another young cowman, Will Parker, but has great difficulty in making up her mind, even with the help of her strong-minded father. The current visit of Ali Hakim, a traveling salesman, has made Ado Annie even more uncertain.

Song of Norway

1964 - 1965

A musical extravaganza, Song of Norway is based on incidents in the life of the composer Edvard Grieg. The story opens with a prologue set in Troldhaugen, just outside Bergen. Bergen itself is high in the foothils of the mountains of Norway, and slopes deeply down to blue-watered fjords, flanked by tall trees and snow-capped mountains. It is Midsummer's Eve in 1860, and the poet Rikard Nordraak recounts the legend of Norway. Grieg is a humble, unknown and struggling composer whose genius is recognized only by his close friends, Nina, his sweetheart, and Nordraak, his great friend.


Edvard and Nina have misunderstandings, however, brought about largely by the appearance of the glamorous and unconventional Countess, Louisa Giovanni. Finally, the sweethearts are married. The Countess exerts a strong fascination for Grieg, and he follows her to Rome, ostensibly to study music. There he is caught up in the frivolity of society, achieves world fame and wealth, but becomes increasingly unhappy. With the news of the death of his friend Nordraak, he immediately returns to Norway, and rejoins Nina. Together they devote their lives to fulfilling the dreams they had as children. Among the dreams is a 'Vision of Norway,' presented in a spectacular ballet that ends the production, set to the music of the Piano Concerto in A Minor, which Grieg dedicated to Nordraak.


Dramatic Director: Tibor Feheregyhazi

Musical and Chorus Director: Robert Van Dine

Choreographer: Madame Nesta Toumine

Brigadoon

1963 - 1964

Deep in the Scottish highlands, two young American tourists, Tommy Albright and his friend Jeff Douglass, lose their way. Suddenly, they stumble across a village which they are unable to find on their map. Tommy and Jeff enter the village fair where they meet the lovely Fiona MacLaren and the bubbly Meg Brockie. Preparations are being made for the wedding of Fiona's sister Jean and Charlie Dalrymple. As the two Americans become increasingly wrapped up in the festivities, Tommy, who has just left an unhappy love affair in New York, grows increasingly fond of Fiona, but the quaint little village of Brigadoon and its townspeople are a puzzle to him. The people don't recognize American money, and they don't seem to know what a telephone is. Tommy's curiosity increases when he finds that Charlie has signed the MacLaren family Bible with the year "1746".


Tommy and Fiona spend the day together, growing ever closer, but soon Tommy presses Fiona for an explanation about the town. She decides that Jeff and Tommy should meet Mr. Lundie, the old schoolmaster, who would be better able to explain the situation in Brigadoon. What he tells the two visitors is that, fearing evil from the outside world, he asked God "to make Brigadoon an' all its people in it vanish into the Highland mist. Vanish, but not for always. It would return jus' as it was for one day every hundred years." No villager is allowed to leave, or the spell would be broken and Brigadoon would disappear forever, but a stranger would be able to remain if he fell in love.


As it turns out, the wedding of Charlie and Jean triggers a crisis which threatens the very existence of Brigadoon. Harry Beaton, in love with Jean and heartbroken at the thought of ther marrying another man, decides to leave town to break the spell. The villagers chase after him, but when Jeff trips Harry, the man strikes his head and dies.


Meanwhile, Tommy decides that he loves Fiona and that he wishes to stay in Brigadoon, but when he hears of Harry's death and the role that Jeff has played in it, Tommy is convinced that Brigadoon must just be a dream and he decides to return to New York.


Back in New York, Tommy can't get the thought of Fiona out of his mind. Accompanied by Jeff, he returns to Scotland hoping that Brigadoon might once again reappear. As they wonder if maybe it all really was a dream, the highland mists part to reveal the bridge that leads to the heart of Brigadoon. Tommy is reunited with Fiona, to remain with her forever in Brigadoon.


Dramatic Director: Joe O'Brien

Musical Director: John Murdie

Choreographer: Madame Nesta Toumine

The Music Man

1963 - 1964

River City, Iowa 1912


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.


Dramatic Director: Richard Lafferty

Musical Director: Squadron Leader C.O. (Cliff) Hunt

Choreographer: Madame Nesta Toumine

Can-Can

1962 - 1963

In 1893 Paris, La Môme Pistache, the proud owner of a Montmartre dance hall, battles with Aristide Forestiere, a self-righteous judge determined to close all establishments featuring the scandalous can-can. Eventually, the two fall in love, and the judge concedes that “obscenity is in the eye of the beholder.”


Dramatic Director: Tibor Feheregyhazi

Musical Director: Squadron Leader C.O. (Cliff) Hunt

Choreographer: Madame Nesta Toumine

Show Boat

1962 - 1963

Show Boat is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on Edna Ferber's best-selling 1926 novel of the same name. The musical follows the lives of the performers, stagehands and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat, over 40 years from 1887 to 1927. Its themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love. The musical contributed such classic songs as "Ol' Man River", "Make Believe", and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man".


The musical was first produced in 1927 by Florenz Ziegfeld. The premiere of Show Boat on Broadway was an important event in the history of American musical theatre. It "was a radical departure in musical storytelling, marrying spectacle with seriousness", compared with the trivial and unrealistic operettas, light musical comedies and "Follies"-type musical revues that defined Broadway in the 1890s and early 20th century.[1] According to The Complete Book of Light Opera:


Here we come to a completely new genre – the musical play as distinguished from musical comedy. Now … the play was the thing, and everything else was subservient to that play. Now … came complete integration of song, humor and production numbers into a single and inextricable artistic entity.


The quality of Show Boat was recognized immediately by critics, and it is frequently revived. Awards did not exist for Broadway shows in 1927, when the show premiered, or in 1932 when its first revival was staged. Late 20th-century revivals of Show Boat have won both the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical (1995) and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival (1991).


Dramatic Director, Choreographer: Bill Glenn

Director of Music: Squadron Leader C.O. (Cliff) Hunt

Down in the Valley

1962 - 1963

A folk opera wherein the leader and his chorus tell a timeless story of Youth, Love and Desperation in which a boy and a girl in love are forced to relive their life together in a few short moments while hiding from the law.


Dramatic Director: Bill Glenn

New Girl in Town

1961 - 1962

An old Swedish sailor is overjoyed when his daughter Anna visits him after fifteen years of living in St. Paul, but his crony Marthy realizes she is not the sweet innocent her father imagines, but a former streetwalker come back to reassemble the pieces of her shattered life. Anna gradually fits in with her father's friends, even falling in love for the first time - until an envious Marthy spills the truth about Anna's past at a neighborhood ball, nearly destroying her dream of happiness. (Written for the incomporable Gwen Verdon.)

The King and I

1961 - 1962

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.


Dramatic Director: Bernard McManus

Musical Director: John Murdie

Choreographer: Madame Nesta Toumine

Li'l Abner

1960 - 1961

Li'l Abner is the clever musical theatre adaptation of one of the world's most beloved daily comic strips. The title may seem quite foreign to anyone born after 1970, mainly because the strip hasn't run in most newspapers since then.


Due to the popularity of Al Capp's wonderful array of characters, though, not only did the world see the birth of a great musical comedy, but this same show was made into a successful Hollywood movie and, years later, most of the characters in the popular television situation comedy The Beverly Hillbillies were faithfully based on the personalities created by Al Capp.

The story unfolds during the late 1950's in the mythical town of Dogpatch, U.S.A. Almost the entire town is unemployed. The men spend their days fishing while the single ladies scheme about how to catch their men come next Sadie Hawkins Day.


Things are rolling along quite smoothly when, thanks to the "feds", their little town is suddenly deemed the most unnecessary place on the face of the map and is chosen as the site for atomic bomb testing. Unless they can prove themselves worthy, they have 48 hours to evacuate their homes.


Mammy Yokum almost saves the day with her wonder drug, Yokumberry Tonic, but what finally gets them off the hook is the plaque they find in the town square, signed by Abraham Lincoln and declaring their monument in honour of their local hero, Jubilation T. Cornpone, a national shrine.


Dramatic Director: Roy Hayden-Hinsley

Musical Director: John Murdie

Choreographer: Judy Hayes

Bells are Ringing

1960 - 1961

This "Sweetheart of a Musical" opens with eight girls complaining about the doldrums---they're just not getting enough telephone calls. The solution is simple announces an advertisement for Susan answer phone, a telephone answering service. Before the days of answering machines and high technology, the only choice was to hire a service to answer your phone when you weren't home.


This particular answering service is owned and run by Sue, who employs her cousin Ella to answer the phones. Ella has a deplorable tendency to get involved in customers' lives as she takes and delivers their messages. She even falls in love with one of the customers who she has never even met. In It's A Perfect Relationship Ella describes her feelings for Jeff Moss, this unknowing customer. Now, Jeff is a writer who is having trouble getting to work on his next play, and Ella is determined to help him. Whether you call it curiosity or eavesdropping, one thing's for certain, Ella's busybody personality is entertaining!


A subplot involving Sue and Sandor unravels at the same time. Sue falls in love with Sandor, who runs a company called Titanic Records. Conveniently the record company sets up a branch office in Sue's office space. The record company turns out to be a book-making concern, with an ingenious code which Sandor describes to his assistants in It's A Simple Little System. Unknown to anyone, the police are already monitoring Susananswerphone, suspecting that it's a front for a vice ring. Ella takes on a new identity, goes to Jeff's apartment, and convinces him to rework his new play. In the number Hello, Hello There! she teaches him about friendliness. Jeff invites Ella out for the evening, and a friend teaches her the cha-cha in the sizzling Mu-Cha-Cha dance. Eventually Jeff meets her in Central Park and explains that he has grown to love her. He takes her to a party where Ella sings Drop That Name when she finds herself at a loss for conversation. She doesn't think that she's up to Jeff's social status, and sadly slips away as she sings the great ballad The Party's Over. Jeff still doesn't know who Ella really is.


Meanwhile, Sue and Sandor plan a trip abroad, as he tries to borrow money from her to cover some racing debts. Two other answering service subscribers who Ella has also befriended coincidently meet the despondent Jeff in a nightclub. The songs in the club's floor show are written by one of the subscribers who is a musical dentist. The three men discover that Ella's good deeds have helped them all, but not one of them realizes she is the answering service girl. As the police close in on the bookies from the "record company," the three men set off to find Ella. Just as she decides to run away, she is reunited with Jeff. We have a classic happy ending.


Dramatic Director: Bill Armstrong

Musical Director: John Murdie

Choreography: Judy Hayes

© 2019, Orpheus Musical Theatre Society 

A not-for-profit registered charity
No. 11907 0415 RR0001

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