The Sixties (1960 - 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.

1969 - 1970

Guys and Dolls

1969 - 1970

Beauty and the Beast and the ???????

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".

1969 - 1970

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

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.

1969 - 1970

The King and I

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.

1968 - 1969

The Pajama Game

1968 - 1969

Flower Drum Song

Orpheus commissioned show

1968 - 1969

Orpheus Presents

1967 - 1968

Funny Girl

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.

1967 - 1968

The Sound of Music 

1966 - 1967

My Fair Lady

1966 - 1967

West Side Story

1966 - 1967

Once Upon a Mattress

1965 - 1966

Fiorello

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.

1965 - 1966

South Pacific

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".

1965 - 1966

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

A musical extravaganza, Song of Norway is based on indicdents 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.

1964 - 1965

Song of Norway

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.

1964 - 1965

Oklahoma!

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.

1964 - 1964

The Music Man

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.

1964 - 1964

Brigadoon

1962 - 1963

Down in the Valley

1962 - 1963

Show Boat

1962 - 1963

Can Can

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.

1961 - 1962

The King and I

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.)

1961 - 1962

New Girl in Town

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 Susansweringphone, 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.

1960 - 1961

Bells are Ringing

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.

1960 - 1961

Li'l Abner

© 2019, Orpheus Musical Theatre Society 

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

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • YouTube - White Circle
  • White RSS Icon