(E to L) Synopses of
Musicals and Plays


"Sinjin" Terrell
Musicals & Plays
The Stars
Stars in the Making
Leading Roles
Supporting Casts
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Stories and Tales
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"The Fantasticks"
Book by Tom Jones
Based on Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand
Lyrics by Tom Jones
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Opened May 3, 1960 at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. Closed January 13, 2002. 17,162 performances.

The fragile fantasy is concerned with the theme of seasonal rebirth, or the paradox of “why Spring is born out of Winter's laboring pain.” In the story the fathers of two youthful lovers, Luisa and Matt, feel they must show parental disapproval to make sure that their children remain together. When this deception is revealed, the lovers quarrel and Matt goes off to seek adventure. They each yearn to experience the excitement and dangers of the outside world. At the end, after each suffers some degrading experiences, they return to each other's arms.

Performed at the Music Circus in 1967 Return to Previous Page

"Finian's Rainbow"
Music by Burton Lane
Book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Opened January 10, 1947 at the 46th Street Theatre. Closed October 2, 1948. 725 performances.

In this whimsical, magical, still contemporary fable-with-a social-conscience, Finian McLonergan, his daughter Sharon, followed by a leprechaun named Og, travel from Glocca Morra, Ireland to Rainbow Valley in the mythical state of Missitucky, USA. Finian has "borrowed" Og's crock of gold to plant in the soil near Fort Knox so it will grow and make him rich. But Og wants it back, for without it all the Glocca Morra leprechauns will lose their magic powers and the crock of gold, which grants wishes, will turn to dross. The McLonergans arrive as Buzz, a stooge for racist Senator Billboard Rawkins, is trying to take the sharecroppers' land away for inability to pay back taxes. Woody Mahoney, co-owner of the land with his mute sister Susan, who "talks" with her feet by dancing, gets home from the Merchant Marines, with money to pay the taxes. But he is seventy dollars short! Sharon and Finian, who are hiding in a tree, are touched by their plight and throw down a shower of bills to save the day.

A highly original story unfolds, at once magical and all too real. Woody and Sharon fall in love ("Old Devil Moon"). Finian secretly buries the crock. The sheriff is about to throw all the citizens of Rainbow Valley off their land for violating his "law of the south, namely": Whites and blacks cannot work or live side by side. Sharon is outraged, and wishes that the Senator could be black and feel the terrible pain of racism. And because-without knowing it-she is standing over the buried crock, it happens! The Senator turns black—the crowd is stunned—he is horrified, and runs off into the forest to hide.

The sharecroppers learn there is gold in Rainbow Valley—though no one except Finian knows where it is. They are thrilled ("When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich") and go offstage to celebrate. Susan enters, alone. As she dances in the forest, magic seems to draw her to the place where Finian buried the gold. She digs it up. Amazed and enchanted, she dances holding the crock, then buries it in a different spot. As she dances off, Og enters, and soon after, a hungry, lonely, frightened black Senator stumbles onstage. Og casts a spell to cure the Senator of his bigotry!

The Senator leaves, Susan returns, Og falls madly in love with her and sings his tour-de-force, "When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love (I Love the Girl I'm Near)". Meanwhile, Sharon, accused of witchcraft for turning Rawkins black, is about to be burned at the stake. But at the last minute, there are happy endings for all: Sharon and Woody marry; the Senator is warm and tolerant (and is running for office); Susan can speak; she and Og are a happy couple. And Finian goes on his way, taking his rainbow of hope to others who need it.

Performed at the Music Circus in 1951
Performed at the Music Circus in 1954
Performed at the Music Circus in 1960
Performed at the Music Circus in 1968
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Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Book by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott
Produced by Robert Griffith & Harold Prince
Directed by Geoge Abbott
Choreography by Peter Gennaro
Opened November 23, 1959 at the Broadhurst Theatre and ran for 795 performances.

“Fiorello!” tells the story of the rise to power of New York’s “Little Flower,” Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (1882-1947). In a time when the crooked political machine known as “Tammany Hall” was up to its ears in graft, vice and corruption, it took this small, honest man to break their stranglehold on New York City politics. With guts and perseverance “The Little Flower” put a bright, new shine on “The Big Apple.”

Unlike most political musicals, which are usually satires, “Fiorello!” is really a love story set to the music and beat of a New York City in the midst of change. The little man with the big hearts continues to attract and charm audiences with his warmth and humor.

With a book by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, and a score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, “Fiorello!” is a melodic masterpiece whose take on corruption in government is as timely today as when it was written. Featuring a large cast, offering many opportunities for ensemble work, “Fiorello!” is a witty sweet valentine to all that is right about the way our government works.

Source: http://halleonard.com.au/catalogue/itemview.html?item_id=216

Performed at the Music Circus in 1962 Return to Previous Page

"Funny Girl"
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Opened March 26, 1964 at the Winter Garden Theatre, New York and ran for 1348 performances. Movie released 1968

Backstage in her dressing room at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where she is a reigning Ziegfield star, Fanny Brice sits thoughtfully at her dressing table. Tonight Fanny's mind is on something more important than the show. Her husband, Nick Arnstein, will be coming home after serving a prison sentence. Now she must make a decision about their future.

As she ponders her problem, the sights and sounds of her past come back to her. First, she remembers herself as a stagestruck teenager; awkward, unattractive but fiercely determined to get ahead in the theatre. Using her best efforts Fanny's sharp-tongued but sympathetic mother tries to make her come to her senses, but Fanny continues to audition and get turned down. Finally Fanny overwhelms a vaudeville hoofer with her iron will to succeed and her unshakable self-confidence. He agrees to coach her in singing and dancing, and they spend time practicing routines. At last she is given a chance; of course she wows the audience.

Fanny is quickly smitten by Nick Arnstein, an elegant man, who has come to the theatre to pay off a gambling debt. She has little time for mooning over him because producer Florenz Ziegfield has sent her a telegram offering her a spot in his current Follies. Fanny is a hit in her first Ziegfield appearance, and Nick is coincidently on hand to offer congratulations. He goes with Fanny to her mother's opening night block party on Henry Street. Some months later they meet again. This time they're in Baltimore and they enjoy a private dinner at an exclusive restaurant. That does it. Fanny cannot leave Nick ever again. At the railroad station where the Follies company is to board a train for Chicago and Nick one for New York, Fanny decides to leave the company and follow her love. She feels this is her one chance for happiness and is determined not to let anything stand in her way.

Fanny and Nick are married and move into a mansion on Long Island. During rehearsals of a new Follies, Nick approaches Ziegfield backstage about investing money in a gambling casino he plans to build in Florida. Ziegfield declines, but Fanny insists on putting up the necessary capital. Fanny's opening night of the new show is ruined by Nick's failure to appear. After the performance he comes to her dressing room and tells her that his casino venture has failed and she has lost her money.

She tries to treat the bad news lightly and not make Nick feel even worse, but Nick feels Fanny is making light of his ventures and complains that she treats him like a child. For the first time Fanny begins to have doubts about their relationship. Now she anonymously tries to put up money for him in another venture. But when he finds out about this, he becomes incensed; he is not comfortable being so dependent on his wife. Out of desperation he gets involved in a shady bond deal. Nick is soon arrested for embezzlement. Mrs. Brice makes her daughter take responsibility for her part in what has happened.

The final scene in Fanny's dressing room is a continuation of the first scene in the play. Nick, just out of prison, enters. While they still love each other deeply, it is obvious that their marriage can only bring unhappiness to both of them. Reluctantly, but inevitably, they part. Fanny courageously resolves to get on with her life.

Performed at the Music Circus in 1967 Return to Previous Page

"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Music by Jule Styne
Book by Joseph Stein & Anita Loos
Produced by Herman Levin & Oliver Smith
Directed by John C. Wilson
Choreography by Agnes de Mille
Opened December 8, 1949 at the Ziegfeld Theatre, (New York) and ran for 740 performances.
Movie 1953

Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw (Bea Arthur) are a pair of entertainers, best friends with opposite tastes in men. Lorelei is a gold digger interested only in marrying a rich fellow. Dorothy, the more sensible of the two, is looking for an ordinary guy. Lorelei and Dorothy are just "Two Little Girls from Little Rock", on a transatlantic cruise, working their way to Paris, and enjoying the company of any eligible men they might meet along the way, even though "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend".

Performed at the Music Circus in 1953 Return to Previous Page

"Good News"
Book by Lawrence Schwab, BG DeSylva & Frank Mandel
Music & Lyrics by De Sylva, Brown and Henderson
Originally produced by Music Theatre of Wichita, Inc.
Chanin's 46th St Theatre, Broadway - 6 September, 1927 (551 performances)
Tait college is having a parade. There is acrobatic dancing while the students sing the school song. They are all determined that Tait will win the forthcoming football match against rivals from Colton College- football being more important to the college than academia. The annual award from the Bingham foundation will depend on the outcome of this game. Tom Marlow, captain of the football team, can only play on the season's big game because Constance Lane coached him in astronomy well enough for him to pass his exams. The all important game is won by Tait and Tom, now a hero, can pursue the more important business of winning Constance, whom he has loved for a long time.

Source: http://www.nodanw.com/shows_g/good_news.htm
Performed at the Music Circus in 1950 Return to Previous Page

"The Great Waltz"
Adaptation of "Waltzes from Vienna" by Moss Hart, Frank Tours and Robert Russell Bennet
Center Theatre, New York September 22, 1934
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London - 9 July, 1970 (600 performaces)
Set in Vienna in the spring-time, featuring a conflict between a father and his son, laced with overtures of romance; and though it all a score comprising some of the most loved waltzes ever writeen by the father and son on whose lives the plot is based, and who are truly regarded as the greatest waltz composers of all time. Among a host of tunes, this show contains both "The Radetzky March" and, of course, "The Blue Danube".

Source: http://www.nodanw.com/shows_g/great_waltz.htm
Performed at the Music Circus in 1950 Return to Previous Page

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Music by Jule Styne
Book by Arthur Laurents
Suggested by the Memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee
Opened May 21, 1959 at the Broadway Theatre (New York) and ran for 702 Performances.

Frustrated in her own efforts to be a theatrical star, Rose is determined that her favorite daughter, June, succeed where she failed, and when June walks out on her she transfers her star-making efforts to the neglected Louise. Her hopes for Louise are stillborn due to the demise of the vaudeville circuit, so she forces her daughter into still popular burlesque, which Rose has always detested as the lowest form of entertainment.

Louise becomes the most famous of all strippers, Gypsy Rose Lee, following Rose's advice to never take it all off, and a glamorous figure with intellectual pretensions in celebrity society of the 1930s-1940s era. It was the heartbreak chapters of her best-selling memoirs that suggested a backstage musical show without the usual happy ending expected by Broadway audiences. "Gypsy" lost out in the 1960 Tony competition for best musical to "The Sound of Music."

As the final curtain falls on "Gypsy," Louise has left her mother in the dust, having told her that all she ever wanted was for her mother to notice her. Rose also is given a chance to explain herself in "Rose's Turn," a haunting song sung on a bare stage in which she laments what she might have been in the theater if she had not been "born too soon and started too late."

Source: www.areaguide.net/news/entertain.asp?newsid=4363&bc=sea
Performed at the Music Circus in 1961
Performed at the Music Circus in 1962
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"High Button Shoes"
Music by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
Book by Stephen Longstreet
Produced by Monte Proser & Joseph Kipness
Directed by George Abbott
Choreography by Jerome Robbins
Opened October 9, 1947 at the New Century Theatre and ran for 727 performances.
Harrison Floy hoodwinks the Longstreet family into letting him sell some of the valueless property that they own. After running off with the profits to Atlantic City, Floy loses and recovers the money and then loses it completely after betting on the wrong college football team.

Performed at the Music Circus in 1951
Performed at the Music Circus in 1953
Return to Previous Page

"Hit the Deck"
Music by Vincent Youmans
Lyrics by Clifford Grey and Leo Robin
Book by Herbert Fields
Produced by Lew M. Fields and Vincent Youmans
Directed by Lew M. Fields, Seymour Felix and Alexander Leftwich
Opened April 25, 1927 at the Belasco Theatre, New York and ran for 352 performances.
Loulou is the owner of a Newport coffee house. She falls in love with Bilge, one of the many sailors who patronise her eatery whenever they're in port. But Bilge is reluctant to consider marriage. So Loulou takes a small fortune she has come into and follows him all the way to China. When she finally seems to have won her point, Bilge discovers she is wealthy. Bilge is unwilling to marry but Loulou wins this round by agreeing to sign away her money to their first child.

Source: http://www.nodanw.com/shows_h/hit_the_deck.htm
Performed at the Music Circus in 1950 Return to Previous Page

"Irma La Douce"
Irma la Douce is a 1956 French stage musical whose book and lyrics were written by Alexandre Breffort with music by Marguerite Monnot.

An English language version, with the new book and lyrics provided by Julian More, David Heneker and Monty Norman, opened in London's West End in July 1958. The English version uses a few colloquial French expressions, including some of the Parisian underworld slang of the original, making an exotic and entertaining feature of it, as in the titles of songs, "Le Grisbi is le Root of le Evil in Man" (grisbi is old slang word for money, also present in the 1954 Jean Gabin movie title Touchez pas au grisbi) and "Dis-Donc", and employs a narrator to guide the audience through the linguistics.

The London production starred Elizabeth Seal in the title role, Keith Michell as Nestor and Clive Revill as Bob-le-Hotu, the narrator, and ran for 1512 performances. The show transferred to Broadway in September 1960 with the same three lead actors, winning Elizabeth Seal the 1961 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, and ran for 524 performances.

The musical tells the story of an impoverished law student, Nestor le Fripé, who falls in love with a prostitute, Irma la Douce, and becomes her protector and dependent. Through jealousy of her clients he disguises himself as a rich older man who visits and pays Irma for conversation and becomes her only client. Nestor becomes exhausted with working hard enough to make enough money for Irma to support him and decides that the only way out of his mess is to destroy his alter ego. When the older man disappears, Nestor is convicted of murder and sent to Devil's Island but he escapes and returns to Irma when he hears that she is pregnant. He manages to prove his innocence of murder by briefly assuming his disguise once more and all ends well.

Performed at the Music Circus in 1963 Return to Previous Page

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