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"Sari"
Liberty Theatre, New York, January 13, 1914
Operetta in 3 Acts
Music by Emmerich Kálmán
Libretto by Julius Wilhelm and Fritz Grünbaum
Synopsis

ACT I
Pali Rácz is an internationally renowned gypsy orchestra leader. When first we meet him, in the music room of his country house in Lörinczfalva, he is despairing over the efforts of his sixteen children to reach his standards with their music lessons. Finally he takes the violin from one of them to demonstrate his point, only to find that he himself now has difficulty achieving the musical effect he wants. The gout from which he has been suffering means he can no longer play as he ould wish.

The children rush into the garden, leaving Rácz despondent, until his daughter Sári appears. Rácz asks for his niece Juliska, whom he is hoping to make his fourth wife, but Sári refers him to his doctor's orders that he should not get excited. His daughter points out that he has already been married three times which, in her opinion, is quite enough and Rácz is left to think back over the days when he was the world's leading virtuoso gypsy violinist and the object of all the young ladies' adulation.

Rácz is pleased when Juliska at last arrives, bringing him a bundle of letters that demonstrates the extent of his international fame — letters from as far afield as London, Paris, Manchester, Florence and Odessa. Rácz sees it as natural enough. Heidsieck exports champagne, Krupp cannons, and Rácz gypsy musicians. Even now Stockholm is ordering a double-bass player and the Trocadero in Paris a clarinettist. Among the letters is one marked 'Private', which turns out to be from his friend Count Irini, announcing that he intends to pay a visit. Rácz is delighted, though he takes care to warn Juliska not to flirt with the young Count.

Rácz's eldest son and musical heir, Laczi, enters just in time to interrupt his father and Juliska in a farewell embrace, and Rácz scolds Laczi for failing to knock. A more constant source of discord between Rácz and his son is the younger man's discovery of the music of Wagner, Bach and Händel, which he finds more stimulating than the old gypsy songs and, when Sári returns, she senses a distinct atmosphere between the two. She suggests they behave more sensibly and turns to attending to the children who are asking for food, though not before they have got her to sing a fairy-tale song with them.

Gaston, Count Irini, arrives with Cadeau, the representative of the Count's guardians and, seeing Sári bending over Klari, Rácz's youngest child, he cannot resist giving her a kiss. The visitors are greeted by Rácz with a bottle of Tokay wine, and Gaston chides Rácz for never having let on that he has such an attractive daughter.

Gaston reveals that he has come to ask Rácz to play at a concert he is giving in Paris for the King of Massilia. Rácz is attracted by the idea, as he once received a decoration from the King, but he is inhibited by an even older memory. Once, when he was eighteen and playing for a ball in London, he met a young French lady who invited him to her home in Paris. Alas, her father forbade it, and he has avoided Paris ever since. In that French lady and in Paris, he feels, resides his youth. Gaston pleads with him to change his mind, but Rácz is adamant in his refusal.

When Juliska comes to set the table, Gaston is astonished to discover that Rácz is hoping to marry her but, as Rácz comments, marrying is like smoking—it's difficult to give it up. While Rácz takes his guests to show them around his property, Laczi joins Juliska in the room, but she pretends not to notice him. Laczi responds to this snub by sitting himself at the piano and playing increasingly ambitious modern tunes. Juliska mockingly dances and trills, ever more piqued at being ignored by Laczi.

Gaston comes in looking for some ink so that Rácz can sign the contract to play in Paris and finds Sári. She suggests that Gaston leave her father in peace, but the Count is determined not only to take her father back with him but to win another kiss from Sári. She is not unimpressed when he reels off his pedigree, particularly when he mentions that his years as a ward are over and he is looking for a bride. She playfully suggests that she has a bride for him. Gaston plays along, convinced that she is referring to herself.

In spite of Gaston's forceful pleading, Rácz remains adamant that he will not go to Paris, and Gaston tries to enlist Juliska to help change his mind. Laczi suggests that he should go instead, but old Rácz, who has little opinion of his son's talents, is scathing. He points out all the assets that a genuine gypsy violinist must have — the fire, the ability to laugh and cry, to play and lead at the same time, to flirt with attractive women, to be in command and yet a heart-breaker. Laczi rejects the criticism but Rácz persists. Laczi is determined to go and to prove himself, though Juliska pleads with him to stay. As a last resort, Gaston brings some members of Rácz's orchestra who beg him to agree to go to Paris. Finally, in spite of Sári's pleas with him to stay home, he leaps up and, to the delight of Gaston and the gypsies, tells them he is prepared to go.

ACT 2
In a room of Count Irini's castle in Paris a dance is under way. Mustari, the master of ceremonies, announces the King of Massilia, and everyone joins in the Massilian national anthem. The King, who is on vacation in Paris under the pseudonym of Count Estragon, offers his thanks for the reception and declares himself ready for whatever Gaston has to offer — so long as it is not boring! Gaston retorts that his life has been one long struggle against boredom. He has already got through eight million francs in his battle against boredom, and now his allowance has been turned off until he marries. There are, however, prospects in that area, for he admits to being hopelessly in love with a Hungarian village beauty.

Then, to Gaston's astonishment, Cadeau enters, followed by Juliska and Sári. He is delighted to see them — for his own sake for Sári, and for Rácz's sake for Juliska — but the attention that Gaston pays to Juliska disappoints Sári and, though she soon becomes the centre of attention for the Parisian young ladies, she feels uncomfortable in her Hungarian costume amid the fashions of France.

When Rácz puts in an appearance, he has undergone a complete transformation. He no longer looks an old gypsy, but a elegant man of the world. His hair has been dyed black, his beard has gone in favour of a neat moustache, he is wearing evening dress, and carrying a top hat in one hand and his violin in the other. The King is introduced to him as Count Estragon but, keen to get in a mention of his decoration from the King, he is reluctant to observe the monarch's incognito, and Gaston finally has to step in to save the King from embarrassment.

At the sound of dance music, Rácz begins to make some comparisons between modern music and gypsy violin playing.

Sári and Juliska greet the old man warmly. They are surprised to see him looking so young, but he gives the credit to three weeks treatment at the spa of Pistyán. He introduces his daughter and niece to the disguised King, who takes something of a fancy to Sári and, when Juliska laughs at the idea of Sári marrying a King, Sári retorts that it is no funnier than the idea of the young Juliska marrying old Rácz. Juliska answers that she has agreed to do so purely out of gratitude and, when Sári suggests that she would be better off with Laczi, Juliska tells her that the problem is to get her cousin to speak to her of love.

Who should then turn up, but Laczi himself? It seems that it is he who has been engaged as director of the music during dinner. Away from home, he seems to have much more to say to Juliska, and the two are soon making up for lost time until she feels obliged to tell him that she is already engaged to someone else. It is all his fault for being so backward in showing interest in her. Laczi leaves, and Juliska is joined by the King, arm in arm with Sári, and finally by old Rácz, and the four make merry as Rácz enjoys his familiarity with the King.

Laczi is now determined to find out whether Juliska is engaged to his father or, perhaps, to the Count. He asks the servant, Pierre, to tell his father that a man from Lörinczfalva wishes to speak to him, and Rácz, surprised to see Laczi in Paris and here at the ball, greets his son warmly. But what is he doing here? Whatever it is, he can't be doing too badly to be mixing in this company. Didn't he always say the boy should give up music? When he discovers that Laczi is there in charge of the music, he is horrified and begs him to give it all up and return home.

Now Gaston is showing more interest in Sári and goes as far as to suggest that he should go with her to Hungary and become a shepherd on the puszta. They indulge in a prolonged kiss and Sári's heart beats faster as at last he speaks to her of love. Juliska and Laczi oversee Sári and Gaston embrace and decide to take a leaf out of their book but their enjoyment is interrupted when the news comes that old Rácz has gone missing just as it is time for him to play.

Gaston begs Laczi to step into the breach and fill his father's place and, borrowing a violin from one of his musicians, the young man takes the stand and begins to play. Rácz, returning, stands and listens motionless, watching, as Laczi's performance is greeted with a storm of applause and the King steps forward to shake the young man warmly by the hand. Rácz cannot believe that such music should attract such acclaim, but paternal pride is stronger than personal pride, and he hurries forward to embrace his son. When Rácz is asked to play in his turn, the result is anti-climax. The King thinks little of his outdated gypsy music and everyone goes off to dance, leaving Rácz alone, realising that it is the end for him. The world has moved on and he has been left behind.

ACT 3
In her boudoir, Countess Irini, the Count's grandmother, is playing cards with three friends. She is concerned that, for the past three weeks, her grandson has been depressed. Indeed, when he joins the group, he can manage nothing more than 'So so' in response to their questions. His whole life, he says, is monotonous and the Countess is shrewd enough to recognise the symptons of lovesickness.
To Gaston's delight, Sári arrives, looking for her father. Gaston wants her to talk of marriage, but she refers to a letter she has already sent him telling him she cannot marry him. He has thrown it in the waste basket. He presses his suit ardently and tells her that she protests too much. He introduces her to his grandmother, who thoroughly approves and, when Juliska appears, the old Countess promises also to speak to Rácz to persuade him to give way to his son as Juliska's husband. Cadeau, meanwhile, has got it into his head that he will marry either Sári and Juliska and he is looking forward to the trip to Lörinczfalva — compared with which he reckons London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna have little to offer.

Rácz has desperately been giving concerts to ever dwindling audiences and now, knowing that his playing days are over, he is ready to accept Gaston's offer to buy his Stradivarius violin. The old man is presented to the Countess Irini, and is most taken by her faded but still evident beauty, and he tells her that he will return to Lörinczfalva the following morning to marry Juliska. The Countess declares that it has been her life's mission to mend broken hearts, and she recalls the day, thirty-eight years before, when she flirted with a young gypsy violinist at a ball in London.

A servant shows in Laczi, who is overjoyed to see Juliska. The Countess instructs them to kiss each other, and they dutifully but happily embrace.

Rácz, left alone with only his Stradivarius for comfort, is interrupted by Cadeau, who has now made up his mind to marry Juliska. Then Gaston presents his grandmother with his intended bride — Sári and Rácz is sagely reflecting that love and energy belong to the young, when Cadeau reappears, having now decided to marry Sári!

To Laczi he hands his Stradivarius, to Gaston the scarf-pin he received from the King of England, to Sári the ring he was given by the Tsar of Russia, and to Juliska the ring he received from the Queen of Spain.


Pali Rácz (1830-86) and his son Laczi were real-life gypsy musicians of international repute. The above synopsis includes the third act in its final, revised version, and has been condensed from the synopsis in "Book of the Musical Theatre" by Kurt Ganzl

Source: http://musicaltheatreguide.com/composers/kalman/zigeunerprimas.html


Performed at the Music Circus in 1950 Return to Previous Page

"Show Boat"
Music by: Jerome Kern
Lyrics by: Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by: Oscar Hammerstein II, based on SHOW BOAT by Edna Ferber
Directed by: Sammy Lee and Zeke Colvan
Produced by: Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.
Ziegfeld Theater, New York, December 27, 1927 (572 performances)
Drury Lane Theatre, London May, 3 1928 (350 performances)
Synopsis
This show was the first Broadway score ever to have a coherent plot and integrated songs. Based on Edna Ferber's novel of the same name, Show Boat is a story that takes place over a period of 50 years looking into the lives of the Hawks family, their show boat troupe of actors, and the Cotton Blossom floating theater.

Magnolia Hawks is the lovely but protected, and thus very naive, daughter of Cap'n Andy Hawks, the genial proprietor of a show boat that cruises the Missisippi, and his nagging wife, Parthy. She is best friends with the show boat's star, Julie LaVerne, but Julie and her husband Steve are forced to leave when it is revealed that Julie has "Negro" blood in her, thereby breaking the state law by being married to the white Steve. Magnolia replaces Julie as the show boat's female star, and the show's new male star is the suave gambler Gaylord Ravenal. "Nola" and Gaylord fall in love and marry against Parthy's wishes. They and their young daughter, Kim, lead the high life when Gaylord is lucky in gambling, but live like dirt when he's unlucky. During one such unlucky streak, a broken Gaylord leaves Nola, and she is forced to start over by returning to the stage. Like Old Man River, as the famous song from this show goes, she just keeps rollin' along and eventually becomes a star.


Performed at the Music Circus in 1950
Performed at the Music Circus in 1951
Performed at the Music Circus in 1953
Performed at the Music Circus in 1958
Performed at the Music Circus in 1961
Performed at the Music Circus in 1964
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"Song of Norway"
Music by Edvard Grieg
Lyrics and Musical Adaptation by Robert Wright and George Forrest
Book by Milton Lazarus
Opening: Aug 21, 1944 Closing: Sep 7, 1946 Total Performances: 860
Imperial Theatre, (8/21/1944 - 4/13/1946) Broadway Theatre, (4/15/1946 - 9/7/1946)

Synopsis
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.


Performed at the Music Circus in 1950
Performed at the Music Circus in 1953
Performed at the Music Circus in 1958
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"South Pacific"
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Oscar Hammerstein and Joshua Logan
Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "Tales Of The South Pacific" by James Michener.
Produced by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leland Hayward & Joshua Logan
Directed by Joshua Logan
Opened April 7, 1949 at the Majestic Theatre and ran for 1,925 performances
Synopsis
Set in an island paradise during World War II, two parallel love stories are threatened by the dangers of prejudice and war. Nellie, a spunky nurse from Arkansas, falls in love with a mature French planter, Emile. Nellie learns that the mother of his children was an island native and, unable to turn her back on the prejudices with which she was raised, refuses Emile's proposal of marriage. Meanwhile, the strapping Lt. Joe Cable denies himself the fulfillment of a future with an innocent Tonkinese girl with whom he's fallen in love out of the same fears that haunt Nellie. When Emile is recruited to accompany Joe on a dangerous mission that claims Joe's life, Nellie realizes that life is too short not to seize her own chance for happiness, thus confronting and conquering her prejudices.

Source: http://www.musicalheaven.com/s/south_pacific.shtml


Performed at the Music Circus in 1955
Performed at the Music Circus in 1957
Performed at the Music Circus in 1960
Performed at the Music Circus in 1963
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"Springtime for Henry"

Synopsis
In this romantic comedy, a rakish fellow involves himself with a married woman. Later his secretary endeavors to win him away with the promise of a more stable relationship. The rake is tempted, but then decides he prefers the married woman, which is fine with her husband who has an eye for the secretary. ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide


Performed at the Music Circus in 1963 Return to Previous Page

"The Student Prince"
Lyrics by Dorothy Donnelly
Music by Sigmund Romberg
Produced by Messrs. Shubert
Directed by J.C. Huffman
Choreography by Max Scheck
Opened December 2, 1924 at Jolson's 59th Street Theatre, New York and ran for 608 performances.
Synopsis
The operetta opens in the palace of the mythical kingdom of Karlsberg. It is 1860. Prince Karl Franz, heir to the throne, is bored with royal life in his native land. With his tutor, Doctor Engel, he plans a visit to the old German University town of Heidelberg. Engel recalls nostalgically his own youth in Heidelberg, as the Prince looks forward with considerable anticipation to his future freedom in that delightful city ("Golden Days"). When they arrive in Heidelberg it is spring, and the world is in bloom. The Prince, now incognito, joins his new comrades in a student's song ("Student's Marching Song"), after which they parade to the "Golden Apple Inn". There the students raise their Steins of beer in a robust toast to drink and romance ("Drinking Song"). They call for Kathie, the lovely young daughter of the innkeeper. She addresses the students with considerable warmth of feeling, after which she comes to the Prince's table and dedicates to him a sentimental song about Heidelberg ("In Heidelberg Fair"). The students respond with a vigorous rendition of the age-old student hymn, "Gaudeamus Igitur". Before long, Kathie and the Prince are strongly attracted to each other. In the ensuing weeks their friendship ripens into love ("Deep in My Heart"); one beautiful evening the Prince is inspired to sing a serenade under her window ("Serenade"). But their love idyll is doomed. The news arrives from Karlsberg that the king is dead, and Prince Karl Franz must return to ascend the throne. More than that, he must, for reasons of State, marry Princess Margaret. Realizing that their life together is over, they bid each other a sentimental farewell.

But back in Karlsberg, the new king cannot forget Heidelberg or Kathie. As he sits in his royal suite, visions arise of the place where he had been so happy, and the girl with whom he had been so in love. Unable to contain himself any longer, he leaves Karlsberg to revisit Heidelberg. When the lovers meet again they are deeply moved, but they also know that a permanent union is an impossibility. They say farewell for a last time, with a pledge to keep at least their memories of each other alive as long as they live.


Performed at the Music Circus in 1952
Performed at the Music Circus in 1956
Performed at the Music Circus in 1963
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"Sunrise at Campobello"
Written by Dore Schary
Opened at the Cort Theater on January 30, 1958

Synopsis
The story of four landmark years in the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (St. John Terrell) and the devotion of his wife, Eleanor (Shirl Conway). The play begins during the tragic summer when polio destroyed his limbs and left him bedridden, and ends triumphantly at the Democratic convention of 1924, when Roosevelt succeeded in winning the presidential nomination—in spite of his infirmity.


Performed at the Music Circus in 1960 Return to Previous Page

"Tenderloin"
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Book by George Abbott and Jerome Weidman
Based on the novel Tenderloin by Samuel Hopkins Adams
Opened October 17, 1960 at the 46th Street Theatre and ran for 216 Performances.

Synopsis
Set in New York at the turn-of-the-century, “Tenderloin” recounts the efforts of a crusading minister as he attempts to shut down the notorious red-light district on the West Side of Manhattan and the staunch defenders of debauchery out to stop him. The “do-gooder” Reverend Brock is aided by a reporter with a hidden agenda of his own.

Described as a ‘gay nineties “Guys and Dolls,”’ “Tenderloin” reunited the authors, director and producers of the Pulitzer Prize-winning smash-hit “Fiorello!” The sparkling, youthful score by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock (whose latter successes included “Fiddler On The Roof” and “She Loves Me”) stayed on the Billboard charts for 34 weeks when the original cast album was released. A big, rousing, somewhat risqué show with lots of dancing and the hit songs “Artificial Flowers,” “Little Old New York,” and “Good Clean Fun,” “Tenderloin” is a vintage show that still packs quite a punch.

Source: http://www.mtishows.com/show_home.asp?ID=000187


Performed at the Music Circus in 1961 Return to Previous Page

"The Unsinkable Molly Brown"
Music By Meredith Willson
Lyrics By Meredith Willson
Book/Libretto by: Richard Morris
Based on: based on the true story of Molly Brown
Produced by: Theatre Guild & Dore Schary
Choreography by: Peter Gennaro
Directed by: Dore Schary
Opened: November 3, 1960
Theatre: Winter Garden Theatre
# of Performances: 532
Synopsis
Shoeless, dirty and spunky, young Molly Tobin is the only daughter of a penniless Irish immigrant in Hannibal, Missouri - but she dreams of gold and fame. Stuck on those dreams, at first she refuses to marry lucky prospector Johnny Leadville" Brown. But once she does, they strike it rich, and her dreams seem closer than ever. But uneducated and untrained, the indefatigable Molly Brown can't find acceptance in the society circles of wealthy Denver. Her hunt for acceptance leads her to the terraces of Monte Carlo, where she wins popularity but loses Johnny. He takes off for home, leaving Molly to the attentions of a slick nobleman. Realizing that it's Johnny she wants after all, she sails after him - on the doomed Titanic. But it takes more than an iceberg to get in Molly's way once she's made her mind up.


Performed at the Music Circus in 1963 Return to Previous Page

"The Vagabond King"
Music by: Rudolf Friml
Book and Lyrics by: Brian Hooker and William H. Post
Opened on Broadway in 1925, starring Dennis King and ran for 511 performances.
Synopsis
Paris is under siege by the forces of the Duke of Burgundy; popular support for King Louis XI is at a low point. Villon—poet, braggart, thief and darling of the Paris rabble—has sent anonymous love poems to the beautiful Katherine de Vaucelles. These have caused her to reject proposals from King Louis. She goes to seek the mysterious poet at an inn, but King Louis shadows her in disguise. Louis is incensed to hear Villon mocking the failures of his reign and saying what he would do instead "if I were king." The infuriated monarch reveals himself. The king gives Villon a hard choice: as punishment for speaking treasonously, he must either stop courting Katherine or accept the position of Grand Marshal, with all the powers of King, for 24 hours, during which time he must make good on his boasts and free Paris. At the end of the 24 hours, Villon will hang. Villon's dilemma is that he has promised himself to Huguette, his mistress, but now is deeply in love with Katherine.

Villon and Katherine declare their love for each other ("Only a Rose"). Hugette describes her means of livelihood ("Love for Sale"). Villon accepts Louis' challenge. Rather than sending the King's Scottish mercenaries against the Burgundians, Villon rouses the Paris mob to defend the city. Huguette discovers that Thibault, one of Louis's advisors, is a traitor. When Thibault ambushes Villon and tries to stab him to death, Huguette steps in front of the blade and takes the blow, thus sacrificing her life, and freeing Villon to be with Katherine. He kills Thibault in retaliation and then leads the Paris rabble to fight the Burgundians. The Parisians emerge victorious. After the battle is over, Katharine offers to sacrifice herself to the hangman in order to save Villon. Louis, realizing he cannot shed noble blood without a just cause, rewards Villon with exile instead of death, and the two lovers leave together.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vagabond_King


Performed at the Music Circus in 1949
Performed at the Music Circus in 1951
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"Wish You Were Here"
Music By Harold Rome
Lyrics By Harold Rome
Book by: Arthur Kober and Joshua Logan
Based on the play "Having Wonderful Time" by Arthur Kober
Produced by: Leland Hayward and Joshua Logan
Choreography by: Joshua Logan
Directed by: Joshua Logan
Uncredited show doctoring by Jerome Robbins
Opened on Broadway: June 25, 1952. Closed Nov. 28, 1953
# of Performances: 598
Synopsis
Camp Karefree is a mountain resort for adults. Teddy Stern, depressed and stressed about her upcoming marriage to Herman Fabricant, a man she doesn't love, arrives on doctor's orders to get rest. She is met by her flirtatious blonde bombshell friend Fay Fromkin. Fay introduces the social director, Itchy, an all-around entertainer, who is her "special friend" ("Social Director"). Fay soon becomes entranced with the new athletic director, Harry Green ("Shopping Around"). Before long, Teddy too finds herself becoming entangled romantically with one of the waiters who is also a dancer, charming law student Chick Miller. Since one of his jobs is to dance with the unattached women, Chick spends the evening with Fay ("Tripping the Light Fantastic").

However, when Chick proposes to Teddy, she turns him down, believing she owes her loyalty to Herman, angering Chick. Teddy enters the bathing beauty contest run by Pinky, but he kisses her, uninvited, and Chick throws him into the pool. Chick leaves with a flirtatious young lady. Pinky comforts Teddy, finally seducing her into spending the night with him--but she passes out. Herman, having forgiven Teddy, and Teddy drive away. But Herman returns with two suitcases, and Teddy falls into Chick's arms. Chick now has the engagement ring, which he gives to Teddy.


Performed at the Music Circus in 1954 Return to Previous Page



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