MUSICAL SHOWS - T-Z

THE ARCADIANS

Performed in 1951

Sombra, one of the beautiful but naïve Arcadians, is troubled by reports of a place beyond the sea where ‘monsters’ live in cages of brick and stone and never tell the truth – a place called London. The Arcadians beg Father Time to bring them a Londoner. He reluctantly agrees and causes amateur aviator James Smith, an ageing London restaurateur with passions for airplanes and philandering, to crash land in Arcadia, where no one tells lies or grows older, where money is unknown, and employment is unnecessary. The Arcadians and Smith exchange stories, and Smith introduces the Arcadians to some new concepts: ugliness, jealousy and lying. He attempts to seduce Sombra by telling a lie. Far from impressed, the Arcadians immerse him in the Well of Truth, from which he emerges transformed into a young man, wearing the scanty costume of Arcadia, with a luxuriant head of hair but minus his mutton-chop whiskers. They christen him "Simplicitas", and he will remain young until he tells a lie. His hosts dispatch him, with missionary zeal and two agelessly beautiful Arcadian nymphs, Sombra and her sister, Chrysea, to wicked London to "set up the truth in England for ever more, and banish the lie."

THE CARD

Performed in 1989

We open with a scene set in Bursley Town Hall where Denry is being installed as Mayor of the town. In 18 flashback scenes we follow the career of Denry Machin from a lowly worker in the employment of of the unsavoury Mr. Duncalf. Denry has the necessary will to succeed, however. Seizing the moment, he purloins some tickets for THE society ball of the year. As these tickets are much coveted, he is able to exchange one for some dancing lessons with a pretty dance instructor, Ruth Earp. Another ticket he exchanges for suitable evening wear. In his new clothes, Denry cuts a dash, so much so, that he ends up dancing at the ball with the Countess of Chell.
His duplicitous life is eventually found out and he leaves Mr Duncalf's employment. He sets up business on his own account - that of rent collector. When he calls on Miss Earp for her rent, she cannot pay. Denry however, wins her over. Ruthlessly he sets out to make his way in the business world where he makes his mark with his invention - a credit card system. He pursuades to Countess of Chell to become the company's patron and things really take off. The final boost to his acceptance in the society he craves - and to his fortune - is when he supplies a famous star to the town's poorly performing football team.
As he reaches to highest level - where the play begins - he abandons Ruth who has been at his side, urging him along, and supporting him in his efforts. Denry has fallen in love with his adoring secretary, Nellie Cotterill.

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THE GONDOLIERS

Performed in 1922, 1978 & 1992

Two just-married Venetian gondoliers are informed by the Grand Inquisitor that one of them has just become the King of "Barataria", but only their foster mother, presently at large, knows which one. As Barataria needs a king to put down unrest in the country, they travel there to reign jointly, leaving their wives behind in Venice until the old lady can be interviewed. It turns out that the king was wed in infancy to the beautiful daughter of the Spanish Duke of Plaza Toro, and so it seems he is an unintentional bigamist. Of course, the beautiful daughter is in love with a common servant! When the young Spaniard and the two Venetian wives all show up wanting to know which of them is queen, complications arise. No worries: The true identity of the king is revealed, and all is combed out spectacularly well by the end.

THE MIKADO

Performed in 1923, 1961 & 1987

Nanki-Poo, the son of the royal mikado, arrives in Titipu disguised as a peasant and looking for Yum-Yum. Without telling the truth about who he is, Nanki-Poo explains that several months earlier he had fallen in love with Yum-Yum; however she was already betrothed to Ko-Ko, a cheap tailor, and he saw that his suit was hopeless. However, he has since learned that Ko-Ko has been condemned to death for flirting; and he has come to find Yum-Yum, his true love.

THE NEW MOON

Performed in 1947

Robert is a young French aristocrat whose revolutionist inclinations force him to flee his country. Under an assumed name, he sells himself as a bond-servant to planter and ship-owner Monsieur Beaunoir and his family in New Orleans in 1792. Because the Paris police are looking everywhere for him, Robert cannot tell Beaunoir or Beaunoir's beautiful daughter Marianne, with whom he has fallen in love, that he is of noble blood. Eventually he is tracked down by Vicomte Ribaud, the detective villain, and put aboard a ship, The New Moon, so that he can be returned to France. Robert thinks he has been betrayed by Marianne, who has gained her father's consent to travel on the same ship, pretending that she is in love with the ship's captain, Duval. A mutiny occurs, and Robert and the bond-servants come into power. Everyone goes ashore on the Isle of Pines, and a new republic is founded.

THE QUAKER GIRL

Performed in 1957

Prudence is the niece of Nathaniel and Rachel Pym, a prim and proper pair, who rule the Quaker Community of a pic-turesque English village. Into the serene atmosphere of this Community there arrives a certain exiled French Lady of great distinction, the Princess Mathilde, followed by Captain Charteris, to whom she is to be married. Charteris has armed himself with a special marriage licence and even more special 'best man' in the person of Tony Chute, of the American Embassy in Paris. The ceremony duly takes place in the village church in the presence of all the rustics who join in the festivities on the village green, among their number being Prudence who quickly attracts the attention of the highly susceptible Tony. Prudence, carried away by the life and gaiety of the scene, is induced to take a sip of wine by her wayward cousin, Jeremiah, but alas, at this moment, with the wine to her lips, Nathaniel, Rachel and other Quakers appear on the scene. They sternly command her to leave these sinful people and follow them.

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THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS

Performed in 2004

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is based on the true story of a legendary Texas Brothel known as the Chicken Ranch, which operated from the 1840s to 1973. Protected by a friendly Sheriff and frequented by politicians, football teams and others, the Chicken Ranch thrived in the small town of Gilbert, Texas. Girls come from all over to work at the ranch and make a little extra cash. However, a crusading do-gooder Houston radio commentator and his conservative audience expose the Chicken Ranch forcing it to shut its doors forever.

THE BOYFRIEND

Performed in 1966

The show takes place at Madame Dubonnet’s Finishing School on the French Riviera. Polly, an English heiress, falls in love with Tony, a delivery boy. Conscious of her father's warning to beware of boys dating her for her family’s money, Polly pretends to be just a secretary. Things get complicated with the unexpected arrival in Nice of Polly's parents and Lord and Lady Brockhurst. It turns out that Lord and Lady Brockhurst are in fact Tony’s wealthy parents. Polly and Tony have shared the same secret – they both come from wealthy families. However, everyone ends up living happily ever after.

THE FULL MONTY

Performed in 2017

In this Americanised musical stage version adapted from the 1997 British film of the same name, six unemployed Buffalo steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. One of them, Jerry, declares that their show will be better than the Chippendales dancers because they'll go "the full monty"—strip all the way. As they prepare for the show, working through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties, they overcome their inner demons and find strength in their camaraderie.

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THE KING & I

Performed in 1964, 1975 & 2004

Set against a dazzling and exotic backdrop The King and I is the moving story of Anna, an American governess, who tries to help an Eastern king to come to terms with the modern world, but he is unable to resist the forces of ancient customs. The conflict between Eastern and Western cultures inspired this well-loved musical, which has been revived professionally many times and is always a firm favourite with the public. The score includes "I Whistle A Happy Tune", "Hello Young Lovers", "Getting To Know You", "Something Wonderful" and "Shall We Dance?".

THE MERRY WIDOW

Performed in 1962, 1976 & 1988

The action of The Merry Widow takes place in Paris. In Act I we find ourselves in the ballroom of the Pontivedrian Embassy. The Ambassador, Baron Zeta, has a problem on his, mind. He must find a way to save his country from bankruptcy. One solution is to prevent the rich and beautiful heiress Hanna Glavari from marrying a foreigner. He has decided that Count Danilo, an embassy attaché would be the ideal bridegroom, and the purpose of the party we are witnessing is to bring the two together. But all is not going to plan. Danilo, irresponsible and light-hearted, has not yet arrived at the party and can be found nowhere. Immersed in matchmaking, Baron Zeta has failed to observe that his wife Valencienne is engaged in a passionate flirtation with a French officer Camille, the Count de Rosillon. At last Anna arrives escorted by a crowd of hopeful suitors and the party adjourns for supper. Meanwhile Danilo arrives. He has been traced to his favourite resort "Chez Maxims". Exhausted by the round of party going, he falls asleep in the deserted ballroom. Valencienne and Camille return perturbed. Valencienne has forbidden Camille to declare his love, so he has written the words, "I Love You" on her fan and now the fan cannot be found anywhere. Anna reappears and Danilo awakens to greet her. They discover that they are old acquaintances, parted long since by Danilo's rich uncle. Anna reminds Danilo of their past affair but he declares that he will never marry her now because of her fortune. Further complications arise over the lost fan. Anna chooses Danilo for her partner in "Ladies,' Choice" and as she does so realises that her attraction for him is still alive in her heart.

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THE PAJAMA GAME

Performed in 1967, 1992 & 2011

A strike is imminent at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory. The Union is seeking a wage rise of seven and a half cents an hour. Sid and Babe are in opposite camps yet a romance is born between them. At first Babe rejects him and Sid is forced to confide his feelings to a dictaphone. During the picnic for the factory workers he makes better progress but their estrangement is reinforced when they return to the factory. A go-slow is staged by the Union, strongly supported by Babe. Sid, as factory superintendent, demands an 'honest day's work' and threatens to fire slackers. Babe is enraged by his attitude and kicks her foot into the machinery, causes a general breakdown and is immediately fired by Sid. Hines, the popular efficiency expert, is in love with Gladys the President's secretary. Periodically, he brings a more optimistic outlook to the life of the factory. Becoming convinced that Babe's championship of the Union is justified, Sid simulates an interest in Gladys by taking her out for the evening to the night club, Hernando's Hideaway. Through her help he is eventually able to gain access to the firm's books and discovers that the boss has been adding to his price the pay increase demanded by the workers. Sid then brings about his boss, Hasler's, consent to a pay rise and is able to bring peace to the factory and to his love life. Everyone goes out to celebrate - at Hernando's Hideaway.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Performed in 1972, 1990 & 2001

Maria is a sweet young postulant whose love of freedom makes it obvious to her superiors that she is not suited for religious life. Thus, she is sent off to be the governess to Captain von Trapp's seven troublesome children. Unlike previous governess', Maria becomes friends with the children due to their mutual love of music. Soon, even the strict Captain begins to admire Maria. Eventually, the Captain and Maria fall in love and are married. Unfortunately, when the Nazis invade their homeland, Austria, the whole family is forced to flee over the alps to escape.

THE STUDENT PRINCE

Performed in 1939

Prince Karl Franz is heir to the (fictitious) German kingdom of Karlsberg. He has grown up fatherless, under rather gloomy military conditions of castle life ("By our bearing so sedate"). He has been educated by tutors, in particular, kindly Doctor Engel, who has taught him the songs of his alma mater, the venerable University of Heidelberg ("Golden Days"). Karl Franz has been promised in marriage, since childhood, to the Princess Margaret (Johanna in some versions), but he has never met her. His grandfather, King Ferdinand, sends him to the University incognito, to live as an ordinary student, and improve his social skills. Karl Franz sets off under the watchful eye of Doctor Engel, accompanied by his snooty valet Lutz, who has his own assistant, Hubert.

THIS END UP

Performed in 1968

Retiring is far more risky than you would hope. After he loses the love of his life, a veteran American spy discovers that he misses living on the edge . His seemingly natural desires become dangerous when he struggles to make a comeback . This drama explores the ageless themes of love, sexuality, vulnerability and resilience through the lens of elder abuse.

TRIAL BY JURY

Performed in 1926 & 1994

It is quite short, only forty minutes, and alone of the operas contains no spoken dialogue. There are many people who consider it to be the most perfectly constructed of the whole series and it is indeed a little gem of wit, sentiment and charm. The absurdities that can come from a breach of promise case, when the sensibilities of the jury and the judge are affected, was just the sort of subject to inspire Gilbert, and the libretto he produced in turn inspired Sullivan to write some of his most sparkling music.

UTOPIA LIMITED

Performed in 1931

King Paramount of the south seas island of Utopia decides that his people should adopt all English customs and institutions, but he goes a bit overboard and decrees that the kingdom and each of its inhabitants should become a "company limited" based on the English "companies act" of 1862. The king's daughter, Princess Zara, brings six "flowers of progress" from England to train the Utopian people in "English" customs. But the reforms are too successful, which upsets the judges of the Utopian Supreme Court, the "Public Exploder" and ultimately the entire populace, which revolts against them. Zara realises that an essential element has been forgotten, namely "government by party". Introduce that and the result would be "general and unexampled prosperity".