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Cover to Cast RecordingBLESS THE BRIDE

A Musical Show in 2 Acts, 10 scenes.

Book and Lyrics by A. P. Herbert Music by Vivian Ellis
DIRECTED BY WENDY TOYE. LOUIS LEVY'S THEATRE ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY MICHAEL COLLINS. COSTUMES AND SCENERY DESIGNED BY TANYA MOISEIWITSCH

Produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, 1947 (886 perfs)

Original Cast

ALICE CHARITY WILLOW - DIANA BEALL
COUSIN GEORGE - STEWART VARTAN
ARCHDEACON GURNEY - GWILYM JONES
LUCY VERACITY WILLOW - LIZBETH WEBB
THE HONOURABLE THOMAS TROUT- BRIAN REECE
ANN FIDELITY - JOAN ELVIN
CHARLOTTE PATIENCE - PAMELA CARROLL
ELIZABETH PRUDENCE - WINIFRED HAMMICK
FRANCES FORTITUDE - MILDRED GRIFFITHS
MILLICENT PUNCTUALITY - NATASHA WILLS
PIERRE FONTAINE - GEORGES GUETARY
SUZANNE VALDIS - BETTY PAUL
AUGUSTUS WILLOW (Lucy's Father) - ERIC FORT
MARY WILLOW (Lucy's Mother) - EDNA CLEMENT

ALBERT WILLOW (Augustus's Father) - JAMES HARCOURT
HARRIET WILLOW (Grandmamma) - HEBE BLISS
NANNY - ANONA WINN
BUTTONS - BABATUNDE MACAULAY
FIRST GENDARME - ALLAN BOURNE WEBB
SECOND GENDARME - VINCENT CHARLES
M. ROBERT (Maitre d'hotel Café des Pommes) - PETER LUPINO
WAITERS - TOMMY HUDSON, DOUGLAS ORR
M. FRONTENAC - EDMUND GOFFRON
MARIE DUVAL - MARIANNE JUER
1st CUSTOMER - GEORGE PRINCE
2nd CUSTOMER - RICHARD AUBREY

Story

In the Victorian year of 1870, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War, three generations of Willows occupy the "Grange" at Mayfield-the grandparents, father and mother and their seven charming daughters. Lucy Veracity Willow is about to be married by parental arrangement to Thomas Trout, an unromantic man who, nevertheless, dreams of one day becoming a hero. Thomas has befriended a French actor and actress, Pierre Fontaine and Suzanne Valdis. The introduction of Pierre to Lucy is most unfortunate for Thomas, as they fall in love at first sight.

On her wedding day, just as Lucy is ready to leave for the Church, Pierre arrives disguised as a doctor. He persuades Lucy not to go through with the marriage but to elope with him. She feigns illness; he diagnoses a contagious disease and father rushes off to the church to break the sad news. This gives Lucy the opportunity to exchange her bridal gown for the suit of the black page, Buttons, and she elopes with Pierre to France.

Adopting various disguises, father, mother, Thomas and cousin George go to France in search of Lucy, and their attempts to look and speak like French people have amusing results. Lucy, eventually, is found with Pierre and Suzanne at the Café des Pommes, Eauville. News comes to the Café that war is declared and Pierre leaves immediately to fight for France.

Back at Mayfield, the family are preparing for Lucy's twenty-first birthday. This is no happy event for Lucy, for she has heard from Suzanne that Pierre has been killed. Thomas, now an officer in the Volunteers, still hopes that Lucy may forget Pierre sufficiently to accept again his ring. She tells Thomas she can never forget Pierre but will accept the ring on the condition he does not hasten the marriage.

The birthday party is dramatically interrupted by the unexpected appearance of Suzanne, straight from starving Paris. She confesses she had been embittered against the English and its land of plenty, and had cruelly written to Lucy misinforming her that Pierre had been killed, but she is now sorry for her action and tells Lucy she has brought her a birthday present - it is, of course, Pierre.

Lucy is overcome with joy but Pierre notices Thomas' ring. Thomas, however, removes the ring from Lucy's finger and hands it to Pierre, and the two lovers are happily reunited - and Thomas' long-awaited big moment has come.

For the Chorus

Sufficient work to keep a large musical company busy, with Vivian Ellis at the peak of his most tuneful form. There are several effective set-pieces for general company in addition to harmonized versions of some of the score's hits. The chorus appear as relations and friends of the Willow family, French bathing beauties and mashers, cafd customers and waiters. There is a certain amount of dancing, including a short dream ballet sequence.

Singing Principals

Lucy Willow
Alice, Ann, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Frances and Millicent - her sisters.
Mary Willow - their mother
Nanny, to the Willow girls.
Stizanne Valdis, an actress.
Pierre Fontaine, an actor
Augustus Willow.
Thomas Trout.
Albert Willow, Lucy's grandfather
Cousin George.
Monsieur Robert, maitre d'hôte

Straight Role

Harriet Willow, grandma.

Smaller Roles

Buttons, a page-boy.
Arch Deacon Gurney.
M. Frontenac and M. Martel, Singing Waiters.

Scenes and Settings - Period 1870

Act I

Scene 1 Grange, Mayfield. The lawn of the Willows' home, 1870.
Scene 2 Grange, Mayfield; A shrubbery (front drop).
Scene 3 Grange, Mayfield; The Hall (full set).
Scene 4 - Lucy's Nursery (inset)
Scene 5 Hall

Act II

Scene 6 - La Plage, Eauville.
Scene 7 - A street, Eauville (front drop).
Scene 8 Café des Pommes, Eauville (full set).
Scene 9 Grange, Mayfield; The kitchen of the Willows' home, 1871 (front drop) .
Scene 10 Hall (as in Act 1)

Orchestration

Ist and 2nd Violins, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, 2 Clarinets, 2 Trumpets, 2 Trombones, Drums, Harp, Orchestral Piano

Musical Numbers:

ACT I

OVERTURE

  1. To OPEN SCENE I (The Company) Croquet, Croquet - "Croquet! Croquet!"
  2. SONG (Thomas Trout with Lucy) - Too Good to Be True - "I'm a considerate fellow"
  3. SONG (Lucy) & DANCE - Any Man But Thomas T - "My dear parents"
  4. TRIO (Suzanne, Pierre and Thomas with Chorus) - En Angleterre, les Demoiselles - "En Angleterre"
  5. FINALETTO—SCENE I (Augustus, Mary and Lucy with Chorus) - Oh, What Will Mother Say - "Here's a game"
  6. REPRISE (Chorus) - Croquet, Croquet - "Croquet! Croquet!"
  7. To OPEN SCENE II - Any Man But Thomas T - " My dear parents"
  8. TRIO (Lucy, Pierre and Suzanne) I Was Never Kissed Before - "I was never kissed before"
  9. CHANGE OF SCENE
  10. SONG (Augustus with Family and Chorus) - Where Is the Times? - "Where is the Times?"
  11. CHORUS SONG - Come, Dance, My Dear (Marry Me) - " Come, dance, my dear"
  12. SONG (Lucy) - The Silent Heart - "I sometimes wish"
  13. SONG (Pierre with Chorus) - Ma Belle Marguerite - " In September, whent he grapes are purple"
    13a ENCORE (Pierre with Chorus) - Ma Belle Marguerite - "Ting a ling"
  14. CONCERTED NUMBER (Augustus, Mary, Nanny and Lucy with Chorus) - God Bless the Family - "Father and Mother, to a day that is holy)
    14a REPRISE (Chorus) - God Bless the Family - "God Bless the Family"
  15. SONG (Nanny) - Ducky - "If only they'd leave us alone"
  16. FINALE SCENE IV (The Family and Chorus) - Bless the Bride - "We grimly dress as for a sacrifice"

ACT II

  1. OPENING (The Company) Bobbing—Bobbing - " Bobbing, Bobbing"
    17a CHORUS (Girls with Lucy) - Bless the Sea - "Bless the Sea !"
  2. TRIO (Suzanne, Lucy and Pierre) - Mon Pauvre Petit Pierre - "To your young lady"
    18a ENCORE (Pierre with Chorus) Mon Pauvre Petit Pierre - "To your young lady"
  3. CHANGE OF SCENE - I Was Never Kissed Before
  4. QUARTET (Mary, Augustus, Thomas and George) - The Englishman - " When Earth in Eden did awake"
    20a CHANGE OF SCENE - Ma Belle Marguerite
  5. To OPEN SCENE VIII (Waiters and Two Customers) - Un Consommé - "Un Consommé, potage pour trois"
  6. SONG (Pierre) - A Table For Two - "Give me a table for two"
  7. REPRISE - Un Consommé - "Vive la paix"
  8. DUET (Lucy and Pierre) - This Is My Lovely Day - " This is my lovely day"
  9. CONCERTED NUMBER (Mary, Thomas, George, Robert, Waiters and Crowd) The Fish - " C'est la guerre"
  10. SONG (Lucy with Suzanne) & DANCE - This Man Could Never Be a Spy - "This man could never be a spy"
  11. DANCE - I Was Never Kissed Before
  12. FINALE SCENE VIII (Pierre with Chorus) - To France - "To France, the queen of golden life"
    28a EXIT MUSIC
  13. REPRISE (Lucy) - This Is My Lovely Day - "I'll remember"
  14. SONG (Nanny with Sisters) & DANCE - Twenty-one Candles (Ducky) - "Twenty-one candles today"
  15. SONG (Thomas) - My Big Moment - "If I'd only done the things"
  16. MELOS
  17. SONG (Lucy) Summer - " The summer comes"
  18. REPRISE (The Sisters) - Here's a Kiss for One and Twenty - " Here's a kiss"
  19. MELOS - I Was Never Kissed Before
  20. FINALE (Pierre, Lucy, and Full Company) - This Is My Lovely Day - "This is our lovely day"
  21. GRAND FINALE