Music & Lyrics - Harold Rome : Book by S. N. Behrman, Joshua Logan: Based on a trilogy by Marcel Pagnol : Cesar; Fanny : Marius
Majestic Theatre, Broadway - November 4, 1954 (888 perfs)
The teen-age love of Marius and Fanny has matured under the rueful guidance and encouragement of Cesar, Marius' arrogant yet appealing tavern-keeper father. Fanny loves Marius with all her heart, but he cannot fully accept her devotion. He is continually torn between his yearning for Fanny, his duty as an only son, and adventure calling him to sea. Marius gives in to the mystery of the sea and signs for a five-year voyage. His father disowns him, but Fanny bravely gives in to her rival. In the passion of their goodbye Marius almost changes his mind. However, Fanny sends him on his way, knowing it is the only way to save their love. Soon thereafter Fanny discovers she is to bear a child.
Panisse, an older man and wealthy sail maker, has made previous marriage proposals to Fanny. In desperation she turns to him, and they are married. Having suspected the situation all along, Panisse is delighted at the prospect of the child's arrival. Convinced it will be a boy, Panisse digs out letters to make his shop-front sign read "& Son."
Cesar and Panisse, dedicated old-world (often fiery) friends, band together to see to the boy's upbringing. On Cesario's first birthday, Marius returns and attempts to claim both Fanny and his son. Fanny finds it difficult to spurn her lover once more, but Cesar discovers them and drives him off.
It is twelve years later. Like his true father before him, Cesario yearns for the sea and runs away to join Marius. This proves to be a final blow to an ageing and ill Panisse. Marius returns the boy to the Panisse home. The final moments are happy, and Panisse's dying wish is that Fanny and Marius be reunited.
Cast: 28 parts, 9 principals.
Scenes and Sets:
2 acts, 16 scenes, 8 full stage sets, 2 partial sets, fishnet drop (Hakim's cellar), 2 scene drops, plus large ship model in full sail as it glides off into the mist. Scrim helpful on wedding scene.
Period and Costuming:
The action takes place over a period of years in and around the Old Port of Marseille. The precise period is not mentioned or important. Styles should reflect the "Old World" flavour in dresses, men's suits, and sailor uniforms. Arabs, a Moroccan drummer, belly dancer, saloon girls, nuns, a young boy, a maid, a priest, and two acolytes.
Belly dance, choreographed couples number as sweethearts kiss their sailors goodbye, folk like town dancing, wedding dance, circus ballet.
OCR - RCA Victor CD 09026-68074