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A musical Comedy in 2 acts, 7 scenes. Book by Hugh Wheeler and Joseph Stein from an adaptation by Harry Rigby based on the play Irene O'Dare by James Montgomery

Music by Harry Tierney; Book by James Montgomery; Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy; Additional lyrics and music by Charles Gaynor and Otis Clements

Vanderbilt Theatre 18 November, 1919 (675 perfs)
Empire Theatre, London, - 7 April, 1920.

Revived 1945 and 1973


Charm is the word for IRENE ... a special kind of charm, made up of equal parts of comedy, vivacity, romance and nostalgia. And as a special attraction, IRENE contains some of the best loved, most singable numbers in the history of the musical theatre. Originally produced in 1919, this new version carries its age with grace and style, for its story is of a delightful Irish lass who believed in women's lib before the term was invented.

Irene O'Dare helps her widowed mother in a little music shop in New York City. She's not unhappy, but she feels there must be more to life than this - the world, she says, must be bigger than Ninth Avenue. Against all tradition, she intends to be a successful business woman. In fact, she installs a telephone in the shop - the first in the neighbourhood. And the very first time the phone rings, Irene is asked to tune the pianos at a very swanky Long Island house. There she meets Donald Marshall, a young tycoon, and despite his rather aloof manner, she is immediately captivated by him. Donald is intrigued by this cheerful lass, so unlike the society girls his mother has been urging him to marry. He is particularly taken by her description of her adventures when she wore her favourite dress - her 'Alice Blue Gown'.

Donald's addle-pated cousin Ozzie arrives with a new idea. He wants to open a dress salon, to be run by a wild eccentric who calls himself Madame Lucy. Donald agrees to finance the project, with the proviso that his new discovery, Irene O'Dare.. shall take charge of the business. She is a great success a t this, and some of her Ninth Avenue friends are taken on at the salon as models, under the tuition of Madame Lucy. It is arranged that Madame Lucy's fashions are to be introduced at a society ball, where, to impress the gathering, Irene is announced as the Contessa Irena O'Dari. She captivates everyone with her Continental chic. But when Donald insists that she continue to play the role for business purposes, Irene is outraged. She will not live a lie, for Donald or anyone else. She reflects that 'I'm Always Chasing Rainbows'. Her Ninth Avenue friends cheer her up with the rousing and spectacular number 'Irene'. At a party at the Marshall house, Donald confesses his love for Irene with 'You Made Me Love You'. Mrs. O'Dare suddenly meets the man who was her own long-lost love - none other than Madame Lucy. And Donald introduces the lovely Contessa O'Dari as the girl he will marry - Irene O'Dare.

Characters: - and original London cast.

Mrs. Marshall - MAIDIE HOPE
Eleanor Worth - DAISY HANCOX
Donald Marshall - PAT SOMERSET
Robert Harrison - ROBERT BLYTHE
Irene O' Dare - EDITH DAY
Lawrence Healey - HUBERT NEVILLE
Madame Lucy - ROBERT HALE


VIOLIN 1 & 2
REED 1 - Flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto sax (Optional: Alto flute, soprano sax)
REED 2 - Flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto sax
REED 3 - Clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax
REED 4 - Clarinet, tenor sax. Optional: Oboe.
REED 5 - Clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone sax Optional: Bass sax. (Sent on request)
TRUMPET 3 & 4 (sent on request)
TROMBONE 1 and 2
TROMBONE 3 Bass trombone ( sent on request)
PERCUSSION 1 & 2 (Optional additional mallet percussion player) 1-Mallet Percussion 2-Drum kit
ORGAN-PIANO (all sent on request)

Musical Numbers

Original Production.Cover to original vocal score

  1. Opening Chorus - Ensemble
  2. SONG … (Eleanor and Ensemble) … "Hobbies"
  3. SONG … (Irene) … "Alice Blue Gown"
  4. SCENA
  5. SCENA
  6. SONG … (Eleanor and Ensemble) … "Castle of Dreams"
  7. TRIO … (Madame Lucy, Helen, Jane) … "The Talk of the TOwn"
  8. SONG … (Irene) … "Worthy of You"
  9. FINALE ACT 1 … (Company )
  10. Entre'acte
  11. OPENING SCENE 1 ACT II … (J.P. Beaudon and Ensemble)
  13. OPENING CHORUS SCENE 2 … (Bowden and Ensemble) … "It's Bowden this and Bowden that "
  14. DUET, CHORUS AND DANCE … (Irene, Don & ensemble) … "Irene"
  15. QUINTETTE … (Madame Lucy, Helen, Jane, Don and Bob) … "We're Getting Away With It"
  16. DUET … (Irene and Bowden) … "To Love You"
  17. SOLO and CHORUS … (Irene and Ensemble) … Skyrocket
  18. TRIO and CHORUS … (Helen, Jane, Madame Lucy and Boys) … "The Last Part of Every Party"
  19. FINALE ACT II … "The Paul Jones" (There's Something in the Air) … Company

Musical Numbers:

  1. Alice Blue Gown
  2. Castle Of Dreams
  3. Down Town East Of Broadway *
  4. The Family Tree
  5. The Great Lover Tango **
  6. Hobbies
  7. If He Only Knew ***
  8. An Irish Girl **
  9. The Last Part Of Any Party
  10. Lucy *
  11. Mother Angel Darling **
  12. The Riviera Rage **
  13. Skyrocket
  14. Stepping On Butterflies **
  15. The Talk of the Town
  16. There's Something In the Air
  17. To Love You
  18. We're Getting Away With It
  19. The World Must Be Bigger Than An Avenue **
  20. Worthy Of You

* Added to the 1945 London revival
** Added to the 1973 revival
*** Added to the 1976 London revival

Scenes and Settings:


Scene 1. - Donald Marshall's Home
Scene 2. - The O'Dare's Home
Scene 3. - Donald Marshall's Home (two days later)


Scene 1. - The O'Dare's Home (two months later)
Scene 2. - The Garden of Beaudon's Home
Scene 3. - The O'Dare's Home (after midnight)
Scene 4. - The Garden of Beaudon's Home.