Music by Joe Brooks
Book & lyrics by Dusty Hughes and Joe Brooks
Additional material by David Firman
Piccadilly Theatre, London - 8 March, 1989 (214 Perfs)
Metropolis is a city, is the invention of John Freeman. It is a city that exists in a world of perpetual night, a world that has had its energy resources exhausted. Metropolis is a beautiful experiment but it too is doomed as the only source of energy to power the city is human energy, human energy that is harnessed ruthlessly for the benefit of the Elitists who live above. The workers, who presently power the machines that provides the energy essential for life to exist at all, are to be disposed of to be replaced by robots being perfected in his laboratory by Professor Warner.
Amongst the workers who toil below is Maria who holds onto the memory of the world with a sun, flowers, birds and trees. She risks her life by giving clandestine lessons to the children of the workers so that the memory will never die and in the hope that someday freedom may soon be possible.
Accidental deaths are frequent and when Jade, George's girlfriend, is mutilated and dies in the cogs of the machinery, the time is ripe for the children to be shown the world above.
John Freeman's son, Steven, the heir apparent to Metropolis does not share his father's vision of total power: he has a conscience and his father, aware of this, attempts to keep Steven in ignorance of the appalling conditions in which the workers live and toil in the underworld.
Maria and her band of children briefly escape from the underground and she and Steven meet fleetingly. He is haunted by her innocence and beauty and wonders whether these thoughts could possibly be love. He follows her into the depths of the underworld.
So that he might experience for himself the conditions of life as a worker - and to be near Maria - he changes garments with George, worker 11811, who, unrecognised, finds his way to the upper levels to be with the Elitists. Steven follows Maria and discovers that she is the spiritual leader of the workers. His journey, however, has not gone unnoticed by his father and Freeman's valet, Jeremiah. A plan is devised to eliminate Maria and to subjugate the workers further. Warner has come close to perfecting his robot that is designed to replace the workers. His prototype robot he has called Futura and only needs a face to be complete. Maria is kidnapped and her face is ingeniously copied and reconstructed onto the robot. Futura, obedient only to John Freeman's commands, is sent, as Maria, to the underworld to persuade the workers to work even harder and to allow the children to work the machines in order to keep the pressure up to 101 point 11, the pressure need to sustain life in the city.
Warner, like Steven, is overwhelmed by Maria's innocence and agrees to set her free. His duplicity is discovered and Warner is executed for his act of treason but Maria is free to lead the workers again.
In the underworld Future malfunctions and, intending to kill Steven, murders George who, disguised as Steven has returned. The workers recognise Futura to be the work of the devil, i.e. Freeman, and throw her into the furnace. At the moment of Futura's destruction, Maria returns.
The workers rebel and threaten to destroy Metropolis by attacking the machines. Maria and Steven lead the workers to the relative safety of the upper world. Without energy Metropolis cannot survive.
John Freeman hears that his son has been killed by Futura and that it, and his beloved machines, have been destroyed. He becomes insane with rage and grief and blows up the control room of the city. He and Jeremiah die in the conflagration.
The future is now in the hands of Steven and Maria as they lead the workers and children into the light as the city, no longer supported by their hard labour, collapses.
Workers, Children and Elitists
Tenor Sax; Soprano Sax; Flute
Trumpet db Flugel Horn
Horn I, Horn II
Guitar I, Guitar II