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Original cast album cover

Book, music and lyrics by Charles Strouse: Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story

Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, London - December 18, 1982.


Once in China there was an Emperor so powerful and so protected that he was never able to be close to others and was unaware of the natural beauty of the world around him.

One day he heard of a nightingale which lived in the forest and which sang so beautifully that all the peasants were charmed. He commanded a lovely young palace maid to bring the nightingale to him.

The maid led the court to the forest where the nightingale lived and it was captured. The Nightingale became an immediate success at court and for a while she was the Emperor's best friend and most prized possession.

But her popularity soon waned and she became unhappy without her freedom. Finally she was replaced by technology - a mechanical bird - and so she escaped. Nobody, not even the Emperor, noticed that the Nightingale had flown away.

When the Emperor realised that the Nightingale was no longer by his side, and that you can't always posses what you love the most, he decided to cut himself off from the rest of the world with work. He became dejected and ill and was finally confronted by death.

But the power of beauty and innocent love (of the palace maid) triumphed over death.

The Emperor and the maid and the Nightingale, lived happily ever after.

Charles Strouse

Musical Numbers:

  1. Prologue - Orchestra
  2. Perfect Harmony - Company
  3. Why Am I So Happy? - The Maid
  4. Take Us To the Forest - Company
  5. Who Are These People - Nightingale
  6. Never Speak Directly to an Emperor - Palace Guards
  7. Nightingale - Company
  8. The Emperor is a Man - The Maid
  9. I Was Lost - Emperor / Nightingale
  10. Charming - Two Peacocks
  11. A Singer Must Be Free - Nightingale
  12. The Mechanical Bird - The Company / Mechanical Bird
  13. Please Don't Make Me Hear That Song Again - Company / Mechanical Bird
  14. Rivers Cannot Flow Upwards - The Maid, Nightingale
  15. Death Duet - Death, Emperor, Maid and Nightingale
  16. We Are China - Company


Peacock #1
Peacock #2
Mechanical Nightingale

Aides, Doctors, Scientists, Priests, maids, servants, policemen, children and courtiers


That's Entertainment - ZC-TED 1031 (Complete) (Cas)
That's Entertainment - TER 1031 (Highlights)