Music and Lyrics by David Heneker. Based on an idea by Roy Sone from the play Peg O' My Heart by J. Hartley Manners.
First performance at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford. March 8,
First performance at The Phoenix Theatre, London, April, 12. 1984
It is 1913 at Simla Lodge in Sussex and the Chichesters are hopelessly in debt. However, today marks the reading of the will of a close relative. Mrs. Chichester, her son, Alaric, and daughter, Ethel, expect to receive a substantial sum. The entire household is buzzing in anticipation of a recovery to a grand style of living.
Sir Gerald Adair, a young family friend and solicitor, discloses the contents of the will. As they are well provided for, they will receive nothing under the terms of the will. But, in fact, the Chichisters are broke. The bulk of the inheritance will go to Mrs. Chichester's niece, Margaret (Peg) O'Connell of New York City. However, £1,000 a year will be paid to any woman of breeding who will act as governess and undertake the education and raising of the child. With no other source of income. Mrs. Chichester agrees to accept the task. Margaret is arriving today and will not be told the conditions of the will. She is to be treated by her relatives simply as a guest.
Meanwhile, Ethel meets with her married lover, Christian Brent, who claims, once again, that he is ready to leave his wife. He attempts to entice her while she longs for a finer man.
The kitchen is alive with preparations for the new guest and Peg and her dog Micky enter unnoticed. She and Henry ("Buttons") and Dora (the housemaid) meet and hit it off instantly.
Bennett, the parlour-maid, realising the new girl is Mrs. Chichester's niece, ushers her to the family who are shocked by her appearance. Mrs. Chichester orders that the clothes that Peg is wearing be disposed of and that they should buy a whole new wardrobe. Peg protests that she already provided for.
The Chichesters drive off leaving Sir Gerald alone with Peg. He introduces himself as just plain Jerry, "a friend of the family." Developing an attraction to this refreshing, young beauty he woos her.
One month has gone by and Peg, looking more sophisticated but feeling quite homesick, is sitting on the beach when Jerry joins her. She sees a boat sailing to New York and feels homesick while Jerry tries to console her.
Late for supper, Peg and Jerry run in from the rain. Mrs. Chichester is furious that they were together without a chaperone. Aunt and niece stand their ground and an argument ensues. They have it out.
There is still fall-out from the row as everyone is preparing for the annual ball in the Assembly Rooms. Mrs. Chichester reminds Ethel that she must take every opportunity to find a husband. She tells her daughter to "go out in the world - abroad if necessary - and fish for a mate" as she herself did.
Bennett is giving Peg her finishing touches. They become schoolgirls as Peg asks Bennett if she ever has had a boyfriend. Bennett admits that she had one once Peg asks, "How did you catch him?" After some reservation Bennett tells her in song.
Fully dressed and feeling very beautiful, Peg begins to dance while each member of the household it gradually drawn into the mood.
When Jerry suggests he be Peg's escort. Mrs. Chichester states flatly that Peg is not going at all. The subject is closed and the Chichesters leave. Full of disappointment and growing more angry by the minute, Peg and Jerry have an argument during which he tells her the Chichesters are collecting money while she is a "guest" in the house. Feeling alone and even more homesick, Peg decides she is going back to home.
At the dance Brent tells Ethel he is leaving that night and if she loves him he should join him at midnight. She is faced with what is the most important decision of her life.
Brent on cloud nine and Jerry still fuming find each other and express their views of the opposite sex. The next morning Mrs. Chichester comes upon the plan that could save them all. Alaric will ask Peg to marry him. He makes a good stab at the proposal but Peg, laughing, turns him down. Relieved that he has done his duty and is off the hook, he sings her praises.
Peg, packed and ready to leave, goes to the kitchen to say goodbye to the domestics. Peg must now either say goodbye to Jerry forever or convince him that they should be together. So, with Bennet's prompting Peg asks him.
Jerry admits that his pride keeps him from marrying her because her inheritance will earn more in one year than he will in five. She reminds him that she never liked money and will give it to the servants as well as "someone else who goes for the green stuff in a big way."
At the wedding reception Mrs. Chichester is full of praise for her darling Peg. After congratulatory remarks are made Jerry toasts his "Peg O' My Heart."
They all pose for a wedding photograph as Jarvis leads a toast to a peaceful new year - 1914.
Ethel Chichester (contralto)
Alaric Chichester (baritone)
Jerry Adair (baritone)
Peg O'Connell (mezzo)
(Total number of books = 17)