Plain and Fancy
Music by Albert Hague: Lyrics by Arnold B. Horwitt: Book by Joseph Stein & Will Glickman
Mark Hellinger Theatre, Broadway - Jan. 27, 1955 (461 perfs)
Theatre Royal Drury Lane - 25 January, 1956
Dan King and his girl, Ruth Winters, are lost in the heart of Amish Pennsylvania in search of Bird-in-Hand. Dan has inherited property there and has agreed to sell the land to Papa Yoder for a wedding gift to his daughter, Katie, and her intended, Ezra. When they finally arrive, preparations for the wedding are in full swing. Sophisticated Ruth marvels at their naiveté but longs for New York. Hilda Miller, a spunky Amish maiden, falls for Dan and misinterprets his kind words as words of love. The Amish men are teasing Ezra about marrying Katie. His only retort is, "Why not?" But Ezra's brother Peter, banished from the community for fighting, has returned. He and Katie were childhood sweethearts, and the feelings are very much alive. Dan tries to intercede for the lovers, but stubborn Papa Yoder reminds him that he is a guest in a different way of life.
The Round Barn Theatre, Nappanee, Indiana
Taunted by Ezra, Peter raises his hand against his own brother. Just as he does, the barn on Dan's property is struck by lightning and burns to the ground. Papa declares that Peter's evil actions are responsible and Peter is "shunned," even by a frightened and confused Katie.
In true Amish tradition, the barn is rebuilt. Peter manages to get Katie alone, but to no avail. Ruth is having the same kind of luck in the Amish kitchens and retreats to her trusty bottle of Scotch. When Ezra asks what she's drinking, she covers up by answering "vegetable juice." Ezra requests a sample and in short order is completely drunk. He decides he's to have a bachelor fling at the Lancaster carnival and departs. Hilda finds out that Dan doesn't love her and also wants to see the outside world. At the carnival, Ezra gets into a brawl and is almost killed by a knife-wielding roustabout. But Peter has followed him. He steps in to break it up and returns his still sozzled brother to the wedding gathering. Ezra, too, is now disgraced, but Dan is successful in obtaining Papa's consent to a marriage between Katie and Peter with Dan's farm thrown in free as a wedding present. The experience has brought Dan and Ruth closer together as they return to New York.
- You Can't Miss It
- It Wonders Me
- Plenty of Pennsylvania
- Young and Foolish
- Why Not Katie?
- By Lantern Light
- It's a Helluva Way to Run a Love Affair
- This Is All Very New to Me
- Plain We Live
- The Shunning
- How Do You Raise a Barn?
- Follow Your Heart
- City Mouse, Country Mouse
- I'll Show Him!
- Carnival Ballet
- Take Your Time and Take Your Pick.
Violin A-C (2), B-D (2), viola, cello, bass, reed I, II, III, IV, V, horn, trumpet I, II, III, trombone I, II, harp, percussion, conductor.
30 parts, 9 principals, a few children.
Dan, straight role, minor singing in 1 number.
Ruth, comedienne, sings.
Hilda, comic actress with legit voice who also dances.
Peter and Katie, young love interest, legit voices.
Papa Yoder, character man and good, deep singing voice.
Emma, character woman who sings.
Large separate singing and dancing ensembles. Total cast 35-50.
Scenes and Sets:
2 acts, 17 scenes, 7 full stage sets (including 4 drops), 2 partial stage sets, 2 scene drops. One sports car or set piece car. Amish carriage.
Scene 1: A Section of Road Outside Lancaster.
Scene 2: Another Part of the Road.
Scene 3: The Yoder Barnyard.
Scene 4: The Yoder Parlour.
Scene 5: Side Porch of the Yoder Home.
Scene 6: Barnyard on the River Farm.
Scene 7: A Bedroom in the Yoder Home.
Scene 8: The Yoder Barnyard.
Scene 9: In the Yoder Barn.
Scene 1: The River Farm.
Scene 2: Kitchen of the Yoder Home.
Scene 3: Back Porch of the Yoder Home.
Scene 4: Bedroom of the Yoder Home.
Scene 5: A Section of Road.
Scene 6: A Carnival Grounds.
Scene 7: Side Porch of the Yoder House.
Scene 8: The Yoder Barnyard.
Period and Costumes:
Bird-in-Hand, a town in Lancaster County the heart of the Amish community of Pennsylvania, the present:
Amish suits, wide-brim hats, vests, work aprons, long dresses, plain kitchen aprons, Amish bonnets, modern suits for Dan, Ruth's modern fashions and undergarments. Officer's uniform. Carnival costumes (girlie, Swami, sailor uniform, clown, barkers, mambo).
Modern, modern ballet, ballet, dance specialities (Little Egypt).
Lighting and Special effects:
Mostly general lighting. Dramatic lighting on first-act finale. Working water pump on stage, lightning, barn burning, barn raised on stage in three minutes (accomplished by floor anchor platform, interlocking wood framing, trusses raised from ground from offstage and anchored by fly wires, roof [audience side only], which snaps into place and holds trusses in place). It can also be hinted at so that the barn-raising is off-stage.
Notes: A delightful show that drives home some basic principles that society has largely cast aside. The book is funny, but sometimes ponderous. Tight production flow is essential.