Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
(Music by Gene de Paul: Book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay: Lyrics by Johnny Mercer: New Songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn)
Alvin Theatre- Broadway July 8, 1982 - (5 perfs)
Old Vic Theatre, London July 2, 1985 - (41 perfs)
Based on the famous MGM film now adapted for the stage. This swinging musical western tells of the wooing and winning, by seven cowboy brothers, of the 'Sobbin Women', and is full of all-time favourites.Gene De Paul and Johnny Mercer's original score is characterised by a rustic exuberance, with ballads tending towards the semi-operatic. Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn's additional songs help fill out character and develop themes inherent in the story
This is the story of the seven Pontipee brothers, in 1850s Oregon. Since their mother died, living alone on their ranch in a remote valley in the Cascade Mountains has driven them to become slovenly and anti-social. They choose the eldest, Adam, to make the long journey to the closest town in order to find a woman to head the household.
In town, Adam finds Milly cooking in a restaurant for lumbermen. He is instantly attracted by her good looks and her cooking. For her part, Milly likes this man's directness, wide shoulders and the sound of his ranch in the peaceful valley.
Adam and Milly are quickly married and return to the valley, where Milly finds that her new husband has not been entirely honest. Instead of an idyllic honeymoon cottage, just for two, she discovers a filthy den filled with six boorish, disrespectful young men. After settling in, she tells them that they cannot expect to attract wives if they dress and act the way they do. Milly attempts to teach the boys some social graces. Armed with their new found skills the boys go into town.
At a church social in town, the brothers meet six young women whose glances express an obvious interest. Unfortunately, the women are spoken for, and the Pontipees dejectedly return to the ranch. They try to discuss their feelings with Milly. Later, in the barn, Adam tells his brothers about a story he read in one of Milly's books about the abduction of the Sabine women by the Romans.
Deciding to emulate the Romans, the brothers head for town that night and kidnap the six women, bundling them into sacks and throwing them on to the wagon. On the way through Echo Pass, the brothers allow the women to scream, the noise causing an avalanche of snow which cuts off the ranch for the rest of the winter.
Milly is outraged at Adam for putting the abduction idea to his brothers, and bans the men from the house while the women are there. Adam is in turn angry at how his wife is taking over. The six younger brothers feel even more destitute than before, and can only think of the women. They cannot even summon up the energy or enthusiasm to cut firewood.
Adam, feeling that he has had enough of being bossed by a mere woman goes off into the high hills, where he stays by himself in a log cabin. Milly finds that she is pregnant and feels very lonely.
But at last, snow and hearts begin to melt. Winter isolation has acted to heal the wounds on both sides, and the men begin to court the women in earnest.
Even Adam's ruffled feathers are smoothed in the face of the news that Milly now has a baby and he is a father. As the women sit around the crib, Milly explains how her life has changed.
Adam convinces his brothers that the only way for them to keep the women is to give them up. However, rounding up the women and returning them to town proves rather difficult: they don't want to go. In the middle of the melée, the townsfolk arrive with guns. Hearing the baby cry, the girls' relatives ask to whom it belongs. All six of the brothers claim it as theirs.
The ploy had precisely the desired effect. A preacher is sent for immediately and six simultaneous shotgun weddings take place!
7 Male, 7 Female. Chorus.
- Bless Your Beautiful Hide - Adam
- Wonderful, Wonderful Day - Milly and Brides
- One Man - Milly
- Goin' Courtin' - Milly and Brothers
- Social Dance - Company
- Love Never Goes Away - Adam, Milly and Gideon
- Lonesome Polecat - Brothers
- Sobbin' Women - Adam and brothers
- The Townsfolk Lament - Chorus of Townsfolk and suitors
- A Woman Ought To Know Her Place - Adam
- We've Gotta Make It Through the Winter - Brothers
- June Bride - Milly and Brides
- Spring Dance - Brides and Brothers
- Glad That You Were Born - Milly, Brides and Brothers