A Musical in 2 Acts. Book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II based on the novel Show Boat by Edna Ferber. Music by Jerome Kern
First performance at the Ziegfeld Theatre, 27 December, 1927: Produced
by FLORENZ ZIEGFELD
Dances and Ensembles Staged by SAMMY LEE: Dialogue Staged by ZEKE COLVAN: Settings by JOSEPH URBAN
Costumes Designed by JOHN HARK RIDER: Jubilee Singers Directed by WILL VOUDRY
Musical Direction by VICTOR BARAVALLE
Ziegfeld Theatre Broadway 27 December, 1927 (575 perfs)
London Drury Lane 3 May 1928 (350 perfs)
The story starts in the 1880s on one of the many American riverboats that featured travelling shows. It follows the lives and loves of the troupe that work aboard the Cotton Blossom under the command of Cap'n Andy and his wife Parthy Ann. In Natchez they come up against racial prejudice when the sheriff discovers that the leading lady, Julie, is a half-caste. He does not allow mixed shows in his town. The Captain's daughter, Magnolia, steps in to save the show together with her love, the handsome gambler Gaylord Ravenal. Gaylord also has problems with the sheriff over a little matter of gambling debts. Magnolia and Gaylord leave the relative security of the Cotton Blossom to go and live in Chicago where, for a few years they are happy. Gaylord's luck in
winning at gambling eventually makes way for losing and soon his gambling losses cause him to leave his wife and their daughter, Kim.
Two of the old showboat song-and-dance pair, Frank and Ellie, have become successful on the vaudeville circuit and they meet up with Magnolia. Realising her desperate situation they get her a job as a singer at the Trocadero to replace the, by now alcoholic, Julie La Verne, the same Julie La Verne who used to be the Show Boat star.
Years later, both Magnolia and Kim are radio stars and Cap'n Andy organises a reunion of the old team aboard the Cotton Blossom and invites them. It is the ideal opportunity for them to be reunited with the now reformed Gaylord. Frank and Ellie stop off to greet their old colleagues en route to Hollywood.
Running throughout the story is the story of Joe, a coloured stevedore and his girl, Queenie and their role in a predominantly white environment where the coloured folk are very much considered second class citizens - if they are considered at all.
in a sensational RSC/Opera North production and by Livent, this magnificent
show is rightly recognised as a classic among musicals.
Show Boat contains the best of everything - a great story, moving lyrics, and music that is played and loved the world over.
Songs include "Why Do I Love You", "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", "Bill" and "Ol' Man River".
Principals - 5 male, 5 female
Pictured is a scene from Livent's epic production of Show Boat directed by Harold Prince. "The Wedding Celebration" with L-R Dan Tullis, Jr as Joe, Patti Cohenour as Magnolia, Hugh Panaro as Ravenal, John McMartin as Cap'n Andy, Cloris Leachman as Parthy and Michael Fletcher as the Sheriff.
(Photo: Catherine Ashmore)
- Opening, Cotton Blossom - Stevedores and Gals, Town Beaux,
Captain Andy's Entrance and Bally-Hoo - Company & Parthy
Where's The Mate For Me? - Ravenal
- Make Believe - Ravenal and Magnolia
- Ol' Man River - Joe and Male Chorus
- Opening, Scene II
- Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man - Julie, Queenie, Magnolia, Joe and Mixed Quartet
- Opening, Scene III
- Scene III
- Scene IV
- Life Upon The Wicked Stage - Ellie and Girls
- Queenie's Bally-Hoo and Dance - Queenie
- Scene V
- Villain's Dance (Frank's Speciality)
- Scene VI, Introduction and Duet: You Are Love - Ravenal and Magnolia
- Scene VII, Finale - Company
- Prelude and Opening
- Incidental: Fatima's 2nd Dance
- Why Do I Love You? - Magnolia and Ravenal
- Dahomey - Chorus
- Scene II
20a. Boarding House Finale
- Scene III
- Bill - Julie
- Reprise: Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man - Magnolia
23a. Reprise Continued - Magnolia with Frank
- Scene IV
- 25-26. Scene V, Introduction
- and Ballet Dance - Orchestra plays "Washington Post March" (Sousa)
- Schultz and Schultz
- After The Ball (music by Chas K. Harris) - Magnolia
- Happy New Year
- Scene VI, Reprise: Ol' Man River - Joe
- Scene VII
- Reprise: You Are Love (Magnolia as voice on radio)
- Scene VIII
- Finale - Company
Scenes and Settins
Scene 1: The Levee At Natchez on the Mississippi
Scene 2: Kitchen Pantry of the "Cotton Blossom"
Scene 3: The Auditorium and Stage of the "Cotton Blossom"
Scene 4: Box Office on Fore-Deck of the "Cotton Blossom"
Scene 5: Auditorium and Stage of the "Cotton Blossom" During Third Act of "The Parson's Bride"
Scene 6: Upper Deck of the "Cotton Blossom"
Scene 7: Levee Beside the "Cotton Blossom"
Scene 1: The Midway Plaisance at the Chicago World's Fair
Scene 2: A Room on Ontario Street in Chicago
Scene 3: The Trocadero Rehearsal Room
Scene 4: St. Agatha's Convent
Scene 5: Opening, Trocadero
Scene 6: Stern of Show Boat
Scene 7: Upper Deck of the "Cotton Blossom"
Scene 8: Levee at Natchez
flute db. piccolo, oboe db. cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, trombone, percussion, banjo, strings
Vocal Score and Libretto available on hire only