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Palace Theatre Programme CoverThe Will Rogers Follies

A musical in 2 acts, a Prelude and 12 Scenes. Book by Peter Stone - Inspired by the words of Will & Betty Rogers

Music Composed & Arranged by Cy Coleman : Lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green : Original New York Production Directed & Choreographed by Tommy Tune

Palace Theatre, New York - 1 May, 1991 (983 perfs)


Will Rogers is famous for saying I never met a man I didn't like, and anyone who has ever seen or performed in WILL ROGERS FOLLIES will agree that there has never been a man - or woman - who did not like Will ROGERS FOLLIES.

Subtitled A Life In Revue, WILL ROGERS stands out among musicals because of the magic of its protagonist. Rare is the man who transcends decades and rises to the level of legend. Will Rogers does this, not only because of his accomplishments, but because of his philosophy, which espouses respect and confidence in the goodness of his fellowman.

The curtain rises on a Follies-style tribute to the man whose daily newspaper column sent America on its way each morning with a smile on its face. In fact, Will was a multimedia sensation, performing a weekly radio talk show as well as starring in motion pictures. Between rope tricks which entertain the audience while the show girls are changing their costumes for The Follies, Will soothes us with his old-fashioned common sense. The songs Never Met A Man and Give A Man Enough Rope are parables set to music.

Now it's time to get to know Will, his friends, and family. Will introduces us to the aviator Wiley Post, to his six sisters, and to his father Clem. Born to parents who were part Cherokee, Will learned early on to be proud of his heritage. When Will turned nineteen, he set off, despite his father's protests, to be a cowboy down in Argentina. It was at the train depot that Will first laid eyes on Betty Blake, the woman who would become his wife. But how theatrical is that? Not enough, apparently, because Mr. Ziegfeld quickly rewrites history and lowers Betty romantically from the Moon to recreate her first meeting with Will!

Once married, Will tours the country performing his routine until the day his big break arrives, and he is offered a part in Florenz Ziegfeld's Follies. After six fabulous seasons, Will is called to Hollywood to perform on the silver screen. After much success and a run for President in 1928, Will assesses his life. It is time to spend more time at home. Nonetheless, Will is called on to soothe the nation's jitters after the stock market crash. It seems that his straight talk and simple truths create quite an impact on the nation. You will find that your audience responds in much the same way.

When Wiley Post and Will lose their lives during a fatal flying adventure in Alaska, the nation mourns its lost friend. The musical version, however, is an upbeat celebration of this folk hero who made the world a whole lot better place than it was before he entered it.

Musical Numbers

  1. Prelude: Let's Go Flying
  2. Will-a-Mania - Ziegfeld's Favorite & Company
  3. Give a Man Enough Rope - Will & The Will Rogers Wranglers
  4. 'It's a Boy! - Clem & Will's Sisters
  5. So Long Pa - Will
  6. My Unknown Someone - Betty
  7. We're Heading for a Wedding - Will & Betty
  8. The Big Time - Will, Betty & the Children
  9. My Big Mistake - Betty
  10. The Powder Puff Ballet (My Big Mistake) - The New Ziegfeld Girls
  11. Marry Me Now/I Got You - Will & Betty
  12. Give a Man Enough Rope (Reprise) - Will & The Will Rogers Wranglers
  13. Look Around - Will
  14. Favorite Son - Will & Chorus
  15. No Man Left for Me - Betty
  16. Presents for Mrs. Rogers - Will & The Will Rogers Wranglers & The New Ziegfeld Girls
  17. Will-a-Mania (Reprise) - Will & Clem
  18. Without You (Reprise of I Got You) - Betty
  19. Never Met a Man I Didn't Like - Will & Company

Scenes and Settings:


Scene 1: The Follies
Scene 2: The Ranch
Scene 3: The Moon
Scene 4: The Follies
Scene 5 : The St. Louis Exposition
Scene 6: Vaudeville
Scene 7: The Follies
Scene 8: Act I Wedding Finale



Scene 1: The Follies
Scene 2: The Convention
Scene 3: The Hollywood Ranch
Scene 4: The Bare Stage
Scene 5: The Finale


Reed I - Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet and Alto Saxophone
Reed II - Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet and Alto Saxophone
Reed III - Flute, Clarinet Oboe (or Clarinet) and English Horn (or Clarinet)
Reed IV - Flute, Clarinet Bass Clarinet and Tenor Saxophone
Reed V - Bass Clarinet, Bassoon (or Bass Clarinet) & Eb Contrabass Clarinet (or Bass Clarinet)
Trumpet I & II (Both double on Flugelhorn)
Trumpet III (doubling Flugelhorn)
Trombone I (Tenor, doubling Kazoo)
Trombone II (Tenor)
Trombone III (Bass doubling Tuba)
Bass (Acoustic & Electric)
Guitar I (Acoustic, Electric , Pedal Steel, Dobro & Banjo)
Guitar II (Acoustic, Electric, Banjo & Country Fiddle)
Percussion I & II (Mallet instruments & Trap Drum Set)
Keyboard I /Piano
Keyboard II /Synthesiser
Keyboard III /Synthesiser

Note: All stage Harmonica and Guitar music is cued in the pit orchestra parts.


Original Broadway CastAlbum