Original Cast AlbumBELLS ARE RINGING

A musical comedy in 2 acts, 22 scenes. Book and Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green; Music by Jule Styne; original production by Jerome Robbins 

Shubert Theatre Broadway 29 November, 1956 (924 perfs)
Revived at the Plymouth Theatre, New York 12 April, 2001 (69 perfs)
London Coliseum, 14 November, 1957 (292 perfs)


Set round a telephone answering service, (which is suspected by the police of being a cover for a vice ring), and also involving an illegal book-making concern, a heroine with a heart of gold, and even a musical dentist, this is a real gem of a show. The sets are simplicity itself, it is true delight to produce and, justifiably, one that is loved by amateurs. It has been rightly called .a "Sweetheart of a Musical Show", and contains some very, very good songs, including that guaranteed show-stopper "The Party's Over" and some great. dance tunes.

The story of this amusing play centres around the firm of Susanswerphone, one of those organisations that deals with telephone calls made to subscribers when they are not at home. One of the telephonists, Ella Peterson, out of sheer big-heartedness, is more concerned for her customers than the job warrants or the law allows. She goes out of her way to help people needing a " break," in particular a certain playwright, Jeff, who is rapidly losing self-confidence and with whom she falls in love. She unwittingly helps a sub-scriber, who professes to be a music publisher and owner of the Titanic Records Co. This man, Sandor, is, in fact, a bookmaker and utilises the services of Susanswerphone for the illegal purpose of placing and receiving bets. He is able to do this by the ingenious means of providing his clients with musical codes - for example, Beethoven is the pseudonym for Belmont Park Race Course, Puccini is the code for Pimlico Race Course, Tchaikovsky means Churchill Downs, etc. Therefore, when the message is received, " Order 500, 6th Symphony, Beethoven, Opus 3," it actually means " Bet 500 dollars, sixth horse, Belmont, 3rd Race." The police, though highly suspicious of the organisation, fail to detect its illegal activities, but innocence prevails; no harm is done and a merry time is had by all. 

The musical numbers are many and varied, ideally requiring modern-type singers with good voices, but without need of great compass, and include the famous "Long Before I Knew You"; "Just In Time" and "It's Better Than a Dream, sung by Jeff and Ella. Ella has the splendid solo numbers, "It's A Perfect Relationship" and "Is It A Crime?" Jeff sings "Independent" and "I Met A Girl". In explaining his betting code, Sandor has an excellent number with chorus, "It's A Simple Little System", and amongst many singing ensembles all featuring minor principals are: "Hello, Hello There!";"Mu-Cha-Cha"; "Drop That Name"; "The Party's Over" and "The Midas Touch."

Re-designed scenery makes this production a practicability for any theatre. There is wide scope for adding to the dancing requirements. Costuming is of the present day.


Male - 21 Female - 8
Plus Chorus and Dancers


5 Bb Clarinets doubling as follows: (1) Alto Saxophone and optional Flute, (2) Alto Saxophone, optional Flute and Piccolo, (3) Tenor Saxophone, optional Oboe and Cor Anglais, (4) Tenor Saxophone and optional Bass Clarinet, (5) Baritone Saxophone and optional Bassoon; 2 Horns, 3 Bb Trumpets, 2 Trombones; Percussion, Harp; Strings (both 1st and 2nd Violins "divisi")

Kennedy Centre Revival programme:

Here's the running order from the Kennedy Center program: 

It's a Perfect Relationship - Ella
Mambo Montage - Ella
Independent - Jeff & Ensemble
You've Got to Do It - Jeff
It's a Simple Little System - Sandor & Ensemble
Is It A Crime? - Ella
It's Better Than a Dream - Jeff
Hello, Hello There - Ella, Jeff & Ensemble
I Met a Girl - Jeff & Ensemble
Long Before I Knew You - Ella & Jeff
Mu-Cha-Cha - Ella, Carl, Carol and Ensemble
Dance - Carol, Carl and Dancing Ensemble
Just in Time - Jeff, Ella and Ensemble
Drop That Name - Ella and Ensemble
The Party's Over - Ella and Ensemble
Salzburg - Sue and Sandor
The Midas Touch - Singer, Boys and Girls
Long Before I Knew You (Reprise) - Jeff
I'm Goin' Back - Ella
Finale - Orchestra

Original Cast Recording