Cover to original cast recording

Music and Lyrics by Bob Merrill: Book by Michael Stewart. Based on the story by Paul Gallico and the screenplay for Lili by Helen Deutsch
Original production directed and choreographed by Gower Champion; Produced on the Broadway stage by David Merrick (April, 1961)
Imperial Theatre 13 April, 1961 (719 perfs)
Lyric Theatre, London 8 February, 1963 (28 perfs)


Carnival opens on an uncurtained stage which is empty except for a few trees and the hint of an open meadow. A small figure in rather shabby clothes enters and starts to play a wheezy concertina. The stage beings to light up as roustabouts carry on poles and canvas and the carnival is erected before our eyes, and we are whisked off to a world of wonders. The hauntingly beautiful musical theme, "Love Makes the World Go Round", runs through the story, which captures the mood of carnival people perfectly. The effect is magical with appeal for matinee audiences as well as Saturday night sophistication.

The stage show is based on the film Lili. Although the entire film score has been discarded the essential story remains. Lili, an orphan, appears at a small European carnival seeking a friend of her dead father and, she hopes, an offer of a home. She is looked after by the carnival folk. She becomes somewhat besotted with the show's magician, Marco the magnificent but soon realises that her future is entwined with the lame, misanthropic puppeteer and love follows.

Cast: Male 12; Female 6 plus various extras

Original Cast (In order of appearance)


Violin 1, 2 & 3; Cello; Bass & Tuba; harp; Accordion; Reed 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5; Horn; Trumpet 1 & 2; Trombone 1 & 2; Percussion 1 & 2; Guitar; Piano

Musical Numbers:

  1. Direct from Vienna - The Incomparable Rosalie, Greta Schlegel, Carnival People
  2. A Very Nice Man - Lili
  3. Fairyland - Puppets
  4. I've Got to Find a Reason - Paul Berthalet
  5. Mira (Can You Imagine That?) - Lili
  6. Sword, Rose and Cape - Marco the Magnificent, Miguelito, Roustabouts
  7. Humming - The Incomparable Rosalie, Greta Schlegel
  8. Yes, My Heart - Lili
  9. Everybody Likes You - Paul Berthalet
  10. Magic, Magic - Marco the Magnificent, The Incomparable Rosalie, Lili
  11. Tanz Mit Mir (Dance With Me) - Harem Girls
  12. Carnival Ballet - Lili, Carnival People, Townspeople
  13. Mira (reprise) - Lili
  14. Theme from 'Carnival' (Love Makes the World Go Round) - Lili, Puppets
  15. Yum Ticky (Ticky Trim Turn) Lili, Puppets
  16. The Rich - Lili, Puppets
  17. Theme from 'Carnival' (reprise) - Lili, Puppets
  18. Beautiful Candy - Lili, Puppets, Vendors
  19. Her Face - Paul Berthalet
  20. Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris - Jacquot, Carnival People
  21. I Hate Him/Her Face (reprise) - Lili/Paul Berthalet
  22. Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris (reprise) - Carnival People
  23. Always, Always You - Marco the Magnificent, The Incomparable Rosalie
  24. She's My Love - Paul Berthalet

Scenes and Settings

Act 1

Scene 1: The Carnival Area on the outskirts of a town in Southern Europe.
Scene 2: The Puppet Booth.
Scene 3: Inside Schlegel's Office.
Scene 4: The Carnival Area.
Scene 5: The Carnival Area.
Scene 6: Interior of Main lent.
Scene 7: Carnival Area at Night.

Act 2

Scene 1: The Midway.
Scene 2: Trailer Camp.
Scene 3: Outside Main Tent.