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The Happiest Girl in the World

Cover to original cast recording

A Musical Comedy in 2 Acts, 14 Scenes. Book by Fred Saidy and Henry Myers. Story by E. Y. Harburg (with a bow to Aristophanes "Lysistrata" and Bulfinch). Music by Jacques Offenbach. Lyrics by E. Y. Harburg.

Shubert Theatre, New Haven, Conn., 18 February, 1961
Martin Beck Theatre, New York; 3 April, 1961 to 24 June, 1961 (97 perfs.)

Settings and lighting by William and Jean Eckart.
Costumes by Robert Fletcher.
Choreography by Dania Krupska.
Musical direction and vocal arrangements by Robert DeCormier.
Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and Hershy Kay.
Dance arrangements by Gerald Alters.
Musical research by Jay Gorney.
Directed by Cyril Ritchard.
Electronic tonalities by Louis and Bebe Barron.
Produced by Lee Guber.


In ancient Athens the Olympic Games draw to a close, and the audience responds with cheers for the hero as the winner is crowned with laurel. At the same time another hero appears, the victorious Kinesias, who has triumphed over the Spartans. He is honoured by the Chief of State and the populace. When Kinesias at last arrives at his home, his wife Lysistrata tells him that she is the happiest girl in the world. But before they have spent even five minutes together, the Chief marches in to tell Kinesias that war has broken out again. Lysistrata is both angry and sorrowful when he is gone and calls on the gods to end war.

Meanwhile, up on Olympus, the gods are distressed by her pleas. Jupiter admits that only Pluto, god of the nether regions, has the power to cause wars. Pluto arrives in a burst of flame and cautions them to treat the Devil with respect. He announces his intention of continuing to make trouble on the earth, and then disappears. Diana, the chaste goddess of the moon, begs her father Jupiter to send her to earth as a peacemaker. She is sympathetic toward earthlings and their peculiar passion for love. Jupiter reluctantly agrees to let her go.

On earth, Diana inspires the sleeping Lysistrata with the idea that women must refuse their favours until men agree to keep the peace. In the Agora, Lysistrata convinces the women of Athens of her plan, and the women take the oath, to Diana's delight.

Uncle Pluto arrives to tell Diana she must learn more about life than she has thus far seen; surprisingly he exhorts her to virtue, but with his own twist.

The brief war ends, and Kinesias again returns to Lysisirata. Then war erupts again. Like the other women of Athens, Lysistrata nearly forgets her vow, but a sharp reminder from Diana brings her to her senses, and she leads the women in capturing the Citadel, where they lock themselves in. The war is called off, but the women remain adamant. The distraught men, led by the Chief of State, engage in strenuous exercise and work to take their minds off their misfortune. The women in the citadel are no less lonely, as they ask how soon will the men come to their senses. The wily Pluto disguises himself as a shepherd and tries to break up the strike; be beguiles the sentinel Myhrrina but is unsuccessful. When Kinesias entreats Lysistrata to return to him she refuses him. 

The women learn that the Persian courtesan Rhodope is coming with her girls to comfort the men. They capture and imprison the entourage, and Lysistrata disguises herself as Rhodope and sets forth to make a fool of Kinesias. Pluto, meanwhile, continues to make trouble; his advice to the women is "never trust a virgin."

Lysistrata finds Kinesias and lures him into asking her to live with him; as an honest courtesan, though, she tells him she could never be honestly his. Kinesias suddenly recognises his wife, but before they can be reconciled, the Chief of State arrives with the summons to another war. But the Spartan women have used the same stratagem as the Athenian girls, and the Spartan men ask for a lasting peace. The Athenians agree, and husbands and wives are reunited, Diana returns happily to Olympus, and only Pluto is disconcerted.

Original Cast(in order of appearance):

  • First Courier: Alton Ruff.
  • Second Courier: Ronald B. Stratton.
  • First Minister: TED THURSTON.
  • Second Minister: DON CRABTREE.
  • Third Minister: RICHARD WINTER.
  • Chief of State: CYRIL RITCHARD.
  • A Herald: Don Atkinson.
  • General Kinesias: BRUCE YARNELL.
  • Phoebe: Rita Metzger.
  • Lysistrata: DRAN SEITZ.
  • Captain Crito: JOHN NAPIER.
  • Juno: LU LEONARD.
  • Bacchus: TED THURSTON.
  • Mercury: Don Atkinson.
  • Apollo: JOHN NAPIER.
  • Neptune: RICHARD WINTER.
  • Aphrodite: JOY CLAUSSEN.
  • Diana: JANICE RULE.
  • Amaryllis: JOY CLAUSSEN.
  • Myrrhina: LU LEONARD.
  • A Heckler: CYRIL RITCHARD.
  • Daphne: Norma Donaldson.
  • Hector: David Canary.
  • Ataraxohymonides: John Wheeler.
  • Ulysses: RICHARD WINTER.
  • Sergeant: DON CRABTREE.
  • A Gay Blade: CYRIL RITCHARD.
  • A Wine Smuggler: CYRIL RITCHARD.
  • Sentinel: Nancy Windsor.
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin: CYRIL RITCHARD.
  • Theodora: Lainie Kazan.
  • Spartan Woman: Maura K. Wedge.
  • A Playwright: CYRIL RITCHARD.
  • Rhodope: Janice Painchaud.
  • An Ambassador: CYRIL RITCHARD.


Ellen Berse, Joy Claussen, Norma Donaldson, Lainie Kazan, Leonora Lanzillotti, Rita Metzger, Elaine Spaulding, Maura K. Wedge, Nancy Windsor, David Canary, Jeff Killian, Paul Merrill, Theodore Morill, Arthur Tookoyan, Mark Tully, John Wheeler, Richard Winter.


Bonnie Brandon, Candace Caldwell, Natasha Grishin, Judith Haskell, Lisa James, Gloria Kaye, Susan May, Carmen Morales, Janice Painchaud, Bill Atkinson, Don Atkinson, Grant Delaney, Victor Duntiere, Louis Kosman, Alton Ruff, Kenneth Scott, Ron Sequoio, Ronald B. Stratton.

Musical Numbers


  1. The Olympics (ballet) - (Dance Ensemble)
  2. Cheers for the Hero - Ensemble
  3. The Glory That Is Greece - Chief of State, Kinesias, Ensemble
  4. The Happiest Girl in the World - Lysistrita, Kinesias
  5. The Greek Marine - Chief of State, First Minister, Second Minister, Third Minister, Soldiers
  6. Shall We Say Farewell - Lysistrita
  7. Never Be-Devil the Devil - Pluto
  8. Whatever That May Be - Diana, the Gods
  9. Eureka - Jupiter, the Gods
  10. Diana's Arrival in Athens (dance) - Diana
  11. The Oath - Lysistrita, Women
  12. Diana's Transformation - Chief of State, Diana, Two Suitors
  13. Vive la Virtue! - Pluto, Diana
  14. Adrift on a Star - Lysistrita, Kinesias
  15. The Happiest Girl in the World (reprise) - Lysistrita, Kinesias
  16. Finale (Act 1) - Lysistrita, Kinesias, Ensemble


  1. That'll Be the Day - Men
  2. How Soon, Oh Moon? - Lysistrita, Soloist, Women
  3. Love-Sick Serenade - Pluto, Myhrrina
  4. Five Minutes of Spring - Kinesias, Lysistrita, Diana
  5. The Greek Marine (reprise) - Soldiers
  6. Five Minutes of Spring (reprise) - Soldiers
  7. Never Trust a Virgin - Pluto, Women
  8. Entrance of the Courtesans - Women
  9. The Pied Piper's Can-Can - Chief of State, Dancers
  10. Vive la Virtue! (reprise) - Chief of State, Diana
  11. Finale (Act 2) - Entire Company

Scenes and Settings:

Act I

Scene I: Office of the Chief of State of Athens. 400 B.C.
Scene 2: The Rotunda.
Scene 3: The Agora.
Scene 4: Patio of the General's Home.
Scene 5: Atop Mount Olympus.
Scene 6: Garden of the General's Home.
Scene 7: The Agora.
Scene 8: The Patio.
Scene 9: Lysistrata's Boudoir.

Act 2

Scene 1: The Public Baths.
Scene 2: Outside the Citadel.
Scene 3: The Patio.
Scene 4: Steps leading to the Temple of Diana.
Scene 5: The Agora.