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Tell Me More

Cover to cast recording

A Spring Musical Comedy in 2 Acts, 6 Scenes.
Book by Fred Thompson and William K. Wells. Music by George Gershwin. Lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Ira Gershwin. Book staged by John Harwood. Dances and ensembles staged by Sammy Lee.

Gaiety Theatre, New York - 13 April, 1925: closed 11 July, 1925 (100 perfs).


At a masquerade ball in Manhattan, Kenneth Dennison, son of one of New York's finest families, stands in a box overlooking the dance floor, eyeing a young girl below dressed as Pierrette. He wonders how best to approach her, but he doesn't have to wonder for long, for moments later, this same Pierrette, intending to visit a party in the adjoining box, opens Kenneth's door by mistake. He quickly introduces himself and admits his infatuation, and the girl, Peggy, cautiously flirts back. She unmasks, and the mood becomes more romantic but then Peggy slips away, leaving Kenneth to wonder when they'll meet again.

Peggy, it turns out, is a working girl, a sales clerk at the fancy Maison Elise, a smart millinery establishment on Fifth Avenue. Following a brief night's sleep, she arrives at the shop the next morning in time to witness all the usual arrivals: her fellow saleswomen; Monty, the tailor; and finally, her old school chum Jane Wallace, there to do a bit of shopping. Peg admits to Jane how hard it's been for her since her dad died and left her penniless. Jane wonders if Peg's brother Billy might help her out, but alas, Peg and Billy had a silly quarrel after the funeral and haven't spoken in months. A sympathetic Jane invites Peggy to her summer home in Viewport, but Peggy is too proud to accept charity.

Who should enter the shop but Kenneth, accompanied by his pal Billy. Billy is pleading with Kenneth to meet his sister Margaret, but Kenneth can't think of anyone but his Pierrette — and his only clue to her whereabouts is the mask she left behind, marked "Property of Maison Elise." As Billy wanders off, Kenneth spies Peggy across the room, and is delighted that his search has ended so quickly. Alas, he has to go off to Viewport tomorrow to visit his people but the lovebirds promise that once Kenneth returns, they'll be inseparable.

Theirs is not the only tryst taking place at the Maison Elise. Monty and Jane have been carrying on for months, but always on the sly. (Her father is an eminent financier, and the news that his daughter has fallen for a poor tailor might he too much for his heart.) Hearing that Jane is leaving for Viewport, Monty summons his courage and proposes marriage. Jane accepts, leaving the two of them to recount the pain that love has caused them. In a nearby room, Bonnie, another shopgirl, meets Billy. He affects the air of a rugged cowboy in order to impress her; she's sceptical, but happy to play along.

And then Jane re-enters with an idea: Peg will journey to Viewport with her and let Monty come along, posing as her brother Billy. That way, Jane and Monty can be together, and her family will be none the wiser. Feeling that her friend needs her help (and aware that Kenneth will be in Viewport as well), Peg agrees. The entire sales force and clientele of the Maison Elise appear on the scene to celebrate the young lovers' optimism. Their joy is derailed only briefly by the arrival of Jane's mother and an unfortunate faux pas by Monty.

One week later, the sun is shining brightly over fashionable Viewport. Jane finds herself very much in her element, while Monty, very much out of his element, nonetheless wins over the crowd with tales of his ancestral home. Peg and Kenneth grow closer, and even Billy and Bonnie's thoughts turn to romance. But when Bonnie, ever the blabbermouth, tells Billy that Peggy's in Viewport with a brother who's not really her brother, Billy jumps to the obvious conclusion and, ever the loyal friend, informs Kenneth of his Pierrette's deceit. (Billy's quite content to break up the pair; after all, he's still committed to fixing up Kenneth with his sister Margaret). Ken confronts Peg, but she's too hurt by the accusation to tell him the truth. The lovers quarrel, and suddenly, with the imminent arrival of Jane's father, all three relationships seem in jeopardy.

Misunderstandings are resolved a few hours later in the hotel garden where Bonnie has taken a job as an eccentric dancer and Monty is working as a waiter to pay off his hotel bill. As Kenneth laments his broken heart, Peg takes pity and reveals the reasons for her deception. Jane's mother asserts her position as head of the Wallace household and blesses her daughter's engagement to Monty. And as the three couples celebrate their impending nuptials, Peg and Billy stumble upon each other for the first time in months — "Billy!" "Margaret!" — and brother and sister, too, are reunited.
—Tommy Krasker


Scenes and Settings

Act 1

Act 2:

Musical Numbers

  1. Tell Me More - Peggy Van De Leur, Kenneth Dennison
    Reprise - Peggy Van De Leur, Kenneth Dennison
  2. Opening Ensemble (Shopgirls and Mannequins) - Shop Girls, Debutantes, Escorts
  3. Mr. and Mrs. Sipkin - Monty Sipkin, Shop Girls
  4. When the Debbies Go By - Jane Wallace, Debs, Boys
  5. Reprise - Peggy Van De Leur, Kenneth Dennison
  6. Three Times a Day - Peggy Van De Leur, Kenneth Dennison
  7. Why Do I Love You? - Jane Wallace, Monty Sipkin, Pages, Boys, Girls
  8. How Can I Win You Now? (Duet) (Music by William Daly. Lyrics by Ira Gershwin) - Bonnie Reeves, Billy Smith (Replaced by …)
  9. Once - Bonnie Reeves, Billy Smith
  10. Kickin' the Clouds Away (Trio) - Jane Wallace, Monty Sipkin, Billy Smith, Girls
  11. Specialty Dance
  12. Specialty Dance
  13. Finale Act 1 - Principals, Ensemble
  14. Love Is in the Air (Opening Act 2) - Girls, Boys
  15. Specialty Dance
  16. My Fair Lady - Peggy Van De Leur, Jane Wallace, Boys
  17. Specialty Dance
  18. Reprise - Peggy Van De Leur, Kenneth Dennison
  19. In Sardinia - Monty Sipkin, Girls
  20. Baby! - Bonnie Reeves, Billy Smith, Girls, Boys
  21. Finaletto - Principals, Ensemble
  22. The Poetry of Motion (Dance) - Waiters
  23. Ukulele Lorelei - Bonnie Reeves, Girls
  24. Specialty - Bonnie Reeves
  25. Oh, So 'La' Mi - Monty Sipkin
  26. Finale Act 2 - Principals, Ensemble