Oh, Boy! (musical)
Oh, Boy! is a musical in two acts, with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse; the story concerns befuddled George, who elopes with the daughter of Judge Carter. He must win over his Quaker aunt, his dapper polo champion friend Jim is in love with madcap actress Jackie, but George must hide her while she extricates herself from a scrape with a bumbling constable whom she punched at a party raid. The piece was the most successful of the "Princess Theatre Musicals", opening in February 1917 and transferring to the Casino Theatre in November 1917 to finish its Broadway run of 463 performances. A London production, under the title Oh, Joy! opened in January 1919 at the Kingsway Theatre, where it ran for 167 performances. A silent film version was produced in 1919. Early in the 20th century, American musical theatre consisted of a mix of elaborate European operettas, like The Merry Widow, British musical comedy imports, like The Arcadians, George M. Cohan's shows, American operettas, like those of Victor Herbert, ragtime-infused American musicals, the spectacular revues of Florenz Ziegfeld and others.
But as Cohan's and Herbert's creative output waned, new creative talent was being nurtured on Broadway, including Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Sigmund Romberg. Kern began by revising British musicals to suit American audiences, adding songs that "have a timeless, distinctly American sound that redefined the Broadway showtune."The Princess Theatre was a designed, 299-seat Broadway theatre that had failed to attract successful productions because of its small size. Theatre agent Elisabeth Marbury asked Kern and Bolton to write a series of musicals tailored to its smaller setting, with an intimate style and modest budgets, that would provide an alternative to the star-studded extravaganzas of Ziegfeld and others. Kern and Bolton's first Princess Theatre musical was Nobody's Home, an adaptation of a London show called Mr. Popple of Ippleton, their second was an original musical called Very Good Eddie. The little show ran for 314 performances on a modest budget. British humorist and lyricist/playwright P. G. Wodehouse had supplied some lyrics for Very Good Eddie but now joined the team at the Princess.
Oh, Boy!, like the first two Princess Theatre shows, featured modern American settings and simple scene changes to more aptly suit the small theatre, eschewing operetta traditions of foreign locales and elaborate scenery. The authors deliberately attempted to have the humor flow from the plot situations, rather than from musical set pieces. In 1918, Dorothy Parker described in Vanity Fair how the Princess Theatre shows integrated story and music: "Bolton and Wodehouse and Kern are my favorite indoor sport. I like the way they go about a musical comedy.... I like the way the action slides casually into the songs.... I like the deft rhyming of the song, always sung in the last act by two comedians and a comedienne, and oh, how I do like Jerome Kern's music." It became the most successful of the Princess Theatre shows, one of the first American musicals to be a success on the London stage. According to Bloom and Vlastnik, Oh, Boy! Represents "the transition from the haphazard musicals of the past to the newer, more methodical modern musical comedy... the libretto is remarkably pun-free and the plot is natural and unforced.
Charm was uppermost in the creators' minds... the audience could relax, have a few laughs, feel superior to the silly undertakings on stage, smile along with the simple, lyrically witty but undemanding songs". They call it good clean fun and "honest, non-ironic, hardworking theatre". Oh, Boy! was first performed, as a tryout, in Schenectady, New York, before receiving its Broadway premiere on February 20, 1917 at the Princess Theatre. It ran for 463 performances, it was produced by F. Ray Comstock. Staging was with scenery by D. M. Aiken and costumes by Faibsey. A London production, under the title Oh, Joy! was produced by George Grossmith, Jr. containing some modified lyrics, starring Beatrice Lillie as Jackie – her first role in a book musical. It opened on January 1919 at the Kingsway Theatre, where it ran for 167 performances. A silent film version was produced in 1919. An anonymous admirer wrote a verse in praise of the musical's authors that begins: This is the trio of musical fame and Wodehouse and Kern.
Better than anyone else you can name Wodehouse and Kern. The telegram boy arrives at George Budd's apartment at Medowsides, Long Island, Briggs, George's butler, puts the telegram aside. Jim Marvin, a young dandy, enters through the window followed by a troupe of young people. Jim's polo team has won a silver cup, he's brought all his friends to George's house to celebrate. Jim is surprised to find. However, Jim decides to continue the party and goes into the dining room with his friends to find some food and drink. George is not home, they return to the apartment ready to spend their first night together, not realizing they have guests. They go into the bedroom, Jim and his friends return to the living room, not knowing George is home with Lou Ellen. Jim rhapsodizes on the wonders of an available female. George and Lou Ellen open the door, they see no one, as everyone is now in the dining room. It is from his Quaker Aunt Penelope, who controls his
Maxine Elliott’s Theatre
Maxine Elliott’s Theatre was a Broadway theater located at 109 West 39th Street in Manhattan. Built in 1908, it was demolished in 1960; the theater was designed by architect Benjamin Marshall of the Fox. The theatre was named for U. S. actress Maxine Elliott, who owned a 50 percent interest in it in partnership with The Shubert Organization. Elliott was one of the few women theater managers of her time, she leased it to the Federal Theatre in 1936. In 1941, the theatre became a radio studio and in 1948 was converted for television production, where the first episodes of Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town variety show originated. In 1956, Elliott's heirs sold her share to the Shuberts, who sold the property, it was demolished in 1960. The theatre, built in a thriving theatre district, was the last remaining Broadway house below 41st Street. Maxine Elliott’s Theatre seated 935 patrons. Throughout its lifetime, it housed a multitude of plays, including original works by George Bernard Shaw, John Millington Synge, Lady Augusta Gregory, Lord Dunsany, Lillian Hellman and Somerset Maugham.
Only nine of its dozens of productions were musicals, including one opera, See America First by Cole Porter. 1908: The Chaperon starring Maxine Elliott 1909: The Blue Mouse by Clyde Fitch 1911: Riders to the Sea.
The Desert Song
The Desert Song is an operetta with music by Sigmund Romberg and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel. It was inspired by the 1925 uprising of the Riffs, a group of Moroccan fighters, against French colonial rule, it was inspired by stories of Lawrence of Arabia aiding native guerrillas. Many tales romanticizing Arab North Africa were in vogue, including Beau Geste and The Son of the Sheik. Titled "Lady Fair", after successful out-of-town tryouts in Wilmington and Boston, the original Broadway production opened at the Casino Theatre on November 30, 1926 and ran for a successful 465 performances, it starred Vivienne Segal. The piece enjoyed a London production and was revived on Broadway in 1946 and 1973. In the 1980s, it was played by the Light Opera of Manhattan and revived by the New York City Opera, it is a popular piece for community light opera groups. The story is a version of plots such as The Scarlet Pimpernel and Superman, where a hero adopts a mild-mannered disguise to keep his true identity a secret.
He loves a beautiful and spirited girl, who loves his hero persona but does not know his real personality, which he keeps hidden under the milquetoast persona. The leading man in the original Broadway production was Scottish baritone Richard Halliday and the heroine, Vivienne Segal, it was directed by Arthur Hurley and choreographed by Bobby Connolly, to choreograph the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. In the 1927 London production at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane the leading roles were taken by Harry Welchman and Edith Day, numerous excerpts were recorded with the London cast supported by the Drury Lane orchestra and chorus under conductor Herman Finck; the show was revived on Broadway in 1946 and 1973. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Light Opera of Manhattan mounted the operetta several times. To celebrate the centennial of Romberg's birth in 1987, the New York City Opera staged a lavish production with Richard White and Linda Michele. Although old-fashioned by present standards, The Desert Song is still performed and has been made into a motion picture four times, though the second version was a short subject, rather than a feature-length film.
All film versions were made by Warner Brothers. In 1929, a lavish production was filmed, with Technicolor sequences and starring John Boles and Myrna Loy; this version was scrupulously faithful to and captured the spirit of the original Broadway production and became a huge hit. To capitalize on the success of the original picture, Warner Bros. released a two-reel adaptation of the film in 1932 entitled The Red Shadow. By the 1940s, the original 1929 film had become prohibited to exhibit in the United States due to its Pre-Code content which included sexual innuendo, suggestive humor and open discussion of themes such as homosexuality; the Technicolor sequences have survived only in black-and-white. A second feature version was made in 1943, topically altered to have the hero fighting the Nazis. Filmed in three-strip Technicolor, it starred Dennis Morgan and Irene Manning. A third color feature version was made in 1953, with most of the adult themes and humor being removed or "sanitized"; this version altered the plot to make General Birabeau the father of Margot, rather than the father of the Red Shadow, as in the play.
It starred Gordon MacRae and featured Allyn McLerie as Azuri. Both the 1943 and the 1953 films changed the hero's name from the Red Shadow to El Khobar. In the 1953 version, El Khobar's disguise was that of a mild-mannered Latin teacher who tutored Margot and had to fend off her amorous advances. In 1953, all the singing is done by El Khobar and the male chorus. None of the other characters in the film sing. Another sanitized version was adapted for live television in 1955. One of the writers brought in to shorten and modernize some risque dialogue was the young Neil Simon. Sid El Kar Hassi Mindar Benjamin Kidd Captain Paul Fontaine Azuri Margot Bonvalet General Birabeau Pierre Birabeau/Red Shadow Susan Ali Ben Ali Clementina Hadji Chorus of Riffs and inhabitants of the fortress French General Birabeau has been sent to Morocco to root out and destroy the Riffs, a band of Arab rebels, who threaten the safety of the French outpost in the Moroccan desert, their dashing, daredevil leader is a Frenchman.
The Red Shadow, his Arab lieutenant, Sid El Kar, their wealthy host, Ali Ben Ali, discuss the relative merits of the Eastern tradition of love for a harem of women, the Western ideal of loving one woman for life. Margot Bonvalet, a lovely, sassy French girl, is soon to be married at the French fort to Birabeau's right-hand man, Captain Fontaine. Birabeau's son Pierre, in reality the Red Shadow, loves Margot, but pretends to be a milksop to preserve his secret identity. Meanwhile, Benny, a reporter, the girl who loves him, provide comic relief. Margot tells Pierre that she secretly yearns to be swept into the arms of some bold, dashing sheik even the Red Shadow himself. Pierre, as the Red Shadow, declares his love for her. To her surprise, Margot's mysterious abductor treats her with every western consideration. Benny and Susan are captured too; when the Red Shadow comes face to face with General Birabeau, the old man challenges the rebel leader to a duel. Of course Pierre will not k
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the dramatist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan and to the works they jointly created; the two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H. M. S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known. Gilbert, who wrote the libretti for these operas, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion—fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos, their operas have enjoyed broad and enduring international success and are still performed throughout the English-speaking world. Gilbert and Sullivan introduced innovations in content and form that directly influenced the development of musical theatre through the 20th century.
The operas have influenced political discourse, literature and television and have been parodied and pastiched by humorists. Producer Richard D'Oyly Carte brought Gilbert and Sullivan together and nurtured their collaboration, he built the Savoy Theatre in 1881 to present their joint works and founded the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed and promoted Gilbert and Sullivan's works for over a century. Gilbert was born in London on 18 November 1836, his father, was a naval surgeon who wrote novels and short stories, some of which included illustrations by his son. In 1861, to supplement his income, the younger Gilbert began writing illustrated stories and articles of his own, many of which would be mined as inspiration for his plays and operas Gilbert's series of illustrated poems, the Bab Ballads. In the Bab Ballads and his early plays, Gilbert developed a unique "topsy-turvy" style in which humour was derived by setting up a ridiculous premise and working out its logical consequences, however absurd.
Director and playwright Mike Leigh described the "Gilbertian" style as follows: With great fluidity and freedom, continually challenges our natural expectations. First, within the framework of the story, he makes bizarre things happen, turns the world on its head, thus the Learned Judge marries the Plaintiff, the soldiers metamorphose into aesthetes, so on, nearly every opera is resolved by a deft moving of the goalposts... His genius is to fuse opposites with an imperceptible sleight of hand, to blend the surreal with the real, the caricature with the natural. In other words, to tell a outrageous story in a deadpan way. Gilbert developed his innovative theories on the art of stage direction, following theatrical reformer Tom Robertson. At the time Gilbert began writing, theatre in Britain was in disrepute. Gilbert helped to reform and elevate the respectability of the theatre beginning with his six short family-friendly comic operas, or "entertainments", for Thomas German Reed. At a rehearsal for one of these entertainments, Ages Ago, in 1870, the composer Frederic Clay introduced Gilbert to his friend, the young composer Arthur Sullivan.
Over the next year, before the two first collaborated, Gilbert continued to write humorous verse and plays, including the comic operas Our Island Home and A Sensation Novel, the blank verse comedies The Princess, The Palace of Truth and Pygmalion and Galatea. Sullivan was born in London on 13 May 1842, his father was a military bandmaster, by the time Arthur had reached the age of eight, he was proficient with all the instruments in the band. In school he began to compose songs. In 1856, he received the first Mendelssohn Scholarship and studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at Leipzig, where he took up conducting, his graduation piece, completed in 1861, was a suite of incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest. Revised and expanded, it was an immediate sensation, he began building a reputation as England's most promising young composer, composing a symphony, a concerto, several overtures, among them the Overture di Ballo, in 1870. His early major works for the voice included The Masque at Kenilworth.
He composed a ballet, L'Île incidental music for a number of Shakespeare plays. Other early pieces that were praised were his Symphony in E, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Overture in C; these commissions, were not sufficient to keep Sullivan afloat. He worked as a church organist and composed numerous hymns, popular songs, parlour ballads. Sullivan's first foray into comic opera was Cox and Box, written with librettist F. C. Burnand for an informal gathering of friends. Public performance followed, with W. S. Gilbert saying that Sullivan's score "is, in many places, of too high a class for the grotesquely absurd plot to which it is wedded." Nonetheless, it proved successful, is still performed today. Sullivan and Burnand's second opera, The Contrabandista was not as successful. In 1871, producer John Hollingshead brought Gilbert and Sullivan together to produce a Christmas entertainment, Thespis, at his Gaiety Theatre, a large West End house; the piece was an extravaganza in which the classical Greek gods, grown elderly, are temporarily replaced by a troupe of 19th-century actors and actresses, one of whom is the eponymous
Moorish Revival architecture
Moorish Revival or Neo-Moorish is one of the exotic revival architectural styles that were adopted by architects of Europe and the Americas in the wake of the Romanticist fascination with all things oriental. It reached the height of its popularity after the mid-19th century, part of a widening vocabulary of articulated decorative ornament drawn from historical sources beyond familiar classical and Gothic modes; the "Moorish" garden structures built at Sheringham Hall, Norfolk, ca. 1812, were an unusual touch at the time, a parallel to chinoiserie, as a dream vision of fanciful whimsy, not meant to be taken seriously. By the mid-19th century, the style was adopted by the Jews of Central Europe, who associated Moorish and Mudéjar architectural forms with the golden age of Jewry in medieval Muslim Spain; as a consequence, Moorish Revival spread around the globe as a preferred style of synagogue architecture. In Spain, the country conceived as the place of origin of Moorish ornamentation, the interest in this sort of architecture fluctuated from province to province.
The mainstream was called Neo-Mudéjar. In Catalonia, Antoni Gaudí's profound interest in Mudéjar heritage governed the design of his early works, such as Casa Vicens or Astorga Palace. In Andalusia, the Neo-Mudéjar style gained belated popularity in connection with the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and was epitomized by Plaza de España and Gran Teatro Falla in Cádiz. In Madrid, the Neo-Mudéjar was a characteristic style of housing and public buildings at the turn of the century, while the 1920s return of interest to the style resulted in such buildings as Las Ventas bullring and Diario ABC office. A Spanish nobleman built the Palazzo Sammezzano, one of Europe's largest and most elaborate Moorish Revival structures, in Tuscany between 1853 and 1889. Although Carlo Bugatti employed Moorish arcading among the exotic features of his furniture, shown at the 1902 exhibition at Turin, by that time the Moorish Revival was much on the wane everywhere. A notable exceptions were Imperial Russia, where the shell-encrusted Morozov House in Moscow, the Neo-Mameluk Dulber palace in Koreiz, the palace in Likani exemplified the continuing development of the style.
Another exception was Bosnia, after its occupation by Austria-Hungary, the new authorities commissioned a range of Neo-Moorish structures. The aim was to promote Bosnian national identity while avoiding its association with either the Ottoman Empire or the growing pan-Slavic movement by creating an "Islamic architecture of European fantasy"; this included application of ornamentations and other Moorish design strategies neither of which had much to do with prior architectural direction of indigenous Bosnian architecture. The central post office in Sarajevo, for example, follows distinct formal characteristics of design like clarity of form and proportion while the interior followed the same doctrine; the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo is an example of Pseudo Moorish architectural language using decorations and pointed arches while still integrating other formal elements into the design. In the United States, Washington Irving's fanciful travel sketch, Tales of the Alhambra, first brought Moorish Andalusia into readers' imaginations.
Constructed in 1848 and destroyed by fire ten years this architectural extravaganza "sprouted bulbous domes and horseshoe arches". In the 1860s, the style spread across America, with Olana, the painter Frederic Edwin Church's house overlooking the Hudson River, Castle Garden in Jacksonville and Longwood in Natchez, Mississippi cited among the more prominent examples. After the American Civil War, Moorish or Turkish smoking rooms achieved some popularity. There were Moorish details in the interiors created for the Henry Osborne Havemeyer residence on Fifth Avenue by Louis Comfort Tiffany; the 1914 Pittock Mansion in Portland, Oregon incorporates Turkish design features, as well as French and Italian ones. In 1937, the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota added unusual minarets and Moorish domes, unusual because the polychrome decorations are made out of corn cobs of various colors assembled like mosaic tiles to create patterns; the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel, whose minarets and Moorish domes are now the pride of the University of Tampa, was a extravagant example of the style.
Other schools with Moorish Revival buildings include Yeshiva University in New York City. George Washington Smith used the style in his design for the 1920s Isham Beach Estate in Santa Barbara, California. Historian John M. Efron of the University of California at Berkeley regards the popularity of Moorish revival architecture among builders of synagogues as a refutation of Edward Said's Orientalism, since the builders chose the style as an expression of admiration for the culture of the Muslim world. Munich synagogue, by Friedrich von Gärtner, 1832 was the earliest Moorish revival synagogue Semper Synagogue, by Gottfried Semper, Dresden, 1839–40 Leopoldstädter Tempel, Austria, 1853-58 Dohány Street Synagogue, Hungary, 1854–1859 Leipzig synagogue, 1855 Glockengasse synagogue, Germany, 1855-61 (dest
The Yeomen of the Guard
The Yeomen of the Guard. It premiered at the Savoy Theatre on 3 October 1888, ran for 423 performances; this was the eleventh collaboration of fourteen between Sullivan. The opera is set in the Tower of London, during the 16th century, is the darkest, most engaging, of the Savoy Operas, ending with a broken-hearted main character and two reluctant engagements, rather than the usual numerous marriages; the libretto does contain considerable humour, including a lot of pun-laden one-liners, but Gilbert's trademark satire and topsy-turvy plot complications are subdued in comparison with the other Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The dialogue, though in prose, is early modern English, in style. Critics considered the score to be Sullivan's finest, including its overture, in sonata form, rather than being written as a sequential pot-pourri of tunes from the opera, as in most of the other Gilbert and Sullivan overtures; this was the first Savoy Opera to use Sullivan's larger orchestra, including a second bassoon and third trombone.
Most of Sullivan's subsequent operas, including those not composed with Gilbert as librettist, use this larger orchestra. When the previous Gilbert and Sullivan opera, finished its run at the Savoy Theatre, no new Gilbert and Sullivan opera was ready, for nearly a year the stage was devoted to revivals of such old successes as H. M. S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado. For several years leading up to the premiere of Yeomen, Sullivan had expressed the desire to leave his partnership with W. S. Gilbert in order to turn to writing grand opera and other serious works full-time. Before the premiere of Yeomen, Sullivan had been lauded for the successful oratorio The Golden Legend and would produce his grand opera, only 15 months after Yeomen. In the autumn of 1887, after another attempt to interest his collaborator in a plot where the characters, by swallowing a magic pill, became who they were pretending to be, Gilbert made an effort to meet his collaborator half way. Gilbert claimed that the idea for the opera came to him while he was waiting for the train in Uxbridge and spotted an advertisement for The Tower Furnishing and Finance Company, illustrated with a Beefeater.
On Christmas Day, 1887, he read to Sullivan and Carte his plot sketch for an opera set at the Tower of London. Sullivan was "immensely pleased" and, with much relief, accepted it, writing in his diary, "Pretty story, no topsy turvydom human, & funny also". Although not a grand opera, Yeomen provided Sullivan with the opportunity to write his most ambitious score to date; the two set to work on the new opera, taking longer to prepare it than they had taken with many of their earlier works. Gilbert made every effort to accommodate his collaborator writing alternative lyrics to some songs. Sullivan had trouble setting one lyric in particular, "I have a song to sing-O!", with its increasing length in each stanza. He asked Gilbert when writing it. Gilbert hummed a few lines from a sea shanty, Sullivan knew what to do; the first act contained an unusual number of sentimental pieces. As opening night approached, Gilbert became apprehensive. Would the audience accept this serious, sentimental tone from one of the duo's "comic" operas?
Gilbert and Sullivan cut two songs from Act I and part of the Act I finale to decrease the number of sentimental pieces near the beginning of the opera. Gilbert, always nervous himself on opening nights, came backstage before the performance on opening night to "have a word" with some of the actors, inadvertently conveying his worries to the cast and making them more nervous. Jessie Bond, to open the show with a solo song alone on stage said to him, "For Heaven's sake, Mr. Gilbert, go away and leave me alone, or I shan't be able to sing a note!" Sir Richard Cholmondeley, Lieutenant of the Tower Colonel Fairfax, under sentence of death Sergeant Meryll of the Yeomen of the Guard Leonard Meryll, his son Jack Point, a strolling jester Wilfred Shadbolt, Head Jailer and Assistant Tormentor The Headsman First Yeoman Second Yeoman Third Yeoman – see "Cut music" Fourth Yeoman – see "Cut music" First Citizen Second Citizen Elsie Maynard, a strolling singer Phœbe Meryll, Sergeant Meryll's daughter Dame Carruthers, Housekeeper to the Tower Kate, her niece Chorus of Yeomen Warders, citizens, etc.
Phoebe Meryll sits at the spinning wheel. Wilfred Shadbolt the head jailer and assistant torturer at the Tower of London enters, Phoebe mocks him, disgusted by his profession. Wilfred, in love with Phoebe, has noticed her interest in one of the prisoners at the Tower, Colonel Fairfax, he gleefully conveys the news that Fairfax is to be beheaded, for the crime of sorcery, that day. Phoebe replies that Fairfax is a scientist and alchemist and leaves Wilfred to suffer from his love for her; the citizens and Yeomen arrive, singing of valiant deeds. Dame Carruthers, the housekeeper of the Tower, dismisses protestations by Phoebe of Fairfax's innocence and, vexed by Phoebe's criticism of the Tower, sings its praises. After everyone leaves, Phoebe is joined by her father, Sergeant Meryll, who reports that her brother Leonard has been appointed a Yeoman for his valou
The Chocolate Soldier
The Chocolate Soldier is an operetta composed in 1908 by Oscar Straus based on George Bernard Shaw's 1894 play and the Man. The German language libretto is by Leopold Jacobson, it premiered on 14 November 1908 at the Theater an der Wien. English versions were successful on Broadway and in London, beginning in 1909; the first film adaptation was in 1915. The 1941 film of the same name enlists much of Straus's music but is otherwise unrelated, using a plot based on Ferenc Molnár's play Testőr; when Shaw gave Leopold Jacobson the rights to adapt the play, he provided three conditions: none of Shaw's dialogue, nor any of the character's names, could be used. In spite of this, Shaw's original plot, with it the central message of the play, remain more or less untouched; the main love aria, for instance, is sung by the heroine just before she meets the "other man", the "brave" soldier turns out to be a worse coward than his unmilitaristic rival. Shaw despised the result, calling it "a putrid opera bouffe in the worst taste of 1860", but grew to regret not accepting payment when, despite his opinion of the work, it became an international success.
When Shaw heard, in 1921, that Franz Lehár wanted to set his play Pygmalion to music, he sent word to Vienna that Lehár be instructed that he could not touch Pygmalion without infringing Shaw's copyright and that Shaw had "no intention of allowing the history of The Chocolate Soldier to be repeated." Pygmalion was adapted by Lerner and Loewe as My Fair Lady, made possible because they were, at least in theory, adapting a screenplay co-authored by Shaw, with rights controlled by the film company. As Der tapfere Soldat, it premiered on 14 November 1908 at the Theater an der Wien, under the baton of Robert Stolz with Grete Holm singing Nadina, where it was a considerable success; the first English-language version premiered in New York, translated by Stanislaus Stange, on 13 September 1909, where it was the hit of the Broadway season. It was revived on Broadway in 1910, 1921, 1930, 1931, 1934, 1947 (with a revised libretto by Guy Bolton, its London premiere at the Lyric Theatre in 1910, with C. H.
Workman as Bumerli, Elsie Spain as Mascha and Roland Cunningham as Alexius, was a tremendous success, running for 500 performances. The operetta was adapted as a silent film in 1915. In 1987, Light Opera Works in Illinois produced and recorded the operetta with a new English translation by its former artistic director, Philip Kraus, lyrics by Gregory Opelka. In 2002, there was another production at the Kammeroper in Hamburg under Katja Klose and Hans Thiemann. In 2010, it formed part of the program for the Bard SummerScape festival held in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. In July and August 2012, it was produced by Ohio Light Opera. Act 1The operetta is set near the Dragoman Pass. Serbia and Bulgaria are at war, the wife and daughter of the Bulgarian Colonel Popoff are missing their menfolk – the Colonel himself, Major Alexius Spiridoff, engaged to the daughter, Nadina. Mascha, a young cousin of Nadina, staying at the Popoff's residence hero worships Alexius. Alone in her bedroom, Nadina clutches her sweetheart's photograph and sings of her admiration and love for her "brave hussar" and longs for his return.
An intruder climbs in through her bedroom window. He is a ordinary person, nothing like the ideal hero Nadina has been worshipping. In fact he has escaped the battle taking place nearby by climbing the Popoffs' drainpipe, he is in Serbian uniform, but responds to Nadina's patriotic posturing by revealing that his is Swiss, is serving in the Serbian army as a mercenary. When she threatens to call for help he threatens her with his revolver – but soon puts it down; when she picks it up and threatens him he laughs at her – he uses his ammunition pouch to carry chocolates and has no cartridges to load his weapon. In spite of herself Nadina is amused and charmed by this "Little Chocolate Soldier", he recounts an incident in battle when a foolish Bulgarian officer lost control of his horse, thus leading an inadvertent cavalry charge against Serb guns that happened to have been supplied with the wrong ammunition and were thus overrun. Nadina is furious to realise that the officer concerned was her Alexius, orders Bumerli to leave at once – when he starts to leave she calls him back.
Just in time, as a squad of bumbling Bulgarian soldiers, led by Captain Massakroff, arrive in pursuit. Bumerli has had time to hide behind the bed curtains, Nadina assures them that she has not seen the intruder. While the Bulgarian soldiers search the rest of the house, Nadina's mother, young Mascha come to the bedroom, they are sure something is going on, when they spot Bumerli's revolver the secret is out. By the time the soldiers have left the house and Nadina opens her bed curtains Bumerli is asleep, the lonely women are all taken with him, they awaken him with their chatter. They ransack the house for civilian clothes to enable him to escape – each, unknown to the others, slipping a photograph of herself into the pocket of his jacket – a favourite house coat of the Colonel's. Act 2 Six months have passed, the war is over. Outside the Popoff residence the family and servants are welcoming their heroes home. Nadina is delighted to have her Alexius back, but she soon realises that he is far from the hero she imagined, but is boastful and self-centred.
When he boasts of the incident of the charge on the guns he is embarrassed to realise that Nadina knows