Me and My Girl


Me and My Girl
Me and My Girl
Meandmygirl.jpg
1986 Broadway Cast Recording
Music Noel Gay
Lyrics Douglas Furber
L. Arthur Rose
Book Douglas Furber
L. Arthur Rose
Productions 1937 West End
1939 U.K. Television
1952 West End revival
1984 West End revival
1986 Broadway
2006 U.K. tour
Awards 1985 Olivier Award Musical of the Year

Me and My Girl is a musical with book and lyrics by Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose and music by Noel Gay. It takes place in the late 1930s in Hampshire, Mayfair, and Lambeth.

The musical had a successful original run on the West End in 1937 and very successful revivals in both London and New York in the 1980s. The show stopper, “The Lambeth Walk”, was the subject of a news story in The Times of October 1938: “While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk.”

A film version was produced in 1939, titled The Lambeth Walk.

Contents

Production history

It originally opened at the West End Victoria Palace Theatre on December 16, 1937, and starred Lupino Lane. Lane had previously played Bill Snibson in a horseracing comedy play, Twenty to One, that opened in 1935. Me and My Girl was conceived as a fresh vehicle for the character.[citation needed]

At first attracting little notice, the production gained immediate success after a matinee performance was broadcast live on BBC radio, following the cancellation of a sporting event. On May 1, 1939, a performance was televised from the theatre, one of the first times such was done. The original West End production ran for 1,646 performances.

It was revived in 1952. In 1984, a revised production opened at the Leicester Haymarket Theatre with a revised script by Stephen Fry and contributions by Mike Ockrent. It transferred to the West End Adelphi Theatre on February 12, 1985 and closed on January 16, 1993 after an eight year run and 3,303 performances. It starred Robert Lindsay as Bill Snibson, Emma Thompson, and Frank Thornton. The production won two Olivier Awards: Musical of the Year and Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical (Robert Lindsay).[1][2] Cast changes included : Enn Reitel (as Bill Snibson ) and Su Pollard (as Sally Smith) in 1986; Gary Wilmot (as Bill Snibson ) and Jessica Martin (as Sally Smith) in 1989. The production subsequently toured throughout Britain.

The revised London production opened on Broadway at the Marquis Theatre on August 10, 1986, and closed on December 31, 1989, after 1,420 performances. Directed by Mike Ockrent with choreography by Gillian Gregory, the cast starred Robert Lindsay and Maryann Plunkett, with George S. Irving and Jane Connell. The production was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won for Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Choreographer. Jim Dale succeeded Lindsay in the lead role of Bill.[3] Tim Curry played Bill Snibson in the extensive US Tour that followed the Broadway run.

Numerous productions have been staged over the years all across the UK. In 1997 it even appeared at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for a limited run with Adam Schumacher as Bill Snibson.

A 70th anniversary production of Me and My Girl had an eight-month British tour during 2006-07.[4] It was directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle with a cast including Richard Frame (Bill Snibson), Faye Tozer (Sally Smith), Sylvester McCoy, Trevor Bannister and Dillie Keane.

The original star of Me And My Girl, Lupino Lane, was commemorated at The Actors Church, Covent Garden on Tuesday 10 November 2009 by The Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America.

Sheffield Theatres, United Kingdom produced a revival of 'Me and My Girl' at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield with previews beginning 2 December 2010 until 29 January 2011. An expected transfer to London's West End was scrapped due to there not being a venue available. [5]

Plot

Act I

In the 1930s, the Harefords, a family of haughty aristocrats, are seeking the legitimate heir to the title of Earl of Hareford. Bill Snibson, a Cockney from Lambeth is found and named as the long-lost “Earl of Hareford”. It seems that the 13th Earl had secretly and briefly wed a girl from a bad neighborhood. But Bill's rough Cockney ways do not satisfy the Will of the last Earl: In order to gain his inheritance of the title and estate, Bill must satisfy the very proper executors (Maria, Duchess of Dene, and Sir John Tremayne) by learning gentlemanly manners. The Duchess thinks that she can make Bill “fit and proper”, but not his Cockney girlfriend, Sally Smith. The Duchess plans a party in Bill's honour, but Sally is not to be invited. Sir John tells Sally that she and Bill ought to return to Lambeth, but he is moved by Sally's heartfelt declaration of love for Bill.

At the party, Bill puts on airs and tries to please his new-found upper-class lawyers, family and servants, but his everyman roots quickly begin to show. Sally shows up in inappropriate garb, with her Lambeth friends, saying that she is going back to where she belongs. Bill seconds this at first but then teaches the nobility The Lambeth Walk.

Act II

Bill must make a speech in the House of Lords in coronet and “vermin”-trimmed peer's robes. Sally leaves, telling him to marry someone with good blood, and, in a scene inspired by Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore, the portraits of Bill's ancestors awaken to remind him of his noblesse oblige.[6] Bill and Sally have gained an ally in Sir John, who offers to help them by engaging a speech professor who will help Sally impress the Duchess.

Bill constantly bemoans his separation from Sally. Preparing another party for Bill, the Duchess realises how much Sally means to him. This puts her in a romantic mood, and she accepts an offer of marriage from Sir John. Bill, dressed in his old outrageous Cockney clothes, declares that he's going home and goes upstairs to pack. Just then, Sally astonishes everyone by arriving in an elegant gown and tiara and speaking with a perfect upper-crust accent. When Bill returns downstairs, Sally conceals her identity. When she reveals it, Bill is relieved and the couple gain the acceptance of the family.

Musical numbers

Based on the 1986 Broadway production

Act 1
  • A Weekend at Hareford – Ensemble
  • Thinking of No-One But Me – Lady Jaqueline Carstone and The Hon. Gerald Bolingbroke
  • The Family Solicitor – Herbert Parchester and The Family
  • Me and My Girl – Bill Snibson and Sally Smith
  • An English Gentleman – Charles Hethersett and Staff
  • You Would If You Could – Lady Jaqueline and Bill
  • Hold My Hand – Bill, Sally and Dancers
  • Once You Lose Your Heart – Sally
  • Preparation Fugue – The Company
  • The Lambeth Walk – Bill , Sally and The Company
Act 2
  • The Sun Has Got His Hat On – The Hon. Gerald Bolingbroke, Lady Jaqueline and Ensemble
  • Take It on the Chin – Sally
  • Once You Lose Your Heart (Reprise) – Sally
  • Song of Hareford -Duchess Maria, Bill and Ensemble
  • Love Makes the World Go Round – Bill and Sir John Tremayne
  • Leaning on a Lamppost – Bill and Ensemble
  • If Only You Had Cared for Me – Sir John and Duchess Maria
  • Finale – The Company

Characters

  • Bill Snibson - a cockney costermonger who inherits Lord Hareford's land and titles.
  • Sally Smith - Bill's sweetheart.
  • Sir John Tremayne - an older gentleman, who is kind to Sally and Bill. He is in love with the Duchess.
  • The Duchess of Dene - an intimidating aristocrat. Bill's Aunt.
  • Gerald Bolingbroke - an attractive young man. He is in love with Jackie.
  • Lady Jacqueline (Jackie) Carstone - breaks off her engagement to Gerald to pursue Bill.
  • Herbert Parchester - the family solicitor.
  • Lord Jasper Tring - an elderly and hard-of-hearing nobleman.
  • Charles - a manservantoddities.
  • Lord and Lady Battersby, Lady Brighton, The Honourable Margaret Aikington, Charles Boulting-Smythe - other members of the family who are mostly interchangeable.
  • Mrs Brown - Sally's landlady.
  • Bob Barking - a friend of Bill and Sally.

Film adaptation

In 1939, the play was turned into a film directed by Albert de Courville. Lane reprised his stage role of Snibson. The film took its name from the well-known song and dance. The film was a largely faithful adaptation of the musical and was commercially successful and popular with critics.[7]

Awards and nominations

Olivier Awards (1985)
  • Musical of the Year (winner)
  • Outstanding Performance of the Year by an Actor in a Musical Robert Lindsay (winner)
Tony Awards
  • Best Musical (nominee)
  • Best Book of a Musical (nominee)
  • Best Original Score (nominee)
  • Best Scenic Design (nominee)
  • Best Costume Design (nominee)
  • Best Choreography (winner)
  • Best Direction of a Musical (nominee)
  • Best Actor in a Musical Robert Lindsay (winner)
  • Best Actress in a Musical Maryann Plunkett (winner)
  • Best Featured Actor in a Musical
George S. Irving (nominee)
Timothy Jerome (nominee)
  • Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Jane Connell (nominee)
Jane Summerhays (nominee)
Theatre World Award Robert Lindsay (winner)

References

  1. ^ Adelphi Theatre listing thisistheatre.com
  2. ^ Olivier Awards listing
  3. ^ Rich, Frank.“Stage: Jim Dale in 'Me and My Girl'”,New York Times, September 29, 1987
  4. ^ Tour listing
  5. ^ Listing sheffieldtheatres.co.uk, accessed July 25, 2010
  6. ^ Wren, Gayden (2006). A Most Ingenious Paradox: The Art of Gilbert and Sullivan. Oxford University Press. p. 203. http://books.google.com/books?id=y8dtxOyag2wC&pg=PA203. 
  7. ^ Shafer pp. 69–70

External links


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