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L'événement culturel de l'été à Bruxelles!    

Merry Widow (The)

Musique: Franz Lehar
Paroles: Christopher Hassall

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Lehar, Stein and Leon never expressed interest in writing a sequel to Die Lustige Witwe. However, several unauthorized follow-ups appeared in Vienna, including Die Lustige Witwe in Zweite Ehe (1907) -- ie: The Merry Widow's Second Marriage. It was initially well received, but without the melodic and comic flair provided by the original team, it soon faded into obscurity. That same year, Lehar composed Mitislaw der moderne (1907), a one act piece that allowed Louis Truemann to send up his own performance as the original Danilo.

Beloved Broadway clown Joe Weber staged and co-starred in a Merry Widow Burlesque (1907). Realizing that one of Weber's popular spoofs would only add to the original's ticket sales, Lehar and the New York producers happily provided him with the original orchestrations and costume designs. With Lulu Glasser in the title role of "Fonia" -- later replaced by the popular comedienne Blanche Ring -- this burlesque version ran for several profitable months, giving a substantial boost to the real Widow's box office.

Widow-mania inspired an inevitable backlash. A musical comedy entitled His Honor the Mayor (1906) won brief notoriety with the song, "I Wish I Could Find The Man Who Wrote The Merry Widow Waltz." But there was no denying that Americans could not get enough of The Merry Widow or its waltz. One New York variety house brazenly staged a competing musical adaptation of L'Attache d'ambassade -- using existing melodies that supposedly sounded like Lehar's. This substandard production did not last, and the genuine article waltzed on.

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