Madame Dubonnet's finishing school, near Nice, could exist only in musical comedy. The charming young pupils burst into song at the least provocation, and forbidden boy friends are forever popping through the french windows to make up the numbers. Polly Browne is too rich to be allowed a boy friend. Tony, for whom she falls, turns out to be the Hon. Tony Brockhurst, which is very lucky, because Polly thought he was just a delivery boy. Written in the fifties as "a new musical of the twenties", this is still the most successful, tuneful and witty of the send-up musicals, which ape the style of earlier, lighter-hearted and more disarming days.
The whole musical is set in the Villa Caprice where Maisie, the girls (Dulcie, Nancy, Fay), Hortense (the maid), and Mme Dubonnet live at Mme Dubonnet's School for Young Ladies. Act I begins when Hortense orders a costume for "a Miss Polly Browne" and Maisie and the other girls (Dulcie, Nancy, and Fay) sing the ironic "Perfect Young Ladies" with Hortense. Polly arrives and tells everyone about her made-up boy friend who is "motoring down from Paris" to meet her for the upcoming carnival ball, and sings about "The Boy Friend". Later, Bobby surprises Maisie, and they dance to "Won't You Charleston With Me?"
Polly's widowed father, Percy, then arrives at the school to discover that the headmistress, Mme Dubonnet, is an old flame of his. They sing "Fancy Forgetting" to rekindle the spark. Polly, though a millionaire's daughter, feels left out because she is the only one of her friends who does not have a boyfriend and she needs a partner for the fancy dress ball. The errand boy, Tony, arrives to deliver her Pierrette costume and they are immediately attracted to each other, and sing "I Could Be Happy With You."
The curtain opens with the chorus number "Sur la Plage". After this dance number, Polly and Tony meet at the beach and Polly lies about being rich to fit in with Tony. They sing about their future lives together in "A Room in Bloomsbury." They are at the verge of kissing when Hortense interrupts them and is shocked to find Polly with a poor messenger boy. Polly begs Hortense to keep her secret and Hortense agrees. After Tony and Polly leave, Hortense sings how everything is "Nicer in Nice" with the ensemble. After that, The "aging roué" character Lord Brockhurst arrives on the scene, leading to a comical meeting with the rigidly mannered Percival Browne. Lord Brockhurst's domineering wife Lady Brockhurst is also introduced. Percival Browne and Mme Dubonnet then sing "The 'You-Don't-Want-To-Play-With-Me' Blues".
When Polly goes to meet Tony on the promenade, Lord and Lady Brockhurst, who are passing by, recognize him. When he runs off, everyone else assumes that he is a thief. The act ends with a reprise of "I Could be Happy with You" sung by Polly and the other characters on a sad note.
At the ball, Bobby and the three boys propose to Maisie and the three girls, but the girls reply in unison that "we'll let you know at midnight" and everyone dances to "The Riviera". After everyone has left, Tony and Hortense run into each other. Hortense scolds Tony and tells him to meet Polly at the ball because she loves him as much as he loves her. Tony leaves to prepare for the ball as Lord Brockhurst sings "It's Never Too Late To Fall In Love" with the flirty Dulcie, and is caught by Lady Brockhurst. At the Carnival ball, Polly is sad that Tony is not there and she is thinking about leaving. Hortense tells Mme Dubonnet to persuade Polly to stay, so Polly sings "Poor Little Pierrette" with Mme Dubonnet. Tony later arrives at the ball and takes Polly by surprise. He asks "May I have this dance, Pierrette?" to which Polly replies, "I'm afraid I can't dance with a stranger". He then kisses her to remind her that it is him. When Tony removes his mask, Lord and Lady Brockhurst run to him, exclaiming they found their son at last. Polly and the others discover that Tony is really the son of the rich Lord and Lady Brockhurst, and he had left home to try to make his own way in the world. Polly tells Tony that she is actually rich as well, and Percy and Mme Dubonnet announce that they are getting married. The clock strikes midnight, and the girls unanimously say yes to the boys' proposals. The last scene has everyone dancing as soon as Bobby, with the last spoken line in the play, asks "So how about that dance?" The show ends with a reprise of "The Boy Friend", "I Could Be Happy With You", and "A Room In Bloomsbury".
The musical was first performed in London in 1953. It opened at the Players' Theatre Club on April 14, 1953, and reopened in an expanded version on October 13. It transferred for a short season to the Embassy Theatre, Swiss Cottage and then opened at Wyndham's Theatre in the West End on January 14, 1954. The light, tuneful piece proved immensely popular with the British public and ran for more than five years, a total of 2,082 performances.
The principal role of Polly Browne was to have been played by Diana Maddox, who fell sick on the afternoon of the final dress rehearsal. Anne Rogers (at that point playing a minor role) volunteered to take over, having learnt the role on her own. The show opened the following evening and made an overnight star of Rogers, who stayed with the production through its expanded versions to the triumphant West End first night at Wyndham's.
In 1995, on its 40th anniversary, the musical returned to The Players' Theatre in London in a new production that was as near a reproduction of the original as possible. It was directed by Maria Charles, who had played the original Dulcie. The choreography was by Geoffrey Webb who was also in the original production. It was originally planned that the choreography would be done by Larry Drew, the original Bobby van Husen, but he died suddenly during the early planning stages of the production. Set design was by Disley Jones who was responsible for the hat designs in the original production. Among the cast were Gemma Page, Oliver Hickey, Sophie Louise Dann and John Rutland (in his original role as Lord Brockhurst). Following its success at the Players' it went on a nationwide tour and was very successful.
A production played in 2006 at the Open Air Theatre at Regent's Park, London. This also proved to be a highly acclaimed production, and was revived during the Open Air Theatre's 2007 season.
The Boy Friend is the chosen title for the Showtime Challenge 2011 at Her Majesty's Theatre, London, to be produced by Eyebrow Productions. Rehearsals take place over a 48 hour period immediately prior to the performance on Sunday 8 May, and all proceeds go to The Prince's Foundation for Children and The Arts.
The Boy Friend opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on September 30, 1954 and closed on November 26, 1955 after 485 performances. Starring was newcomer Julie Andrews in her Broadway debut as Polly, with a cast including John Hewer, Geoffrey Hibbert, Dilys Laye, Bob Scheerer, Stella Claire, Ann Wakefield, Millicent Martin and Moyna MacGill. Some of them had connections with The Players' Theatre in London, but only Wakefield had actually appeared in the show's London production (in the very first run at the Players'). For the Broadway opening, veteran orchestrator Ted Royal and jazzman Charles L. Cooke contributed period authenticity to the 1920 arrangements.
In her Broadway debut Andrews received the Theatre World Award. She was "discovered" by My Fair Lady producers during her appearance in this play, prompting her casting in the lead in that production, catapulting her to fame on Broadway (and beyond) in the following years.
A revival directed by Gus Schirmer opened on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre on April 14, 1970, and ran for 111 performances. Starring were Judy Carne as Polly, Sandy Duncan as Maisie, Ronald Young as Tony, Jeanne Beauvais as Madame Dubonnet, Leon Shaw as Percival Browne, Simon McQueen as Dulcie, Harvey Evans as Bobby Van Husen, David Vaughn as Lord Brockhurst, Barbara Andres as Hortense, Marie Paxton as Lady Brockhurst, Lesley Secombe and Mary Zahn. Duncan received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
Perfect Young Ladies - Hortense, Maisie, Dulcie, Fay, Nancy, Ensemble
The Boy Friend - Polly, Dulcie, Maisie, Fay, Nancy, Marcel, Pierre, Alphonse, Ensemble
Won't You Charleston With Me? - Bobby, Maisie
Fancy Forgetting - Mme Dubonnet, Percival
I Could Be Happy With You - Polly, Tony
Finale Act 1 - Ensemble
Sur La Plage - Dulcie, Nancy, Ensemble
A Room In Bloomsbury - Tony, Polly
Nicer In Nice - Hortense ensemble
The You-Don't-Want-To-Play-With-Me Blues - Mme Dubonnet, Percival
Safety In Numbers - Maisie, Bobby, Marcel, Alphonse, Pierre
I Could Be Happy With You (Reprise) - Polly, Tony
Finale Act 2 - ALL
The Riviera - Bobby, Maisie, Dulcie, Fay, Nancy, Marcel, Alphonse, Pierre, Ensemble
It's Never Too Late To Fall In Love - Lord Brockhurst, Dulcie
Carnival Tango - Tango Dancers
Poor Little Pierrette - Mme Dubonnet, Polly
Finale Act 3 - ALL
Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Boy Friend (The)
Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Boy Friend (The)
This musical marked Julie Andrews' American stage debut.
Boy Friend (The) (1954-01-Wyndham s Theatre-London)Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Wyndham s Theatre (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : Nombre : 2084 représentationsPremière Preview : 14 January 1954
Première: 14 January 1954
Dernière: InconnuMise en scène : Cy Feuer • Chorégraphie : Producteur : Avec : Joan Sterndale Bennett (Madame Dubonnet), Violetta (Hortense), Denise Hirst (Maisie), Maria Charles (Dulcie), Joan Gadson (Fay), Juliet Hunt (Nancy), Anne Rogers (Polly Browne), Stephen Warwick (Marcel), Jack Thomson (Pierre), Geoffrey Webb (Alphonse)Commentaires : The musical's original 1954 London production ran for 2,078 performances, making it briefly the third-longest running musical in West End or Broadway history (after Chu Chin Chow and Oklahoma!) until it was surpassed by Salad Days.
Boy Friend (The) (1954-09-Royale Theatre-Broadway)Type de série: Original Broadway
Théâtre: Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis) Durée : 1 an 1 mois 3 semaines Nombre : 485 représentationsPremière Preview : 30 September 1954
Première: 30 September 1954
Dernière: 26 November 1955Mise en scène : John Heawood • Sandy Wilson • Chorégraphie : Noel Tovey • Producteur : Avec : Julie Andrews (Polly), John Hewer (Tony), Eric Berry (Percival Browne), Ruth Altman (Madame Dubonnet), Bob Scheerer (Bobby Van Husen), Ann Wakefield (Maisie), Millicent Martin (Nancy), Dilys Lay (Dulcie), Stella Claire (Fay/Lolita), Buddy Schwab (Alphonse)
Boy Friend (The) (1958-01-Off Broadway Run)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Off-Broadway Run (Broadway (Off) - Etats-Unis)Durée : Nombre : 763 représentationsPremière Preview : 25 January 1958
Première: 25 January 1958
Dernière: InconnuMise en scène : Gus Schirmer • Chorégraphie : Buddy Schwab • Producteur : Avec : Margaret Hall (Hortense), Christina Gillespie (Nancy), Gerrianne Raphael (Maisie), Michele Burke (Fay), June Squibb (Dulcie), Ellen McCown (Polly), Thom Molinaro (Marcel), Neal Kenyon (Pierre), Jeanne Beauvais (Mme. Dubonnet), Peter Conlow (Bobby Van Husen)Commentaires : Downtown Theatre 25/1/1958 - ?
Cherry Lane Theatre 28/4/1958 - ?
Boy Friend (The) (1958-04-Off Broadway Run-Cherry Lane Theatre)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Cherry Lane Theatre (Broadway (Off) - Etats-Unis) Durée : Nombre : Première Preview : 28 April 1958
Première: 28 April 1958
Dernière: InconnuMise en scène : Gus Schirmer • Chorégraphie : Buddy Schwab • Producteur : Avec : Margaret Hall (Hortense), Christina Gillespie (Nancy), Gerrianne Raphael (Maisie), Michele Burke (Fay), June Squibb (Dulcie), Ellen McCown (Polly), Thom Molinaro (Marcel), Neal Kenyon (Pierre), Jeanne Beauvais (Mme. Dubonnet), Peter Conlow (Bobby Van Husen)Commentaires : Transféré au Cherry Lane Theatre le 28/4/1958
Boy Friend (The) (1967-11-Comedy Theatre-London)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Harold Pinter Theatre (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : Nombre : Première Preview : 29 November 1967
Première: 29 November 1967
Dernière: InconnuMise en scène : Dan Siretta • Chorégraphie : Steven Luke Walker • Producteur : Avec : Cheryl Kennedy (Polly Browne), Tony Adams (ii) (Tony), Marion Grimaldi (Madam Dubonnet), Frances Barlow (Maisie), Nicholas Bennett (Bobby Van Husen), Jeremy Hawk (Percival Browne), Ann Beach (Hortense), Geoffrey Hibbert (Lord Brockhurst), Jacqueline Clarke (Dulcie), Celia Helda (Performer)
Boy Friend (The) (1970-04-Ambassador Theatre-Broadway)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Ambassador Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis) Durée : 3 mois Nombre : 4 previews - 111 représentationsPremière Preview : 10 April 1970
Première: 14 April 1970
Dernière: 18 July 1970Mise en scène : Gus Schirmer • Chorégraphie : Buddy Schwab • Producteur : Avec : Judy Carne (Polly), Ronald Young (Tony), Leon Shaw (Percival Browne), Jeanne Beauvais (Madame Dubonnet), Harvey Evans (Bobby Van Husen), Sandy Duncan (Maisie), Lesley Secombe (Nancy), Simon McQueen (Dulcie), Mary Zahn (Fay/Lolita), Ken Mitchell (Alphonse)
Boy Friend (The) (1984-07-Old Vic-London)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Old Vic (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 1 mois Nombre : Première Preview : 18 July 1984
Première: 18 July 1984
Dernière: 18 August 1984Mise en scène : Christopher Hewett • Chorégraphie : David Ball • Producteur : Avec : Rosemary Ashe (Hortense), Linda-Mae Brewer (Maisie), Jan Todd (Dulcie), Rossana Dane (Fay), Bronwen Stanway (Nancy), Jane Wellman (Polly Browne), Philip Day (Marcel), Bill Deamer (Pierre), Anna Ouayle (Madame Dubonnet), Bob Newent (Bobby Van Husen)Commentaires : This was a 30th Anniversary revival production, and had opened at Bromley and then played a season at the Royal Alexandra Theatre,Toronto, and Manchester before coming to the Old Vic. Mme Dubonnet was originally played by Glynis Johns, but she was replaced before the show came to London.
Transfered to Albery Theatre.
Boy Friend (The) (1984-09-Albery Theatre-London)Type de série: West End Transfer
Théâtre: Noel Coward Theatre (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 4 mois 2 semaines Nombre : Première Preview : 20 September 1984
Première: 20 September 1984
Dernière: 02 February 1985Mise en scène : Christopher Hewett • Chorégraphie : David Ball • Producteur : Avec : Rosemary Ashe (Hortense), Linda-Mae Brewer (Maisie), Jan Todd (Dulcie), Rossana Dane (Fay), Bronwen Stanway (Nancy), Jane Wellman (Polly Browne), Philip Day (Marcel), Bill Deamer (Pierre), Anna Ouayle (Madame Dubonnet), Bob Newent (Bobby Van Husen)Commentaires : Transfert de l'Old Vic
Boy Friend (The) (1994-04-Players Theatre-London)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Charing Cross Theatre (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 3 semaines Nombre : Première Preview : 14 April 1994
Première: 14 April 1994
Dernière: 08 May 1994Mise en scène : Maria Charles • Chorégraphie : Geoffrey Webb • Producteur : Avec : Jane Stoggles (Hortense), Gemma Page (Polly Browne), Oliver Hickey (Tony), James Davies (Bobby van Husen), Karen Clegg (Maisie), Judith Bruce (Mme Dubonnet)Commentaires : This was a 40th Anniversary production at the venue where the show was first created in 1954.
Boy Friend (The) (2006-07-Open Air Theatre Regent's Park-London)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 1 mois 3 semaines Nombre : Première Preview : 18 July 2006
Première: 18 July 2006
Dernière: 09 September 2006Mise en scène : Ian Talbot • Chorégraphie : Bill Deamer • Producteur : Avec : Rachel Jerram (Polly Browne), Joshua Dallas (Tony), Anna Nicholas (Madame Dubonnet), Summer Strallen (Maisie), Ian Talbot (Lord Brockhurst), James Bisp (Marcel), Vivien Care (Guest), Claire Carrie (Hortense), Selina Chilton (Dulcie), Matthew Clark (Pepe)Commentaires : Described as a “perfectly joyful piece of summer fluff” coinciding with glorious summer weather, and as entertaining now as it was at its premiere over 50 years ago.
Boy Friend (The) (2007-08-Open Air Theatre Regent's Park-London)Type de série: Reprise
Théâtre: Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 2 semaines Nombre : Première Preview : 28 August 2007
Première: 28 August 2007
Dernière: 15 September 2007Mise en scène : Ian Talbot • Chorégraphie : Bill Deamer • Producteur : Avec : Claire Carrie (Hortense), Rachel Jerram (Polly Browne), Richard Reynard (Tony), Chris Ellis Stanton (Bobby van Husen), Kate Nelson (Maisie), Anna Nicholas (Mme Dubonnet), Ian Talbot (Lord Brockhurst) , Margaret Tyzack (Lady Brockhurst), Neil McCaul (Percival Browne), Charlotte Warren, Gemma Sutton, Hayley GallivanCommentaires : This was a three-week return of the production which had been a huge success at the Open Air Theatre in 2006 – with some changes of cast.
Boy Friend (The) (2019-12-Menier Chocolate Factory-London)Type de série: Revival
Théâtre: Menier Chocolate Factory (Londres - Angleterre) Durée : 3 mois Nombre : Première Preview : 22 November 2019
Première: 03 December 2019
Dernière: 07 March 2020Mise en scène : Matthew White • Chorégraphie : Bill Deamer • Producteur : Avec : Jack Butterworth, Janie Dee, Adrian Edmondson, Tiffany Graves, Dylan Mason, Amara Okereke, Issy Van Randwyck, Tom Bales, Ryan Carter, Chloe Goodliffe, Matthew Ives, Bethany Huckle, Emily Langham, Gabrielle Lewis-Dodson, Annie Southall, Peter Nash and Robert PortalCommentaires : Sandy Wilson's all-singing all-dancing love letter to 1920s musical comedies returns for the first major London revival in over 10 years.
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