A washroom attendant, Louis Blore, has won a sweepstakes, and subsequently quits his job. He is in love with the nightclub singer May Daly, but she is in love with Alex Barton. Alex is the brother of her friend Alice, who is in love with Harry Norton. Meanwhile, Alex is unhappily married to Ann. Charley, Louis's replacement, suggests that Louis slip Alex a Mickey Finn. While trying to do so, Louis inadvertently drinks the Mickey Finn, falls asleep, and dreams he is King Louis XV of France, and that May is Madame du Barry. In his dream, Charley becomes the Dauphin (later Louis XVI) and Harry becomes the captain of the guard, with Ann as Du Barry's lady-in-waiting, and Alex as a peasant who wrote a rude song about The King and Du Barry (the title song: Du Barry Was A Lady). Eventually after various entanglements (including the Dauphin shooting the King in the posterior with a bow and arrow), Louis wakes up and realises that Alex is the man for May. He uses the last of his winnings to pay for Alex's divorce from Ann, and (with Charley having just quit his job) goes back to being a washroom attendant.
1939 BroadwayThe musical opened on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre on December 6, 1939, transferred to the Royale Theatre on October 21, 1940 and closed December 12, 1940, after 408 performances. It was directed by Edgar MacGregor, choreographed by Robert Alton, with the orchestrations of Robert Russell Bennett and Ted Royal. The cast featured Bert Lahr as Louis Blore, Ethel Merman as May Daly, Betty Grable as Alice Barton, Benny Baker as Charley, Ronald Graham as Alex Barton and Charles Walters as Harry Norton. Gypsy Rose Lee and Francis Williams later played the part of May Daly.
West EndThe show opened in the West End at Her Majesty's Theatre on 22 October 1942 and ran for 178 performances. It was directed by Richard Bird. The cast featured Arthur Riscoe as Louis Blore, Frances Day as May Daly, Frances Marsden as Alice Barton, Jacky Hunter as Charley, Bruce Trent as Alex Barton and Teddy Beaumont as Harry Norton.
Later productionsThe show has been produced in concert form several times, in both the US and the UK. The two UK productions, in 1993 and 2001, were by the "Discovering Lost Musicals Charitable Trust" and featured Louise Gold as "May Daly" with Barry Cryer as Louis in 1993 and Desmond Barrit in 2001. The May 1993 production was at the Barbican Centre. The November 2001 concert was (like the original London production) at Her Majesty's Theatre, recorded for radio by the BBC (it was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 during Christmas 2002).
New York City Center Encores! presented a staged concert in February 1996 with Robert Morse (Louis) and Faith Prince (May).
Acte IWhere's Louie? - Ensemble
Ev'ry Day's a Holiday - Harry Norton, Alice Barton and Ensemble
It Ain't Etiquette - His Most Royal Majesty, The King of France and Vi Hennessey
When Love Beckoned - Mme. La Comtesse du Barry
Come On In - Mme. La Comtesse du Barry and Ensemble
Dream Song - Four Internationals
Mesdames and Messieurs - Dames de la Coeur
Gavotte - Alice Barton and Ensemble
But in the Morning, No! - Mme. La Comtesse du Barry and His Most Royal Majesty, The King of France
Do I Love You? - Alex Barton and Mme. La Comtesse du Barry
Do I Love You (Reprise) - Mme. La Comtesse du Barry and Zamore
DuBarry Was a Lady - Entire Company
Acte IIGive Him the Ooh-La-La - Mme. La Comtesse du Barry
Well, Did You Evah! - Alice Barton and Harry Norton
It Was Written in the Stars - Alex Barton and Ensemble
L'Apres Midi d'un Bœuf - Charley and Zamore
Katie Went to Haiti - Mme. La Comtesse du Barry and Ensemble
Katie Went to Haiti (Reprise) - Alex Barton and Mme. La Comtesse du Barry
Friendship - Mme. La Comtesse du Barry and His Most Royal Majesty, The King of France
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