Peter Forbes, a young American millionaire in Paris, bets his friend Billy Baxter that he can survive a month without his line of credit and — in that time — win the hand of Looloo Carroll, a young girl he fancies. He becomes a tour guide, a gigolo, and a magician — enduring countless humiliations — before winning the bet and the girl. Other characters include Peter's friend Michael and Looloo's friend Joyce, who team up for a couple of numbers. Much of the comedy is provided by Violet Hildegarde, a New York tourist looking to be shocked, and May DeVere, a cabaret artist seeking a man primitive enough to satisfy her needs.
Fifty Million Frenchmen premiered on Broadway at the Lyric Theatre on November 27, 1929 and closed on July 5, 1930 after 254 performances. The opening was a month after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Directed by Monty Woolley with choreography by Larry Ceballos and scenic design by Norman Bel Geddes, the cast featured William Gaxton as Peter Forbes, Genevieve Tobin as Looloo Carroll, Betty Compton as Joyce Wheeler, and Lester Crawford as Billy Baxter.
A concert version was staged in 1991 with the book adapted by Tommy Krasker and produced by the French Institute/Alliance Francaise in association with Evans Haile at the Mainstage 14th Street Y in New York City. A studio cast recording was made with the cast members of this concert.
In 2002 the Discovering Lost Musicals Charitable Trust presented a concert at The Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre in London.
The 42nd Street Moon concert in San Francisco was presented in December 2003.
The APPLAUSE! Musicals Society concert was held February 13-16, 2008 at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, British Columbia, directed by Scott Ashton Swan.
A Toast to Volstead – California Collegians and Men's Ensemble
You Do Something to Me – Peter Forbes and Looloo Carroll
The American Express – Ensemble
You've Got That Thing – Michael Cummins and Joyce Wheeler
Find Me a Primitive Man – May De Vere, Boule de Neige, Oscar and Ensemble
Where Would You Get Your Coat? – Violet Hildegarde
Do You Want to See Paris? – Peter Forbes, California Collegians and Tourists
At Longchamps Today – Ensemble
Yankee Doodle – Ensemble
The (Happy) Heaven of Harlem – Boule de Neige, Oscar and Chorus
Why Shouldn't I Have You? – Joyce Wheeler, Michael Cummins and Chorus
Somebody's Going to Throw a Big Party – Ensemble
It Isn't Done – Ensemble
I'm In Love – Looloo Carroll, Ensemble and Ceballos' Hollywood Dancers
The Tale of an Oyster – Violet Hildegarde
Paree, What Did You Do to Me? – Joyce Wheeler and Michael Cummins
You Don't Know Paree – Peter Forbes
I'm Unlucky at Gambling – May De Vere and Ceballos' Hollywood Dancers
Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Fifty Million Frenchmen
Fifty Million Frenchmen was the first of seven Porter musicals to have the book written or co-written by Herbert Fields. This was also the first musical directed by Monty Woolley.
Fifty Million Frenchmen (1929-11-Lyric Theatre-Broadway)Type de série: Original
Théâtre: Lyric Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis) Durée : 7 mois 1 semaine Nombre : 254 représentationsPremière Preview : InconnuPremière : mercredi 27 novembre 1929Dernière : samedi 05 juillet 1930Mise en scène : Edgar M. Woolley • Chorégraphie : Producteur : Avec : William Gaxton (Peter Forbes), Genevieve Tobin (Looloo Carroll), Helen Broderick (Violet Hildegarde), Evelyn Hoey (May DeVere), Betty Compton (Joyce Wheeler), Jack Thompson (Michael Cummins), Lester Crawford (Billy Baxter), Dorothy Day (Marcelle Fouchard), Ignatio Martinetti (Louis), Thurston Hall (Emmitt Carroll), Bernice Mershon (Gladys Carroll), Fifi Laimbeer (Sylvia), Gertrude Mudge (Mrs. DeVere), Robert Leonard (Mr. Ira Rosen), Annette Hoffman (Mrs. Rosen), Larry Jason (Junior), Billy Reed (Boule DeNeige), Lou Duthers (Oscar), Mario Villani (M. Pernasse), Jean Del Val (Le Sahib Roussin, Joe Zelli), Mannart Kippen (The Grand Duke Ivan), and Oscar Magis (Maitre d'Hotel)Presse : Stephen Citron, in his book Noel & Cole, wrote that the musical received mixed reviews, citing critics Brooks Atkinson and Richard Watts who both deemed it "pleasant", saying there was not an "outstanding hit song in the show." Gilbert Gabriel, on the other hand, said it was "the best thing in seven years!" Porter champion Irving Berlin took out an advertisement stating in part: "The best musical comedy I have seen in years..." The show then had what was, for the time, a long run.
According to Charles Schwartz, writing in the biography Cole Porter, the musical's book by Herbert Fields "had a lot to do with capturing the frothy Gallic essence implicit in the title..." and he also noted the "near-perfect cast" and "sure-handed direction" of Monty Wooley.
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