Musical (1968)

Musique: Jule Styne
Paroles: E.Y. Harburg
Livret: Nunnally Johnson
Production à la création:

Darling Of The Day is set in the England of 1905 – Edwardian and elegant – and it's the story of a great and painfully shy painter named Priam Farll (Vincent Price) who is summoned back to England, after twenty years as a virtual recluse in the South Seas, to be knighted by his king. Farll arrives in London, accompanied by his valet, Henry Leek (Charles Welch), and is immediately appalled by the snobbishness, sycophancy and phoniness of the big city – particularly the art world.

Typical of the genre is gallery owner Oxford (Peter Woodthorpe) who has been peddling Farll's oils for an incredibly high sum to Lady Vale (Brenda Forbes), a moneyed art collector. Oxford calls Priam Farll "the darling of the day" – “He's a Genius”.

Moments after Farll and valet Leek move into a house in Belgravia Square to await the knighting ceremony, Leek has a heart attack and dies. A doctor is summoned; he mistakes the dead man for Priam Farll and Priam Farll for Henry Leek, A wild idea for a great adventure seizes Farll. Why not assume the identity of his valet – abandon the frets, follies and frivolities of high society and thus be able “To Get Out of This World Alive”?

The great impersonation develops, Britain's top notables, including King Edward VII, visit the bier of "Priam Farll" while "Henry Leek" stands by delightedly acting like a butler.

A new complication enters Farll's life as he impersonates his late butler. Leek had been corresponding through a marriage bureau with a young widow named Alice Challice (Patricia Routledge), who lives in lower middle-class serenity in Putney-on-Thames. Priam finds he's expected to rendezvous with Alice "outside the Empire Music Hall Saturday evening at eight." Anticipating the meeting in a Putney pub, surrounded by her affectionate neighbors, Alice explains that single life is a lonely life and “It's Enough To Make a Lady Fall in Love”.

Farll has a momentary pang of conscience about his impostor role. He blurts out the truth to his cousin Duncan (whom he hasn't seen in forty-five years), but Duncan (Mitchell Jason) doesn't believe him. There is a near-riot, capped by a song in which a group of bystanders, including Alice, reaffirm the necessity for butlers in British society – “A Gentleman's Gentleman”.

Farll visits Alice in her charming Putney cottage. They express admiration for each other. They sing and dance a waltz number, “Let's See What Happens”. What happens is that they decide to get married and settle down in Putney.

Of course, Farll's paintings are even more valuable now that he is supposed dead. Oxford explains to Lady Vale, his most important client and the world's greatest collector of Farll's works, the advantages of “Panache”.

Farll, blissfully happy with Alice and Putney, paints away. While sketching a landscape on the riverside, he explains to assorted neighbors the joys of his craft. He can go anywhere, do anything with a brush and a dab – “I've Got a Rainbow Working for Me”.

Neighbors Alf, Bert and Sydney (Teddy Green, Marc Jordan and Reid Klein) realize that paintings also represent “Money, Money, Money”.

A crisis saddens the Leek household when the brewery in which Alice owns shares goes bankrupt. Priam tries to comfort her by telling her the truth about himself and the true value of his paintings. But she thinks he's mad and refuses to believe him, saying, "I'll always take care of you, love. I'll never let them take you away!" She describes why her love for him is more important than money – “That Something Extra Special”.

Learning about her financial problems, Alice's Putney neighbors induce her to let them try to sell her husband's paintings for whatever they can get for them from a local art dealer.

One of Farll's paintings eventually makes its way to the posh London Gallery of dealer Oxford, who notifies Lady Vale that he's located a heretofore undiscovered masterpiece by her favorite artist. Ecstatically, she puts her white-gloved fingertips on the canvas and the paint comes off on her gloves. There is stunned silence. She castigates Oxford as a blackguard and a seller of fakes and institutes a lawsuit.

Oxford realizes that Farll must be alive somewhere. He tracks Farll down to Paradise Villa in Putney, interrupting a blissful domestic celebration of the couple's second wedding anniversary – “What Makes A Marriage Merry”.

He confronts Priam Farll, who stubbornly insists he is Henry Leek. "See you in the courtroom," counters Oxford.

When Alice realizes she is really Lady Farll, she vows, after a couple of beers in the local pub, that she will never forsake her old friends nor her accustomed ways – “Not on Your Nellie”.

Priam realizes the jig will be up when the truth comes out in court, but reaffirms his love to Alice in a tribute to mature romance – “Sunset Tree”.

In an uproarious courtroom scene the imposture is confirmed by the revelation that Priam Farll had moles on his neck, as does the alleged Henry Leek. But Priam warns that when word gets out that there's a Butler in the Abbey, the social structure of Britain will be shaken. The judge hastily rules that discretion supersedes valor, and that Leek, therefore, must remain Leek.

Oxford and Lady Vale decide that, henceforth, they will make peace with each other and collect canvases by that great painter, Henry Leek.

Based on the screenplay for the film Holy Matrimony by Nunnally Johnson and the plays Buried Alive and The Great Adventure by Arnold Bennett

In spite of a score still admired by many critics, the show's pre-Broadway run was plagued by difficulties, with three directors and five librettists attempting to resolve perceived problems.

The musical finally reached New York City where, following three previews, it opened on January 27, 1968 at the George Abbott Theatre and closed after only 31 performances. Choreography was by Lee Theodore, staging by Noel Willman, scenic design by Oliver Smith, costumes by Raoul Pene Du Bois, and lighting by Peggy Clark. Johnson, upset with all the changes, demanded his name be removed from the credits. The musical starred Vincent Price (in his first and only Broadway musical) as Priam Farll and Patricia Routledge as Alice Challice. Also featured were Brenda Forbes and Peter Woodthorpe. Routledge won the 1968 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Reviews were mixed. The show was Price's first singing role since the 1940 film The House of Seven Gables. Price had once been a member of the Yale Glee Club and proved to have an adequate singing voice. Harburg and Styne considered the piece their best work.

An original cast recording was released by RCA Victor.

Attempts at major revival have made little headway, although there have been several staged concerts and one fully staged revised version. 42nd Street Moon in San Francisco, California, presented the musical as a staged concert in 1994. The York Theatre Company, in New York, presented the musical in two staged concerts, in 1998 and 2005. Their 2005 concert starred Beth Fowler, Rebecca Luker, Simon Jones and Stephen Mo Hanan. Light Opera Works, in Evanston, Illinois, presented a fully staged version in 2005 revised by Erik Haagensen based on his earlier work for the York Theatre Company concerts. This was the first complete staged production since the musical closed on Broadway.

In 2010, the London Discovering Lost Musicals series presented the show in concert at the Oondatje Wing Theatre - National Portrait Gallery, starring Nicholas Jones as Priam and Louise Gold as Alice.

Buried Alive (source material)
The Great Adventure (source material)
Holy Matrimony (source material)
Married Alive (pre-Broadway title)

Act I
Mad For Art
He's A Genius
To Get Out Of This World Alive
It's Enough To Make A Lady Fall In Love
A Gentleman's Gentleman
Double Soliloquy
Let's See What Happens
I've Got A Rainbow Working For Me
Money, Money, Money
That Something Extra Special

Act II
What Makes a Marriage Merry
He's A Genius (Reprise)
Not On Your Nellie
Sunset Tree
Butler In The Abbey
Not On Your Nellie (Reprise)

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Darling of the Day

Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Darling of the Day

Version 1

Darling of the Day (1968-01-George Abbott Theatre-Broadway)

Type de série: Original
Théâtre: George Abbott Theatre (Broadway - Etats-Unis)
Durée : 4 semaines
Nombre : 4 previews - 31 représentations
Première Preview : 16 January 1968
Première: 27 January 1968
Dernière: 24 February 1968
Mise en scène : Noel Willman
Chorégraphie : Lee Becker Theodore
Producteur :
Star(s) :
Avec: Priam Farll … Vincent Price
Alice Challice … Patricia Routledge
Lady Vale … Brenda Forbes
Alf … Teddy Green
Oxford … Peter Woodthorpe
Equerry … John Aman
Mrs. Leek … Camila Ashland
Attendant … Larry Brucker
Frame Maker … Paul Eichel
The King … Charles Gerald
Rosalind … Beth Howland
Duncan … Mitchell Jason
Bert … Marc Jordan
Sydney … Reid Klein
Pennington … Michael Lewis
Doctor … Leo Leyden
Cabby … Ross Miles
Old Gentleman … Carl Nicholas
Daphne … Joy Nichols
Curate … Fred Siretta
Henry Leek … Charles Welch
Curate … Herb Wilson
Constable … John Aman
Judge … Leo Leyden

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