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THE ROTHSCHILDS A Musical in 2 Acts, a Prologue and 18 Scenes. Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Book by Sherman Yellen Based on the book by Frederic Morton Lunt Fontanne, Broadway - 19 October 1970 / 2nd January, 1972 (505 perfs) The book of this show follows the fortunes of the international banking family, the Rothschild, from its humble German beginnings to the powerful influence it exerted in the Congress of Vienna.. It also concerns the struggle of the European Jews to live in an oppressive world. The Story Act I It is 1772, and while Prince William of Hesse is entertaining his aristocratic friends, the Frankfurt Jews in their ghetto are restricted in their movements and are victims of violence and oppression. Mayer Rothschild returns home after a year's banking apprenticeship in Hanover. He tells his fiancée, Gutele, that he has decided not to take up a position and permanent residence in Hanover but rather, to remain in Frankfurt and try to prosper there. Gutele wants to marry Mayer right away and start a family but there is a strict quota on the numbers of Jews who are allowed to marry and only twelve Jewish weddings a year are permitted. Mayer thinks he might have a way of getting round this quota system and promises Gutele there has to be more to life than the ghetto and one room living. Mayer opens his shop which handles goods and rare coins but it is at the Frankfurt Fair that he attracts the attention of Prince William of Hesse with the way he ingeniously sells rare coins. Mayer bribes Prince William with a coin of his choice in exchange for permission to marry Gutele. Mayer soon becomes agent for the court bankers but his ambition is not assuaged. He wants more. By 1778 he and Gutele have have five children, all boys. The boys - Amshel, Solomon, Nathan, Jacob and Kalman - work in their father's shop and all prove to be adept salesmen. The ghetto, however, still remains a place of oppression and regular purges and the sons, now young men, are no longer content to wait for the better life that seems to be forever just out of reach. It is 1804 and Prince William lends money to his cousin, King Christian of Denmark, in order to help fight a war. Mayer offers his sons to the prince as agents to negotiate the loan. The Rothschild luck finally wins over the dubious Prince. The boys are nominated court agents and leave for Denmark. Mayer and his sons undertake their business in Copenhagen but at home, Hesse falls to the forces of Napoleon and the administration of Napoleon's Minister of Police, Joseph Fouché. When the Rothschild men return home they find that Prince William has fled and that there is no court for which they can act as agents. Mayer, however, sends his sons throughout Europe to call in the debts of Prince William before the French can appropriate the funds. Nathan will go to England where he will invest the money collected by the other brothers. Gutele sees this as the break-up of her family but she stands by Mayer's decision as the boys leave home to fulfil their duty. Act II 1805 and London's Stock Exchange hopes that England can withstand the imminent French invasion. The spirit of free enterprise still reigns supreme, however, and Nathan soon becomes extremely successful. It is whilst in London, that Nathan meets the aristocratic Hannah Cohen, a lady devoted to charitable causes. He falls head over heels in love with her despite the fact that she offers little by way of encouragement. Nathan is reject by Hannah for his lack of ideals. Nathan says that if Hannah will marry him he will lend England the money it needs to end the war. When the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Herries arrives, Nathan