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Careless Rapture

Careless Rapture

Music and Lyrics by Ivor Novello
Book by Christopher Hassall

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London - 11 September, 1936 (295 perfs)

Michael is the illegitimate brother of Sir Rodney Alderney. They are in love with the same woman, musical comedy star Penelope Lee. In his pursuit of love, Michael follows Penelope from a beauty parlour run by Phyllida Frame to a singing lesson with Mme Simonette, to the home of his rival to the the stage of the Drury Lane Theatre where she is performing in a musical, The Rose Girl with Tony. Michael whisks her away to the bank holiday fair on Hampstead Heath.

However, Rodney is posted to China and takes Penelope with him. There she uses her theatrical experience to help out the Fu-Chin Amateur Operatic Society, the leading players being Mrs Winton and Captain Mellish.

Michael follows Rodney and Penelope but is caught up in an earthquake. To escape the effects of the earthquake the flees to the mountains where he is captured by bandits. He manages to escape just in time to whisk Penelope away from his brother.


The show requires a large cast, there are 25 named principals (13 male, 12 female) plus a large chorus

  • Lady Triplex
  • Dodo Forest
  • Jimmy Torrence
  • Phyllida Frame
  • Mrs Ripple
  • Penelope Lee/Peggy
  • Michael
  • Mme Simonetti
  • Sir Rodney Alderney
  • Butler
  • Bill Fraser/Li Hiang
  • Lo-Siung
  • Sir Malcolm Denby/Ah Chin
  • Miss Bradley
  • Jack
  • Tony
  • Prince Meilung
  • Judy
  • Lord Twirp
  • Molly
  • Lady Twirp
  • Miss Crane
  • Lao-Lin
  • Mrs Winton
  • Captain Mellish

Musical Numbers:

  1. Overture;
  2. Why is there ever goodbye? (Mme Simonetti);
  3. Studio scene (A bit of opera) (Peggy, Mme Simonetti, Michael)
  4. Singing Lesson
  5. Slow Rhythms of Long Ago
  6. The miracle of Nichaow, parts 1 & 2 (Orchestra)
  7. Bridge of lovers (Mme Simonetti);
  8. The miracle of Nichaow, part 3 ( Orchestra)
  9. Music in May (Peggy);
  10. Love made the song (Mrs Winton, Captain Mellish)
  11. Wait for me
  12. Rose ballet;
  13. Music in May (reprise);
  14. Why is there ever goodbye?;
  15. Hampstead Heath;
  16. We are the wives;
  17. The Manchuko;
  18. Finaletto;
  19. Love made the song;
  20. Pick of the navy;
  21. Temple ballet;
  22. Bridge of lovers