(Music by Harvey Schmidt: Words by Tom Jones)
Ambassador Theatre, Broadway 22 January, 1969 (109 perfs)
It is New Year's Eve. A ritual is played out with masks and torches on a platform observed by Revellers who wait to see what the winter night will bring. A young orphan looking for his lost garden of beautiful peace becomes entangled with a host of bizarre characters including Mr. Rich, with whom he battles for the affection of a beautiful fallen Angel. In this age-old struggle between the powers of humanity and Mammon, love, as always, triumphs over the forces of power and greed. Songs include: CELEBRATION, LOVE SONG and SOMEBODY.
The Narrator introduces a symbolic celebration of the theatre in the makeup of a New Year's Eve party given by the rich establishment.
The party is a stage where Young Orphan seeks only the garden of the orphanage that Edgar Allan Rich, through his formula for money making, has torn down. The Narrator has become Potemkin, an opportunist with an eye for young men with bright ideas. Potemkin gets Orphan invited to Rich's party where he meets Angel, a soulful girl, yet compromising enough to avoid a grey existence. Rich is bored by everything at his own party: the masked antics of his Revellers-all the artificial things that have made him rich.
Sensing an opening, Potemkin hatches a plot whereby Orphan and Angel fall in love to prey upon the romanticism of Rich. Orphan can then trade Angel for the garden. The plan works to perfection. But the rejuvenated Rich, playing the role of Adam to Angel's Eve, seeks to renege on his promise to Orphan and keep the garden. Orphan claims the garden belongs to him, but Rich orders Potemkin to throw him out. However Orphan hides during the ensuing smoke screen of pageantry, following which he also emerges as Adam to do hand-to-hand combat with Rich's ageing portrayal.
It's the stroke of 12 and Rich's time has run out. He dies in Orphan's arms as Potemkin, as Father Time, counts him out. Returning to the Narrator, he proclaims that Orphan and Angel must now cast aside their familiar and winning roles to strive bravely for the chance at reality and change for which they have fought and won.
The Beautician Ballet
Fifty Million Years Ago
I'm Glad to See You've Got What You Want
It's You Who Makes Me Young
Love Song ... .. To the Garden
Not My Problem
Orphan in the Storm
Under the Tree
Where Did It Go?
Winter and Summer
Piano I, II, guitar*, bass*, harp*, electric piano*, percussion A, B, C, (or solo percussion).
Principals: 3 Male, 1 Female. The Revellers - 6 Male, 6 Female.
4 parts, all principals, plus group of 12 Revellers who are onstage almost the entire time. All play hand musical or rhythm instruments.
Potemkin, actor who sings and dances.
Orphan, actor/singer who dances, legit voice.
Angel, legit voice actress who dances.
Rich, fat character man who dances and sings.
Revellers, pantomime, sing and dance. Total cast, 16-24.
SCENES AND SETS:
A unit set of basically two levels-a major crudely built platform playing area (could be stage floor or large raked platform) and an upper level. Various small hand props, placards, posters, boxes, mirrors, tinsel curtain, and chairs.
ACT I The City.
ACT II The Country, the Boy's Garden.
PERIOD AND COSTUMES:
New Year's Eve: black suit, tattered orphan's rags, angel costume with breakaway wings over mesh bra and bikini with rhinestone pasties and spangles covering vital areas, devil girl costume, rich people's dresses and suits, white fox stole, long underwear, Adam and Eve fig-leaf costumes, costume accessories to create beauticians, barbers, body-builders, Father Time costume, scant belly dancer outfits and masks, masks, masks (some special, but most novelty store items).
Modern, whip dance, exotic dances, modern ballet, processions, decorator's dance (placing of strings of artificial flowers around stage in dance), dance of machine puppets, mirror dance by Rich and Orphan, slow ritualistic battle dance.
LIGHTING AND SPECIAL EFFECTS:
Dramatic lighting required. Visual effects, written prop actions for specific dramatic effects. Large, full sun (and overlays for eclipsing same), large shadows of earth-moving machines.
Celebration is a highly stylised show. The author offers ten pages of notes with the production script detailing the reasoning, the original production, and suggested script alterations after the fact. He describes the show as a ritual experience - an off-beat musical that is definitely not a musical comedy. It employs masks, visuals, cast members playing rhythm instruments, and so on. A highly dramatic impact piece. Good show for sophisticated little-theatre groups.