A musical comedy in 2 acts, 22 scenes. Music and lyrics by Johnny
Burke; Book by Robert E. McEnroe.
Based on the film by John Ford and the short story The Quiet Man by Maurice Walsh
46th Street Theatre in New York City, - 18 May, 1961 (68 perfs)
The story opens in the Danaher house, ruled by Will Danaher. Big, brash and bellowing, Will tyrannises the family and, as a true Irishman, is happy to trade blows with anyone, but receives little argument—except from his sister Ellen Roe. She has her brother's fiery temper and, although she obeys the 'head of the house', is determined to remain independent.
A new arrival in Innesfree is John Enright—six feet three and broad of stature—who has come home after spending many years in America. He has returned in search of peace and quiet; in fact, his heart is set on buying a cottage, White O'Morn, which he remembers from his boyhood days. As the next scene opens, Enright is looking over the cottage with Mikeen Flynn, the local marriage-broker, master-intriguer and jack-of-all-mistrades. Mikeen has offered to negotiate for the cottage on Enright's behalf and, when Ellen Roe appears, he offers to negotiate for her too—in case the wealthy newcomer is looking for a wife. Enright is immediately attracted to Ellen Roe and, although she treats him with haughty disdain, it is clear that the American is going to find more than peace and quiet in Innesfree.
With one eye on the lady's bank balance, Will Danaher plans to court Kathy Carey, a wealthy widow who owns the local pub. He goes to see her at the bar, where an Irish boy is entertaining the assembly. Kathy owns the cottage White O'Morn and much of the surrounding countryside, all of which she inherited from her late—and not over-lamented—husband. Her lands border with the Danaher farm, and Will is angry to find that the American stranger is trying to buy the cottage. He bids against Enright, but the American closes the deal. Furious, Danaher tries to pick a fight but, much to his disgust, Enright will only offer his hand in friendship. Somewhat against his will, Enright admits that, in the States, he has been a prizefighter—an important piece of news, for there is nothing the people of Innesfree like better than a fine, old-fashioned Donnybrook.
Ellen Roe and Enright meet again, and the American discovers that he has fallen in love with the beautiful colleen. They see each other several times and, on Sunday morning, walk together through the countryside instead of joining the congregation for Mass, When Will Danaher hears of this, he commands his sister to go home, forbidding her to see the 'cowardly' American again and, although there is a fierce argument between them, Ellen Roe will not disobey her brother as 'head of the house'. Hoping to keep the peace, the kindly priest Father Finucane lends an understanding ear to Enright's furious complaints.
Now it is up to the resourceful Mikeen Flynn to set things right, and he hits upon a solution; if he can persuade Kathy Carey to marry Will Danaher, Danaher will, in turn, free Ellen Roe, to avoid having both women live under the same roof. The wily marriage-broker starts to put this tortuous scheme into operation by proposing to Kathy (on Danaher's behalf). The only trouble is that Kathy, thinking the proposal is from Flynn, succumbs to his charms and, when Danaher is mentioned, angrily brings the meeting to an end. Nothing daunted, the little man then goes to Danaher and suggests—albeit nervously—that Kathy is willing to be spliced ... so long as Ellen Roe has a husband and a home of her own. Danaher, already hearing wedding bells for himself, consents to the marriage of Ellen Roe to Enright and, left alone, the would-be bride declares her love for the American. Before the wedding, however, there must be a traditional period of courting, during which the lovers are to be strictly chaperoned by Flynn. The Courting is represented by a highly effective ballet, during which Enright and his fiancee easily evade their supervising 'cupid' and, when they are alone together, Enright vows his love.
The wedding service is over and everything is running smoothly, with a grand reception in the parlour of the Danaher house. Old Man Toomey sings a toast to the bride, and Will Danaher magnanimously hands over Ellen Roe's dowry—her family heir-looms and three hundred pounds sterling. He then proudly announces his own engagement to Kathy Carey but, to his astonishment and anger, discovers that the widow has no intention of marrying him; in fact, she is repelled by the thought! Grabbing the trembling Mikeen Flynn, Danaher realises that he has been tricked into giving his consent to Ellen Roe, and furiously takes back her dowry. He turns on Enright and knocks him out with a single punch and, at this moment, a dramatic flash-back reveals how, in his eighty-seventh fight, the American prizefighter killed an opponent in the ring—the real reason for his refusal to fight again. Shamed before the gathering, Enright and his bride leave the wedding reception with Danaher's jeering laughter ringing in their ears.
As the second Act opens, we find Mikeen Flynn and four friends looking for a solution to a grave problem: knowing the fierce pride and tradition by which Ellen Roe lives, they realise that she will not share her husband's home and bed unless she can cement the marriage-bond with her dowry. To save the marriage, the boys decide to steal Ellen Roe's heirlooms from the Danaher house and, to bolster their courage, help themselves to some alcoholic fortification. At White O'Morn, Enright and his bride are spending an unhappy wedding night. Ellen Roe has been shamed, and she cannot understand why her husband refuses to fight Danaher. Mikeen and his cohorts tiptoe deafeningly through the night, bringing Ellen Roe's dowry furniture. Thanks to their kindness, a part of the dowry is paid, but there remains the three hundred pounds, and Ellen Roe still regards herself as a servant rather than a wife in her husband's house. Alone in her bedroom, she cries herself to sleep, while Enright angrily complains.
The scene now moves to the bar of Kathy Carey's pub, where further trouble is brewing. The widow has set her heart on marrying the elusive Mikeen Flynn and, with the help of her friends Sadie and Birdy, decides to make him jealous enough to propose to her by flirting with Will Danaher. Together, the three women plot Mikeen's fate. The scheme works perfectly: Kathy's maneouvers, assisted by some pointed 'asides' by her cronies, are too much for the unsuspecting Mikeen who, before he knows it, has asked Kathy to marry him, admitting his love for her.
Things go from bad to worse for Enright and Ellen Roe. The colleen is persuaded that the marriage-bed is more important than a dowry, and she and her husband are reconciled. However, her stubborn pride is still unbending and, having fulfilled her duties as a wife, she tries to run away to Dublin. This decides the American, who drags the colleen to the Danaher farm for a final showdown. Throwing the girl at Danaher's feet, Enright announces that, unless the dowry is paid, the marriage is finished. Will contemptuously hands Enright three hundred pounds, which the American hands to Ellen Roe. She, in turn, throws the money into a threshing machine. This is too much for the fierce Danaher, who knocks Enright down, and the 'fight of the century' is on. Across fields and farmlands, both men hammer blows at each other until, exhausted to the, point of collapse, Enright lands the winning punch, toppling his, adversary into a water-trough. Although beaten, Danaher is delighted: the American has proved himself worthy of his sister, and the two men stagger happily home to White O'Morn, where a proud Ellen Roe awaits them.
CAST (in order of appearance):
Old Man Toomey
Ellen Roe Danaher
An Irish Boy
Jamie, a Bartender
Singing Ensemble: Dancing Ensemble:
- Overture - An Irish Boy, Sadie McInty, Birdy Monyhan, Father Finucane, Ellen Roe Danaher, Dancing Ensemble
- Sez I - Ellen Roe Danaher, Old Man Toomey, Willie O'Banty, Matthew Gilbane, Gavin Collins, Tim O'Connell
- The Day the Snow Is Meltin - An Irish Boy
- Sad Was the Day - Kathy Carey, Ensemble
- Donnybrook - Ensemble
- The Day the Snow Is Meltin' (reprise) - An Irish Boy, Gavin Collins, Tim O'Connell, John Enright
- Ellen Roe - John Enright
- Sunday Morning - Ensemble
- The Loveable Irish - John Enright, Father Finucane
- I Wouldn't Bet One Penny - Kathy Carey, Mikeen Flynn
- He Makes Me Feel I'm Lovely - Ellen Roe Danaher
- The Courting - Ensemble
- I Have My Own Way - John Enright, Ellen Roe Danaher
- A Toast to the Bride - Old Man Toomey, Ensemble
- Wisha Wurra - Mikeen Flynn, Old Man Toomey, Willie O'Banty, Matthew Gilbane, Gavin Collins
- (Wisha Wurra reprise) - Mikeen Flynn, Old Man Toomey, Willie O'Banty, Matthew Gilbane, Gavin Collins
- He Makes Me Feel I'm Lovely (reprise) - Ellen Roe Danaher
- A Quiet Life - John Enright
- Mr. Flynn - Kathy Carey, Sadie McInty, Birdy Monyhan
- Hornpipe Dance - (dropped)
- Dee-lightful is the Word - Mikeen Flynn, Kathy Carey
- For My Own - Ellen Roe Danaher, John Enright
- (Finale Sez I reprise) - Will Danaher, John Enright, Ensemble
Scenes and Settings
Scene 1: Overture.
Scene 2: Kitchen of Will Danaher's house.
Scene 3: The Countryside
Scene 4: Outside White O'Morn Cottage.
Scene 5: Carey's Pub.
Scene 6: The Countryside.
Scene 7: The Interior of Enright's Cottage.
Scene 8: The Church.
Scene 9: Kathy's Sitting Room; the Irish Countryside.
Scene 10: Kitchen of Will Danaher's house.
Scene 11: Danaher's Backyard.
Scene 12: The Danaher Parlour.
Scene 1: The Low Road.
Scene 2: The Interior of White O'Morn Cottage.
Scene 3: The High Road.
Scene 4: The Interior of White O'Morn Cottage.
Scene 5: Carey's Pub.
Scene 6: The (Gravestone in the Ruins of the) Church Yard.
Scene 7: The Interior of White O'Morn Cottage.
Scene 8: Railway Station.
Scene 9: (A Rock Wall in) Danaher's Field.
Scene 10: The Interior of White O'Morn Cottage.