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Cover to original cast recordingThe Gay Life 

A Musical Comedy in 2 Acts, 15 Scenes. Book by Fay and Michael Kanin. Suggested by the play Anatol by Arthur Schnitzler. Music by Arthur Schwartz. Lyrics by Howard Dietz.

World premiere at the Fisher Theater in Detroit - October 2, 1961.
O'Keefe Centre, Toronto - October 24, 1961
Sam S. Shubert Theatre - 18 November 1961 to 24 February 1962 (113 perfs)

Original Company

CAST (in order of appearance):

Usher: Sterling Clark.
Liesl Brandel: BARBARA COOK.
Herr Brandel: LORING SMITH.
Frau Brandel: LU LEONARD.
Proprietor: Michael Quinn.
The Great Gaston: Jack Adams.
Otto: Rico Froehlich.
Waiters: Ted Lambrinos, Russell Goodwin. Anna: Joanne Spiller. Grandmother: Aura Vainio.
Photographer: Gerald Teijelo.
Doorman: Rico Froehlich.
Headwaiter: Carl Nicholas.
Waiters: Hal Norman, Ted Lambrinos.

Singers: Ken Ayers, Russell Goodwin, Tony LaRusso, Ted Lambrinos, Carl Nicholas, Hal Norman, Michael Quinn, Loyce Baker, Joan Bishop, June Card, Luce Ennis, Jeanne Grant, Carole O'Hara, Nancy Radcliffe, Joanne Spiller.

Dancers: Kip Andrews, Karoly Barta, Sterling Clark, Thatcher Clarke, Ray Kirchner Louis Kosman, Michel Stuart, Gerald Teijelo, Patrick King, Bonnie Brandon, Carolyn Clark, Marion Fels, Carol Flemming, Leslie Franzos, Bettye Jenkins, Doris Ortiz, Eleonore Treiber, Aura Vainio, Jenny Workman.

Directed by Gerald Freedman.
Dances and musical numbers staged by Herbert Ross.
Scenic production by Oliver Smith.
Costumes by Lucinda Ballard.
Lighting by Jean Rosenthal.
Orchestrations by Don Walker.
Vocal arrangements and musical direction, Herbert Greene.
Dance arrangements, Robert Starer.
Magical illusions created and designed by Jack Adams.
Produced by Kermit Bloomgarden.


A church in Vienna in 1904. It is the wedding day of Anatol von Huber. But Anatol is missing. He is still in his own living room; having spent a restless night on the couch. His best friend, Max discovers him there as a mysterious female voice from the bedroom shouts a cheerful good morning.

Anatol attempts to explain his unhappy predicament: and the play flashes back to a day months earlier when, in the same room, Anatol's mistress, Helene sings to the wanderlust Anatol, "Why Go Anywhere At All."

In Carlsbad, the marriage mart, Max sings "Bring Your Darling Daughter;" and Anatol, joining him there, vows "Now. I'm Ready For A Frau." Max's younger sister, Liesl, meets Anatol for the first time since she was a little girl and wishes that he were all her own.

Anatol, stopping by before a gala party, reminds Lies! that when she was younger she wanted to dance with bracelets and anklets of gold. At the party the guests waltz and later after Anatol has disappeared with Mimi, a French girl.

On Christmas Eve, Liesl encounters Anatol for the first time since the party at Carlsbad. She asks about Mimi and giving Anatol violets for Mimi, tells him that she would gladly change places with her. A few days later, Max prepares the last supper for Mimi and Anatol. But Anatol, discovering that Mimi has come to throw him over, invents the story that he plans to marry Liesl. Mimi leaves angrily, and Max and Anatol realise that Liesl must be proposed to before Mimi spreads the word. Liesl accepts, the family is delighted, and the marriage itself seems assured, but Liesl's happiness is in question.

It is Anatol's bachelor party, and his friends taunt him about the loss of his bachelor status. Liesl, in a secret visit to Anatol's home, doubts that the marriage will ever take place. Liesl's family is pleased with Anatol, however. Anatol walks out of the party and declares he will not let Liesl down. Anatol wanders into a café where his old gypsy flame, Magda, is entertaining. Anatol tries to escape, but Magda overwhelms him and he finds it impossible to tell her of his impending marriage to Liesl.

The last scene of the play finds Anatol trying to explain to Max the presence of Magda in his bedroom on his wedding day. Liesl appears and is prepared to free Anatol from his marital obigation. When she discovers Magda, however, she says she will never marry him!.

Anatol, thrilled by Liesl's unsuspected fire, proposes again and they marry happily.

Fay and Michael Kanin.

Musical Numbers


  1. What a Charming Couple - Ensemble
  2. Why Go Anywhere at All? - Helene
  3. Bring Your Darling Daughter - Max, Ensemble
  4. Now I'm Ready for a Frau - Anatol, Max
  5. Magic Moment - Liesl
  6. Who Can? You Can? - Anatol, Liesl
  7. Oh Mein, Liebchen - Ensemble
  8. Liebchen Waltz - Dancers
  9. The Label on the Bottle - Liesl and dancers
  10. This Kind of a Girl - Anatol, Liesl
  11. The Bloom Is Off the Rose - Max, Male Ensemble
  12. Who Can? You Can? (reprise) - Ensemble
  13. Now I'm Ready for a Frau (reprise) - Anatol
  14. Magic Moment (reprise) - Liesl


  1. I'm Glad I'm Single - Male Ensemble & Nursemaid: Anatol, the Boy: Strong Man: Celestina: Magda: Anatol, the Man: Third Swan from the Left: Helene: Mimi:
  2. I'm Glad I'm Single (reprise) - Male Ensemble
  3. Now I'm Ready for a Frau (reprise) - Anatol, Max
  4. Something You Never Had Before - Liesl
  5. You Will Never Be Lonely - Frau Brendel, Herr Brendel, Ensemble
  6. You're Not the Type - Anatol, Liesl
  7. Come A-Wandering With Me - Magda, Male Dancers
  8. I Never Had a Chance - Anatol
  9. I Wouldn't Marry You - Liesl
  10. For the First Time - Anatol

Scenes and settings:

Act 1

Scene 1: Vienna, 1904. A church.
Scene 2: Anatol's Apartment.
Scene 3: Carlsbad. A pavilion.
Scene 4: Terrace of the Brandel suite in Carlsbad.
Scene 5: The casino in Carlsbad. A gala.
Scene 6: A street in Vienna. Christmas Eve.
Scene 7: A private room at Scaher's Restaurant.
Scene 8: The Brandel living room.

Act 2

Scene 1: Sachem's Restaurant. Anatol's bachelor party.
Scene 2: Anatol's Apartment.
Scene 3: The Brandel living room.
Scene 4: A street. Liesl's bedroom.
Scene 5: Outside the Paprikas Cafe.
Scene 6: The Paprikas Cafe.
Scene 7: Anatol's Apartment.