The Girl in Pink Tights
A Musical Extravaganza in Two Acts, 17 Scenes. Book by Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields. Music by Sigmund Romberg. Lyrics by Leo Robin.
Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York - 5 March 1954 (115 perfs)
As the play opens, the scene is New York City, just after the close of the Civil War. New Yorkers are excited about the promised opening of a French ballet company at the Academy of Music, but Lotta Leslie is not so interested: the ballet is opening just across the street from Niblo's Garden, which she operates, and she has only a lurid melodrama called 'Dick the Renegade' to offer in competition. The play was written by Clyde Hallam, a veteran of the war. When the ballet troupe arrives, lead by Lisette Gervais and Maestro Gallo, Clyde at once falls in love with Lisette. The Maestro explains that his girls, far from being loose women, although they appear in tights, are actually delicate young ladies and begins a flirtation with Lotta.
Clyde and Lisette find that the course of true love is far from smooth, arguing and making up, and even making a visit to Battery Park to take a ride on the new Elevated Railway during which they decide nothing would be sweeter than to be In Paris and in Love. The Maestro, however, feels that Lisette is making a mistake in giving away her heart, and that she should concentrate on her career as a dancer: when she is fifty, she will have time for love.
Lisette sneaks away from her rehearsal to watch a run-through of Clyde's play across the street, and Lotta explains the perils of theatrical production. The Maestro arrives and orders Lisette back to her own rehearsal, and she goes, unwillingly. At the ballet rehearsal, the Maestro is experimenting with a few unusual stage effects, and some gunpowder explodes, setting fire to the Academy. The Volunteer Firemen and the Fire Department arrive but are unable to save the building. Lisette, locked in her room, is in danger of being burned to death, but Clyde climbs a ladder and carries her to safety.
However, the ballet troupe has now lost its theatre, and, for lack of funds, must return to France, steerage. Clyde comes to bid farewell to Lisette at the dock, but before the troupe can leave, Lotta arrives with the news that she has persuaded a man-about-town to finance a new idea she has just had: the combination of the ballet troupe with Clyde's melodrama, for which she has very dim hopes, thus producing a play with music, something entirely new in the theatre! The Maestro assents, and everyone agrees to try the experiment. Rehearsals proceed with considerable difficulty, since Clyde, in true author style, resents any changes in his manuscript; the Maestro has suggested combining Clyde's frontier drama with the Faust legend, among other things. Almost the only people who see eye to eye are Lotta and the Maestro and Lisette and Clyde quarrel constantly about which is more important: the play or the ballet. At length, Lisette goes off in a fit of anger to a rendezvous with the man about-town at the Hotel Brevoort. Clyde breaks into the room, furious, but is immediately floored by a single blow from his rival, and Lisette flees.
On opening night, Clyde, with a black eye, swallows his pride and returns to the theatre just in time for the performance, and the show goes on, to enormous success, which naturally solves everyone's problems. Included in the performance is a brilliantly foolish finale, incorporating a formal French garden at the time of Cardinal Richelieu, bits and pieces of the Faust legend, a ballet involving bats, and Clyde's woolly melodrama. There are also skyrockets, pinwheels, a waving American flag, and Lisette clad in tights and a Civil War cap.
- Ballet Class - Danced by the French Ballet Company
- That Naughty Show from Gay Paree - Singing Ensemble
- Lost in Loveliness - Clyde Hallam - Lisette: First Lover: Second Lover: Lovers:
- I Promised Their Mothers - Gallo
- Up in the Elevated Railway - Lisette, Clyde Hallam, Kuzentsov, Hattie, Newsboy, Shoe Shine Boy, Singing Ensemble
- In Paris and In Love - Clyde Hallam, Lisette
- You've Got To be a Little Crazy - Lotta, Nellie, Mike, Bruce
- When I Am Free to Love - Lisette
- Pas de Deux - Danced by Lisette, Kuzentsov
- Out of the Way/Roll Out the Hose, Boys - Singing Ensemble
- Finale (Act 1) - Entire Company
- My Heart Won't Say Goodbye - Clyde Hallam, Lisette, Singing Ensemble
- We're All in the Same Boat - Entire Company
- Lost in Loveliness (reprise) - Clyde Hallam
- Bacchanale - Danced by the French Ballet Company (Dionysius. The Wayward Nymph, Nymphs, Satyrs, Messenger, Attendants)
- My Heart Won't Say Goodbye (reprise) - Lotta
- Love Is the Funniest Thing - Lotta, Gallo
- When I Am Free to Love (reprise) - Lisette
- The Cardinal's Guard Are We - Lotta, Singing Ensemble, Grand Imperial Ballet - (Lucifer, Hecate. Devils,
- Evil Spirits, Bats, Dancing Batlets, Batlets, Attendants)
- Finale (Act 2) - Entire Company
(in order of appearance)
Scenes & Settings
The action of the play takes place immediately following the Civil War in the theatrical district of New York.