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The Little Michus

(Les p'tites Michu)

An Original Musical Play in 3 Acts. (Original French opéra-comique libretto) Book by Albert Vanloo and Georges Duval. English version by Henry Hamilton. Music by André Messager. (English lyrics by Percy Greenbank.)

Daly's Theatre, London - 29th April, 1905 (401 perfs)
Garden Theatre, New York - Opened 31 January 1907; closed 23 February 1907 (29 perfs)


In 1793, the wife of the Marquis des Ifs dies in childbirth. The Marquis, before disappearing to evade arrest, entrusts the infant girl to the Michus, paying the family a sum of money that allows them to open a prosperous shop. The Michus have a daughter of their own. While bathing the two babies, Mr. Michus mixes them up and cannot tell which is which.

Act I

By 1810, the girls, Blanche-Marie and Marie-Blanche have grown up together, believing themselves to be twins, and have gone to school under the military Miss Herpin. Aristide, the Michu's clerk, is in love with one of the one of the girls but is not sure which. Marquis des Ifs, now a general, sends Bagnolet to find his daughter, whose hand he has promised to lieutenant Gaston Rigaud, the officer who saved his life. It turns out that Gaston is Miss Herpin's nephew, and while visiting his aunt, the girls meet the handsome lieutenant, and both are enchanted. Bagnolet finds the Michus. Embarrassed at being unable to name the general's daughter, they agree to meet the general.

Act II

The general and his guests await the arrival of his daughter. When the Michus arrive, the general is impatient with their explanation: he wants to know which girl is his daughter and will marry the lieutenant. Knowing that her sister is enamored of Gaston, Blanche-Marie decides to make a sacrifice and identifies her sister as the general's daughter.


With a sad heart, Blanche-Marie resigns herself to marry Aristede, whom she finds exceedingly uninteresting. On the other hand, and to the astonishment of her fiance and the Marquis, Marie-Blanche goes to help at the shop at every opportunity. She realizes that she has made a mistake: her sister loves Gaston, and she herself would prefer the common life of the shop and marriage to Aristde. The day of the double wedding, Marie-Blanche looks for a portrait of the Marquis' wife. Her idea is to dress Blanche-Marie as the late Marchionesse. The resemblance is astonishing. The Marquis believes that he sees his wife: Blanche-Marie must be his daughter.

The two couples are sorted out and all ends happily.

Musical numbers (English adaptation)

from vocal score

  1. Opening Chorus - "We are little schoolgirls, and of course we have to do ev'ry single thing that our headmistress..."
  2. Duet - Marie-Blanche & Blanche-Marie - "Two little maids so very devoted you seldom are likely to see..."
  3. Song - Irma - "Father had three horses of his very, very own, a black one and a white one and a grey..."
  4. Song - Gaston - "If I were King and you were Queen, and this our first and formal meeting..."
  5. Trio - Marie-Blanche, Blanche-Marie & Gaston - "Michu! Michu! Michu! It's the family surname..."
    No. 5a - Entrance of Soldiers
  6. Song - Gaston & Chorus - "Oh! many a gallant corps today is fighting for our glorious France..."
  7. Song - Marie-Blanche - "When I meet a man like that, with a fascinating way..."
  8. Trio - Michu, Mme. Michu & Aristide - "So elegantly dress'd in all our Sunday best..."
  9. Concerted Number - Blanche-Marie, Marie-Blanche, Mme. & M. Michu, & Pupils - "Our fairy god-mamma is here..."
  10. Song - Aristide - "Oh, Marie-Blanche is so petite, she's just the very girl for me..."
  11. Song - Bagnolet - "Now, little girls, attention please, we will at once begin..."
  12. Finale Act I - "Your mistress we would like, my dears, to see; we've news that will surprise her, I'm afraid..."
  13. Opening Chorus & Song - Mme. du Tertre - "We have come from far and near..." & "Once there was a tiny baby..."
  14. Song - Gaston - "How very like children we all of us are, whom no one seems able to teach..."
  15. Quintet - Blanche-Marie, Marie-Blanche, Michu, Mme. Michu, & Bagnolet - "Hop o' my Thumb."
  16. Duet - Marie-Blanche & Blanche-Marie - "Oh dear, oh dear! Oh dear, oh dear! We have made a mistake somehow..."
  17. Prayer - Marie-Blanche & Blanche-Marie - "Saint Valentine, we know you are clever..."
  18. & 18a - Trio and Prayer - Marie-Blanche, Blanche-Marie & Gaston - "So you'll wed the General's daughter! ..."
  19. Finale Act II - "Captain, come here! and I now will present you, so look after your P's and Q's! ..."
  20. Opening Chorus - "Customers we, who want to buy! If you can sell us what we need..."
  21. Song - Aristide - "Strange how the unexpected should always come to pass..."
  22. Song - Bagnolet - "A woman and a soldier are the same, if you take the trouble to compare..."
  23. Song - Blanche-Marie - "Little Sister, I am getting discontented, yes, it's true..."
  24. Chorus and Song - Mme. Michu - "Good luck to both the little brides; health, wealth and happiness besides..."
  25. Duet - Blanche-Marie & Gaston - "Monsieur Gaston, believe me pray, I'm full of joyful expectation..."
  26. Sextet - Marie-Blanche, Blanche-Marie, Mme. Michu, Gaston, Aristide & Michu - "Now please sit down! ..."
  27. Finale Act III - "Two little maids will soon be united to husbands they love and adore..."

Musical Numbers

(American programme)

  1. Opening Chorus
  2. Blind Man's Buff (Song) - Irma
  3. Michu! Michu! (Trio) - Marie-Blanche, Blanche-Marie, Gaston Entrance of Soldiers
  4. The Song of the Regiment (Song) - Gaston, Chorus
  5. He Wouldn't Have to Ask Me Twice (Trio) - Pierre, Madame Michu, Aristide
  6. Song - Madame Michu
  7. Our Fairy Godmamma (Concerted Number)
  8. The Donkey and the Hay (Song) - Aristide
  9. This Little Girl and That (Song) - Bagnolet
  10. Finale Act 1
  11. Opening Chorus Act 2
  12. Miss Nobody from No-Where (Song) - Madame du Tertre
  13. Dance
  14. It's No Use Crying for the Moon (Song) - Gaston
  15. Trio - Marie-Blanche, Blanche-Marie, Gaston
  16. Prayer (A Prayer to St. Valentine) - Marie-Blanche, Blanche-Marie
  17. Finale Act 2 Song - Marie-Blanche, Chorus
  18. Opening Chorus Act 3
  19. The Regiment of Frocks and Frills (song) - Bagnolet
  20. Chorus
  21. The Mice Will Play (Music and Lyrics by Augustus Barratt.) - Madame Michu, Chorus
  22. Sextet
  23. Finale

Scenes and Settings