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Love Life (Opera North program cover)

Love Life

a vaudeville : Book & lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner: Music by Kurt Weill

New York 46th Street Theater 7 October 1948 (252 perfs)
European première by Opera North - Leeds Grand Theatre 25 January 1996.

Love Life spans more than 150 years of American history, from 1790, in the early years of American independence, to 1948, the year of the Broadway première. It visits the Cooper family at roughly 30-year intervals. They do not age.

Part One

Scene One - The Magician.

It is 1948. Sam and Susan Cooper, chosen by the Magician for his most important tricks, try to remember a time when their marriage was happy. It was in 1790 ......

Scene Two - Mayville, Connecticut, Spring 1790

Sam and Susan and their children Johnny and Elizabeth have arrived in Mayville, where Sam plans to open a furniture store. Sam introduces his family.

Who is Samuel Cooper
Here I'll stay.

Scene Three

Vaudeville: Progress

Scene Four: Mayville, 1820

The landscape of Mayville has changed. Susan and Sam have received some troubling news but decide to go ahead with their Green-Up party, a celebration of the arrival of spring.

I remember it well
Green-up time

Scene Five

Vaudeville: Mother's Getting Nervous

Scene Six: The Coopers' bedroom, 1857

Susan and Sam are anxious about Sam's new job working for the railroad.

Scene Seven

Vaudeville: Economics

Scene Eight: The Cooper Home, early 1894

Sam is enjoying a rare evening at home relaxing on his porch, while Susan hosts a meeting inside.

My kind of night
Women's Club Blues

Scene Nine

Vaudeville: Love Song

Scene Ten: An ocean liner, 1920

Sam is hustling for business and neglects Susan, who looks for consolation elsewhere.

I'm your man

Part Two

Scene Eleven

Vaudeville: Modern Madrigal

Scene Twelve: A metropolis, 1948: the Coopers' apartment.

The radio causes a family quarrel

Scene Thirteen

Vaudeville: The Locker Room

Scene Fourteen: A bedroom in the Coopers' apartment, 1948

Sam and Susan agree to divorce.
I remember it well
Is it him or is it me?

Scene Fifteen

Vaudeville: Divorce Ballet

Scene Sixteen: Sam's hotel room, 1948

Sam is enjoying his freedom
This is the life

Scene Seventeen: The Minstrel Show

Sam and Susan are unhappy apart. The Interlocutor introduces a Con Man, Madame Zuzu, Mr Cynic and Miss Ideal Man, who suggests solutions; but Sam and Susan decide to face reality. Can they repair their marriage?

The Minstrel Show
Mr Right