Mack and Mabel
A musical love story in 1 act, 14 Scenes. (an intermission was added between scenes 8 and 9.
Music & Lyrics by Jerry Herman: Book by Michael Stewart
Majestic Theatre, Broadway - 6 October, 1974 (66 perfs)
Piccadilly Theatre 7 November 1995 - 29 June 1996 (270 perfs)
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane - 21 February, 1988
The great Hollywood comic director, Mack Sennett, reminisces about his career from the sound stage of the studios he once dominated . It is 1938, and the days of the silent film are over, effectively ending Sennett's career.
In a series of flashbacks, Sennett relates the glory days of the Keystone Studios from 1911, when he discovered Mabel Normand, star of dozens of his early "two-reelers", through his invention of the Bathing Beauties and Keystone Cops to Mabel's death from a heroin overdose in 1930.
Pride and a naturally hard, aggressive personality prevent Sennett from ever declaring openly the love he feels for Mabel. Although she is his mistress until 1920, Mabel leaves him for the "serious" director W.D. Taylor, who not only values her acting, but also treats her with kindness and consideration as well. However, when Taylor is murdered in Mabel's presence, the ensuing scandal wrecks her career. In an attempt to help her make a clean start, Sennett agrees to make her the star of a romantic drama, Molly, which he goes on to direct. The odium still attached to Mabel's name means, however, that no one will distribute the film.
Not content with this unhappy ending, Sennett plots a final scene in which he and Mabel marry, happily surrounded by a classic custard pie fight performed by the Keystone Cops.
(in order of appearance):
- Eddie, the watchman: Stanley Simmonds
- Mack Sennett: ROBERT PRESTON
- Lottie Ames: LISA KIRK
- Ella: Nancy Evers
- Freddie: Roger Bigelow
- Charlie Muldoon: Christopher Murney
- Wally: Robert Fitch
- Frank Wyman: Jerry Dodge
- Mabel Normand: BERNADETTE PETERS
- Mr. Kleiman: Tom Batten
- Mr. Fox: Bert Michaels
- Iris, the wardrobe mistress: Marie Santell.
- William Desmond Taylor: JAMES MITCHELL
- Phyllis Foster: Cheryl Armstrong.
- Serge: Frank Root.
The Grips: John Almberg, Roger Bigelow, George Blackwell, Frank Bouley, Gerand Brentte, Lonnie Burr, Chet D'Elia, Igors Gavon, Jonathan Miele, Don Percassi, Frank Root.
Mack Sennett Bathing Beauties: Cheryl Armstrong, Claudia Asbury, Sandahl Bergman, Chrystal Chambers, Nancy Dafgek, Prudence Darby, Elaine Handel, Paula Lynn, Patricia Michaels, Carol Perea, L. J. Rose, Rita Rudner, Marianne Selbert, Jo Speros, Pat Trott, Geordie Withee.
DiscographyOriginal 1995 London Cast Recording
EMI Westend 7243 8 36771 2 2
- Look What Happened to Mabel - Mabel Normand, Wally, Charlie, Frank Wyman, Grips
- Big Time - Lottie Ames, the Family
- I Won't Send Roses - Max Sennett
- I Won't Send Roses (reprise) - Mabel Normand
- I Wanna Make the World Laugh - Max Sennett, Company
- I Wanna Make the World Laugh (reprise) - Max Sennett, Company
- Wherever He Ain't - Mabel Normand, Waiters
- Hundreds of Girls - Max Sennett, Bathing Beauties
Mabel Comes into the Room - Company
- My Heart Leaps Up - Max Sennett
- Time Heals Everything - Mabel Normand
- Tap Your Troubles Away - Lottie Ames, Girls
- I Promise You a Happy Ending - Max Sennett
Scenes and Settings
Scene 1: The Sennett Studios, 1938.
Scene 2: The Brooklyn Studio, 1911.
Scene 3: Mack's Office, Brooklyn.
Scene 4: En route to California.
Scene 5: Los Angeles, 1912.
Scene 6: On the Set.
Scene 7: The Orchid Room of the Hollywood Hotel, 1919.
Scene 8: On the Set.
Scene 9: Mack's New Office, 1923.
Scene 10: Studio Early Next Morning.
Scene 11: A pier, New York.
Scene 12: "Vitagraph Varieties of 1929" and the Terrace of William Desmond Taylor's Home.
Scene 13: Mack's Office—then Mabel's Home.
Scene 14: The Sennett Studios, 1938.