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A musical in 2 Acts with book by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Jonathan Kent - inspired by La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas. Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Original French music by Alain Boublil. Music by Michael Legrand

Haymarket Theatre, London. Opened 20th May, 2008. Closed 1st November, 2008


A love story set in Paris during the Second World War, Marguerite draws inspiration from one of the greatest of romantic novels, La Dame aux Camellias by Alexandre Dumas.  Marguerite is the beautiful and notorious mistress of a high ranking German officer.  Armand is a young musician half her age who falls obsessively in love with her.  Their dangerous love story is played out against the background of Occupied Paris.A love story set in Paris during the Second World War, Marguerite draws inspiration from one of the greatest of romantic novels, La Dame aux Camellias by Alexandre Dumas.  Marguerite is the beautiful and notorious mistress of a high ranking German officer.  Armand is a young musician half her age who falls obsessively in love with her.  Their dangerous love story is played out against the background of Occupied Paris.


Prologue - August 25, 1944.

Armand carries Marguerite, who is wearing only a slip. The citizens of Paris attack her; she was once a well known lady of Paris society

Act I - March 3 1942.

It is Marguerite’s 40th birthday and she is having a party with her friends. Everyone is having fun and is happy to ignore the war as long as the bombs aren’t dropping on them, Let the World Turn. Georges, Marguerite’s old agent, turns up late and, in a frienldy manner, asks Marguerite to get her husband – Otto (a Nazi officer) – to get him some petrol coupons when he arrives. She agrees and Georges gives her a birthday present - a box full of silk stockings which causes a great stir of excitement among the ladies. As everyone is getting more and more merry, even dancing on the piano, Otto enters. He doesn't like this behaviour, but he lets it pass and gives Marguerite a new necklace for her birthday. Dinner is to be served and everyone goes to sit down as Gerges brings the band in. The band members are Armand, his sister Annette, her boyfriend Lucien and their friend Pierrot. Annette, Lucien and Pierrot are resistance members and Lucien objects to playing for a Nazi, but is persuaded to do so. Armand realises he has seen Marguerite sing years before, and that he was captivated. Marguerite is delighted to learn that they are a swing band and encourages everyone to leave the table and dance while Annette sings Jazz Time. Marguerite begins to flirt with all of the men, and loses her shoes with which they jovially taunt her. This enrages Otto who stops the music and begins to accuse Marguerite of being a whore. To calm the situation, Armand, starts to play her biggest hit, China Doll, which he and the guests persude her to sing.

An air raid siren sounds, but everyone ignores it since there haven’t been any bombs dropped on Paris yet. Suddenly bombs are heard, the room shakes and the lights dim. Everyone runs off to the shelter except Marguerite. Armand is the last to leave and encourages her to come to safety, but she says she is afraid of the dark. He talks about having seen her before and she tells him he is young and has a whole life ahead of him. He tells her that he can see that she is unhappy although she pretends not to be, and she carefully confesses that she does not love Otto. They move towards each other as if to kiss. Suddenly a bomb blows the French windows out and kills the electricity. In the resulting darkness Marguerite and Armand share a passionate kiss as the all-clear siren sounds. The guests return, shaken but unharmed, and as Armand leaves, he makes Marguerite promise to meet him at the bandstand the next day.

In her bedroom Marguerite reflects on her feelings towards Armand. Otto enters and tries to confess his love for her, but she just talks about Georges's petrol coupons. Otto becomes enraged and accuses her of being a whore and tells her that even if she doesn't love him, she is his. He threatens her but is upset when he sees himself and what he is doing.

As the band members walk home, they reflect on the changing state of Paris, while Armand sings of his new passion for Marguerite. At the bandstand a Nazi band is playing and the public join in. Armand waits for Marguerite but when she turns up she decides she cannot stay and tries to leave unnoticed. Armand sees her, but she says that this relationship can never happen and goes.

Lucien and Annette are at home listening to coded radio messages, when they hear that the French government is going to force Jews to wear an identifying mark. This worries Lucien as he is Jewish. Annette says she will speak to her resistance contact about getting out of Paris. Nobody knows where Armand has been for two days since the party. Pierrot turns up with various things that he has pinched from the party but this only worries Lucien more since it is food stolen from a Nazi. Armand turns up, he has been out wandering the streets and thinking of Marguerite, but claims not to care about her. However, Pierrot teases him and he gets angry and leaves. Pierrot gathers up his stolen goods and leaves too. He is stopped by police on his way home who search his bag and drag him away to be sent to a concentration camp.

Pierrot is dragged out of a crowd of gathered Jews to be tortured. He manages to buy his way out of trouble by giving the Nazis the name and address of a Jew – Lucien. However when they knock on his door, both Pierrot and Lucien manage to escape.

Annette has come to see Armand. She has train tickets and wants him to come along. Suddenly Lucien bursts in and explains the situation - he must leave Paris at once. Annette calms him telling him about the train tickets. Armand has still heard nothing from Marguerite since the bandstand, and he agrees to meet them at the train station that night. However, while he is packing his bag, Marguerite comes to his flat and they make love.

Annette and Lucien are at the railway station waiting for Armand. Annette explains she has to do something, but Lucien must go and she will join him later. Both couples sing their respective songs together as the curtain falls.

Act II

Marguerite and Otto meet in a park, whilst the crowd sing of change. Otto decides to have Marguerite followed. Annette meets Pierrot who tells her where to meet her resistance contact. She is angry about what he did to Lucien, but he tells her to worry about the current situation. Marguerite goes to see Armand. She tells him that she must go early because Otto has invited dinner guests. He becomes enraged and throws her love letters all over his flat as she leaves.

Annette meets her resistance contact. He gives her a briefcase full of documents and tells her to get them out of Paris. He says her brother, Armand, is a danger to her and himself since he is sleeping with a Nazi officer’s wife, and that she must on no account visit him. This only worries Annette. She decides she must see her brother, but arrives at the flat at the same time as Hermann. Armand has gone, but left the letters all over the floor, and when the Nazis look in Annette’s bag they find maps and other incriminating material so take her with them.

Otto is sitting in a darkened room with the love letters. Marguerite arrives home, and he confronts her with the letters. He tells her to break it off, and when she refuses Hermann brings in Annette, covered in cuts and bruises and Otto shows her an arrest warrant for Armand. She breaks down, and eventually, he promises to let Annette and Armand go if she writes a letter to Armand saying that she will never see him again, which she does, whilst hoping that he will understand she is not writing her own words. Once she has done it, he says he cannot let Annette go, as she is too dangerous, but he promises not to torture her any more. He tears up Armand's arrest warrant saying he is a man of his word.

Armand reads the letter and is distraught . Pierrot finds Armand and shows him that Lucien has returned since he has heard about Annette. Lucien is angry with Armand as he sees the affair with Marguerite as the cause of the Annette situation.

There is a big New Year's Eve party and the chanteuse sings. Marguerite is getting ready, but she doesn't want to go. Otto enters and tells her to keep up her end of the bargain - pretending to love him. She agrees to come, but, saying that she doesn't feel well, takes some pills first. Armand, Lucien and Pierrot plan to shoot Otto at the party and Armand insists that he be the one to pull the trigger. Lucien claims that he is too involved, but Armand says he no longer cares about Marguerite, and he is given the gun. The band members disguise themselves with masks. Armand manages to grab a few seconds with Marguerite and confesses that, though he thought he hated her, now he sees her he realises that he still loves her. He tells her Paris is no longer safe for her, but as she questions this, the midnight countdown begins. Armand pulls out the pistol, and as the fireworks ring in the new year, he shoots Otto dead. He and the band flee.

Marguerite visits Georges to ask him to help her find work as a singer, but he refuses to. He says they were never friends and that she was only good because of the company she kept and the things she could get him. He suggests that if she wanted work as a prostitute, he could get her some. She slaps him. Distraught, she leaves.

Paris is liberated and the French turn on the Nazi sympathisers. They attack Marguerite in her home, strip her and beat her and cut her hair off in clumps in a more violent rerun of the prologue. Armand, Annette, Lucien and Pierrot rush in and break up the mob. Armand sends Pierrot for a doctor. He says to Marguerite that Annette, who has now been released, has explained that the letter was written to protect him and his sister, and he forgives her. They confess their love for each other as she lies across his knees - but it is too late, and she dies in his arms. Pierrot returns saying that he cannot find a doctor, and Armand says it is ok, she is just sleeping. He picks her up and carries her off.


Musical Numbers

  1. Come One Come All – Ensemble
  2. Let the World Turn – Marguerite, Georges, Ensemble
  3. Jazz Time – Annette, Armand, Lucien, Pierrot, Ensemble
  4. China Doll – Marguerite
  5. The Face I See – Marguerite
  6. Time Was When – Lucien, Annette, Pierrot, Armand
  7. The World Begins Today – Ensemble
  8. Waiting – Armand, Marguerite
  9. Intoxication – Armand, Marguerite, Otto
  10. Day by Day (Part One) – Ensemble
  11. I Am Here – Marguerite, Armand
  12. Take Good Care of Yourself – Annette, Lucien
  13. Day by Day (Part Two) – Marguerite, Armand, OttoEnsemble
  14. Dreams Shining Dreams – Marguerite, Armand
  15. Take Good Care of Yourself (Reprise) – Annette
  16. I Hate the Very Thought of Women – Otto
  17. The Letter – Marguerite, Otto
  18. What’s Left of Love - Armand
  19. Day by Day (Part Three) – Ensemble
  20. How Did I Get to Where I Am? – Marguerite
  21. Day by Day (Part Four) – Ensemble
  22. Come One Come All (Reprise) – Ensemble
  23. Finale – Marguerite, Armand

Original London principal cast