A Musical Comedy in 2 Acts, 12 Scenes. Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin; Book by Robert E. Sherwood. Directed by Moss Hart. Dances and musical numbers staged by Jerome Robbins.
Imperial Theatre, New York - 15 July, 1949 to 8 April, 1950 (308 perfs)
The flimsy story devised by Sherwood was conveniently built around the presentation of the Statue of Liberty to the American people by the people of France. In researching the material for the show, Sherwood had discovered that after it had been shipped to New York in 1885, the statue lay in pieces on the dock for lack of money to assemble it. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, whose World was a major paper at the time, organised a subscription to raise the necessary funds. In the librettist's treatment, James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald, takes umbrage at his rival's circulation-boosting campaign, with the conflict leading to an all-out publishing war between the two papers.
As the curtain rises, photographers set up their equipment for the ceremony at which the mayor of New York City will receive Joseph Pulitzer's cheque to build the base for the statue. As reporters also begin to gather, Maisie Dell, a writer at The Police Gazette, tells Horace Miller, a Herald man, how to take photographs that will please the public—and herself. The ceremony gets underway, and the mayor accepts the cheque. But later, Commodore Bennett discovers that Horace, instead of photographing the ceremony, has taken shots of the packing cases containing the statue and promptly fires him.
At first, Horace wants to go back home, but Maisie succeeds in convincing him otherwise. At her instigation, he decides to go to Paris to discover the girl who originally posed for the statue, thus gaining an exclusive and perhaps being reinstated in Bennett's esteem.
In Paris, the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi is starting a new project for which he is interviewing would-be models, among them Monique Dupont, a dancer. She assumes the pose of the Statue of Liberty, just as Horace arrives. Thinking that she is the original model (in fact, it was Bartholdi's mother who posed for the statue), Horace takes her picture and sends Maisie a wire, informing her that he has found the original Miss Liberty. Monique, who lives under a bridge with The Countess, her disreputable old grandmother, then invites Horace to take an inexpensive tour of Paris.
In New York, meanwhile, Maisie presents Horace's coup to Bennett, who agrees to sponsor Miss Liberty 's American tour and offers Maisie a job with the Herald. But her mind is on Horace, and she refuses.
Back in Paris, Monique dances joyously while a lamplighter sings
about the fabulous city. Horace arrives
with the news that he is to take her to America, and Monique, who
does not know that he believes her to be the model for the
statue, is overjoyed. The Countess shows her approval of Horace by telling him about French customs, and as the first act comes to a close, Horace declares his love for Monique.
As the second act begins, Horace, Monique and the Countess arrive in New York to great acclaim from the populace. Monique is horrified to discover that she is supposed to be Miss Liberty, but agrees to the deception to protect Horace. Maisie is disturbed by the evident affection between Horace and Monique, and, when Monique returns from a nerve-wracking tour, Maisie steals into her hotel room to have a chat with her. Each girl is so impressed by the other's honesty that together they make a joint renunciation.
Meanwhile, Bartholdi has arrived in the U.S. and reveals the deception of which Bennett has been a victim. To escape Bennett's wrath, Horace and Monique run off into the night. As they pass Walhalla Hall where the Policemen's Ball is underway, Maisie, who is selling tickets for the ball and who understands now that she has lost Horace for good, suggests that they hide inside. At the ball, Monique sheds her dignified pose as Miss Liberty and captivates the crowd with her dancing, but as the ball ends, Bennett arrives and has her placed under arrest, along with Horace and the Countess. Maisie, left alone, sings of her lost love.
The following day, as the Countess and Monique wait at Castle Garden to be deported back to France for their deception, Horace enters with the happy news that Pulitzer has arranged for their release and has offered him a job. Monique, inspired by her experiences in America, sings Emma Lazarus's poem.
Didier C. Deutsch July 1991
Production and Original Cast credits
Settings and lighting by Oliver Smith. Costumes by Motley. Musical director, Jay Blackton. Orchestrations by Don Walker. Dance arrangements, Genevieve Pitot. Vocal arrangements by Jay Blackton. Piano arrangements, Helmy Kresa. Produced by Irving Berlin, Robert E. Sherwood and Moss Hart.
CAST (in order of appearance):
Maisie Dell: MARY McCARTY.
The Herald Reader: Rowan Tudor.
James Gordon Bennett: CHARLES DINGLE.
Horace Miller: EDDIE ALBERT.
Police Captain: Evans Thornton.
The Mayor: Donald McClelland.
French Ambassador: Emile Renan.
Carthwright: Sid Lawson.
Joseph Pulitzer: PHILIP BOURNEUF.
The Sharks: Bill Bradley, Allen Knowles, Kazimir Kokic, Robert Pagent.
Bartholdi: HERBERT BERGHOF.
The Models: Stephanie Augustine, Trudy DeLuz, Marilyn Frechette.
Monique Dupont: ALLYN McLERIE.
The Boy: TOMMY BALL.
The Girl: Maria Karnilova.
'Die Acrobats: Virginia Cowell, Joe Milan, Eddie Phillips.
Strong Man: Kazimir Kokic.
The Countess: ETHEL GRIFFIES.
A Lover: Ed Chappel.
His Girl: Helene Whitney.
A Gendarme: Rober Penn.
A Lamplighter: Johnny V.R. Thompson.
Another Lamplighter: TOMMY RALL.
A Socialite: Marilyn Frechette.
An Actress: Helene Whitney.
A Minister: Ed Chappel.
An Admiral: Robert Patterson.
The Boys: Bob Kryl, Ernest Laird.
The Mother: Elizabeth Watts.
The Policeman: Evans Thornton.
The Brothers: Lewis Bolyard, David Collyer.
The Train: Eddie Phillips, Erik Kristen, Joseph Milan.
Reception Delegation: Dolores Goodman, Virginia Conwell, Fred Hearn, Bob Tucker, Allen Knowles.
A Maid: Gloria Patrice.
The Dandy: TOMMY RALL.
Ruby: Maria Karnilova.
A Sailor: Eddie Phillips.
His Girl: Dolores Goodman.
Richard K.Fox: Donald McClelland.
The Judge: Erik Kristen.
A Policeman: Robert Patterson.
Immigration Officer: Evans Thornton.
A Boy: William Calhoun.
Singers: Stephanie Augustine, Irene Carroll, Trudy DeLuz, Marilyn Frechette, Estelle Gardner, Norma Larkin, Yolanda Renay, Helene Whitney. Lewis Bolyard, Ed Chappel, David Collyer, Billy Hogue, Sid Lawson, Robert Patterson, Robert Penn, John Sheehan, Evans Thornton.
Dancers: Virginia Conwell, Coy Dare, Norma Doggett, Dolores Goodman, Patricia Hammerlee, Norma Kaiser, Gloria Patrice, Janice Rule, Tiny Shimp. Bill Bradley, Fred Hearn (Captain), Allen Knowles, Kazimir Kokic, Erik Kristen, Joe Milan, Robert Pagent, Eddie Phillips, Bob Tucker.
Newsboys: William Calhoun, Ronald Kane, Bob Kryl, Ernest Laird, Kevin Mathews, Rusty Slocum.
- Extra, Extra - Newsboys, Ensemble
- What Do I Have to Do to Get My Picture Took? - Maisie Dell, Horace Miller, Dancers
- The Most Expensive Statue in the World - Joseph Pulitzer, James Gordon Bennett, The Mayor, Singers, Dancers
- A Little Fish in a Big Pond - Horace Miller, Maisie Dell, The Sharks
- Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk - Horace Miller, Monique Dupont, Singers, Dancers
- Homework - Maisie Dell
- Paris Wakes Up and Smiles - Lamplighter, Monique Dupont, Ensemble
- Only for Americans - Countess, Horace Miller, Singers, Dancers
- Just One Way to Say I Love You - Horace Miller, Monique Dupont
- Miss Liberty - Entire Company
- The Train (Dance Arrangement by Trulli Rittman.) - Monique Dupont, Joe Milan, Eddie Phillips,
- You Can Have Him Maisie Dell, Monique Dupont
- The Policeman's Ball - Maisie Dell, Ensemble
- Homework (reprise) Maisie Dell
- Follow the Leader Jig - Ensemble
- Me and My Bundle - Horace Miller, Monique Dupont, Company
- Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun - Maisie Dell
- Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor (Lyric by Emma Lazarus from the poem The New Colossus.) - Monique Dupont, Singers
Scenes and Settings
- Scene 1: Printing House Square.
- Scene 2: Bartholdi's Studio in Paris.
- Scene 3: Bennett's Office.
- Scene 4: Under a Paris Bridge.
- Scene 1: Cabin on the RMS Aurania.
- Scene 2: The Waterfront.
- Scene 3: North River Dock.
- Scene 4: On Tour.
- Scene 5: Salon in the Fifth Avenue Hotel.
- Scene 6: Walhalla Hall. (The Policeman's Ball)
- Scene 7: Castle Garden.
- Scene 8: Finale.
Reed 1 (piccolo, flute, clarinet, alto sax), Reed II (oboe [optional], clarinet, alto sax), Reed III (flute [optional], oboe, cor anglais, clarinet, tenor sax), Reed IV (flute, clarinet, tenor sax), Reed V (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone sax, bassoon), 3 trumpets, horn, 2 trombones, 2 percussion, harp, piano, 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, bass