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Cover to original Broadway cast recording

The Most Happy Fella

a musical in 3 acts, 11 scenes by Frank Loesser based on They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard.

Imperial Theatre, New York, 3 May 1956; transferred to the Broadway Theatre, 21 October, 1957 (total 678 perfs)
London Coliseum, 21 April 1960

The heart-warming story of the ageing, shy and self-deprecating Italian fruit grower Tony, living in California, and the San Francisco waitress Rosabella, who he courts by post and, during his convalescence after a car accident, wins through his sincerity. The show is a jewel


Act I

At closing time in a San Francisco restaurant, waitress Rosabella finds an amethyst tie-pin with a love letter in broken English. Signed 'Tony', it begs her to send a postcard to his vineyard in Napa Valley. Ignoring the advice of her workmate Cleo, and longing for romance, she decides to reply (Somebody, Somewhere).

In Napa, the townsfolk are delighted for Tony when the mail brings him a photograph of Rosabella (The Most Happy Fella - none more so than happy-go-lucky Herman who can only watch the girls go by (Standing on the Corner). Fearful of losing Rosabella, the ageing Tony secretly sends her a photograph of his departing Foreman, the handsome young Joe, and despite recriminations from his sister Marie, a proposal of marriage.

As the welcoming party gets under way (Spozalizio) Tony finds Joe is staying for the wedding. Panic-stricken, he crashes the truck on his way to meet Rosabella, who arrives at the ranch with the Postman; from the photograph, meeting Joe, she assumes him to be Tony. Humiliated when she discovers her mistake, she is prevented from leaving when Tony is carried in, near to death. In a confused moment of compassion for Tony and anger against Joe, Rosabella agrees to an immediate ceremony and then, in a conflict of emotions, succumbs to Joe's advances. 

Act II

A week later, Joe and Rosabella stare at each other across the vineyard, their momentary passion cold and dead. Tony, recovering but confined to a wheelchair, takes his impatience out on the Doctor, who prescribes love and kindness from a good-looking nurse. He coaxes Rosabella into pushing Tony's chair and they start getting to know each other (Happy To Make YOur Acquaintance). Rosabella is thrilled by Cleo's arrival and touched by Tony's kindness in sending for her. Cleo finds a soulmate in Herman when they discover that they both come from Dallas (Big D).

Soon Tony is learning to walk again; Rosabella grows to love him, but, painfully aware of their age difference, he treats her as an adored child. When Rosabella finally declares her feelings, Tony's world is complete (My Heart is so Full of You). He proclaims the news and Rosabella is swept into a vigorous dance. She faints; Tony readily believes the evasive doctor that she is just dizzy from excitement - but as he sings of his joy in his beautiful bride, a distraught Rosabella tells Cleo that she is to have a baby. 


As the people gather in Tony's barn to celebrate, Cleo has her own problems in getting Herman to declare his intentions. Tony and Rosabella are finally left alone; she tells him the awful truth and leaves with Cleo. The stunned Tony flies into a rage when he learns that Joe is also going, and, believing they are leaving together, takes Pasquale's pistol and limps to the station seeking revenge. Finding Joe gone and Rosabella waiting desolately for the bus, he relents. With some spirited assistance from Cleo and Herman in resisting Marie's hysterical pleas to let Rosabella go, Tony finally persuades her to come home with him and pretend the bambino is his.


14 Male, 4 Female. Townspeople Chorus.


A Little Girl, An Even Littler Boy, Two Truck Drivers, Brakeman, Busdriver, Waitresses, Customers, Townspeople, Ranch Workers and Neighbours

Scenes and Settings:

Act 1

Act 2

Act 3

Musical Numbers:

  1. Ooh! My Feet! - Cleo
  2. I Know How It Is - Rosabella, Cleo
  3. Seven Million Crumbs - Cleo
  4. I Don't Know (The Letter) - Rosabella
  5. Maybe He's Kind of Crazy - Cleo
  6. Somebody, Somewhere - Rosabella
  7. The Most Happy Fella - Tony, Company
  8. A Long Time Ago - Marie, Tony
  9. Standing on the Corner - Herman, Jake, Clem, Al
  10. Joey, Joey, Joey - Joe
  11. Soon You Gonna Leave Me, Joe - Tony
  12. Rosabella - Tony
  13. Abbondanza - Pasquale, Giuseppe, Jake
  14. Plenty Bambini - Tony
  15. Sposalizio - Giuseppe, Jake, Pasquale, Ensemble
  16. Special Delivery! (I Seen Her at the Station) - Postman
  17. Benvenuta - Pasquale, Jake, Giuseppe
  18. Aren't You Glad? - Rosabella
  19. No Home, No Job - Rosabella
  20. Don't Cry - Joe
  21. Fresno Beauties/Cold and Dead - Ensemble, Joe, Rosabella
  22. Love and Kindness - The Doctor
  1. Happy to Make Your Acquaintance - Tony, Rosabella, Cleo
  2. I Don't Like This Dame - Marie, Cleo
  3. Big D - Herman, Cleo, Ensemble
  4. How Beautiful the Days - Tony, Rosabella, Joe
  5. Young People - Marie, Tony, Ensemble
  6. Warm All Over - Rosabella
  7. Old People Gotta - Tony
  8. I Like Everybody - Herman, Cleo
  9. I Love Him/I Know How It Is - Rosabella, Cleo
  10. Like a Woman Loves a Man - Rosabella, Tony
  11. My Heart Is So Full of You - Tony, Rosabella
  12. Hoedown - Tony, Rosabella, Ensemble
  13. Mamma, Mamma - Tony
  14. Abbondanza" (reprise) - Pasquale, Giuseppe, Jake
  15. Goodbye, Darlin'/I Like Everybody (reprise) - Cleo, Herman
  16. Song of a Summer Night - The Doctor, Ensemble
  17. Please Let Me Tell You - Rosabella
  18. Tell Tony and Rosabella Goodbye for Me (Tony's Thoughts) - Joe
  19. She Gonna Come Home Wit' Me - Tony
  20. Nobody's Ever Gonna Love You - Marie, Tony, Cleo
  21. I Made a Fist - Cleo, Herman
  22. Finale - Tony, Rosabella, Ensemble



Original Broadway Cast Recording- Columbia O3L-240