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Cover to original cast recordingRomance, Romance

Two Musicals each in One Act. Book and lyrics by Barry Harman. Music by Keith Herrmann. Directed by Barry Harman.

Originally produced Off-Broadway - Actors Outlet Theatre, 30 October, 1987 (37 perfs) Opened 1 May 1988 at the Helen Hayes Theater and closed 15 January 1989 (297 perfs)

The Stories

The Little Comedy

Even though they have not as yet made each other's acquaintance, two worldly Viennese - the rich, unattached and reasonably handsome Alfred Von Wilmers and the elegant demi-mondaine Josefine Weniger - known as Pepi - set the proper mood of playful cynicism as they sing the title song together. Both then relate their romantic adventure through letters they are writing to friends - he to Theodore, she to Helene - which begin with their mutual admission of total boredom. First, Alfred will try something different by accompanying friends to an amusement park and mix with the rabble, and Pepi will end her relationship with her current lover, Emil. After Alfred's night on the town finds him no less jaded than before, both he and Pepi express their desperate longing for genuine romantic fulfillment.

By coincidence, Alfred and Pepi come up with the same plan: they will masquerade as members of the bourgeoisie with the hope of finding someone who will love them for their true selves. And, of course, they meet. And, of course, they are instantly smitten. Alfred passes himself off as a struggling poet and Pepi reveals that she is a seamstress in a millinery shop, a deception that leaves them both smugly pleased. Now convinced that destiny has brought them together, they gaily spend night after night dancing the polka to the band in the park. Alfred confides to Theodore that he is so happy he could cry, even though he has the uneasy feeling that what Pepi finds most attractive in him is his poverty

In an attempt to keep their romance blooming as long as possible, the couple decides to spend a week together at a provincial retreat and Pepi is ecstatic at the idea - though she, like Alfred, realises that their affair cannot go on indefinitely. They discover the Rustic Country Inn to be just as charming as they had hoped - but they hadn't counted on it being so dismally boring or that the wine would be undrinkable and the food inedible. To make matters worse, there is a sudden rainstorm. In desperation, Alfred tells Pepi he has had a dream that his mother needs him and he must return to Vienna at once.

Back in the city, Alfred writes to Theodore that he must end the masquerade and confess everything to Pepi. Pepi too feels that the time has come for a full disclosure, and she writes to Helene that the affair will soon be over. Wearing formal dress, the lovers meet and quickly realise what the other has been up to. Both are happily relieved to see the end of what Alfred acknowledges has been operetta, pure operetta. Now with the truth revealed and the dream destroyed, they make plans to go off together to Dieppe - and even admit that they still love each other a little.

Summer Share

A musical prologue propels us into the modern era. Two contemporary couples, Sam and Barb and Lenny and Monica decide to escape the frenetic pressures of Manhattan by sharing weekends at a beach house in the Hamptons. An intriguing aspect of the relationship is that Sam and Monica have been each other's best friend for some thirteen years.

One night in August - at 2:30 a.m. to be precise - Sam and Monica are alone, indulging in their favourite pastime: talking about their friendship and their marriages. Their spouses are fast asleep, but very much in evidence - in spirit. Ghost-like marital consciences, Barb and Lenny comment on the sexual undercurrents implicit in Sam and Monica's relationship.

Infidelity seems to be the topic of the evening. While Sam and Monica have both remained faithful, they each admit to having very active fantasy lives. Monica relishes the thought of revenging herself on Lenny should he ever stray and Sam hints at the sterility in his marriage to Barb, who refuses even to consider the possibility of his cheating. While Sam and Monica profess to be very satisfied in their choice of spouses Barb and Lenny, commenting from the sidelines, know better. And they fear this discussion is leading Sam and Monica into dangerous waters.

Temporarily alone, Monica pours out her feelings for Sam. When he returns, Sam confronts her about the emptiness he detects in her marriage admitting he feels the same void in his own marriage. Still protesting their faithfulness, Monica and Sam visualise their diamond wedding anniversaries, while Barb and Lenny, as two doddering ancients, emerge to perform a geriatric song and dance. But self-restraint cannot continue much longer. Sam and Monica kiss spontaneously and passionately, and Sam gently entreats her to consider an affair. Realising that they must seize the moment the two drive off to Montauk - only to return guilt-ridden in a matter of minutes. Fearing their friendship will never again be the same, Monica insists they call a halt to their fantasies. But Sam demurs. He can not face living in a world without his Romantic Notions a sentiment in which all three others join - even while expressing their resignation to accepting life as it is.

Stanley Green - (Author, Broadway Musicals Show By Show)

Synopsis of scenes and musical numbers

ACT 1: The Little Comedy
Based on the short story by Arthur Schnitzler (as translated by George Edward Reynolds).

CAST: Alfred von Wilmers; Josefine Weninger; Him; Her

The action takes place in Vienna at the turn of the century.

Musical Numbers Act 1

  1. The Little Comedy - Alfred, Josefine
  2. Goodbye, Emil - Josefine
  3. It's Not Too Late - Alfred, Josefine
  4. Great News - Alfred, Josefine
  5. Oh, What a Performance! - Alfred, Josefine
  6. I'll Always Remember the Song - Alfred, Josefine
  7. Happy, Happy, Happy - Alfred
  8. Women of Vienna - Alfred
  9. Yes, It's Love - Josefine
  10. A Rustic Country Inn - Alfred, Josefine
  11. The Night It Had to End - Josefine
  12. The Little Comedy (Finale) - Alfred, Josefine

ACT 2: Summer Share
Based on the play Pain de Ménage by Jules Renard (as translated by Max Gulack).

CAST: Lenny; Barb; Sam; Monica

The action takes place in the Hamptons during August of the current year.

Musical Numbers Act 2

  1. Summer Share - All
  2. Think of the Odds - Barb, Lenny
  3. It's Not Too Late (reprise) - Sam, Monica
  4. Plans A & B - Monica, Lenny
  5. Let's Not Talk About It - Sam, Barb
  6. So Glad I Married Her - All
  7. Small Craft Warnings - Barb, Lenny
  8. How Did I End Up Here? - Monica
  9. Words He Doesn't Say - Sam
  10. My Love for You - Lenny, Barb
  11. Moonlight Passing Through a Window - Sam
  12. Now - Monica
  13. Romantic Notions - Sam, Barb, Lenny, Monica
  14. Romance, Romance - All


Original Broadway Cast Recording - TER CDTER 1161