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New adaptation of film by Jacques Demy and Michel Legrand

Gielgud Theatre, London - 22md March, 2011



Madame Emery and her 17-year-old daughter Geneviève sell umbrellas at their tiny boutique in the coastal town of Cherbourg in Normandy, France. Geneviève is in love with 20-year-old Guy, a handsome, young auto mechanic who lives with and cares for his sickly aunt, godmother Elise, and her quiet, dedicated, young care-giver, Madeleine, who clearly loves Guy. Subsequently, Guy is drafted, and must leave for a two-year tour of duty in the Algerian War. The night before he leaves, he and Geneviève make love and she becomes pregnant. After he leaves, though, she feels abandoned, as he does not write very frequently. At her mother's insistence, she marries thirty-ish Roland Cassard, a quiet, handsome Parisian jeweler who falls in love with Geneviève and is willing to wed her though she is carrying another man's child. (Cassard had previously wooed the title character in Lola, only to be rejected once the father of her child returned—he relates an edited version of this story to Madame Emery with ill-concealed bitterness). The society wedding in a great cathedral shows Geneviève's upward social and economic mobility, but she does not seem at all happy with her situation; she clearly feels trapped.

When Guy returns from the war with a leg injury, he learns that Geneviève has married and left Cherbourg, and that the umbrella store has been closed. He attempts to ease back into his previous life, but becomes rebellious due both to the war and to the loss of Geneviève. One day, Guy quits his job after an argument with his boss, and spends a night and a day drinking excessively in seedy port bars. He then has a tryst with a seedy prostitute named Jenny, whose real name turns out to be also Geneviève. When he returns to his apartment, Madeleine tells him tearfully that his godmother has died. He sees that Madeleine loves him, and cleans up his life with her encouragement. With an inheritance from his aunt, he is able to finance a new "American-style" Esso gas station. He asks Madeleine to marry him, and she accepts, though she wonders if he is asking her from despair at Geneviève's actions.

The coda is set in December 1963, approximately six years after the earliest events. Guy is now managing the couple's Esso station. He's with his now upbeat and loving wife Madeleine and their little son François. It is Christmas Eve. Madeleine and François go for a short walk, leaving Guy briefly, after which a new Mercedes pulls in to the station. The mink-clad driver turns out to be a sophisticated and visibly well-off Geneviève, accompanied by her (and Guy's) daughter Françoise, who remains in the car. At first shocked to see each other, they go inside the station to talk. Geneviève explains this is the first time she has been to Cherbourg since her marriage, and she is only in town on a detour to Paris after picking her daughter up from Cassard's mother in Anjou. Her fairly young mother is now dead. Her rich husband and child are the only family she has left; she has no children by Cassard. The two converse while Geneviève's car is being filled with gas, and Geneviève asks Guy if he wants to meet their daughter. Without comment, and little reflection, he asks her to leave. As the film ends, Guy greets his wife with a kiss and plays with his son.

New stage musical adaptation

It's 1957 and we are in the French port of Cherbourg . Jazz, sailors and vin rouge dance deliciously in the air, and l'amour laps against the shores of the heart! Boy (young auto mechanic Guy Fouchier) loves girl (umbrella shop sales assistant Geneviève Emery). They whisper "je t'aime" with the certainty of youth, but when war comes between them, Geneviève has to choose between waiting for her homespun hero or plumping for the dashing diamond dealer asking for her hand... quel dilemme! Oh, and did we mention the baby that's on its way? Zut alors!


Musical Numbers

  1. Ouverture - Scene du Garage

Premiere Rencontre

  1. Tante Elise
  2. Devant Le Magasin
  3. Au Dancing
  4. Sur le Quail
  5. Dans le Magasin de Parapluies
  6. Chez Dubourg, le Joaillier
  7. Dans le Magasin
  8. Arrivée de Cassard 2'10
  9. Duo Geneviève-Guy
  10. Chez Elise

A l'appartement

  1. Les adieux á Elise
  2. La Gare - Guy s'en va


  1. Dans le Magasin
  2. Le Diner
  3. Recit de Cassard
  4. La lettre de Guy
  5. Carnaval
  6. Le mariage

Le retour

  1. Chez Elise
  2. Le garage - dispute
  3. Guy au Café
  4. La boîte á matelots
  5. Duo Guy-Madeleine
  6. La terrasse du Café
  7. La station service