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Cover to original cast recordingWhoop-Up

A Musical Comedy in Two Acts. Book by Cy Feuer, Ernest H. Martin and Dan Cushman. Based on the novel Stay Away, Joe by Dan Cushmman. Music by Moose Charlap. Lyrics by Norman Gimbel.

Opened 22 December 1958 at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre and closed 7 February 1959 after 56 performances.



Whoop-Up opens at Glenda's Place, a roadhouse built half-on/half-off a government-owned Indian reservation at Big Springs, Montana. Glenda Swenson, the proprietress, is busy policing the customers, making sure that the Indians don't carry alcoholic beverages into the half of the bar-room situated on the reservation (marked by a white line running down the middle of the room). Despite her hard no-booze-on-the-reservation policy, the customers, led by Walt Stephenpierre, celebrate their "home sweet home away from home".

Glenda accepts a collect telegram from Joe Champlain, her on-again, off-again Indian boyfriend, informing her of his impending return: After two years on the rodeo circuit, he'll meet her at the Chief Rocky Boy ceremony that night. Glenda arranges for Joe's sister and parents to attend, then tells how only her big guy can melt her usually icy demeanor.

Joe's parents, Louis and Annie, and his sister, Mary, are ushered in and told of Joe's homecoming. Annie is dismayed that Joe has wired Glenda's Place, blaming the barmaid for his occasional inebriation. Glenda departs for the beauty salon to prepare for Joe, and Mary asks permission to bring a white boy to the ceremony and dance. Annie doesn't like her children to associate with non-Indians and leaves after arguing with her more liberal husband. The other Indians tease Louis about his domineering squaw, but Louis tells how things will change once big Joe gets back.

Over at Kellenbach Motors, salesman Clyde Walschmidt bemoans his failure to sell the new 1959 Buick Electra that Kellenbach wants off the lot: No one in Big Springs can afford it. The pumpboy, George Potter, interrupts to say he might have a customer for the oversized car. Despite the others' pessimism, George's enthusiasm persuades them to let him have the car overnight. He takes the keys and a blank sales contract and goes off.

In the reservation assembly hall, a Medicine Man leads the Indians in a commemoration of the founding of their reservation by "Chief Rocky Boy." Joe, in full rodeo star regalia, is greeted by the Indians and his family, and teases his sister about her infatuation with her date, George Potter. When Joe mentions his broken-down Cadillac, George gives a well-rehearsed sales pitch for the Electra. Billie Mae Littlehorse, an "abundantly endowed" visitor from another reservation, is introduced to Joe and, when George accepts the Cadillac as down-payment, Joe enjoys a demonstration of both the Buick and Billie Mae.

Outside, Glenda pulls up on her motorcycle, dolled-up for her reunion with Joe. Jiggs Rock Medicine cautiously tells her that Joe's already come and gone, but no one except Joe's Gran'Pere will tell her how and why. Glenda then declares her new philosophy about men.

The next morning, Kellenbach gloats as George dictates the terms of his sale. But when he gets to Joe's address - the Rocky Boy Reservation - Kellenbach tears up the order. He won't sell to an Indian on credit and when he learns that the car is already in Joe's hands he fires George. At first George accuses Kellenbach of being unfair to the Indians, then changes tactics and convinces the boss of the untapped sales potential on the reservation. Kellenbach reconsiders and phones the bank for a credit history on Joe. The sole teller, Mary Champlain, gives a rosy financial picture of her brother and the Indians in general. Embracing George's concept, Kellenbach and Walschmidt decide to case the Indian community in order to exploit the new-found market and personally assess possible credit risks. After he agrees to arrange for the salesmen to meet Joe, George phones Mary with news of his anticipated promotion and makes a date for that evening. Mary is smitten with her soon-to-be V.I.P.

Back at Glenda's Place, Billie Mae seductively interprets the latest jukebox hit. Clearly for Glenda's benefit, she shows off a souvenir - the solid gold belt buckle Joe won in the rodeo - which she received last night (along with promise of the Buick). Glenda drives Billie Mae out of the bar just as Joe slinks in, saying car trouble held him up and inventing another telegram that instructed Glenda not to meet him. Glenda says she never went to meet him in the first place: She wrote him off the day he proposed, went to change his shirt, and disappeared for two years. Joe tries to soothe her and Glenda tries to keep from falling for his flattery.

She's brought back to reality when Joe can't come up with six bucks for a round of drinks and asks for credit. Glenda wants to see the gold belt buckle he's offered as collateral. Joe submits a set of headlights from the Electra instead. Glenda takes the lamps in lieu of the money and, before he knows it, tells the customers that Joe is buying another round. At the same time, Glenda has Rock Medicine lift more lights and a bumper from the Electra as payment for the whisky dispensed by Joe. While Glenda distracts Joe by making him dance with her, the Indians progressively dismantle the car, applying each piece against the cost of the booze Glenda and Joe quaff down. Soon, every removable part of the car is behind the bar. Only slightly less drunk than she, Joe vows his undying love for Glenda, who promptly announces closing time. When she passes out, Joe lays Glenda on the bar with his jacket as a makeshift pillow. Billie Mae appears, sizes things up, and lures Joe away.

After their date, George tells Mary that he's contrived an invitation for himself and Mr. and Mrs. Kellenbach to meet Mary's family at their ranch on the reservation. Furious that George has butted into her family life without first consulting her, Mary argues that the Indians should not be made to prove themselves. George urges her to be proud of her heritage.

Annie Champlain is flustered over the Kellenbachs' visit: She's bought Gran'Pere a new suit (shoes, too), and has put a lamp on the porch even though there's no electricity. Only as the guests arrive does Annie catch sight of Billie Mae and Joe, who have spent the night in Gran'Pere's teepee, and she tries desperately to keep Louis from taking the Kellenbachs inside. During some strained small talk, a neighbour approaches to request payment of a thirty dollar loan. Kellenbach worries when Louis confesses that he spent all but his last cent to fix up the ranch in honor of the white man's visit.

The hungover Glenda enters with Joe's jacket, looking for her man and her missing motorcycle. Kellenbach begins to suspect that Joe is broke and, to stop his questions, Louis steers him into the teepee. Billie Mae, in bra and half-slip, and Joe sneak out, but not before Kellenbach sees them. When the duo escape on her motorcycle, Glenda gives chase firing a shotgun and Mrs. Kellenbach faints. Once his wife has been revived, Kellenbach storms out, demanding the immediate return of the Buick. Louis attributes Joe's recklessness to the white blood in him.


Thrown out by his mother, Joe runs up a tab in the hotel where Mary lives. He mails a letter to the government to get back at Glenda. George comes after the Buick, hinting that Kellenbach won't do business with Indians. Mary sends him away, promising he'll have the car in half an hour. Joe pleads innocent, blaming everything on other people, mostly Glenda ("I Wash My Hands"), but when Mary finds out what happened to the Electra, she tearfully checks out of the hotel, quits her job, and moves back to the ranch. Joe makes a mysterious call to the county surveyor. Gun-slinging Glenda shows up, yields her rifle, and warns Joe to stay away from her. Her tirade becomes a full scale quarrel when Joe, Stephenpierre, and the hotel proprietor join in.

Annie scolds Mary when the girl says she's come home to whoop it up like the rest of the tribe. With herself as an example, Annie begs her daughter not to feel sorry for herself.

Kellenbach, Walschmidt, and George spy on Glenda's Place, waiting to steal back the car. George threatens to quit if Kellenbach does not stop his Indian innuendos. When he sees Mary, George bolts away. Outside Glenda's, women are "roped" by lariat-wielding cowboys in a wild dance and George bursts in just as Mary is about to be tied. When she tells him that white men and Indians don't mix, George begs to talk to Mary and gets five minutes. He manages to blurt out that he is in love with her. As the whoop-up resumes, Joe is seen in his new habitat: The skeleton of the Buick, complete with stove, chimney, and clothesline. Glenda orders Joe thrown off her property, but he produces a document from the county surveyor stating that his spread is on the reservation. Louis and Annie go into the bar after Mary. To avoid the family argument, Glenda joins George on the steps where they plan their getaways, he to Los Angeles, she to Pittsburgh. Kellenbach realizes that the Electra has been dismantled and threatens to sue Joe if he doesn't pay. Gran'Pere suggests trial in the old Indian way: Tie him to a post surrounded by fire; if he is truly innocent, Great Spirit will send a sign. Joe volunteers in order to show he's part of the tribe. Unwilling to witness such barbarism, Kellenbach drops the charges, but Gran'Pere claims only Great Spirit can decide, then ignites the fire. Hidden by the smoke, Glenda supervises the return of the automobile parts. When the smoke clears, the parts are revealed and Gran'Pere interprets it as a sign of Joe's innocence. Joe is reunited with Glenda, and Kellenbach with his Buick.

On the Montana State Highway, troopers pull over a Greyhound bus and seize one of its passengers: George Potter.

Glenda and Joe exchange "I do's" and Glenda's Place opens under new management. Kellenbach needs Joe to sign a release for the car, but Joe now intends to buy it as a wedding present for his wife. When Kellenbach still refuses credit to the Indian, Mary intercedes, daring him to extend a little human credit and not judge all Indians by her brother. The troopers bring George to Kellenbach who entrusts him to Mary who has accepted the boy's proposal. Kellenbach is made a blood brother
- Big Mouth Thunder Talker - by Gran'Pere. Suddenly, two strangers approach and arrest Joe. The authorities had an anonymous tip that Glenda's Place sold liquor on a government reservation.
Joe's plan to get even with Glenda has backfired in a big way. Or has it? As Joe is carried off grinning, Glenda reprises "Men," but is cut off by the falling curtain.


(in order of appearance):

Glenda Swenson
Jiggs Rock Medicine
Walt Stephenpierre
Dub Winter Owl
Bix Winter Owl
Louis Champlain
Annie Champlain
Mary Champlain
Matthew Bearchaser
Karl Kellenbach
Clyde Walschmidt
George Potter
Medicine Man
Joe Champlain

Marlene Standing Rattle
Billie Mae Littlehorse
Juke Box Voice
Mrs. Kellenbach
Baptiste Three Bird
Hotel Proprietor
State Trooper
Justice of the Peace
First Stranger
Second Stranger

Reservation Residents

Scenes and Settings:

The action takes place on or near a United States Indian reservation in northern Montana at the present time.

Musical Numbers:

  1. Glenda's Place - Glenda, Indians
  2. When the Tall Man Talks - Glenda
  3. Nobody Throw Those Bull - Louis, Indians
  4. Rocky Boy Ceremonial (Chief Rocky Boy) - Matthew, Members of the Tribe
  5. Love Eyes - Joe
  6. Men - Glenda
  7. Never Before - Mary
  8. Caress Me, Possess Me Perfume - Bix Winter Owl
  9. Flattery - Joe, Glenda
  10. The Girl in His Arms - Bix Winter Owl
  11. The Best of What This Country's Got - George
  12. I Wash My Hands - Joe, Mary, Jiggs Rock Medicine, Walt Stephenpierre
  13. Quarrel-tet - Glenda, Joe, Hotel Proprietor, Walt Stephenpierre
  14. Sorry for Myself - Annie
  15. 'Til the Big Fat Moon Falls Down - Mary, Billie Mae Littlehorse, Friends
  16. What I Mean to Say - George
  17. Montana - Glenda
  18. She or Her - Joe


Original Cast Recording - Polydor 837 196-2