Shows B

after trying to find Pompom and sadly reports that the cat has run off. A few weeks later in the village square Genevieve encounters Dominique again. She tries to ignore his advances reminding him she's a happily married woman. He sings "Proud Lady" and predicts they are destined for one another and that someday she will be his. Outside the cafe, the villagers gather again, still arguing, still gossiping, still teasing one another. The baker and his wife arrive and sit at a table as Antoine teases them about the difference in their ages, inferring that Aimable may be able to produce a splendid croissant, but can he produce offspring? Dominique barges in and comes to the couple's defence hitting Antoine for the insulting remark. Genevieve is irritated by Dominique's interference and leaves. Only the men of the town are left at the cafe and they sing "Look For The Woman" placing all the blame on the fairer sex for a man's quarreling and brawling nature. Later that evening we see several couples (the baker and his wife; the cafe owner and his wife) as they prepare for bed. In the town square is Dominique with his pal Philippe. Together, but separately, the three pairs reprise "Chanson" and segue into "Serenade." Dominique sings the praises of the baker for bringing his "treasure" to their town. Aimable is flattered by the praise, not understanding that the "treasure" Dominique is acclaiming is the baker's wife, not the baker's bread! In an effort to get rid of him, Genevieve goes into the shop and offers Dominique some pastries. He wants more than sweets. He persists, holding her, kissing her. She warns him that Aimable will hear. Dominique declares his passion for her against her protests, but she is swept away by his words and her feelings. They'll meet an hour from now and run off somewhere together. She cannot resist him. A sleepy Aimable calls down to Genevieve. She replies "In a minute" as he drops off to sleep. Alone she contemplates her situation and sings of the legend of the "Meadowlark" and realises she too has no choice but to fly away with her "beautiful young man." A fire in the bakery's oven awakens the neighbours. The baker finds charred loaves. Ordinarily Genevieve is the early riser in the household. He calls for her and hurries out in search of her, thinking she has gone looking again for their cat Pompom. A little crowd gathers and the gossip begins again, this time about the charred bread and the missing wife. Aimable returns empty handed. No cat. No wife. The villagers continue their whispering as he enters his bakery looking for at least a note, but there is none. The crowd sings "Buzz-A-Buzz." The Marquis arrives and, away from the group, tells Aimable that Genevieve has run off with his chauffeur in the Marquis' automobile. Philippe, the driver's pal, confirms the story, but Aimable refuses to accept the explanation. The villagers beg Philippe to tell all, and the first act concludes with the Marquis threatening to go to the police to report the theft of his elegant Peugeot. Dominique will be arrested and Genevieve as well. Outside the bakery the gossips continue, relishing outrageous tales of jealousy, lust, and revenge - all the wonderful things that make life worth living in France. Act 2: At the cafe Denise reprises her "Chanson," as she had opened the first act. The villagers at the cafe keep an eye on the baker across the way and are relieved to see him preparing a new batch of dough. They tease one another about wives being unfaithful creatures. The priest, the teacher, and others join in to sing another version of Act 1's "If It Wasn't For You," the priest accusing the immoral conduct of the villagers as responsible for corrupting the baker's wife, the teacher contradicting the priest saying Genevieve chose freely, and the Marquis, scoffing at them all, chalking it up to fate and the weakness of the flesh. Aimable crosses to the cafe to announce the bread will be ready shortly. He, who never drinks, orders a cognac, and another, and in a tipsy state sings "Any-Day-Now Day," a toast to his missing wife, whom he insists is only away visiting her mother. The baker becomes more and more inebriated. The villagers try to sober him up and follow him back to the bakery which they find in a terrible state: flour spilled everywhere, dough hanging from the ceiling like stalactites in a cave, loaves of bread burned and heavy as stones. Aimable collapses in the rubble. The bakery is closed. The villagers believe the town is cursed and blame the baker's wife for the disaster that has struck. In an effort to cheer up the baker and put him back to his chores, they urge him to consider the advantages of his being free of marital blisters, pointing out he's a fortunate man spared the quarrels and boredom of married life. They insist he's the "Luckiest Man In The World." (They want his good bread back