Shows D

DO I HEAR A WALTZ? Music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents based on his play The Time Of The Cuckoo 46th Street Theatre, New York, 18 March 1965 (220 perfs) SUMMARY From three giants of the Broadway stage comes this touching story of lost opportunity. Leona is a woman who has dedicated her life to her family after the death of her parents. She decides to travel to Venice in search of the love she has never known, and finds Renato - who sadly fails to match up to her romantic ideals. Too late she realises she has finally thrown away her last remaining chance of true love. Songs include We're Going To Be All Right and Do I Hear A Waltz? THE STORY: ACT I Leona Samish is a secretary in New York, a hard-working woman. who brought up her younger brothers and sisters after their parents died and who has earned a steady living for them over the years. There hasn't been any latitude for the little extras of life. Until now, she has never been abroad, but at last she has made it! She is in Venice and she is thrilled to bits. She is so thrilled, so wide-eyed, that she does not watch where she is walking and before she knows it she has stepped right off the edge of the pavement into a canal. It is a damp Leona who checks in at the Pensione Fioria and meets her fellow guests. Eddie and Jennifer Yeager are a pair of young Americans who have been living in Rome and who have come to Venice for a holiday break. Eddie is determined to return to America, but Jennifer cannot bear the thought of going back to a country where she is just like all the other young wives, and they are inclined to bicker. The McIlhennys are older and wholly organised into the routine both of their lives and their package holiday. Their hostess, Signora Fioria, is a fine-looking, middle-aged Italian woman of business who, since she has American guests this week, is being pro American. She is particularly pro Eddie Yeager. Full of enthusiasm for her holiday, Leona anxiously plies the others with martinis and conversation until they disperse to continue their own lives and she is left to dine alone. Even Fioria has a date and Giovanna, the maid, hurries the meal so that she, too, can go to meet her man. Well, perhaps after all these years Venice will hold a man for Leona. The next morning Leona goes out shopping and, amongst the hustling of the Venetian merchants, visitors and urchins, her eye is taken by one lovely, ruby glass goblet in a shop window. The shopkeeper, Renato di Rossi, moves swiftly to her side as she takes up the goblet to look at it. He is an attractive, greying, middle-aged man and he invites conversation. The goblet is an eighteenth century piece, he tells her. It has been imitated many times since, but this is the real thing: something special which only someone special would appreciate. Renato offers to find her a second glass to make up a pair, he offers generally to help her find her way around the unfamiliarities of Venice, but Leona, set prickling on her defences by his evident attractiveness and charm, declines to buy the goblet and leaves. Later, in the evening, she sits alone in the Piazza San Marco and watches the people, inevitably in pairs, go by. The next morning, early, Leona slips across to Renato's shop and buys the goblet and, that same afternoon, a package is delivered to her hotel. It is from the shopkeeper and contains a second goblet, as he had promised. Soon, he arrives himself, but he has not come for payment. He has come to ask Leona to take coffee with him that evening in the Piazza. She immediately puts up her guard again, and her suspicions as to the man's motives are confirmed when the McIlhennys come back from a shopping trip carrying with them a set of modern goblets - just like the ones Renato has sold her. In spite of Renato's affirmation that his glasses are genuine antiques, she cannot stop herself from wanting to believe that they are not. Finally, after a good deal of thought, she agrees to meet him that evening and, when he is gone, she asks Fioria to look at her glasses.