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LADY AUDLEY'S SECRET Music by George Goehring, Book by Douglas Seale, Lyrics by John Kunz Eastside Playhouse Theatre Off-Broadway 3 October, 1972 (8 perfs) Synopsis England in the 1890s - an era of mystery. At Audley Court elderly Sir Michael Audley has just married a young and beautiful bride. The plot thickens as Captain Robert Audley, Sir Michael's nephew, and his friend George Tallboys arrive. Lady Audley is attracted by her handsome nephew but George seems to recognise her! With his sudden disappearance, a fire, inter-family intrigues and blackmail, the audience is drawn into a web of mystery which holds them right up to the final revelations. Story ACT ONE - The Lime Tree Walk leading to Audley court. As the curtain rises, the villagers are discovered in a tableau. Phoebe, maid to Lady Audley, and Luke Marks, her betrothed, are among the dancers. Luke tries to steal a kiss from Phoebe. She resists and he declares he'll break her high spirits when they are wed. Lady Audley comes running, closely followed by Sir Michael, who is 70 and, as such, out of breath. Lady Audley has planned a day filled with special festivities for Sir Michael’s birthday. He proclaims that she has made the last two years the happiest of his life. As they toast the finer things in life, Luke continues to seek an inappropriate kiss from Phoebe. She protests again and points to Sir Michael as a model gentleman. Luke is not impressed, noting that only two years ago Sir Michael's wife, Lady Audley, was a common governess. Finally, he leaves and Lady Audley asks Phoebe what's wrong. She explains that it was her mother's wish that she wed Luke. Unfortunately, her mother's judgment in choosing Luke as Phoebe's husband was a poor one. Sir Michael, who has been listening off to the side, praises Phoebe's sense of duty. Sir Michael's daughter, Alicia, arrives dressed in a riding habit and looking for Sir Michael's handsome nephew, Robert Audley. Alicia is annoyed that Robert is so late. She has driven her horse hard, for which Lady Audley criticiSes her. Alicia responds, "One can't always be smiles and honey as you are, my dear step-mother. It's better to let one's temper come out at once, then brood over unpleasant things in secret." Lady Audley responds that, "marriage is a wonderful cure for lover's impatience." Sir Michael decries Alicia's sour spirit, which reminds him of his first wife, Alicia’s mother. Phoebe, alone, reflects how much happier Lady Audley is in her marriage to Sir Michael than in her previous life as a governess. She remembers when she and Lady Audley shared an attic room and their closest secrets. She vows that Lady Audley's secret is safe with her. We hear the sound of Robert Audley singing a martial air off stage. He arrives with a flourish: a handsome young gentleman dressed in military uniform. His friend George enters with the luggage. Phoebe moves to take the luggage, startling George, who is not accustomed to the attention of servants. Robert asks after Lady Audley, whom he's never met. Phoebe describes Lady Audley as a fine woman. She exits with the luggage. "My uncle marry a governess!" Robert reflects that Sir Michael's first wife was a battleaxe who died after a horse bit her. "The poor beast had to be shot, of course. My uncle took to his bed for several weeks in the state of utter collapse. He was very fond of that horse.” George sympathises as he had lost his young wife. He tells the sad tale of having to leave his wife to make money in India, only to read her obituary before he could send for her.