Shows M

MISS LIBERTY A Musical Comedy in 2 Acts, 12 Scenes. Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin; Book by Robert E. Sherwood. Directed by Moss Hart. Dances and musical numbers staged by Jerome Robbins. Imperial Theatre, New York - 15 July, 1949 to 8 April, 1950 (308 perfs) The flimsy story devised by Sherwood was conveniently built around the presentation of the Statue of Liberty to the American people by the people of France. In researching the material for the show, Sherwood had discovered that after it had been shipped to New York in 1885, the statue lay in pieces on the dock for lack of money to assemble it. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, whose World was a major paper at the time, organised a subscription to raise the necessary funds. In the librettist's treatment, James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald, takes umbrage at his rival's circulation-boosting campaign, with the conflict leading to an all-out publishing war between the two papers. STORY As the curtain rises, photographers set up their equipment for the ceremony at which the mayor of New York City will receive Joseph Pulitzer's cheque to build the base for the statue. As reporters also begin to gather, Maisie Dell, a writer at The Police Gazette, tells Horace Miller, a Herald man, how to take photographs that will please the public—and herself. The ceremony gets underway, and the mayor accepts the cheque. But later, Commodore Bennett discovers that Horace, instead of photographing the ceremony, has taken shots of the packing cases containing the statue and promptly fires him. At first, Horace wants to go back home, but Maisie succeeds in convincing him otherwise. At her instigation, he decides to go to Paris to discover the girl who originally posed for the statue, thus gaining an exclusive and perhaps being reinstated in Bennett's esteem. In Paris, the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi is starting a new project for which he is interviewing wouldbe models, among them Monique Dupont, a dancer. She assumes the pose of the Statue of Liberty, just as Horace arrives. Thinking that she is the original model (in fact, it was Bartholdi's mother who posed for the statue), Horace takes her picture and sends Maisie a wire, informing her that he has found the original Miss Liberty. Monique, who lives under a bridge with The Countess, her disreputable old grandmother, then invites Horace to take an inexpensive tour of Paris. In New York, meanwhile, Maisie presents Horace's coup to Bennett, who agrees to sponsor Miss Liberty 's American tour and offers Maisie a job with the Herald. But her mind is on Horace, and she refuses. Back in Paris, Monique dances joyously while a lamplighter sings about the fabulous city. Horace arrives with the news that he is to take her to America, and Monique, who does not know that he believes her to be the model for the statue, is overjoyed. The Countess shows her approval of Horace by telling him about French customs, and as the first act comes to a close, Horace declares his love for Monique. As the second act begins, Horace, Monique and the Countess arrive in New York to great acclaim from the populace. Monique is horrified to discover that she is supposed to be Miss Liberty, but agrees to the deception to protect Horace. Maisie is disturbed by the evident affection between Horace and Monique, and, when Monique returns from a nerve-wracking tour, Maisie steals into her hotel room to have a chat with her. Each girl is so impressed by the other's honesty that together they make a joint renunciation. Meanwhile, Bartholdi has arrived in the U.S. and reveals the deception of which Bennett has been a victim. To escape Bennett's wrath, Horace and Monique run off into the night. As they pass Walhalla Hall where the Policemen's Ball is underway, Maisie, who is selling tickets for the ball and who understands now that she has lost Horace for good, suggests that they hide inside. At the ball, Monique sheds her dignified pose as Miss