Shows S

SITTING PRETTY Music by Jerome Kern: Lyrics by P.G. Wodehouse: Book by Guy Bolton Fulton Theatre, Broadway - April 8, 1924; transferred to Imperial Theatre, 9 June, 1924 (total 95 perfs) SYNOPSIS ACT ONE On the grounds of Mr. Pennington's summer home in Far Hills, New Jersey, the friends of Bill Pennington (the old man's nephew) convene for a coaching party and picnic. Bill's girlfriend, Babe (a chorus girl of note), questions young Bill about his prospects, but he deflects the question. As the stage clears, Dixie and May Tolliver, identical twin sisters from the orphanage next door, sneak over the garden wall to pick flowers. They are discovered by Bill, to whom they recount their family history. They explain sadly that they doubt they will ever be adopted, and all three reflect on the hard knocks life can dish out. Old Mr. Pennington summons his relatives to the estate to announce he has disinherited them all. He intends to create a new family by adopting a young boy and a young girl and breeding "fewer but better Penningtons:' Pennington introduces his adopted son, an uncouth young man named Horace. Shocked and dismayed, all the relatives (except Bill) depart in a huff. Left alone, Horace is confronted by his Uncle Jo, a jewel thief. It is revealed that Horace's adoption is part of Uncle Jo's plan to rob the Pennington estate during a big house party. They are interrupted by Bill's best friend, Judson. To distract Judson from the real purpose of Uncle Jo's visit, Horace and Uncle Jo discuss biggame hunting in Africa, and Judson joins in enthusiastically. Dixie meets Horace in the garden, and they are instantly and they are instantly drawn to one another. Horace reveals that Mr Pennington plans to adopt one of the orphans from the asylum to be his bride, and he hopes it may be Dixie, especially after she recounts to him some of her favourite recipes. Their hopes for domestic bliss run high. After the song, Dixie encounters and inadvertently insults old Mr. Pennington. He vows immediately that she will never be the one he adopts. Meanwhile, Babe, discovering Bill has been disinherited, abruptly calls off their engagement. Sadly, Bill observes that "gold diggers used to be forty-niners: now they're perfect thirtysixes". May climbs over the garden wall and hears Bill's song. She gives him a pep talk, and he realises at once that this is the girl for him. He decides to go out into the world and seek his fortune, and when he returns he will seek May out and lay his fortune at her feet. Uncle Jo has not been idle. In order to infiltrate the Pennington house even further, he manages to have himself hired as Horace's private tutor, much to Horace's dismay (he is convinced Uncle Jo will give the game away). The orphanage matron and Mr. Pennington meet in the library to discuss the adoption of the lucky orphan. All in all, it has been an eventful morning, and Dixie, ever the optimist, recalls the cheery philosophy of an old man "back home in Clayville". Mr. Pennington makes his selection. Horace wants him to adopt Dixie, whom he loves, but Pennington selects May, who loves Bill. As hearts are broken on all sides, Dixie and May are separated. ACT TWO Act Two begins six months later, at Mr. Pennington's winter estate in Florida. A lavish costume ball is in progress, celebrating May's "coming out." The guests, dressed in the period of the 1850s, dance polkas,