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TOM JONES A comic opera in 3 actsMusic by Edward German; Lyrics by Chas. H. Taylor. Libretto by Alex. M. Thompson and Robert Courtneidge, based on the novel by Henry Fielding Apollo Theatre, London - 17 April, 1907 Astor Theatre, Broadway - 11 November, 1907 (55 perfs) SYNOPSIS (Early 18th century England) While Tom Jones, an orphan of unknown birth, is convalescing at the home of Squire Western, he falls in love with Sophia. The Squire, however, insists that his daughter must marry the odious Blifil, the rich nephew of Mr Allworthy, in whose family Tom has been brought up. Sophia detests Blifil and is in tears. When Blifil discovers Tom comforting her, he insults Tom, who knocks him down. Tom and Sophia run away, separately. Sophia and her maid, Honour, are pursued by Squire Western and Blifil By chance, they all put up at the same inn at which Tom Jones is spending the night, unaware they are under the same roof. Sophia's worldly friend, Lady Bellaston, is also staying at the inn; after being attacked by a highwayman she has been rescued by Tom. She is greatly attracted to Tom and lets the inn servants think that he is her husband. When the village barber, Benjamin Partridge, is called to the inn to alleviate Squire Western's gout, he hears the name 'Tom Jones'. Apparently, he knows the true story of Tom's birth. Before he can reveal all, however, Western bursts in upon Tom and Lady Bellaston. Sophia jumping to the conclusion that Tom is fickle, wants nothing more to do with him and leaves for London. Tom accepts Lady Bellaston's offer of a lift to London in her coach. The Squire also rushes off to London to consent to the marriage between Sophia and Tom; by now, he has heard that Tom is not a penniless orphan but Blifil's elder brother. Sophia has great social success in London under Lady Bellaston's patronage. One day, Tom catches sight of her and summons up courage to explain everything to Sophia's satisfaction and the young lovers are reunited. STORY ACT 1 In the garden of Squire Western's house in Somersetshire the local gentry are gathered for the hunt, and gossip is galloping as fast as the horses. One of the favourite subjects of the lady gossipers is lusty young Tom Jones, the adopted son of Mr Allworthy, who isn't present for the occasion, and another is the squire's daughter, Sophia who, oddly enough, isn't present either. The Squire himself, a jolly backslapping fellow, regales the company with an oft-told story and sends his servant Gregory to find everybody's favourite lad as the neighbouring Squire Allworthy and his nephew Blifil arrive to sign the papers betrothing Sophia to the unprepossessing younger Allworthy. Torn enters apace, chased from a coppice where little Rosie Lucas swears she heard the rustle of a skirt> and the sounds of kissing, and he is soon giving a bright baritone song about a 'West Country Lad'. Western leads the Allworthys inside to get quickly done with the day's business and Honour, Sophia's maid is sent to find her mistress. Sophia (for it was, of course, she in the coppice with Tom) comes out as soon as the coast is clear and gets lost in a little day dream until Honour brings Tom to her and the two declare their love all over again. They will, however, as wisdom dictates, `Festina Lente' under the disapproving eyes of their elders. Lost happily in their wooing, the lovers dally almost too long and the squire's middle-aged sister, making a sudden incursion on the scene, discovers Tom with the helpful Honour who is opportunely covering her mistress's hurried retreat. With maidenly promptness, Miss Western jumps avidly to the wrong conclusion, a conclusion which doesn't please the comical yokel Gregory to whom Honour is promised. That little situation is quickly sorted out, for Honour wears the trousers in their relationship, and they join in a lively ensemble