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TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA Music by Galt MacDermot:: Lyrics by John Guare: Book by John Guare and Mel Shapiro based on the play by William Shakespeare St James Theatre, Broadway - 1 December 1971 (627 perfs) Phoenix Theatre, London - 26 April, 1973 (237 perfs) THE STORY ACT I We hear the sounds of nature, as Visi D'Amore - the Spirit of Love - runs on and sings Jack Benny's old theme song, "Love in Bloom". He runs off. The Ensemble wanders on and sings the prologue, a joyful ode to springtime and to love. During the song, an oversized Cupid moves among them, bow-and-arrowing everyone, while Lucetta appears on the top-most level and pours a bucketful of red tissue-paper hearts down on them and the audience. The story begins in the provincial town of Verona. Valentine, a young gentleman, is preparing to depart "to see the wonders of Milan." He tries to convince his best friend, Proteus, to join him. Valentine asks Proteus, "what do you want to do with the rest of your life?" Proteus replies: that's a very interesting question. However, Proteus cannot bring himself to leave Julia, whom he loves from afar. Valentine leaves for Milan, accompanied by his servant, Speed. Proteus writes Julia a love letter but when Julia actually appears, he is too terrified to speak to her - much to her dismay. Gathering the Ensemble for support, he re-enters to present her with a Symphony. During the song, his love letter is handed down through each Ensemble member until it gets to Julia, who abruptly tears it up. Julia explains to the audience: I Am Not Interested In Love. Suddenly Visi D'Amore reappears in giggly pursuit of a Soprano. Singing they happily throw magic love confetti at each other and on Julia, before running off again. Now "metamorphosed," Julia frantically tries to put the pieces of the torn letter back together. She writes Proteus a letter. She and Proteus meet and declare their love. Proteus' father, Antonio, ignorant of his son's new love, orders him to join Valentine in Milan to further his education. A heartbroken Proteus tells Julia he must depart but before leaving, Proteus gives her a giant string of pearls, and she gives him her virginity. Proteus' servant, Launce observes and comments. Launce has his own problems: he has been ordered to accompany his master Proteus away from both his beloved Verona and his beloved dog, Crab, who is to be left as another gift to Julia. Crab seems oddly indifferent. Proteus and Launce set off on theirjourney. Back in Verona - some time later - Julia has discovered she is pregnant. With the help of the Female Ensemble, she and Lucetta concoct a plan to travel to Milan in search of Proteus - they will disguise themselves as Two Gwentlemen of Verona. Enroute to Milan, Valentine and Speed, Proteus and Launce, and Julia and Lucetto all become lost. Valentine and Speed arrive in Milan, and it is indeed the most exciting place imaginable. In the midst of the crowd appears the Duke who introduces his daughter Silvia and the foppish Thurio, whom the Duke intends for Silvia to marry. The Duke makes a campaign speech, promising that if re-elected he will end the war and "Bring all the Boys Back Home".