A Chinese Honeymoon

A musical play in 2 acts by George Dance
Music by Howard Talbot
Royal Strand Theatre, London October 5, 1901
Casino Theatre, Broadway - June 2, 1902 (376 perfs)


The Emperor seeks a bride who will marry him "for himself alone," so he despatches an English skipper, who has been promoted to the post of Lord High Admiral of the Chinese fleet, in search of such a woman.

But the conditions are rather hard, for the high position of the Emperor is withheld, and the unlucky admiral has to pretend that he represents a billposter. The admiral returns from his quest without success. As a lingering death is the penalty of his failure it need hardly be said that he resorts to all sorts of expedients in order to avert the punishment.

Some comical effects are obtained by making the abnormally tall Emperor think that he is betrothed to a diminutive "slavey" [a maid-of-all-work]. To these ingredients add a cockney tradesman married to a jealous wife who insists upon her four bridesmaids travelling with her for detective and protective purposes, a pair of young lovers, and quaint (even if imaginary) Chinese customs.

Musical Numbers:

EMPEROR: What is the law on the subject of Admirals disappointing their Emperors?
CHIPPEE CHOP : There isn't one.
EMPEROR: Then go in the corner and think one out. 
  1. Opening Chorus - "In Ylang Ylang where the ruby river rolls its billows"
    Chorus Exit - "It's Roly Poly, Roly Poly, o'er the sea once more"
  2. Song - Soo-Soo & Chorus - "In the days of the ancient long ago in a quaint little Chinese town"
  3. Chorus - Entry of the Emperor, and Song - "Hail, hail, hail all hail!"
    Reprise for Exit - "And this is the hand that seeks a mate"
  4. Sextette - Mr. & Mrs. Pineapple & Bridesmaids - "Three months ago we stepp'd aboard a great big ocean ship"
  5. Song - Mrs. Pineapple & Chorus - "The à la girl is an English girl with lots of à la ways"
  6. Nursery Rhymes Sextette - Tom, Fi Fi, Hi Lung, Mrs. Brown, Yen Yen and Mr. Pine - "Sing a song of sixpence"
  7. Song - Fi Fi & Chorus - "I'm awfully partial to music, so I bought a piano one day"
  8. Finale Act I - "Gather, gather, man and maiden come with bridal blessings laden"
  9. Act II Opening Chorus - "With weary hearts we wait about, the bride to greet"
  10. Song - Fi Fi & Chorus - "Some people sigh for beauty and some yearn for this and that"
  11. Song - Soo Soo & Chorus - "Dolly was a baby just as others may be, with a pair of eyes of blue"
  12. Song - Mr. Pineapple - "I dreamed a dream the other night, I thought that I had flown..."
  13. Octette - Emperor, Yen, Tom, Soo Soo, Mr. & Mrs. Pineapple, Fi Fi & Hi Lung - "There's nothing like a little pat"
  14. Chorus - "Welcome, official mother-in-law, let the cymbals clang"
  15. Duet - Soo Soo & Tom - "Along the way where lovers go the roses red are twining"
  16. Duet - Hi Lung & Mrs. Pineapple ("Marie") - "We'll give some little tit-bits from the plays"
  17. Duet - Emperor & Fi Fi - "Now once there was a Mandarin, who for a sweetheart yearn'd"
  18. Song - Fi Fi & Chorus - "You no doubt heard of the happy home where music is ador'd"
  19. Finale Act II - "For he is the bridegroom and she is the bride"

    The Emperor does not find his bride as bashful as he had expected.

    EMPEROR: Let us rather talk about our wedding.

    FI FI: Our wedding! Well, I must say, your highness, you didn't waste much time over pre-limin-aries.

Supplementary items

  1. Sestet - Hang Chow, Mi Mi, Hi Lung, Yen Yen, Chippee, & Fi Fi - "The force of good example is a power beyond dispute"
  2. Song - "Maidee of Ohio" - "I'se a coloured lady and I've just come up to town"
  3. Song & Chorus (singer unspecified) - "While passing through the busy streets of busy London town"
  4. Cake Walk and Two-Step



Scenes and Settings

"I Want to be a Lidy"
HI LUNG: You'll pardon me ladies, but a friend of mine has fallen desperately in love with .......
GIRLS: ..... with me!
HI LUNG: ...... Well, with one of you.

I want to have an evening dress that opens down to there,
And wear a great big diamond ta-ra-ra in my hair;
And when I to the playhouse go, I want to do the grand
With a wreath of flowers on my breast, and a bucket in my hand.

I want to be a lidy, and have a private box,
I want to wag a great big fan, and shake my golden locks,
I want to hiss the villain, and cheer the maid forlorn,
So that folks will know, when I say "Bravo!"
I'm a lidy bred and born

I want to learn to patter French, just like a parlez-vous,
And call my servants "garçons" and my letters "billy-doos,"
And when I go a-visiting, and on my friends I drop,
I want to say "Pardon, Mamselle, I hope I'm not de trop."