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Olympus On My Mind


Book & Lyrics by Barry Harman: Music by Grant Sturiale; based on the play Amphitryon by Heinrich Von Kleist

Lamb's Theatre Off-Broadway - 15 July, 1986 (297 perfs)

Olympus On My Mind is a musical comedy spoof about the mythical god Jupiter and relates the story of his transformation from a "wild and crazy god" into a deity of love and compassion.


The setting is ancient Greece in the city of Thebes. The Chorus introduces itself and Jupiter arrives, weary of life on Mount Olympus, and determined to have an affair with a beautiful mortal woman, the virtuous Princess Alcmene. However, she is happily married to General Amphitryon who is away fighting battles in the war. Jupiter disguises himself as the General but at the first meeting Alcmene is suspicious. Jupiter soon wins her over with a description of the glorious night that awaits.

Jupiter needs to know how the victory against Sparta went but his son, Mercury, who has accompanied Jupiter to Earth is no help in this. It is left to the glamorous Dolores, a member of the chorus, to come to the rescue.

Sosia, a Slave to General Amphitryon, arrives, happy to be home after years away fighting the wars. He is not welcome, however, as Mercury has assumed his identity. Sosia leaves just as Jupiter emerges from the palace after a night with the Princess. Because of adopting human form, Jupiter has, for the first time, experienced human emotions. He is anxious to know whether or not Princess Alcmene returns his love. Asking her he is dismayed to learn that she has not realised she has spent the night with an impostor. Mercury advises Jupiter to give the Princess time, eventually she will realise the truth. 

The Chorus announce the arrival of General Amphitryon, back from the wars, and looking forward to the happy reunion that awaits him and his wife. On the way to his home he meets Sosia and can't believe the story that he was barred from entering by ....... himself! 

The General is puzzled by his wife's indifferent greeting and is astonished to learn he had spent a blissful, passionate reunion the previous night. Amphitryon is angry and accuses Alcmene of infidelity. He leaves and leaves behind a tearful wife protesting her innocence.

Meanwhile, Sosia is preparing for his own reunion, with his shrewish wife, Charis. To his amazement he finds her stepping out for a night out on the town. Charis insists that Sosia had given her permission (of course it had been Mercury in disguise). Going over the problem she wonders if, perhaps, the man she welcomed last night were an impostor?

Jupiter, still disguised, confirms her beliefs but that she cannot be held responsible. Jupiter convinces Alcmene that there is only one way she could have been deceived and she is relieved to be exonerated from blame but angry at Jupiter for having misled her. He is now convinced he will never be able to win her love but Mercury suggests ways to winning a woman's heart. Still disguised, Jupiter tries to gain sympathy by telling her of the lonely life at the top!

Alcmene is so moved she forgives Jupiter who is overjoyed. But, he then experiences a second human emotion, that of jealousy. And this means he cannot leave Alcmene on earth with her real husband. Despite the protestations of Mercury, Jupiter hatches a plan to convert Alcmene into a constellation of stars so that she can be with him in heaven for all eternity.

Amphitryon returns and Alcmene comes face to face with two identical husbands. Forced to choose she pronounces Jupiter to be the true Amphitryon. The real Amphitryon protests but by so doing realises that he is denouncing his wife as a willing adulteress. He withdraws his claim and vows he will defend her purity of heart to the death. Jupiter thus discovers a third human emotion - compassion. Jupiter withdraws from the contest and restores harmony on earth and takes his leave of Alcmene. Wistfully he returns to heaven to assume his rightful place as Eternal Ruler of the Universe.

Musical Numbers

  1. Welcome To Greece - Chorus
  2. Heaven On Earth - Jupiter, Alcmen, Chorus
  3. The Gods On Tap - Delores, Jupiter, Mercury, Chorus
  4. Surprise! - Sosia
  5. Love, What a Concept - Jupiter, Mercury
  6. Wait 'til Dawn - Mercury
  7. I Know My Wife - Amphitryon
  8. It Was Me - Sosia
  9. Back So Soon? - Amphitryon, Sosia, Chorus
  10. Wonderful - Alcmene
  11. At Liberty In Thebes - Charis, Chorus
  12. Jupiter Slept Here - Company
  13. Back to the Play - Chorus
  14. Don't Bring Her Flowers - Mercury
  15. Generals' Panedmonium - Amphitryon, Jupiter, Sosia, Chorus
  16. Heaven on Earth (reprise) - Sosia, Chorus
  17. A Star Is Born - Delores, Company
  18. Olympus Is A Lonely Town - Amphitryon, Alcmene, Mercury, Jupiter, Charis, Sosia, Chorus
  19. Finale - Heaven on Earth - Jupiter, Alcmene

Scenes and Settings