powered by FreeFind


Show Boat

(Goodspeed Version)

Created for a Reduced Cast and Orchestra.

Music by Jerome Kern | Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II | Based on the novel "Show Boat" | By Edna Ferber | Adapted by Rob Ruggiero


Spanning the years from 1880 to 1927, this lyrical masterpiece concerns the lives, loves and heartbreaks of three generations of show folk on the Mississippi, in Chicago and on Broadway (and their life-long friends).

The primary plot follows Magnolia, the naive daughter of the show boat captain, as she marries a gambler and moves with him to Chicago. His gambling continues as his debts compound, and soon he deserts her and their young daughter.

A subplot concerns the potential arrest of Magnolia's selfless best friend on charges of miscegenation when it's discovered that she is mulatto, and her subsequent downward spiral into despair. The passing of time reunites Magnolia and her now-grown daughter with her family on the show boat as well as with her husband, who eventually returns offering a hopeful second chance at familial fulfillment.

Musical Numbers

  1. Cotton Blossom - Stevedores
  2. Captain Andy’s Ballyhoo - Cap’n Andy
  3. Where’s The Mate For Me - Ravenal
  4. Only Make Believe - Ravenal & Magnolia
  5. Ol'’ Man River - Joe & Stevedores
  6. Can'’t Help Lovin’' Dat Man - Julie
  7. Mis'’ry’'s Comin'’ Aroun’' - Queenie
  8. Ol'’ Man River (Reprise) - Joe
  9. Life Upon The Wicked Stage - Ellie & Girls
  10. You Are Love - Ravenal & Magnolia
  11. Finale Act 1 - The Company
  12. ' Til Good Luck Comes My Way - Ravenal & Gamblers
  13. Why Do I Love You? - Magnolia & Ravenal
  14. Mis'’ry’'s Comin'’ Aroun'’ (Reprise) - Queenie & Ensemble
  15. ' Til Good Luck Comes My Way (Reprise) Ravenal & Gamblers
  16. Why Do I Love You? (Reprise) - Magnolia
  17. Alma Redemptoris Mater - Nuns
  18. Only Make Believe (Reprise) - Ravenal
  19. Bill - Julie
  20. Can'’t Help Lovin'’ Dat Man (Reprise) - Magnolia
  21. Goodbye My Lady Love - Ellie & Frank
  22. After The Ball - Magnolia & Partygoers
  23. Ol'’ Man River (Reprise) - Joe
  24. I Still Suits Me - Joe & Queenie
  25. You Are Love (Reprise) - Ravenal
  26. Finale - Company


(Doubling is indicated by a slash. A cast of 24 is suggested.)

Scenes and settings

SHOW BOAT takes place between 1887 and 1927 along the Mississippi River and in Chicago.

Act 1

Scene 1: The levee at Natchez on the Mississippi, 1887
Scene 2: The Kitchen Pantry on the Cotton Blossom
Scene 3: The Auditorium & Stage on the Cotton Blossom
Scene 4: The Fore-deck of the Cotton Blossom, three weeks later
Scene 5: The Upper Deck of the Cotton Blossom, that night
Scene 6: The levee at Greenville, the next morning

Act 2

Scene 1: Various Locations on the River & in Chicago, 1892-1899
Scene 2: A Chicago Boardinghouse
Scene 3: St. Agatha’s Convent, the same time
Scene 4: The Trocadero Nightclub, a Rehearsal two weeks later
Scene 5: A Chicago Street
Scene 6: The Trocadero Nightclub, New Year’s Eve, 1899
Scene 7: Kitchen Pantry of the Cotton Blossom, 1927
Scene 8: The Deck of the Cotton Blossom