Meet Me in St. Louis (musical)

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Meet Me in St. Louis
Music Hugh Martin
Ralph Blane
Lyrics Hugh Martin
Ralph Blane
Book Hugh Wheeler
Basis 1944 film Meet Me in St. Louis
Productions 1989 Broadway

Meet Me in St. Louis is a musical based on the 1944 film of the same title, about a family living in St. Louis, Missouri on the eve of the 1904 World's Fair.

The musical varied from the film with additional songs and some additional character development; the focus is not primarily on the character of Esther, as in the film. The musical ran on Broadway in 1989.

Productions[edit]

The musical opened on Broadway at the George Gershwin Theatre on November 2, 1989 and closed on June 10, 1990, after 252 performances.[1] It was directed by Louis Burke with choreography by Joan Brickhill.[2]

The show was performed Off-Broadway by the Irish Repertory Theater in December 2006 through February 2007, with direction by Charlotte Moore (the mother in the Broadway production), choreography by Barry McNabb and sets by Tony Straiges. The cast featured George S. Irving as Grandpa Prophater.[3]

The musical has been produced by Musicals Tonight! (New York), in October 2004[4] the Paper Mill Playhouse Millburn, New Jersey in November to December 2007, with Brynn O'Malley as Esther, Gregg Edelman as Alonso Smith, and Donna English as Anna Smith,[5] and The Muny, St. Louis in July 2009, with Lewis J. Stadlen as Grandpa Prophater, Brynn O'Malley as Esther Smith, Max von Essen as John Truitt and Stephen Bogardus as Mr. Alonzo Smith.[6]

The musical has also had its UK professional premiere at the Landor Theatre, in Clapham, London. The show ran from 11 December 2013 to 18 January 2014.

Characters and Broadway cast[edit]

  • Katie the maid -- Betty Garrett
  • Mr. Alonzo Smith -- George Hearn
  • Mrs. Anna Smith—Charlotte Moore
  • Grandpa Prophater -- Milo O'Shea
  • Alonzo "Lon" Smith Jr. -- Michael O'Steen
  • Esther Smith -- Donna Kane
  • John Truitt—Jason Workman
  • Rose Smith—Juliet Lambert
  • Warren Sheffield—Peter Reardon
  • Sarah Mahala Redway "Tootie" Smith -- Courtney Peldon
  • Agnes Smith—Rachael Graham

Original London Cast[edit]

  • Esther Smith - Georgia Permutt
  • John Truitt - Piers Bate
  • Mrs. Anna Smith - Nova Skipp
  • Mr. Alonzo Smith - Bryan Kennedy
  • Sarah Mahala Redway "Tootie" Smith - Rebecca Barry
  • Katie the Maid - Carolyn Allen / Terri O'Ryan
  • Lon Smith - Samuel Pope
  • Rose Smith - Emily Jeffreys
  • Warren Sheffield - Thomas Judd
  • Agnes Smith - Emily Carewe-Jeffries
  • Grandpa Prophater - Tom Murphy
  • Lucille Ballard - Lucy Mills
  • Eve - Emma Ralston
  • Paige - Terri O'Ryan
  • Clinton Badger - Ashton Charge
  • Peewee Drummond - James Robert-Moore
  • Sidney Purvis - Harry Cooper-Millar

Songs[edit]

The song "Whenever I'm with You" was added for a 1999 revival.

* Songs from the film also in the stage version

As of the late 90's the order of songs was changed, and some were removed. The current version is as follows:

The Smith Family Octet - Tootie, Agnes, Rose, Esther, Lon, Mrs. Smith, Katie & Grandpa

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1990 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Hugh Wheeler Nominated
Best Original Score Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane Nominated
Best Choreography Joan Brickhill Nominated
Theatre World Award Jason Workman Won

Plot[edit]

The play opens in the summer of 1903. The family is going about their daily buisnesses - Tootie is playing with her dolls, Agnes is practicing her stilt walking, Esther is playing tennis, Rose is relaxing, Lon received his Princeton catalog in the mail, Mrs. Smith and Katie, their maid, went shopping, Grandpa is playing with Agnes, and Mr. Smith was at work (Opening/Meet Me In St. Louis). Upon request from Esther, Katie asks Mrs. Smith if they could have dinner an hour earlier because her sister is having trouble with her husband. We soon learn that the real reason is that Warren Sheffield, a Yale scholar and heir to a grand fortune, is calling Rose long-distance at 6:30, when they usually eat dinner. Esther was trying to get dinner to be an hour earlier so the family would be out of the room when he called. Soon Rose enters and tells Esther that John Truitt, their neighbor and the boy that Esther has a crush on, is outside with his friend. They pretend to want to go to the pool, and try to attract the boys' attention. However, Agnes enters looking for her cat, and John leaves, causing Esther to lament about how John Truitt never notices her (The Boy Next Door).

A little later that day, Mr. Smith comes home in a bad mood, because he lost his case. He refuses to eat an hour earlier and storms offstage to go take his cool bath. Meanwhile, Tootie and Agnes begin to fight over a doll, causing the older siblings to have to break them up and remind them that they're all friends (Whenever I'm With You). Everyone exits except for Ester and Mrs. Smith. Esther asks if she is too young to fall in love, and her mother is shocked by the question. She proceeds to tell of how she fell in love with Mr. Smith (You'll Hear A Bell).

Dinner is approaching, and by now everyone in the family knows about Warren's telephone call except for Mr. Smith. When he joins the family at the dinner table, everyone gulps down their food so they can leave before Warren calls. Unfortunately, they are not fast enough, and the telephone rings. Mr. Smith answers, but is confused when the operators tell him that someone is calling from New York. He hangs up, and Esther accidentally tells him everything out of anger. He soon figures out that he was the only one who didn't know about the call, and tries to put his foot down, but when the phone rings again he tells Rose to answer it. Her phone call turns out to be less than successful, because he was only calling to ask how she was, and he said if his parents knew he was calling, they would kill him. Katie tries to lighten the mood (Meet Me In St. Louis Reprise).

A few months later, we are at Lon's going-away party, right before he leaves for Princeton. Warren tries to apologize to Rose, but she refuses to accept (Raving Beauty). At the party, Esther is formally introduced to John Truitt, pretending not to know who he is. She takes his hat and hides it in the piano. The guests then participate in a square dance called by Lon and Warren (Skip to My Lou). Agnes and Tootie have crept to the landing to see what was going on, and after being caught, perform a dance they do with Esther (Under the Bamboo Tree). Afterwards the guests leave, but Esther asks John if he would like to come with them to the Fairgrounds on Friday. He agrees, and then she asks him if he will help her turn off the lights, because she's afraid of the dark (Over the Bannister). He leaves, leaving Esther slightly disappointed.

On Friday, they get on the trolley to the fairgrounds, where John Truitt just barely makes it on (The Trolley Song).

Act II opens on Halloween, where Tootie and Agnes are getting ready to go trick or treating. After they leave, Katie asks the older sisters why they won't go out to the Halloween Social. They both respond that men are to bothersome and they'd rather not. Katie gives them some advice (Touch of the Irish). Immediately following the number, a scream is heard offstage. Tootie comes in with a bloody lip, saying John Truitt hit her. When he comes by to ask if she's alright, Esther beats him up for hurting her little sister. Agnes enters soon after, telling what happened. They stuffed one of Katie's dresses so it looked like a body, then put it on the trolley tracks so when the motorman had to put on the breaks, the trolley would come off the tracks. Tootie then reveals that it was not John who hurt her, but she fell. Esther is ashamed and goes to apologize to John. He forgives her (The Boy Next Door Reprise).

Mr. Smith comes home and breaks the news to the family that they are moving to New York. He thought the family would be happy, but they all are shocked and upset. He tries to convince them that it will be fun, but it doesn't work (A Day In New York). They all exit, leaving Mr. and Mrs. Smith alone. Mrs. Smith tries to comfort him, reminding him and herself that as long as they are together, they can be happy (You'll Hear A Bell Reprise/Wasn't It Fun).

Now it is winter and their last Christmas in St. Louis is fast approaching. Both Rose and Warren are left without dates. Rose didn't respond to Warren's proposal to the dance, so he decided to go with Lucille Ballard who is Lon's girlfriend. Esther and Katie persuade them to go with each other, and Rose and Esther make a plan to fill out Lucille's dance card with the worst people imaginable. Unfortunately, John Truitt comes by and tells Esther that he can't take her to the dance because his tuxedo is locked up in the tailor's. Grandpa comes to the rescue, inviting Esther to the dance with him.

At the ball, Lucille suggests that Warren and Rose and her and Lon be partners for the evening. Esther doesn't realize that, and ends up taking Lucille's dances. Lon leads everyone in a dance he learned at college (The Banjo). John comes, in his tuxedo, after calling every Jones in St. Louis until he found who ran the shop. After the dance, John proposes to Esther, but she feels bad about it because he would have to give up going to college to be with her in New York (You Are For Loving).

Esther enters the house to find Tootie sitting on the couch. She's upset about leaving St. Louis, and has been waiting for Santa to come so she can tell him that they're moving. Esther tries to convince Tootie that New York will be fun (Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas). Mr. Smith sees how upset Tootie is and decides that they can't move to New York.

After hearing the good news, the family goes to the fair and everything works out well (Trolley Song Reprise/Meet Me In St. Louis Reprise II/Finale).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IBDB Entry". Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Rich, Frank."Review/Theater; 'Meet Me in St. Louis': Movie Brought to Stage"New York Times (abstract), November 3, 1989
  3. ^ Suskin, Steven. "Legit Review: Meet Me In ST. Louis", "Variety, December 25, 2006 - December 31, 2006, p. 26
  4. ^ "'Meet Me In St. Louis' listing" musicalstonight.org, accessed April 19, 2011
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew."Paper Mill's Meet 'Me in St. Louis' Begins Nov. 6; Theatre Names New Executive Director" playbill.com, November 7, 2007
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew."'Meet Me in St. Louis' Plays St. Louis' Muny Beginning July 6" playbill.com, July 6, 2009

External links[edit]