Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (musical)

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Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers London recording.jpg
London cast recording
Music Gene de Paul
Al Kasha
Joel Hirschhorn
Lyrics Johnny Mercer
Al Kasha
Joel Hirschhorn
Book Lawrence Kasha
David Landay
Basis 1954 film musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Productions 1982 Broadway
1985 West End
2003 Madrid
2005 Goodspeed Opera House
2006 West End revival
2007 U.S. regional

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a musical with a book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay, music by Gene de Paul, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn. It is based on the 1954 Stanley Donen film of the same name which is, itself, an adaption of the short story "The Sobbin' Women," by Stephen Vincent Benét, based on the Ancient Roman legend of The Rape of the Sabine Women.

After a U.S. tour, the musical opened on Broadway in 1982 but quickly flopped. A fractionally more successful London production followed, and revised versions have met with success in U.S. regional theatres and in amateur productions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Synopsis[edit]

Act 1

In 1850s Oregon, Adam goes into town seeking a wife to run the household that consists of just himself and his six brothers. There he meets Milly, a waitress at a local restaurant. Milly and Adam rush into marriage and immediately return to Adam's remote ranch in the mountains. As soon as they return home, Adam reverts to his true self: an ill-mannered and inconsiderate slob. Milly meets his six brothers, Benjamin, Caleb, Daniel, Ephraim, Frank and Gideon, all of whom also share Adam's love for all things disorderly. Milly decides to reform the brothers and help them change their ways. She teaches them to dance and then takes them to a barn-raising. There, the six brothers meet six girls they like and start courting them. Conflicts arise when each of the six girls turns out to have her own jealous suitor. Upon returning home Adam reads his brothers the story of The Rape of the Sabine Women, inciting them to kidnap the girls and bring them back home with them.

Act 2

The brothers kidnap the girls and then cause an avalanche to fall and block the suitors' way, making the brothers' house unreachable until Spring. The girls are crying and furious by the time they reach the house. An angry Milly scolds the boys and sends them all to live in the barn, and Adam flees up to their hunting cabin in the mountains to live by himself. They live there all through the Winter, but by the time Spring arrives, the girls miss the brothers' attention and find themselves to be in love. Gideon goes to the cabin and attempts to get Adam to return home by telling him that Milly had a baby girl. A changed Adam returns home to find his wife and newborn daughter waiting for him. The snow clears up and the angry suitors make their way up to the house in the mountains to find that the girls are happy and want to marry the brothers. The story ends with a shotgun wedding of the six remaining couples.

Productions[edit]

U.S. national tour and Broadway

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers had a successful national tour and then opened on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre on July 8, 1982 after fifteen previews. Directed by Lawrence Kasha and choreographed by Jerry Jackson, the cast included Debby Boone as Milly and David-James Carroll as Adam as well as Jeff Calhoun, Lara Teeter, Craig Peralta, and Nancy Fox. It closed on July 11 after only five performances. It received a Tony Award nomination for Best Original Score.

1985 West End

The musical premiered in the West End at the Old Vic, starting on July 2, 1985 and running for 41 performances.[1] It starred Roni Page and Steve Devereaux and included Michaela Strachan in the supporting cast. A cast recording of the London production was released by First Night Records. A 2002 tour of the UK starred Dave Willetts.

2003 Madrid

A Spanish production premiered at Teatro Nuevo Apolo on August 29, 2003, starring David Castedo as Adam and Xana García as Milly, and directed by Ricard Reguant with choreography by María Giménez.

2005 Goodspeed Opera House

A major revival ran from April 15, 2005 - June 26, 2005 at the Goodspeed Opera House (Connecticut). It starred Jacquelyn Piro Donovan and Burke Moses and was directed by Greg Ganakas with choreography by Patti Colombo. The production earned positive reviews from Variety and The New York Times. The New York Times reviewer wrote: "Goodspeed Musicals has reshaped it with a couple of new musical numbers, Patti Colombo's athletic choreography, welcome humor and a good-natured energy that overshadows many shortcomings."[2] Two songs, "Where Were You?" and "I Married Seven Brothers" were added, "Glad That You Were Born" was revised, and the book was heavily rewritten. With a realistic approach, rustic orchestrations and a focus on the Oregon Trail, the show was quite different from its film predecessor. Plans for a 2005-2006 National Tour of this production failed.[3]

2006 West End revival

A production ran at the West End Haymarket Theatre from August 16, 2006 through November 18, 2006.[4]

Revised 2007 U.S. production

A revised version played at several venues, including the Paper Mill Playhouse (New Jersey) (April 11, 2007 - May 11), North Shore Music Theatre (May 29, 2007 - June 17), Theatre Under the Stars (June 26, 2007 - July 1), and Theater of the Stars (Atlanta) (June 26, 2007 - July 1).

Under the direction of Scott Schwartz, set design was by Tony Award nominee, Anna Louizos and lighting by Tony Award winner Donald Holder. This production was a hybrid between the literal approach of the Goodspeed production and the slapstick camp of the original film. While reviews were positive, the attention focused on Patti Colombo's acrobatic, athletic, and inventive choreography.[5][6] The 2007 revival is expected to be the version that will be licensed by Music Theatre International for stock and regional use.

UK regional tour (2008)

The musical toured in the UK during 2008, starring Steven Houghton and Susan McFadden, and played in over thirty cities, including The Liverpool Empire.[7]

UK & Ireland National Tour (2013-14)

A new restaged version of the show is currently being produced and will open at The Churchill Theatre Bromley on 13th September 2013 before touring the UK & Ireland. The new re-staged production stars Sam Attwater & Helena Blackman and directed/choreographed by Patti Colombo. www.sevenbridesthemusical.com

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre (2015)

In October 2014 it was announced that Regent's Park Open Air Theatre will present Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in 2015. The Open Air Theatre has an outstanding reputation for staging classic musicals, having won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival for Into the Woods, Crazy for You and Hello, Dolly!. Rachel Kavanaugh will return to direct following her sell-out version of The Sound of Music which won the 2014 Whatsonstage.com Awards for Best Musical Revival.

Musical numbers[edit]

"One Man", "Love Never Goes Away", "The Townsfolk's Lament", " A Woman Ought To Know Her Place", "We Gotta Make It Through The Winter", "Spring Dance", and "Glad That You Were Born" were written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn for the musical. "Bless Your Beautiful Hide", "Wonderful Wonderful Day", "Goin' Courtin'", and "Sobbin' Women" are from the 1954 film and written by Gene de Paul and Johnny Mercer.

References[edit]

External links[edit]