The Girl Who Came to Supper

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The Girl Who Came to Supper
GirlSupper.jpg
Original Cast Recording
Music Noël Coward
Lyrics Noël Coward
Book Harry Kurnitz
Basis Terence Rattigan's play The Sleeping Prince
Productions 1963 Broadway

The Girl Who Came to Supper is a musical with a book by Harry Kurnitz and music and lyrics by Noël Coward.

Based on Terence Rattigan's 1953 play The Sleeping Prince, it is set in 1911 London at the time of George V's coronation. American-born chorus girl Mary Morgan becomes involved with not only Balkan archduke Charles, the Prince Regent of Carpathia, after he sees a performance of her West End musical The Coconut Girl, but his teenaged son Nicholas and the Queen Mother, as well. A peripheral character, fish-and-chips peddler Ada Cockle, appears to be present solely to entertain the audience with a rousing fifteen-minute rendition of traditional Cockney tunes.

Background[edit]

Rattigan's play had been staged in London with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, on Broadway with Michael Redgrave and Barbara Bel Geddes, and filmed as The Prince and the Showgirl with Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, so its story was a fairly familiar one. The musical opened to rave reviews in Boston but was received less favorably by the critics in Toronto. During its Philadelphia run, President Kennedy was assassinated, necessitating the replacement of the opening number, "Long Live the King (If He Can)". Theatregoers were still in a somber mood when the show moved to New York City.

After four previews, the Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Joe Layton, opened on December 8, 1963 at The Broadway Theatre, where it ran for 112 performances. The cast included Florence Henderson as Mary, José Ferrer as Charles, Irene Browne as the Queen Mother, Sean Scully as Nicholas, Tessie O'Shea as Ada Cockle, and Roderick Cook as Peter Northbrook.

Henderson and O'Shea were singled out for praise by the critics - the former for her one-woman delivery of an abridged version of The Coconut Girl, the latter for her extended song-and-dance routine - but the review by the highly influential critic Walter Kerr was mostly negative. He and others felt the show was an unsuccessful attempt to duplicate the success of the earlier My Fair Lady.

O'Shea won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Nominations went to Coward and Kurnitz for Best Author of a Musical and Irene Sharaff for Best Costume Design.

The show proved to be the last with a Coward score and the only one of his musicals never produced in London.

An original cast recording is available on the Sony label.

Song list[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1965 Tony Award Best Author Noël Coward and Harry Kurnitz Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Tessie O'Shea Won
Best Costume Design Irene Sharaff Nominated

References[edit]

Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops by Ken Mandelbaum, published by St. Martin's Press (1991), pages 120-23 (ISBN 0-312-06428-4)

External links[edit]