The Likes of Us
|The Likes of Us|
Original cast recording
|Music||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Productions||2005 Sydmonton Festival|
The Likes of Us is a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The original book was by Leslie Thomas. It is based on the true story of Thomas John Barnardo, a philanthropist who founded homes for destitute children. During his lifetime, nearly 60,000 children were rescued and provided with training that prepared them to be self-sufficient.
Although the musical, the first for both Rice and Lloyd Webber, was composed in 1965, it failed to find backing and was not performed until it was staged at Lloyd Webber's Sydmonton Festival on 9 July 2005. Amateur rights have been released. The musical has been performed by amateur groups in the UK in 2009.The first amateur theatre company to perform 'The Likes of Us' was Cornish-based youth theatre company 'Kidz R Us' in early 2009.
At the Edinburgh Castle Gin Palace, a drinking establishment in the East End of London, a local girl, who is on very familiar terms with the male clientele, sings of her exploits ("Twice in Love"). The intellectual and driven Barnardo finds himself out of place with the Cockneys of the Edinburgh Castle, and a row among them ensues ("A Very Busy Man"). As a result, Barnardo is thrown out of the tavern, as is Syrie Elmslie, who was attempting to collect money for charity. Outside the tavern, Johnny Farthingay, the son of the landlady, assures his girlfriend Jenny that although he can't buy her expensive presents, their love will keep them together. Jenny is a bit more cynical ("Love Is Here").
Barnardo reflects on the course his life is taking ("A Strange and Lovely Song"). While wandering London's streets, he encounters two homeless children who take him to the rooftops where they live, and it is there Barnardo learns of their struggle to survive ("The Likes of Us"). Barnardo is troubled by the conditions in which the children live. He decides he is needed far more in his own country than in China and resolves to stay in London to help the poor children ("How Am I to Know"). Unfortunately, his efforts to help only serve to stir a sense of outrage in the local populace who feel he is meddling in their affairs ("We'll Get Him").
Undaunted, Barnardo seeks the aid of Lord Shaftesbury. He accepts that his chosen mission will isolate him spiritually from those around him ("A Man on His Own"). Lord Shaftesbury is hosting a party in his home, at which Barnardo's fellow pub evictee Syrie also is a guest. Everyone joins in to sing the praises of England ("Lion-Hearted Land"). Lord Shaftesbury is won over by Barnardo and visits the children with him. Syrie also joins Barnardo's cause, and he is able to set up his first children's home, where he and Syrie care for the children ("You Can Never Make It Alone").
The tide turns, and Barnardo becomes overwrought with financial worries when he is sued for fraud. To make matters worse, a boy he was unable to help dies. Barnardo is in a state of despair, not knowing what will become of him ("Where Am I Going"), and the East End denizens hold an anti-Barnardo demonstration ("Hold A March"). Johnny and Jenny argue about their differing views of Barnardo. Johnny abandons Jenny, and Syrie attempts to console her ("You Won't Care About Him Anymore").
Barnardo's fortunes take a dramatic turn for the better. When the Edinburgh Castle is placed up for auction, he decides to buy it, as his ownership will serve to silence his detractors, and the building can be converted to further his cause ("Going, Going, Gone!") Barnardo and Syrie marry ("Will This Last Forever?") Their union provides the spark for two of the children to pretend they too will be a couple ("Man of the World"). The wedding reception is held in Barnardo's new property, which has been converted into a tea and coffee establishment ("Have Another Cup of Tea"). Barnardo and Syrie put the children to bed.
- Barnardo is a medical student who founds the charity known today as Barnardo's.
- Syrie is an evangelist who falls in love with Barnardo.
- Johnny Farthingay is the son of the Edinburgh Castle's landlady.
- Jenny is Johnny's love who eventually becomes Syrie's maid.
- Rose is the leader of the London Cockneys, a scarlet girl with a good heart.
- Prime Minister is the head of government and a loyal supporter of Barnardo's cause.
- Auctioneer oversees the sale of the Edinburgh Castle.
- Citron, Stephen, Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber: The New Musical. New York: Oxford University Press 2001. ISBN 0-19-509601-0, pp. 111-113
- "First Lloyd Webber/Rice Collaboration on CD", British Theatre Guide, 6 October 2005
- "Lloyd Webber's 'The Likes of Us' Available for Amateurs", broadwayworld.com, June 30, 2008
- , accessed April 30th 2011
- " The Likes of Us listing, October 2009 at Hinchley Manor Operatic Society", hmos.org.uk, accessed February 12, 2010
- Dakin, Melanie."See Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's first musical at The Pump House"Watford Observer, 16 October 2009
- Director talks about the highs and lows of staging the Likes of Us without a book
- The Likes of Us synopsis and production history at guidetomusicaltheatre.com
- Playbill.com article, 02 Jul 2008