Maytime (musical)

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Music Sigmund Romberg
Lyrics Rida Johnson Young
Book Rida Johnson Young
Basis Wie einst im Mai (German operetta).
Productions 1917 Broadway

Maytime is a musical with music by Sigmund Romberg and lyrics and book by Rida Johnson Young, and with additional lyrics by Cyrus Wood. The musical ran on Broadway from 1917 to 1918. The story is based on the 1913 German operetta Wie einst im Mai, composed by Walter Kollo, with words by Rudolf Bernauer and Rudolf Schanzer. Maytime introduced songs such as "The Road to Paradise", "Will You Remember?" and "Jump Jim Crow". It was the second longest-running book musical in the 1910s, and established Romberg as one of the leading creators of operettas.

The story, set in New York, is told in episodes covering a long period, from 1840 to the twentieth century. Wealthy young Ottillie van Zand is in love with Richard Wayne, an apprentice in her father's cooperage. Her father prefers her to marry a wealthy "drunken libertine". Though Ottillie and Richard are never able to consummate their love, their descendants eventually meet and marry.


Peggy Wood ca. 1918.

The original Broadway production opened at the Shubert Theatre on August 16, 1917 and later moved to the 44th Street, Broadhurst and Lyric Theatres, running for a total of 492 performances.[1] It starred Peggy Wood and Charles Purcell and featured Ralph Herbert, William Norris and Gertrude Vanderbilt. The New York Times gave the show a rave review, saying that it had "delicate charm" and also blended "the tragedy of the individual" with "the eternal comedy of living".[2]

It was adapted to film twice, in 1923 and again in 1937. The earlier version was thought to have been lost, but was found in 2009 in the New Zealand Film Archive and is undergoing restoration.[3] The 1937 version had a changed story and score. Ohio Light Opera released a recording of the musical in 2005.[4]

Musical numbers[edit]

Act 1
  • In Our Little Home, Sweet Home – Ottillie and Richard Wayne
  • It's a Windy Day at the Battery – Matthew Van Zandt, Alice Tremaine and Girls
  • Gypsy Song – Rudolfo
  • Will You Remember (Sweetheart)? – Signor Vivalla, Ottillie, Dicky Wayne and Richard
Act 2
  • Jump Jim Crow – Matthew and Chorus
  • The Road to Paradise – Ottillie and Matthew
  • Spanish Dance – Estrella Amorita
  • Will You Remember (Sweetheart)? – Signor Vivalla, Ottillie, Dicky and Richard
Act 3
  • Odd Lots, Job Lots – Ensemble
  • Reminiscence – Little Dick Wayne
Act 4
  • Selling Gowns (Lyrics by Cyrus Wood) – Ottillie and Girls
  • Dancing Will Keep You Young (Lyrics by Cyrus Wood) – Ermintrude D'Albert and Matthew
  • Only One Girl for Me – Dicky and Girls
  • Will You Remember (Sweetheart)? – Signor Vivalla, Ottillie, Dicky and Richard

Settings and characters[edit]

Act 1 - 1840 - The Van Zandt home in Washington Square, New York City.

John Wayne, Colonel van Zandt, Ottillie (his daughter), Richard Wayne (an apprentice), Mathilda van Zandt, Alice Tremaine, Claude van Zandt, Matthew van Zandt, Maria, Rudolfo

Act 2 - 1855 - Mme. Delphine's Night Club.

Madame Delphine, Hannaford, Stuyvesant, Doorman, Claude van Zandt, Angelica (Matthew's second wife), Matthew van Zandt, P. T. Barnum, Estrella Amorita, Signor Vivalla, Ottillie van Zandt, Alice Tremaine, Richard Wayne

Act 3 - In the 1880s - The Back Parlor of the Van Zandt house in Washington Square.

Madame Delphine, Matthew van Zandt, Lizzie (Matthew's third wife), Little Dick Wayne (Age 5), Richard Wayne, John Rutherford, Mr. Hicks (auctioneer), Algernon, Ottillie

Act 4 - Twentieth Century - Mlle. Brown's Dressmaking Establishment.

Ottillie (known as Mlle. Brown), Hortense (a model), Letty, Estelle (forewoman), Ermintrude d'Albert, Winifred St. Albans, Matthew van Zandt, Dicky Wayne


  1. ^ Maytime at the IBDB database. Retrieved November 16, 2007
  2. ^ New York Times Archives: "Maytime scores at the Shubert", The New York Times, August 17, 1917, accessed June 13, 2009
  3. ^ Dave Kehr (June 6, 2010). "Long-Lost Silent Films Return to America". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Sigmund Romberg: Maytime", DRAM, Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc., accessed December 20, 2010