The Girl Who Came to Supper
|The Girl Who Came to Supper|
Original Cast Recording
|Basis||Terence Rattigan's play The Sleeping Prince|
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. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1963.
The story is set in 1911 London at the time of George V's coronation. American-born chorus girl Mary Morgan becomes involved with Balkan archduke Charles, the widowed Prince Regent of Carpathia, after he sees a performance of her West End musical The Coconut Girl. She soon becomes involved with the actions of his teenaged son, King Nicholas, as well as the Queen Mother. 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.
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)".
The musical opened on Broadway, directed and choreographed by Joe Layton, on December 8, 1963 at The Broadway Theatre, where it ran for a respectable 112 performances and four previews. The cast featured Florence Henderson as Mary, José Ferrer as Charles, Irene Browne as the Queen Mother, Sean Scully as Nicholas, British music hall star Tessie O'Shea as Ada Cockle, and Roderick Cook as Peter Northbrook.
Henderson and O'Shea were singled out for praise by the critics — Henderson for her one-woman delivery of an abridged version of The Coconut Girl, and O'Shea for her extended song-and-dance routine of Cockney tunes. Otherwise, the review by the influential critic Walter Kerr in the Herald Tribune was mostly negative. He and others felt the show was an unsuccessful attempt to duplicate the success of the earlier My Fair Lady. 
The show proved to be the last with a Coward score and the only one of his musicals never produced in London.
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|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|
- Ruhlmann, William. "Cast Recording" allmusic.com, accessed December 5, 2016
- " 'The Girl Who Came to Supper' Listing" noelcowardmusic.com, accessed December 5, 2016
- Mandelbaum, Ken. The Girl Who Came to Supper Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops, Macmillan, 1992, ISBN 0312082738, pp. 120-123
- " 'The Girl Who Came to Supper' Broadway" Playbill (vault), accessed December 5, 2016
- "Theater: Disaster Area" Time Magazine (abstract), December 20, 1963, accessed December 5, 2016(subscription required)
- Kenrick, John. The Girl Who Came to Supper musicals101.com (2000, rev.2003), accessed december 5, 2016
- "Synopsis" The Guide to Musical Theatre, accessed December 5, 2016