|The Dancing Years|
|Productions||1939 West End|
The Dancing Years is a musical with book and music by Ivor Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. The story takes place in Vienna, from 1911 until 1938. It follows the life of a penniless Jewish composer and his love for two women of different social classes, with an ending set against the background of Nazi persecution.
The piece opened in early 1939 in London's West End, starring Novello. Like many of Novello's musicals, The Dancing Years was given an expensive, spectacular production, with several scene changes and a large cast. When theatres in London closed at the start of the Second World War, the show went on tour in Britain for the next three years. Censorship originally prevented the inclusion of the Nazi element, but by the time The Dancing Years reopened at the Adelphi Theatre in 1942 it had been reinstated.
In 1911, Rudi Kleber, a penniless young Jewish composer, plays the piano at an Austrian country inn, where he has been friends, since childhood with the innkeeper's daughter, Grete; they pledge to marry someday. Maria, an operetta star, arrives at the inn with her older admirer and patron, Prince Charles Metterling, who wants to marry her, but she and Rudi fall in love; he composes successful operettas for her. Three years later, Grete returns from England and has become a musical theatre performer. Maria is jealous and overhears Rudi proposing to Grete in jest, as she has an officer boyfriend, Franzl. Maria misunderstands and does not wait to hear Grete reject the proposal. Maria returns to Vienna and immediately marries Prince Charles, although she is pregnant.
Maria bears Rudi's son, Otto, who is brought up to believe that he is Metterling's son. A dozen years later, Maria introduces Otto to Rudi. Rudi and Maria discover that they are still love with each other, and Maria is unhappy in her marriage, but Rudi realizes that he cannot break up her marriage for the sake of their son. After another decade passes, in 1938 Rudi is arrested by the Nazis for helping Jews to escape Austria, but Maria uses her husband's connections to help him. She assures him that their son opposes the Nazis and tells him that he will be remembered for making "the whole world dance".
The musical was first produced at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 23 March 1939, directed by Novello's frequent collaborator Leontine Sagan.Novello starred opposite Mary Ellis. It closed at the start of the Second World War in September 1939 after 187 performances. After a three-year provincial tour, the show reopened at the Adelphi Theatre on 14 March 1942, running there until July 1944, for a total of 969 performances. It was the most popular show of the war and earned an estimated £1,000,000. After this, the show toured extensively in Britain and was revived numerous times, including in London, and was adapted for film and television. The 1968 West End revival starred June Bronhill.
The Australian production opened in Melbourne at His Majesty's Theatre in June 1946. The cast included Max Oldaker as Rudi, Elizabeth Gaye as Grete and Viola Wilson as Maria.
The musical was turned into a popular film in 1950.Televised productions were aired by United Kingdom channels BBC in 1959, and ITV in 1979.
Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, musicals.
The Sound of Music is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and a book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. It is based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938, the musical tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun. She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. He and Maria decide on a plan to flee Austria with the children. Many songs from the musical have become standards, including "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", and the title song "The Sound of Music".
Ivor Novello was a Welsh actor, dramatist, singer and composer who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century.
Mary Ellis was an American actress and singer appearing on stage, radio, television and film, best known for her musical theatre roles, particularly in Ivor Novello works. After appearing with the Metropolitan Opera beginning in 1918, she acted on Broadway, creating the title role in Rose-Marie. In 1930, she emigrated to England, where she gained additional fame and continued to perform into the 1990s. She also became known for film roles, including in The 3 Worlds of Gulliver in 1960.
The Adelphi Theatre is a West End theatre, located on the Strand in the City of Westminster, central London. The present building is the fourth on the site. The theatre has specialised in comedy and musical theatre, and today it is a receiving house for a variety of productions, including many musicals. The theatre was Grade II listed for historical preservation on 1 December 1987.
Rose-Marie is an operetta-style musical with music by Rudolf Friml and Herbert Stothart, and book and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II. The story is set in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and concerns Rose-Marie La Flemme, a French Canadian girl who loves miner Jim Kenyon. When Jim falls under suspicion for murder, her brother Emile plans for Rose-Marie to marry Edward Hawley, a city man.
Leontine Sagan was an Austrian-Hungarian theatre director and actress of Jewish descent. She is best known for directing Mädchen in Uniform (1931).
Lionel John Alexander Monckton was an English composer of musical theatre. He became Britain's most popular composer of Edwardian musical comedy in the early years of the 20th century.
Mr Cinders is a 1928 musical with music by Vivian Ellis and Richard Myers and a libretto by Clifford Grey and Greatrex Newman. The story is an inversion of the Cinderella fairy tale with the gender roles reversed. The Prince Charming character has become a modern (1928) young and forceful woman, and Mr Cinders is a menial.
The Rat Pack - Live From Las Vegas is a stage musical produced by Flying Music Group Ltd. The stage show was conceived and created by Mitch Sebastian, who was also the show's director and choreographer.
Gertrude "Gertie" Ward, Countess of Dudley was an English actress and singer of the early 20th century, known for her performances in Edwardian musical comedies.
Gay's the Word is a musical with book and music by Ivor Novello and lyrics by Alan Melville. The musical is a backstage comedy that parodies Novello's own swashbuckling Ruritanian romance plots. The story centres on Gay Daventry, a bankrupt operetta producer who opens a drama school at her country house. This also turns out to be unsuccessful, but it leads to a theatrical comeback for Gay.
Robert Courtneidge was a British theatrical manager-producer and playwright. He is best remembered as the co-author of the light opera Tom Jones (1907) and the producer of The Arcadians (1909). He was the father of the actress Cicely Courtneidge, who played in many of his early 20th century productions.
Phyllis Dare was an English singer and actress, famous for her performances in Edwardian musical comedy and other musical theatre in the first half of the 20th century.
King's Rhapsody is a musical with book and music by Ivor Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall.
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Careless Rapture is a 'musical play' by the Welsh composer Ivor Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. It premiered on 11 September 1936 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It ran for 295 performances, a relatively modest success given Novello's other major successes.
The Dancing Years is a 1950 musical British film based on the musical by Ivor Novello.
This is a summary of 1921 in music in the United Kingdom.
Arlette is a 1917 operetta in three acts by Austen Hurgon and George Arthurs with lyrics by Adrian Ross and Clifford Grey. Produced by George Grossmith Jr. and Edward Laurillard it was adapted from the French with music by Jane Vieu, Guy Le Feuvre and Ivor Novello. It opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London on 6 September 1917 where it ran for 260 performances. It starred Winifred Barnes, Joseph Coyne and Stanley Lupino.