Play the Songs
In 1893 Paris, La Môme Pistache, the proud owner of a Montmartre dancehall, battles with Aristide Forestiere, a self-righteous judge determined to close all establishments featuring the scandalous cancan. Eventually, the two fall in love, and the judge concedes that “obscenity is in the eye of the beholder.”
Music samples provided courtesy of Universal Music and Sony/ATV.
- Rehearsal Materials
- Brief History
CAN-CAN is a songfest about Paris in 1893 and some of its more Bohemian citizens. Aristide Forestier, a young, newly-appointed and over-zealous magistrate, decides to undertake a reform movement. The first case before him is a charge against some young women that their dance, the cancan, has violated the Paris morals code. Acting with the unique wisdom of the French, the chief judge dismisses the case because all of the witnesses seem suddenly to have had cinders in their eyes when the crime was committed and so cannot testify. Aristide goes to Montmartre to investigate the matter personally.
He gets his evidence but in the process falls in love with La Môme Pistache, the cafe proprietress. In the Montmartre we meet, Claudine, the principal dancer of the cancan palaces, Boris Adzinidzinadze, the temperamental artist whom she supports, and Hilaire Jussac, the art critic with whom Boris fights an uproariously funny duel. Aristide ends up in a police scandal which gets him disbarred. He confesses his love for Pistache, leaves the law to the courts, and joins her in teaching others how to do the CAN-CAN.
The show contains the famous Garden Of Eden Ballet, and such entrancing Cole Porter songs as C’est Magnifique, I Love Paris, Allez-Vous-En, and Can-Can flow logically from the context of the story
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Abe Burrows
2 Violin AC (doubles Accordion)
1 Violin BD
1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo & Clarinet
1 Reed II: Oboe & English Horn
1 Reed III: Eb Clarinet, Bb Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
1 Reed IV: Flute & Clarinet
1 Reed V: Clarinet & Bassoon
1 Horn I & II
1 Horn III
1 Trumpet I & II
1 Trombone (and optional Euphonium)
Timpani (2 Drums)
Tom Toms (2)
Temple Blocks (3)
Triangles (Large & Small)
Dog Bark Sound
Bottle Crash Sound
Piano-Celeste (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material)
1 Piano Conductor’s Score
1 Prompt Book
2 Prompt Books for Aristide, Pistache
28 Dialogue Parts
31 Chorus-Vocal Parts
Optional Additional Materials
1 Operations Guide
CAN-CAN played for 892 performances on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre starring Lilo, Hans Conried, Peter Cookson, Erik Rhodes and Gwen Verdon.
2 Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress and Choreography
The Theatre World Award for outstanding stage performance by Gwen Verdon
Find upcoming performances near you.
Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance Chazy Music Theatre CHAZY, NY 03/19/2015 03/22/2015 The Ohio Light Opera WOOSTER, OH 06/18/2015 08/08/2015 Felix Bloch Erben BERLIN 07/01/2016 06/30/2019