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.

Can-Can Quote Request & Licensing

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • 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

  • Full Orchestration:

    2 Violin AC (doubles Accordion)
    1 Violin BD
    1 Viola
    1 Cello
    1 Bass

    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)

    1 Percussion:

    Timpani (2 Drums)
    Snare Drum
    Bass Drum
    Tom Toms (2)
    Suspended Cymbal
    Hi-Hat Cymbals
    Tam Tam
    Bell Plate
    Temple Blocks (3)
    Triangles (Large & Small)
    Wood Block
    Slide Whistle
    Bird Whistle
    Dog Bark Sound
    Bottle Crash Sound

    1 Guitar
    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

  • (In order of appearance)
    Judge Paul Barriere
    Court President, Henri Marceaux
    Judge Aristide Forestier
    Hilaire Jussac
    Boris Adzinidzinadze
    La Mome Pistache
    Second Waiter
    Café Waiter
    Café Customer

  • CAN-CAN played for 892 performances on Broadway at the Shubert Theatre starring Lilo, Hans Conried, Peter Cookson, Erik Rhodes and Gwen Verdon.

    Awards (1954)

    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.

    Search for performances near you
    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance