Carnival!

Print

CARNIVAL! has all of the elements of a fairytale. The difference between this story and the traditional ones we tell our children is that Lili, Paul, Marco and the other characters interest adults too! With Bob Merrill as composer and lyricist, Michael Stewart as librettist, David Merrick producing, and Gower Champion as director and choreographer CARNIVAL! was destined to be a huge success. The show received acclaim for its ‘magic,’ ‘simplicity’ and ‘compassion’ when it opened on Broadway, and continues to grace stages and bring smiles to audiences worldwide.

Music samples provided courtesy of Universal Music and Sony/ATV.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Brief History
  • CARNIVAL opens on a few trees and the hint of an expansive meadow. The stage is otherwise empty, without even a curtain. A small figure in shabby clothes enters and starts to play a wheezy concertina. Slowly the instruments of the orchestra join in. The stage begins to light up as roustabouts carry in poles and canvas. A carnival is assembled before our eyes. A wide-eyed, pale faced girl appears. She carries a lopsided suitcase and wears a poor fitting suit and black stockings. Lili, this lonely orphan, is enchanted with the desire to join the lively and glamorous carnival.
    Lili is unsuccessful at several jobs with the troupe. The troupe, touring the small cities of France about a generation ago, is raffish and run down. We can see that at one time they were very successful. Touches of this former splendor come forth in the jubilant production number Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris. The jugglers, animal acts, aerialists, clowns and dancers perform before Lili’s eyes. She is dazzled by their spirited and colorful excitement. One scene segues into the next without need of curtain or scenery change, except for a few pieces which are pushed off and on by the roustabouts. Scenes are created by banners dropping from the sky and by imaginative highlighting of sections of the stage.
    Lili becomes the pawn in a fierce rivalry for her affection between Marco the Magnificent, the troupe’s magician and Paul Berthalet, a puppeteer with an injured leg. She is fascinated with Marco’s fabulous magic. Paul becomes very jealous of Marco, who seems to be winning Lili with his suave and gallant ways. Marco’s dance -Sword, Rose and Cape highlights his personality. His partner in his magic act is billed as The Incomparable Rosalie. She is a comic who threatens to leave him, to marry a doctor who turns out to be a veterinarian. They argue continuously and do a hilarious number -Always Always You in which Marco pierces (with swords) a basket in which Rosalie is enclosed.
    Paul communicates through his charming puppets. They include the sentimental walrus who is afraid of “antiwalrus” remarks; the sophisticated fox who observes, “You’ve never fox-trotted until you’ve done it with a fox”; a lively redheaded boy and a society lady who the years have somehow passed by. Still searching for her place in the carnival, Lili finally joins the puppet act.
    The spirit of the show is brought to the audience with rousing circus parades, hawkers throwing souvenirs into audience members’ laps, and performers marching down the aisles. At last the conflict between Marco, the lover who is beguiling, and Paul the lover who is true, is resolved. In a brilliant dramatic moment Lili rejects Marco and exits with Paul.
    The hauntingly wonderful musical theme Love Makes the World Go Round runs through the story. The mood of the carnival people is captured perfectly in a simple, touching, lighthanded way. Comedy is blended perfectly with pathos. The effect is “America’s Magical Musical” with enchanting appeal for matinee audiences and Saturday night sophisticates.

  • Music and Lyrics by Bob Merrill
    Book by Michael Stewart
    Based on Material by Helen Deutsch
    Original Production directed and choreographed by Gower Champion
    Produced for the Broadway Stage by David Merrick

  • Full Orchestration

    2 Violins AB
    1 Violin C
    1 Cello
    1 Bass & Tuba

    1 Reed I: Flute & Piccolo
    1 Reed II: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Alto Sax
    1 Reed III: Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Sax
    1 Reed IV: Oboe, Clarinet & Tenor Sax
    1 Reed V: Clarinet, Bassoon & Baritone Sax

    1 Horn
    1 Trumpets I & II
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    2 Percussion I & II:

    Timpani (2)
    Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
    Bass Drum
    Tom Tom
    Suspended Cymbal (Soft & Hard Mallets)
    Tam Tam
    Celeste
    Bells (Soft & Hard Mallets)
    Marimba
    Xylophone
    Triangles (2 sizes)
    Wood Block
    Cow Bell
    Tambourine
    Castanets
    Ratchet
    Slide Whistle

    1 Harp
    1 Guitar – Mandolin
    1 Accordion (and stage Concertina)

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.
    (There is no Piano in the orchestration.)

    Combo Instrumentation

    2 Violins AB
    1 Violin C
    1 Bass

    1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo & Clarinet & Alto Sax
    1 Reed II: Flute, Clarinet & Alto Sax
    1 Reed III: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Tenor Sax

    1 Trumpets I & II
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    2 Percussion I & II:

    Timpani (2)
    Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
    Bass Drum
    Tom Tom
    Suspended Cymbal (Soft & Hard Mallets)
    Hi-Hat Cymbals
    Tam Tam
    Celeste
    Bells (Soft & Hard Mallets)
    Marimba
    Xylophone
    Triangle (2 sizes)
    Wood Block
    Cow Bell
    Tambourine
    Castanets
    Ratchet
    Slide Whistle

    1 Accordion (and stage Concertina)

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score
    1       Prompt Book
    3       Prompt Books for Principal Characters
    20     Dialogue Parts
    32     Chorus-Vocal Parts

  • CARNIVAL! played for 719 performances on Broadway at the Imperial and Winter Garden Theatres starring Anna Maria Alberghetti.

    Awards (1962)

    2 Tony Awards for Actress and Scenic Designer
    The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
    The Outer Circle Critics Award for Creative Contributions to the Season