Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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Based on Anita Loos’s 1925 bestseller of the same title, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES follows Lorelei Lee, a blonde from Little Rock, Arkansas, who sails to Europe with her friend Dorothy to perform in a nightclub in Paris.

Music samples provided courtesy of DRG Records, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. and Music Sales Corp.

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  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • Lorelei Lee is about to embark on the Ile de France for a cruise to Europe, where she will marry the delightfully rich Gus Esmond, son of America’s Button King. With her is her friend Dorothy Shaw, both of them ex-Follies girls. However, two clouds appear on the horizon right away. Gus announces that his father insists he stay behind for an important button conference, so he can’t travel with the girls. And he has heard worrying news about a new invention called the zipper, which just might ruin his great button empire.

    The girls set about enjoying their cruise. They have plenty of help, notably from the American Olympic Team who are also en route for Paris. Also on board are Mrs. Spofford, the richest widow in Philadelphia, and her son Henry, who takes to Dorothy in a big way. There is an English couple too – Sir Francis and Lady Beekman; she has a diamond tiara that Lorelei just knows would look its best on her own blonde head. And there is Josephus Gage, a hearty young man who turns out to America’s Zipper King. So when Lorelei gets a wireless message from Gus that his father has found out about a little escapade of hers with a revolver in Little Rock and it looks like the wedding is off, it is only logical that she should turn her attention to Josephus and Sir Francis.

    Eventually Lorelei succeeds in getting her tiara and her Gus – and arranges a merger between the button business and the zipper business that looks like it will bring lots of success (and lots more diamonds) in the future.

  • Music by Jule Styne
    Lyrics by Leo Robin
    Book by Anita Loos and Joseph Fields
    Adapted from the Novel by Anita Loos

  • Full Orchestration:

    2 Violin I (2 stands)
    2 Violin II (2 stands)
    1 Viola
    1 Cello
    1 Bass

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

    1 Horn
    1 Trumpet I & II
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II

    1 Percussion:

    Timpani (2 drums)
    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum
    Tom-toms (2)
    Bongo Drums
    Cymbals (2)
    Hi-Hat Cymbals
    Ship’s Bell (SFX)
    Boat Whistle (SFX)
    Cowbell
    Wood Block
    Castanets
    Triangle
    Slide Wind Machine
    Bells
    Chimes
    Xylophone
    Auxiliary instruments for:
    Trumpet II: Tin Shaker
    Trumpet III: Jawbone
    Trombone I: Claves
    Trombone II: Gourd

    1 Guitar & Banjo
    1 Piano & Celeste

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score
    1       Prompt Book
    20     Prompt Books for Dialogue Parts
    34     Chorus-Vocal Parts

  • Principal Singers

    Sir Francis Beekman: Traveling with his wife but easily distracted by young women.
    Dorothy Shaw: (dancer/singer) Follies dancer and fun-loving best friend to Lorelei.
    Mrs. Ella Spofford: Philadelphia’s richest woman-alcoholic mother of Henry.
    Henry Spofford: Shy college student, William Penn Memorial Glee Club conductor.
    Lorelei Lee: Follies dancer, “retired” by a practical arrangement with Mr. Gus Esmond, Jr.
    Gus Esmond, Jr.: The Button King, sponsor of Lorelei and Dorothy’s trip to Paris.
    Josephus Gage: The Zipper King, an entrepreneur and health addict.
    Coles & Atkins: (singers/specialty tap dancers) Originally played by Honi Coles and Cholly Atkins (non-speaking roles).
          — Entertainers at the Pre-Catalan Club for the number “Mamie is Mimi.”

    Supporting

    Lady Phyllis Beekman: A matron representing the British traveling upper class.
    Gloria Stark: (dancer) Follies dancer and former colleague of Lorelei and Dorothy.
    Robert (Robbear) Lemanteur: French magistrate.
    Louis Lemanteur: Son of Robert, a police officer.
    Esmond, Sr.: Frail founding elder in firm control of his son and his Button empire.
    Bill: (dancer) A small speaking role as the Master of Ceremonies at the Pre-Catalan Club. Bill is the dance partner for Dorothy in the numbers “I Love What I’m Doing” and “Keeping Cool With Coolidge.”

    Small speaking parts (doubling roles)

    Pierre: A steward on the “Île de France.”
    Steward: On the “Île de France.”
    2nd Steward: On the “Île de France”.
    3rd Steward: On the “Île de France”.
    Frank: An Olympic boy, team member.
    George: An Olympic boy, team member.
    Two Show Girls: Passengers aboard ship.
    Two Other Show Girls: Passengers aboard ship.
    Olympic Man: Passenger aboard ship.
    Taxi Driver: (dancer) A Frenchman, may be played by Bill, dance partner for Gloria in the scene under the Eiffel Tower.
    Leon: A valet in the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
    Maître d’Hôtel: Pre-Catalan Club, Paris.
    Headwaiter: Pre-Catalan Club, Paris.
    Fifi & Zizi: Girls being escorted by Sir Francis in Paris.
    Headwaiter: Central Park Casino, New York

    Non-speaking doubling roles played by Chorus and Dancers

    On Ship:
          Stewards (Male Quartet including Pierre)
          Olympic Team Boys (8 including Frank & George)
          Banner Carriers (2 young girls)
          Showgirls: (8)
          Autograph Seekers
          Ship’s Passengers & Their Friends

    In France:
          Nursemaids (Sopranos & Altos) (9)
          Workmen (Tenors & Basses) (9)
          Shopgirls (8 Dancers)
          Parisian Men (8 Dancers)
          Breton Nurse
          Little Girl (The nurse’s charge)
          Priest (Tenor solo)
          Paris Party People
          Pre-Catalan Club Dancing Patrons
          Waiters & Bartender
          Flower Girl (Sells an orchid to Gus for Gloria)
          Gigolo (Joins Zizi & Fifi when Sir Francis leaves)
          Solo Tenor (or Contralto for the “Coquette” number)

    In New York:
          Singers & Dancers (as couples ballroom dancing at a party in the Central Park Casino)
          Casino Waiters
          Wedding Guests (They respond on cue as a group)
          Policeman (Uniformed escorted for Esmond Sr.)
          Bridesmaids & Wedding Attendants (Chorus)

    Cast

    12 principal speaking roles
    7 principal singing roles (Dorothy also a principal dancer)
    2 specialty singers/tap dancers (Coles & Atkins)
    1 principal male dancer (Bill)
    1 principal girl dancer (Gloria)
    18 minimum chorus (5 soprano, 4 alto, 5 tenor, 4 bass)
    16 dancers (8 girls & 8 boys)

  • GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES opened in 1949 and played for 740 performances on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre starring Carol Channing, Yvonne Adair, Jack McCauley, Eric Brotherson and George S. Irving. The show was revived on Broadway in 1995 at the Lyceum Theatre starring KT Sullivan.

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