PARDON MY ENGLISH is a farce satirizing the Prohibition era, set in prewar Dresden. To promote consumption of beer and wine, the German government bans the sale of all non-alcoholic beverages. In protest, the thuggish Golo Schmidt opens a speakeasy where he serves forbidden drinks like cream soda and ginger ale. The Police Commissioner is determined to shut down the illegal operation. After Golo is knocked unconscious in a car accident, he awakens only to believe that he is Michael Bramleigh, a wealthy Englishman — the opposite of Golo. As he is recognized by friends variously as himself or his English alter ego, many comedic misadventures follow.
- Rehearsal Materials
- Cast List
- Brief History
In order to promote the sale of beer and wine, the German government bans the sale of all non-alcoholic beverages. In retaliation, Golo Schmidt opens Club 21, a speakeasy where patrons can imbibe such forbidden drinks as cream soda and ginger ale. Police Commissioner Bauer makes it his mission to shut down the illegal operation.
Golo decides to disrupt a birthday celebration for Bauer, but while en route to the party he is struck by a car and knocked unconscious. When he awakens in Bauer’s home, he believes he is Michael Bramleigh, a wealthy, sophisticated member of British society. He eventually falls in love with Bauer’s daughter Ilse and proposes marriage.
A birdhouse falls on Bramleigh, and his memory returns. Golo once again, he has no memory of his relationship with Ilse and returns to Club 21 and his sweetheart Gita Gobel. Hearing Bauer’s daughter is about to marry, he plans to kidnap the bride and hold her for ransom. At the wedding, Golo locates Ilse, who naturally thinks he’s her fiance Michael, and the two escape to an inn in Schandau.
Golo, inexplicably thinking he’s Michael once again, returns to Bauer’s house and apologizes for missing the wedding. The two plot to find Ilse and save her from her kidnapper. Recognized as Golo by some and Michael by others, the hero becomes involved in a series of comic misadventures.
Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Book by Herbert Fields and Morrie Ryskind
Instrumentation: 19 Parts
1 Reed 1 (Oboe & English Horn)
1 Reed 2 (Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & Baritone Saxophone)
1 Reed 3 (Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone)
1 Reed 4 (Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone)
1 Horn 1
1 Horn 2
1 Trumpet 2
2 Percussion 1 & 2
1 Violin 1-A
1 Violin 1-B
1 Violin 2
1 Viola 1
1 Viola 2
Piano – Conductor’s Score (2 volumes) sent with rehearsal material
1 Piano Conductor’s Score (Two volumes)
1 Prompt Book for Director
12 Prompt Books for Cast
15 Chorus Parts
7 Piano Conductor Scores for Principal Characters (Two volumes each)
Golo } (played by
Michael Bramleigh } the same actor)
Police Commissioner Bauer
Psychoanalysts & Nurses }
The Dresden Mounted Northwest }
German Waiters & Waitresses } Chorus
Golo’s German Bootlegging Gang }
Party & Wedding Guests }
To differentiate when the actor plays Michael and when he plays Golo, these names will be used separately as called for in this script.
PARDON MY ENGLISH opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre, January 20, 1933 and played for 43 performances starring English music-hall star Jack Buchanan in the dual role of Golo and Michael. The show was considered lost for decades, but when performance materials were found in a New Jersey warehouse in 1982, it was reconstructed and a studio recording was made in 1993.
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Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance