Playwright: Oscar Asche
Adaptations: Chu Chin Chow (1934)

Chu Chin Chow | Musical

  • About the Show

    Chu Chin Chow is based on the tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. The setting is themagnificent Eastern palace of Kasim Baba who welcomes the Chinese merchant Chu Chin Chow. He is, in fact, not who he seems to be but the rascally Abu Hasan, a robber come to glean information that will enable him to rob his host. Hasan has a slave, Zahrat, already spying in the palace. She has made friends with Kasim's chief wife, Alcolom, who in turn is loved by Kasim's poor brother, Ali Baba. Another friend is the slave maid Marjanah who loves Ali's son, Nur Al-Huda. The downfall of Kasim would solve a lot of problems!

    Marjanah recognises Abu Hasan and enlists him in a scheme to get rid of Kasim - she wants her freedom and Alcolom wants to be with her beloved Ali. In exchange, Abu Hasan's identity will not be disclosed. Kasim entertains his guests royally. Abu Hasan tries to buy Marjinah as intended, but drunken Ali Baba offers a fortune, forty thousand gold pieces, - which he does not possess - to buy her for his son. The offer is accepted.

    Next morning, Ali can't remember anything, but wakes up in a cactus grove with a hangover. Meanwhile, Marjinah and Nur Al-Huda are preparing to escape when they overhear Abu Hasan and his men coming out of a concealed rock entrance. Abu has ordered Zahrat's lover, Omar, to be brought to the desert to ensure her loyalty to him. When the robber band has left, Marhjanah and Nur tell Ali about the concealed cave, its treasure and its password - "Open Sesame". Later the incantation works for the three as well. Now they can acquire enough money to buy Marjinah from Ali. At the sale, Chu Chin Cow believes his identity has been revealed by Zahrat. He proposes to put Zahrat to death. She exposes his real identity and he leaves with her, his robbers and all the bid money.

    Ali visits Kasim, his brother, tells him of the cave and brings the promised bid money for Marjanah, who can now wed Nur. The lovers return to the cave, where they discover a chained Zahrat. They are unable to release her as Kasim is ushered in. He goes mad at the sight of the treasure but is captured by Abu Hasan and put to death. Hasan has brought along Zahrat's lover to die with her. Eventually Zahrat is freed; the robbers are killed by boiling oil, and Hasan is stabbed to death. All that remains is for the young lovers to be united - and so are Ali and Alcolom.


    Scenes and Settings

    ACT 1

    Scene 1: Kasim Baba's Palace
    Scene 2: Marjamah's Window
    Scene 3: The Cactus Grove
    Scene 4: The Silk Stall
    Scene 5: Kasim Baba's Palace

    ACT II

    Scene 1: Kasim Baba's Palace
    Scene 2: In the Starlight
    Scene 3: The Cave
    Scene 4: Picture Set
    Scene 5: The Bazaar
    Scene 6: Picture Set (Same as Scene 4
    Scene 7: Kasim Baba's Palace

    Casting Information

    Abu Hasan - the sheik of the robbers 
    Kasim Baba - a wealthy merchant
    Ali Baba - his poor brother 
    Alcolom - Kasim's head wife
    Mahbubah - Ali's wife 
    Bostan - Mahbubah's Servant 
    Nur al-Huda Ali - Ali's son 
    Marjanah - a slave 
    Zahrat al-Kulaub - a slave 
    Baba Mustafa - a cobbler 
    Abdullah - Kasim's steward 
    Mukbil - An auctioneer
    Otbah - A stall-keeper 
    Musab - member of Abu Hasan's band 
    Khuzaymah - member of Abu Hasan's band 
    Zanim - slave dealer 
    Fitnah - slave dealer 

    Robbers, Dancers, Slave, etc.

    Musical Numbers

    Musical Numbers:

    1. Prelude
    2. Song (Abdullah & Chorus) - HERE BE OYSTERS - Here be oysters stewed in honey
      2a: Zahrat Theme
      2b:(Abdullah) - There be perfumed wines from Persia
      2c: Underscore
      2d: (Abdullah) - Here be bitter juice of orange
    3. Entrance of Chu Chin Chow - I AM CHU CHIN CHOW - I am Chu Chin Chow of China
    4. Javanese Dance and Entrance of Ali
    5. Song (Marjanah & Chorus) - CLEOPATRA'S NILE - When the blood-red sun is gliding o'er the Nile
    6. Finale Scene 1 (Ali Baba & Company) - I'LL SING AND DANCE - I'll sing and dance and dance and sing
    7. Scene 2. Serenade (Nur Al-Huda & Marjanah) - CORRALINE - Marjanah, O list to my sighs
    8. Scene 3. Song (Ali Baba) - MY HEAD, MY HEAD - My head, my head, it weighs like lead
    9. Song (Ali Baba) - WHEN A PULLET IS PLUMP - When a pullet is plump, she's tender
    10. Robbers' March (Robbers Chorus) - WE ARE THE ROBBERS OF THE WOODS - We are the robbers of the woods
    11. Scene 4. Song & Trio (Ali Baba, Marjanah & Nur Al-Huda) - WHY SHOULD I REPINE - Awah! Temperamental am I
    12. Song (Marjanah) - I LOVE THEE SO - Although I've often asked before
    13. Duet (Marjanah & Ali Baba) - ALL MY DAYS TILL END OF LIFE - All my days till end of life
    14. Scene 5 - Underscoring
    15. Song (Abdullah) - BEHOLD - Behold, spare not your gold
      14a. Underscoring
    16. Finale Act I - THE ROBBERS' MARCH

    Act II

    1. Scene 1 - Introduction
    2. Dance
    3. Song (Alcolom & chorus) - I LONG FOR THE SUN - How can I sing from a heart that's cold?
    4. Exit music
    5. Ensemble (Ali Baba, Kasim, Alcolom, Marjanah & Chorus) - HAIL THE GRAND WAZIR - Hail to the grand wazir to be
    6. Song (Marjanah, Nur Al-Huda, Alcolom, Kasim & Chorus) - MAHBUBAH - She will say her say all night and day
    7. Change of scene
    8. Scene 2. Song (Marjanah) - I BUILT A FAIRY PALACE IN THE SKY - I built a fairy palace in the sky, all women do
    9. Change of scene - Interlude Music
    10. Jewel Ballet
    11. Chorus - ROBBERS' MARCH - We are the robbers of the woods
    12. Song (Abu Hasan & Chorus) - THE SCIMITAR - I draw my short, sharp scimitar
    13. Scene 4. Interlude Music
    14. Song (Alcolom) - ANYTIME'S KISSING TIME - People have slandered out love serene
    15. Scene 5. Interlude Music - Change of scene
    16. Song (Baba Mustapha) - THE COBBLER'S SONG - I sit and cobble at slippers and shoon
    17. Bazaar Music
    18. Song (Fruit Girls) - WE BRING YE FRUITS - We bring ye fruits of ev'ry clime
    19. Underscoring
    20. Mannequin Scene (Girls) - From Cairo, Baghdad, Khorasan
    21. Reprise - From Cairo … and underscoring
    22. Scene 6. Duet ( Alcolom & Ali Baba) - HOW DEAR IS OUR DAY - How dear is our day now that Kasim's away
    23. Interlude Music - Change of scene
    24. Underscoring
    25. Song ( Abdullah & Chorus) - OLIVE OIL - Sweet olive oil
    26. Underscoring
    27. Finale Act II - WEDDING PROCESSION - On with the wedding let joy be complete

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