Devised, written and Composed by Ivor Novello
Lyrics by Christopher Hassall

The Dancing Years | Musical

  • About the Show

    The Dancing Years is a musical with book and music by Ivor Novello and lyrics by Christopher Hassall. The piece is one of Novello's most popular musicals. Like many of Novello's musicals, The Dancing Years was given an expensive, spectacular production, with several scene changes and a large cast including many extras and dancers.

    It was first produced in London's West End on 23 March 1939.


    Gay Vienna, before the First World War; the perfect setting for rash, romantic promises. Composer Rudi Kleber, penniless and unknown, befriends the schoolgirl niece of his landlady, and vows to propose to no-one until she is old enough to have first refusal. Operetta star Maria Ziegler recognises his talent, sponsors his first success, and falls madly in love with him. But, foolishly idealistic, he keeps his word to the child until, three dancing years later, little Grete returns from finishing school, a highly attractive young lady. Maria overhears Rudi redeem his promise and, heartbroken, does not stay long enough to hear his profound relief at Grete's refusal. The dancing years come and go. Maria has married Prince Metterling, but when Rudi first meets her young son he has no doubt that the child is his own. The rising threat of Nazism is casting shadows as the story reaches its dramatic close.

    For the Chorus

    Several of the score's best-known melodies appear in full choral arrangements, and there is a long excerpt from Kleber's operetta Lorelei. Two mimes, Masques of Vienna, involve the general company as well as the dancers. The chorus appear as officers and their ladies, theatre-goers, theatre staff and members of the cast at the Theatre, guests of the period 1760s, members of a Tyrolean choir, restaurant diners, inn servants.

    Casting Information

    Singing Principals

    Cäcille, her mentor,
    Ceruti, of the Lorelei cast.

    Straight Roles:

    Hattie, a guest-house keeper,
    Countess Lotte.
    Rudi. Prince Charles Metterling.
    Franzel, an officer,
    Carl, Maria's young son.

    Smaller Roles

    Mesdames Pelotti and Sadun, singers.
    Lilli, Elizabeth, Sonia, Wanda, Sari, Mitzi, Hilde and Emmy of the Vienna Theatre.
    Kathie, a maid.
    Signor Valdo, a singer.
    A night-watchman.
    Otto, a messenger boy.
    Oscar, of Lochers restaurant.
    Schani, a choirmaster
    Goetzer and Poldi. Nazi officers.

    (These roles are additional to the characters appearing in the masque mimes.)

    Performance Material

    1st Violins A, B and C, 2nd Violins, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, 2 Flutes, Oboe, 2 Clarinets, 2 Horns, 2 Trumpets, Trombone*, Drums

Partners & Associates

  • cipc
  • bsa
  • samro