Cast size: Medium, 11 plus Book by: Sandy Wilson Lyrics by: Sandy Wilson Music by: Sandy Wilson

Sandy Wilson | romantic MUSICAL | medium 11 plus

  • About the Show

    The Jazz Age lives on in this light, romantic spoof of 1920's musical comedy.

    The setting is where else? the French Riviera. Polly, an English heiress attending Mme. Dubonnet's Finishing School, falls in love with Tony, a delivery boy. Recalling her father's warning to beware fortune seekers, she posses as a working girl, unaware Tony is in fact the missing son of the wealthy Lord Brockhurst. Things get complicated with the unexpected arrival in Nice of Polly's parents and Lord and Lady Brockhurst but not to worry, a happy ending is in store for all.

    The show's many memorable roles include the flirtatious Mme. Dubonnet, her boy-crazy students and Polly (the role which turned Julie Andrews into an overnight sensation), making it ideal for theatre groups with a strong female ensemble. With its catchy tunes, period dances (including the inevitable Charleston) and winning sense of humor, The Boy Friend is a sparkling, tongue-in-cheek 1920's romp in the spirit of No, No, Nanette.

    Opened 9/30/1954 Ran for 485 performances.

    Just the right combination of parody, nostalgia and candid paraphrase of a period... a constant pleasure."
    - The New York Post
    "Charming... positive and disarming... companionable and sympathetic. A delightful burlesque."
    - The New York Times
    "A rollicking rib."
    - Newsweek
    "A gay, witty spoof."
    - Time"

    Some content © MTI Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Music Theatre International. Used by permission. Portions © Respective Trademark Holders. All rights reserved.

    Synopsis

    Act I opens with a curtain speech (which is optional) by a cast member who briefly describes the period of the show (the 1920s) assuring the audience that the era roared as loud in England and along the Riviera as it did in America. The announcer then introduces the band, the Bearcats, who perform the "Overture."

    The scene is Madame Dubonnet's Finishing School outside of Nice. The girls, all in their late 'teens assert that they are "Perfect Young Ladies" but they are scolded by Hortense, the chic French maid at the school, who is not convinced they are quite as perfect as they claim. Enter the demure Polly Browne announcing that her secret escort for the costume ball that evening will arrive at any moment. She will attend the dance in costume as Pierrette. In anticipation of the festivities, the girls sing about that essential element: "The Boy Friend."

    Headmistress Mme. Dubonnet comes in. The girls disperse but she asks to speak with Polly. After a bit of cross-examination, Polly admits that she has no date for the dance, that her wealthy father forbids her to have a boy friend who might only be after the family fortune. Mme. Dubonnet (who has a habit of ending her sentences with "hein" meaning essentially "isn't that so?") assures Polly she will speak with Mr. Browne as soon as he arrives for the ball that evening.

    Maisie, Polly's vivacious classmate, interrupts the meeting. After Mme. Dubonnet leaves, the dapper playboy Bobby Van Husen appears at the French windows and Maisie tries to shoo him away, but he begs her to promise him every dance at the ball. They sing "Won't You Charleston With Me?" and end the number dancing.

    As they leave, a pompous older gentleman, Percival Browne (Polly's father) arrives to see Mme. Dubonnet. As she enters, she is a bit startled--a sudden moment of recognition. They begin by discussing Polly but finally realize they had met before--at the end of the war at Maxim's where they waltzed the night away. They sing "Fancy Forgetting." They end the song on the verge of a kiss and exit.

    Polly comes in as Tony, a messenger boy, delivers a package "for Miss Polly Browne." Their attraction to one another is instantaneous and she invites him to escort her to the carnival ball as Pierrot. They dance and sing "I Could Be Happy With You" and plan to meet at the bandstand on the beach that afternoon. He leaves as Polly realizes she doesn't even know his name.

    The first act ends with the happy reunion of Polly and her father and the ensemble reprising "The Boy Friend."

    Act II: that same afternoon at the shore, boys and girls in beach attire sing "Sur Le Plage."

    Enter the jolly Lord Brockhurst, complete with monocle and high blood pressure, flirting with the bathing beauties but followed by Lady Brockhurst. They discuss the mysterious disappearance of their son Tony from his college at Oxford. Consoling each other they exit while Lord Brockhurst continues eyeing the young girls in their bathing costumes.

    Polly and Tony meet as planned. She denies being an heiress to a fortune but claims to be merely a secretary at the school. They joyously share their enthusiasm for the simple life in "A Room In Bloomsbury" and end the song on the verge of a kiss as the haughty maid Hortense appears and is horrified recognizing Tony as "just a messenger boy." Polly convinces Hortense to keep their secret from Mme. Dubonnet and the couple run off as the other young bathers arrive en masse teasing the French maid.

    Lord Brockhurst spots Mme. Dubonnet and Percival Browne and is smitten with the lady. She leaves to find Percival a bathing suit and Brockhurst questions Browne about her. But Percival resents the intrusion. Lady Brockhurst arrives again on the scene and whisks her husband away as Mme. Dubonnet comes back with bathing trunks in hand and vamps the very proper Percival with a song, "You Don't Want To Play With Me Blues."

    All the boys are focused on the coquettish Maisie begging her to promise them a dance at the ball. She flirts with all of them to Bobby's frustration. They all join in to sing "Safety In Numbers" as she expresses her love for all of them in song and dance: "There's safety in numbers/And the more the merrier am I."

    Tony and Polly enter and arrange to meet at the cafe at nine before the ball. They reprise "I Could Be Happy With You" and end it with a kiss as the Brockhursts enter and spot their son. He runs off as the Brockhurts call for a gendarme. In the confusion all believe Tony is a thief--including Polly. Of course he is! He's stolen her heart and she won't be going to the ball after all.

    Act III opens on the terrace of the cafe where couples are dancing. Mme. Dubonnet and Percival discuss the melancholy Polly and realize she is indeed in love and in need of a confidante--the mother she lost long ago. They recall their Armistice Day rendezvous. Love is in the air. Bobby proposes to Maisie and she promises to give him an answer at midnight. The other girls accept similar proposals from Alphonse, Marcel, and Pierre--but all the girls decide to give their beaux their answers at midnight. The boys are frustrated having to wait till then. All dance and sing "The Riviera," the latest dance craze, to help pass the time.

    Tony enters and Hortense button-holes him. She reports that Polly is broken- hearted. He enlists Hortense to urge Polly to attend the ball and he leaves to change into his costume.

    Lord Brockhurst flirts with one of the young ladies and they sing "It's Never Too Late To Fall In Love" as he cites the advantages of loving a mature man of the world. But Lady Brockhurst again arrives in time to make short work of the flirtation.

    Suddenly a forlorn Polly appears costumed as Pierrette. Lady Brockhurst recognizes Polly as the girl with Tony that very afternoon. Upon seeing Polly in her costume, Mme. Dubonnet recalls a song she knew as a child and sings it for Polly: "Poor Little Pierrette."

    Tony, costumed and masked as Pierrot, arrives and approaches Polly asking for the next dance but she answers "I'm afraid I can't dance with a stranger." His kiss assures her that this is her Tony.

    The Brockhursts embrace their son. Tony and Polly admit to each other they have been flying under false colors. He confesses he's the heir to the Brockhurst fortune. She admits she's the daughter of the millionaire Percival Browne. Oh, well, they'll find a way of forgiving each other and manage somehow.

    Percival Browne then announces that Mme. Dubonnet has agreed to become his wife. It's suddenly midnight and each of the boys await their fate. Will the girls' answers be yes or no? It's a unanimous yes! "Swell" cries one of the young men, "now how about that Charleston?"

    A brief reprise of "The Boy Friend" and "A Room In Bloomsbury."

    Joy! Curtain.

    Casting Information

    Musical Difficulty:
    Easy to learn
    Easy to sing
    Show Cast Size:
    Medium (11-20)
    (8 Men/8 Women)
    Show Chorus Size:
    Small
    Show Dance Required:
    Standard
    Notes:
    Star vehicle - female
    Character Breakdown:
    MAISIE Young Lady at Mme. Dubonnet's school. A madcap finishing school student.
    DULCIE Young Lady at Mme. Dubonnet's school.
    FAY Young lady at Mme. Dubonnet's school.
    NANCY Young lady at Mme. Dubonnet's school.
    POLLY BROWN Young Lady at Mme. Dubonnet's school. Clear-voiced romantic
    MADAME DUBONNET The stuffy head-mistress of the school.
    HORTENSE A maid at the school.
    BOBBY VAN HUSEN A rich, good-looking American student
    PERCIVAL BROWNE A stodgy millionaire and Polly's father
    TONY A messenger. An attractive, secretly wealthy suitor.
    LORD BROCKHURST A frisky old gentleman. A wealthy English blueblood
    LADY BROCKHURST His stuffy wife. Equally rich and British
    MARCEL A young suitor
    PIERRE A young suitor
    ALPHONSE A young suitor
    WAITER and any Walk-Ons that might be needed.

    Musical Numbers

    Overture-Orchestra
    Perfect Young Ladies-Hortense, The Girls
    The Boy Friend-Polly, Dulcie, Nancy, Maisie, Girls, Boys
    Won't You Charleston With Me?-Bobby, Maisie
    Fancy Forgetting-Mme. Dubonnet, Percival
    I Could Be Happy With You-Tony, Polly
    Sur La Plage-Nancy, Dulcie, Boys, Girls
    A Room In Bloomsbury-Tony, Polly
    Nicer In Nice-Hortense, Boys, Girls
    The You-Don't-Want-To-Play-With-Me Blues-Mme. Dubonnet, Percival, Girls
    Safety In Numbers-Bobby, Marcel, Pierre, Alphonse, Maisie, Boys
    The Riviera-Bobby, Maisie, Boys, Girls
    It's Never Too Late To Fall In Love-Lord Brockhurst, Dulcie
    Poor Little Pierrette-Mme. Dubonnet

    Rehearsal Set

    The Libretto and Vocal Score of this work are both offered for sale.

    Orchestration

    1 CONDUCTOR: Cued Vocal Score
    1 REED I (Clarinet/Alto Sax)
    1 REED II (Clarinet/Alto Sax)
    1 REED III (Clarinet/Tenor Sax)
    1 REED IV (Clarinet/Tenor Sax)
    1 TRUMPETS I & II
    1 TROMBONE I & II
    1 PERCUSSION/DRUMS
    1 GUITAR
    1 VIOLIN I
    1 VIOLIN II
    1 CELLO
    1 DOUBLE BASS

Partners & Associates

  • cipc
  • bsa
  • samro