About the Show
A musical in 2 acts based on the novel by Arnold Bennett. Book by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall. Music and lyrics by Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent. Produced at the Bristol Theatre Royal under the management of Cameron Mackintosh and Jimmy Wax 7 June - 30 June, 1973. Opened at the Queens Theatre, London 24 July, 1973 for a run of 130 performances closing 3 November, 1973. Previewed from 12 July, 1973
Directed by Val May; Musical Director: Ray Holder; choreography by Gillian Lynne; Scenery & Costumes by Malcolm Pride
Adapted from the novel by Arnold Bennett, this is a lively tale of a pushy young opportunist in a Potteries town in the early 1900's. A go-getting personality, his disarmingly sharp practices enable him to win over local 'society', outwit influential rivals, sort out his romantic entanglements, and make himself mayor. A very funny show, with catchy songs, it requires only a basic set with 12 variations.
We open with a scene set in Bursley Town Hall where Denry is being installed as Mayor of the town. In 18 flashback scenes we follow the career of Denry Machin from a lowly worker in the employment of of the unsavoury Mr. Duncalf. Denry has the necessary will to succeed, however. Seizing the moment, he purloins some tickets for THE society ball of the year. As these tickets are much coveted, he is able to exchange one for some dancing lessons with a pretty dance instructor, Ruth Earp. Another ticket he exchanges for suitable evening wear. In his new clothes, Denry cuts a dash, so much so, that he ends up dancing at the ball with the Countess of Chell.
His duplicitous life is eventually found out and he leaves Mr Duncalf's employment. He sets up business on his own account - that of rent collector. When he calls on Miss Earp for her rent, she cannot pay. Denry however, wins her over. Ruthlessly he sets out to make his way in the business world where he makes his mark with his invention - a credit card system. He pursuades to Countess of Chell to become the company's patron and things really take off. The final boost to his acceptance in the society he craves - and to his fortune - is when he supplies a famous star to the town's poorly performing football team.
As he reaches to highest level - where the play begins - he abandons Ruth who has been at his side, urging him along, and supporting him in his efforts. Denry has fallen in love with his adoring secretary, Nellie Cotterill.
4 female, 5 male (3 opt. non-singing) Large chorus with many minor rolesDENRY MACHIN (THE CARD) - A young man full of bright ideas—go-getter type. Light baritone.
RUTH EARP - Impecunious, scheming, 'gold digger' dancing teacher. Modern type vocalist.
NELLIE COTTERILL - Young juvenile lead—rather shy and madly in love with Denry. Mezzo soprano.
THE COUNTESS OF CHELL - Elegant patron and mentor of Denry's little schemes. Non-solo singer but involved in musical numbers.
MRS MACHIN - Typical 'mum-forever' giving Denry good advice. Non-singing.
MR DUNCALF - Loud-mouthed Solicitor—full of his own importance. Baritone: very little singing but odd lines which can be spoken.
MR CALVERT - Councillor and house-owner—kind-hearted. Baritone: very little singing but odd lines which can be spoken.
PARSLOE - Young fellow work-mate of Denry's. Baritone: little singing.
MR SHILLITOE - The tailor—'Uriah Heep' type. Non-singing.
MRS CODELYN - Middle-aged widow—houseowner. Non-singing.
FEARNS & ETCHES - Young men-about-town snobs. Non-singing.
MR & MRS COTTERILL - Parents of Nellie—small parts. Non-singing.
MR BLUNDELL - Owner of ladies underwear shops. Baritone very little singing.
TRUELOVE & PEABODY - Emporium owners—small acting parts. Non-singing.
SIR MAGNUS COPE - Millionaire shipping line owner. Non-singing.
MISS WATKINS - Prim secretary to Ludy Chell. Non-singing.
School Staff, Crewmen, Harbourmaster, Servants, Townspeople etc.
Reed I (alto sax, clarinet, piccolo), Reed II (tenor sax, clarinet, recorder), Reed III (tenor sax, clarinet, flute), Reed IV (baritone sax, bass clarinet, opt. flute), 3 trumpets, 2 trombones (2nd db. opt. bass trombone), 2 percussion, electric guitar db. opt. acoustic guitar, piano, concertina, violin