Category Archives: P

Musicals staring with letter P

Peter Pan

Peter Pan is one of many musical adaptations of the famous story by JM Barrie. Despite a version by Leonard Bernstein, it is the Julie Styne and Carolyn Leigh version that has stood the test of time, thanks in part to the original production by Jerome Robbins and the TV film made of the show. Originally the role of Peter Pan was synonymous with Mary Martin, but in recent years Cathy Rigby has toured endlessly with the show. The musical is frequently presented all around America and is a favourite during the holiday season. is one of many musical adaptations of the famous story by JM Barrie. Despite a version by Leonard Bernstein, it is the Julie Styne and Carolyn Leigh version that has stood the test of time, thanks in part to the original production by Jerome Robbins and the TV film made of the show. Originally the role of Peter Pan was synonymous with Mary Martin, but in recent years Cathy Rigby has toured endlessly with the show. The musical is frequently presented all around America and is a favourite during the holiday season.

Peter Pan

Jule Styne

Carolyn Leigh

J M Barrie

The play of the same title by J M Barrie

Richard Halliday

Jerome Robbins

Jerome Robbins

Peter Pan Original Broadway

Original Broadway Production

Winter Garden Theatre - Opened 20 Oct 1954, closed 26 Feb 1955

Cast: Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard, Robert Banas, David Bean, Sally Brophy, William Burke, Linda Dangcil, Darryl Duran, Chester Fisher, Margalo Gillmore, Heller Halliday, Robert Harrington.

Peter Pan 1st Broadway Revival

First Broadway Production

Lunt Fontanne - Opened 6 Sep 1979, closed 4 Jan 1981

Peter Pan 2nd Broadway Revival

Second Broadway Production

Lunt Fontanne - Opened 13 Dec 1990, closed 20 Jan 1991

Peter Pan 3rd Broadway Revival

Third Broadway Production

Marquis - Opened 23 Nov 1998, closed 3 Jan 1999

Peter Pan 4th Broadway Revival

Fourth Broadway Production

George Gershwin - Opened 7 Apr 1999, closed 29 Aug 1999

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


The first act begins in the nursery of the Darling family in London. Mr and Mrs Darling are preparing to leave for an evening out as their children, Wendy, John and Michael are playing together loudly. Their nurse Nanna, who is a dog, watches over them after previously seeing a boy at their window, flying out of sight. She managed to catch his shadow and put it away in a drawer for later use. Mr Darling is in a bad mood and makes Nana sleep outside, as Mrs Darling sings the children a lullaby (“Tender Shepherd”).

As the children fall asleep and their parents leave, Tinkerbell, a fairy enters and looks around the room. Peter Pan flies through the window looking for his shadow. He finds it but cannot managed to reattach it so begins to cry. Wendy awakes and sews his shadow back onto him. He is delighted and sings in confidence “I’ve Gotta Crow”. Peter tells Wendy all about where he lives and Tinkerbell gets jealous of Wendy. He explains about “Never Never Land” and tells her that he lives with the lost boys who refuse to grow up and have no mothers. Wendy wakes up her brothers and they agree to travel there together. Peter teaches them all how to fly and they fly through the window off into the night (“I’m Flying”).

In Never Never Land we are introduced to the Lost Boys who are hiding from Captain Hook who is trying to track down Peter and kill him. He has lost his hand after Pan fed it to a crocodile, and is paranoid the crocodile is coming back for more. As they see Peter in the sky Tinkerbell tells them to shoot down the ‘Wendy Bird’ flying next to them. As they shoot her down Peter is furious, but she is not dead, only unconscious. The boys are sorry and build a house around her, hoping that she will become their mother (“Wendy”). Captain Hook sees her and plans to kidnap Wendy and the boys.

As the discover the island they get into many adventures, yelling their thoughts on not wanting to ever grow old, “I Won’t Grow Up”. Peter rescues the Indian Tiger Lilly and her Indian tribe are grateful, dancing the “Ugg-a-Wugg” for them. The boys become homesick and Wendy sings them “Distant Melody” to get them to sleep. She tells all of the Lost Boys that her mother will adopt them back in London.

Hook and his pirates enter and kidnap all of the children, leaving Peter alone. Hook poisons his medicine and leaves it for him to drink when he awakes. Just in time Tinkerbell drinks his medicine to stop him dying and falls down dead. Peter encourages the audience to clap their hands to bring her back to life. They set off to free Wendy and the Lost Boys.

Hook sings a “Waltz” to celebrate him achievements, convinced his plan has worked. Peter arrives with a tick-tock clock that scares him and they have a fight, defeating all of the Pirates and leaving Hook to the crocodile. Everyone is excited as Peter sings a reprise of “I’ve Gotta Crow”. They all set sail back to London.

Mrs Darling is looking out of the window hoping her children will return. As she sings “Tender Shepherd” they arrive and they are both delighted. The Darling’s are happy and agree to adopt all of the Lost Boys. Wendy prays for Peter to return one day.

Years pass and Peter returns to the nursery to find a much older Wendy and her daughter. He asks her to come to Never Land but she tells him she is too grown up. Her daughter Jane wakes up and asks Peter why he is crying. He explains who he is, just as he did to Wendy and she flies off to Never Land for an adventure.

  • Tender Shepherd
  • I’ve Gotta Crow
  • Never Never Land
  • I’m Flying
  • Pirate Dance
  • Wendy
  • I Won’t Grow Up
  • Ugg-A-Wugg
  • Distant Melody
  • Hook’s Waltz
  • I’ve Gotta Crow (Reprise)
  • Tender Shepherd (Reprise)
  • I Will Grow Up
  • Never Never Land (Reprise)

1955 Tony Awards: Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Stage Technician


The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is one of the world’s most successful musicals and the highest grossing entertainment event of all time. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the original London and Broadway productions continue to run at their respective original theatres, where the Broadway production is the longest running show in New York. The London production is second only to Les Miserables, who is a year ahead, opening in 1985. Based on the famous French novel, a mysterious ghost falls in love with a young ballet dancer and trains her up to be an opera star. The haunting story along with impressive stage designs and a soaring score make this one of the biggest shows of all time.


Andrew Lloyd Webber

Richard Stilgoe

Richard Stilgoe

From the novel "Le Fantôme de L'Opéra" by Gaston Leroux;

The Really Useful Group

Hal Prince

Gillian Lynne

Phantom Her Majesty's 1986

Original London Production

Her Majesty's Theatre - Opened 27 Sep 1986, closed 26 Oct 2013

Cast: Sarah Brightman, Michael Crawford, Steve Barton, Rosemary Ashe all starred in the original London production at the Her Majesty’s Theatre, where the show continues to play into its 27th year, remaining as London’s second longest running musical behind ‘Les Miserables’. 

Phantom Majestic 1987

Original Broadway Production

Majestic Theatre - Opened 26 Jan 1988, closed 29 Jun 2013

Cast: Sarah Brightman, Michael Crawford starred in the original Broadway cast, reprising their roles from London. The show is currently still running at the Majestic Theatre where it is about to enter its 25th year. 

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


The show begins with a Prologue on the stage of the Paris Opera House in 1905. An auction is underway of theatre props used by the company as an elderly Raoul buys a music box in the shape of a monkey. The final lot is the pieces of the shattered chandelier that featured in the ‘famous disaster’ and as the dust sheet is taken off, the years roll back and the show begins with its famous Overture.

We are taken to 1881 as a dress rehearsal for the Opera House’s production of ‘Hannibal’ is underway. Carlotta, the resident Prima Donna threatens to walk out as a piece of scenery falls from the flies and the ballet girls talk of the phantom that haunts the theatre. At the same time new owners of the venue are introduced as Monsieur Firmin and Andre, and they try to detract attention away from the incident. As Carlotta walks, their only option is to let Christine Daae, a ballet girl, to attempt the role and sing.

Christine brings down the house and is noticed by childhood friend Raoul who instantly falls in love with her. Backstage, Christine’s friend Meg asks her about her vocal training and she confesses to taking lessons from an ‘Angel of Music’ who Christine believes is the spirit of her dead father. Raoul visits Christine and they bond over their past. Alone in her dressing room, Christine is visited by The Phantom who takes her through the mirror into his secret lair beneath the Opera House. He serenades her and she sees a mannequin of herself in a wedding dress and faints, and the Phantom puts her to rest. As she wakes up she hears him composing music and removes the mask, seeing his distorted face. He is angry at her curiosity and takes her back to the Opera House.

Onstage the stage hand Joseph Buquet is scaring the chorus girls with tales of the mysterious Phantom. Madame Giry, the ballet mistress reprimands him and tells him not to speak about what he knows. Andre and Firmin have receieved a series of notes from the Phantom telling them how to run his theatre, mainly saying that Carlotta must be taught to act and given the silent role in the next production. Carlotta is furious and as Christine returns she threatens to walk, instigating the managers to shower her with praise to win her back.

Every ignores the Phantom’s instructions and Carlotta is given a leading role over Christine. During the production she looses her voice and the dead corpse of Joseph Buquet falls from the flies. The opera is thrown into disarray and Raoul drags Christine to the roof where they confirm their love for one another. The Phantom overlooks their plans to escape and vows revenge, sending the venue’s impressive chandelier falling from the sky to crash onto the stage.

The second act opens six months later with a masquerade ball. The Phantom appears towards the end with his new opera in which he instructs Christine must play the lead. Raoul is furious and demands information from Madame Giry. The company begin to rehearse the opera as Raoul and the managers plan to trap the Phantom once and for all. Christine is led to the gravestone of her father where the Phantom appears and challenges Raoul once again.

Onstage the opera is underway and the police station themselves ready to capture the ghost. The Phantom takes over one of the roles in the show, and ends up singing with Christine before taking her down once more to his lair, escaping the trap. The Phantom forces Christine into a wedding dress and as Raoul arrives to save her he traps him with his magical lasso. He tells Christine that Raoul will only live if she agrees to live with him forever. Christine is shocked and tells him that is his personality that is ugly rather than his face, and as she kisses him the Phantom experiences compassion and kindness, setting them both free. As the police storm the lair the Phantom escapes under his cape, leaving only his mask behind him.


Act I

  • A Rehearsal for Hannibal:
    • “Hannibal Comes!” – Carlotta, Piangi, Chorus and Ballet Girls
    • “Think of Me” – Carlotta, Ballet Girls, André and Buquet
  • “Think of Me” – Christine and Raoul
  • “Angel of Music” – Meg and Christine
  • “Little Lotte” – Christine and Raoul
  • “The Mirror (Angel of Music)” – Christine, Raoul and Phantom
  • “The Phantom of the Opera” – Phantom and Christine
  • “The Music of the Night” – Phantom
  • “I Remember…/Stranger than You Dreamt It”  – Christine and Phantom
  • “Magical Lasso” – Buquet, Meg, Madame Giry, and Ballet Girls
  • “Notes” – Firmin, André, Raoul, Carlotta, Madame Giry, Meg, Piangi, and Phantom
  • “Prima Donna” – Firmin, André, Raoul, Carlotta, Madame Giry, Meg, Piangi, and Phantom
  • Il Muto: “Poor Fool, He Makes Me Laugh” – Carlotta, Piangi and Company
  • “Why Have You Brought Us Here?/Raoul, I’ve Been There”  – Raoul and Christine
  • “All I Ask of You” – Raoul and Christine
  • Act I Finale: 
    • “I Gave You My Music” – Phantom
    • “All I Ask of You (Reprise)” – Raoul, Christine, and Phantom
    • “Chandelier Crash” – Phantom
Act II
  • “Entr’acte”
  • “Masquerade” – Chorus
  • “Why So Silent” – Phantom
  • “Notes II” – Firmin, André, Carlotta, Piangi, Raoul, Christine, Madame Giry, and Phantom
  • “We Have All Been Blind/Twisted Every Way” – Raoul, Firmin, André, and Christine
  • A Rehearsal for Don Juan Triumphant – Carlotta, Piangi, Christine and Chorus
  • The Graveyard:
    • “The Phantom of the Opera (Reprise)” – Christine
    • “Little Lotte (Reprise)” – Christine
    • “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” – Christine
    • “Wandering Child/Bravo, Monsieur!” – Phantom, Christine, and Raoul
  • Première of Don Juan Triumphant:
    • Music from Don Juan Triumphant – Piangi, Carlotta, Christine and Cast
    • “The Point of No Return” – Phantom and Christine
    • “All I Ask of You (Phantom’s Reprise)” – Phantom
  • Act II Finale: 
    • “Down Once More/Track Down This Murderer”  – Phantom, Christine, Raoul, and Company
    • “Be My Guest, Sir/The Point of No Return (Reprise)”  – Phantom, Christine, and Raoul
    • “Track Down This Murderer (Reprise)” – Phantom and Company
    • “Masquerade (Reprise)” – Phantom
    • “All I Ask of You (Final Reprise)” – Christine and Raoul
    • “The Music of the Night (Reprise)” – Phantom

2004 Tony Awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Idina Menzel), Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design

2010 Olivier Awards: Most Popular Show


UK: Really Useful Group

USA: Really Useful Group



Pal Joey

Pal Joey  features music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, along with a book by John O’Hara. The plot is based on a number of short stories that were initially published in The New Yorker magazine. The show features a number of show standards such as ‘I Could Write a Book’ and ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’ which has been covered by a number of artists around the world. Frank Sinatra starred in the film version and covered a number of the songs on his albums. Gene Kelly starred in the original production which ran for almost a year in 1940. Recent revivals have included the Studio 54 production which starred Stockard Channing.

Pal Joey Original Playbill

Richard Rodgers

Lorenz Hart

John O’Hara

short stories by John O'Hara

George Abbott

George Abbott

Robert Alton

Pal Joey Original Broadway

Pal Joey Original Broadway

Ethel Barymore, Schubert Theatre, St James Theatre - Opened 25 Dec 1940, closed 18 Feb 2013, 374 performances

Cast: Vivienne Segal, Gene Kelly, June Havoc, Jack Durant, Leila Ernst, Jean Casto, Van Johnson, Stanley Donen, Tilda Getze

Pal Joey 1st Broadway Revival

Pal Joey First Broadway Revival

Broadhurst Theatre - Opened 3 Jan 1952, closed 1 Jan 1970, 540 performances

Cast: Vivienne Segal, Harold Lang, Helen Gallagher, Lionel Stander, Patricia Northrop, Elaine Stritch, Helen Wood, Barbara Nichols, Jack Waldron & Robert Fortier

Pal Joey Original London

Pal Joey Original London

Princes Theatre - Opened 1 Mar 1954, closed 1 Jan 1970

Pal Joey 2nd Brodaway Revival

Pal Joey 2nd Broadway Revival

City Centres Theatre - Opened 23 May 1963, closed 1 Jan 1970, 15 performances

Pal Joey 3rd Broadway Revival

Pal Joey 3rd Broadway Revival

Circle in the Square Theatre - Opened 27 Jun 1976, closed 1 Jan 1970, 73 performances

Cast: Joan Copeland, Christopher Chadman

Pal Joey 1st London Revival

Pal Joey London Revival

Albery Theatre (Noel Coward) - Opened 1 Sep 1980, closed 12 Sep 1981

Pal Joey 4th Broadway Revival

Pal Joey 4th Broadway Revival

Studio 54 - Opened 18 Dec 2008, closed 1 Jan 1970, 85 performances

Cast: Stockard Channing, Martha Plimpton, Robert Clohessy, Jenny Fellner, Daniel Marcus, Matthew Risch, Steven Skybell

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


Joey Evans is a playboy in 1930’s Chicago who hopes to one day run his own nightclub. He gets a job as an emcee at a low-class dive (“You Musn’t Kick It Around”). Rehearsals begin and the club’s lead singer Gladys dislikes Joey from the start.

Joey meets pretty young stenographer Linda English who falls for his cheesy pick-up lines (“I Could Write a Book”). She comes to meet Joey at the club that evening. That same night, a wealthy married woman named Vera Simpson flirts with Joey, who rebuffs her advances. Furious, she leaves the club, as does Linda who is putt off by Joey’s rude behaviour. Joey is fired for treating a rich customer so poorly.

Linda refuses to take Joey’s calls, so he moves on to Vera (“What a Man”). They begin a torrid affair (“Happy Hunting Horn”), and as Vera is now “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” she sets him up in a new apartment and even buys him his own nightclub, which he names “Chez Joey.” Joey is thrilled by his luck and plans to become even an even bigger name in Chicago (“Pal Joey”).

Joey has installed all of the dancers from his old club at Chez Joey (“The Flower Garden of My Heart”). Gladys and her ex, Ludlow Lowell, plot to blackmail Vera and get Joey to absentmindedly sign papers they will ultimately use against him. Joey and Vera are still enjoying their affair (“In Our Little Den”), but when Linda overhears what Gladys and Ludlow plan to do, she calls Vera to warn her. Vera does not trust Linda and confronts Joey, believing they are having an affair of their own (“Do It the Hard Way”). Linda arrives to convince Vera that nothing is going on, a fact Vera soon realises. Both women agree that Joey is more trouble than he is worth (“Take Him”). Vera has Gladys and Ludlow arrested for blackmail, and she then breaks up with Joey and closes the club.

Joey runs into Linda in front of the shop where they first met. She invites him to dinner, but he refuses, and she says she hopes they’ll meet one day again. In the end, Joey is left all alone.

  • Overture
  • You Musn’t Kick It Around
  • I Could Write a Book
  • Chicago – A Great Big Town
  • That Terrific Rainbow
  • What is a Man
  • Happy Hunting Horn
  • Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
  • Pal Joey
  • Flower Garden in My Heart
  • Zip
  • Plant You Now, Dig you Later
  • In Our Little Den of Iniquity
  • Do it the Hard ay
  • Take Him
  • Reprise: Bewitched
  • Finale: I Could Write a Book

1952 Tony Award: Best Performance by a Featured Actress (Helen Gallagher), Best Choreography (Robert Alton), Best Musical Director.


UK: Josef Weinberger

USA: R & H Theatricals

The Producers

Mel Brooks’ musical The Producers was one of the biggest shows of the past decade. Based on his original film, the musical version won an impressive 12 Tony Awards including Best Musical and was the hottest ticket on Broadway for over 6 years. Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick led the original cast and returned to their roles throughout the run which boosted ticket sales. The show is distinctly low comedy and follows two Broadway producers who plan to make money by deliberately overselling investments in a Broadway flop musical. The show enjoyed a successful West End transfer, as well as various national tours, and was remade into a musical film in 2005. The show holds the record for the highest grossing day of sales, selling over $3.5million worth of tickets in 2003.

The Producers

Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks & Tom Meehan

the classic 1967 Mel Brooks film

Susan Stroman

Susan Stroman

The Producers Original Broadway

The Producers - Original Broadway

St James Theatre - Opened 19 Apr 2001, closed 22 Apr 2007, 2502 performances

Cast: Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick

The Producers Original London

The Producers - Original London

Theatre Royal Drury Lane - Opened 9 Nov 2004, closed 6 Jan 2007, 902 performances

Cast: Nathan Lane, Lee Evans, Conleith Hill, James Dreyfus

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


In 1959 New York City, Max Bialystock is celebrating the “Opening Night” of Funny Boy, a musical version of Hamlet. It is so atrocious that it closes after only one night. Max reflects on his former reputation as the “King of Broadway” and hopes to find a project that will equal his previous successes.

His mild-mannered accountant, Leo Bloom, arrives the next day to audit the Funny Boy accounts. A little old lady who is one of Max’s investors arrives, prompting Max to hide Leo in the bathroom. It turns out Max has been seducing sex-deprived elderly women to finance his productions. After the woman leaves, Leo reveals that there is a discrepancy in Max’s accounts as he raised $2000 more than he spent on the show.

After convincing Leo to write off this discrepancy, Max realises that a producer could make even more money on a flop than a hit by raising way more money than needed and having the production close early. He comes up with a scam to raise $2 million and then find the worst show, director, and cast possible, open the show, close after one night, and then jet off to Rio with the leftover money (“We Can Do It”). Leo is morally opposed to the project and declines.

Leo heads to work the next day to the endless harassment of his tyrannical boss, Mr. Marks. At his desk, he dreams of one day becoming a producer on Broadway (“I Wanna Be a Producer”). He decides to quit his job and go for Max’s scheme. They set off to find the worst play ever-written and find it in Springtime for Hitler, a musical romp that positively views Hilter and the rise of the Third Reich. They seek out the playwright, Franz Liebkind, who is an ex-Nazi living in Greenwich Village, reminiscing about the good times “In Old Bavaria.” They convince Franz to sign the contract and next try to find the worst director in town.
Max knows just the man for the job and they visit the eccentric homosexual Roger De Bris, who at first turns down the project as being too serious, urging Max and Leo to “Keep It Gay.” After Max mentions the Tony-winning potential, Roger agrees to take it on, but only if the ending is rewritten so the Germans win World War II. Max and Leo return to the office to find a blonde Swedish bombshell named Ulla who wants to audition for their next production (“When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It”). They immediately hire her as their secretary, as Max heads off to seduce his legion of old ladies to raise the money (“Along Came Bialy”).

Meanwhile, Ulla and Leo have begun to fall in love (“That Face”), while Max only lusts after Ulla. At auditions, Roger rejects every actor that comes by, until Franz auditions for his own show and is summarily hired to play Hitler. Opening night rolls around again, but Franz suddenly falls and breaks his leg. As Roger is the only other person who knows the role, he goes on in the premiere of “Springtime for Hitler.” However, due to his over-the-top camp performance, the audience believes the play is meant to be a satire and are roaring in the aisles. The play is a huge success and becomes the biggest show on Broadway, much to Leo and Max’s distress.

Max and Leo flee to their office, wondering how the got into this situation (“Where Did We Go Right?”). Franz arrives to confront them for corrupting his play, threatening Max with a pistol. The police turn up and arrest Franz and Max, and confiscate all of the accounting books. Leo and Ulla manage to escape and plan to head to Rio together with the two million dollars.

At trial, Max is understandably found guilty of fraud, but at the last moment Leo and Ulla arrive to testify on his behalf. The judge is moved and decides it would be unfair to separate Leo and Max, so he sends them both to prison for five years. While in jail, they write a new musical called “Prisoners of Love,” which stars Ulla and becomes a major hit. “Leo and Max” solidify their reputations as the biggest producers on Broadway.


Act I

  • Springtime for Hitler
  • Opening Night
  • The King of Broadway
  • We Can Do It
  • Unhappy
  • I Wanna Be a Producer
  • In Old Bavaria
  • Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop
  • Keep It Gay
  • When You Got It, Flaunt It
  • Along Came Bialy
Act II
  • That Face
  • Haben Sie Gehort Das Deutsche Band
  • It’s Bad Luck to Say Good Luck on Op’ning Night
  • Where Did We Go Right?
  • Betrayed
  • Till Him
  • Prisoners of Love
  • Goodbye!

2001 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Book, Best Original Score, Best Leading Actor, Best Featured Actor, Best Featured Actress, Best Director, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design.

2005 Olivier Awards: Best New Musical, Best Actor (Lane), Best Supporting Performance.


UK: Josef Weinberger

USA: Musical Theatre International


The Pajama Game

The Pajama Game

Richard Adler and Jerry Ross

Richard Adler and Jerry Ross

George Abbott and Richard Bissell

the novel 7 1/2 cents by Richard Bissell

Frederick Brisson, Robert Griffith & Harold Prince

George Abbott & Jerome Robbins

Bob Fosse

The Pajama Game Original Broadway

Original Broadway Production

St James Theatre - Opened 13 May 1954, closed 24 Nov 1956, 1063 performances

Cast: John Raitt, Janis Paige,Eddie Foy, Jr., Carol Haney, and Stanley Prager.

The Pajama Game 1st Broadway Revival

First Broadway Revival

Lunt Fontanne - Opened 9 Dec 1973, closed 3 Feb 1974

The Pajama Game 2nd Broadway Revival

Second Broadway Revival

Roundabout Theatre - Opened 23 Feb 2006, closed 17 Jun 2006, 129 performances

Cast: Harry Connick, Jr. (Sid), Kelli O’Hara (Babe), Michael McKean (Hines) and Megan Lawrence (Gladys)

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


At the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory the workers are pushed to their limits, making pajamas at lightning speed, (“Racing With The Clock”). They are so angry with their conditions that they are considering striking. Sid Sorokin, the new superintendent visits the factory and ruffles a few feathers, especially with the ladies, (“A New Town is a Blue Town”). The union encourages the workers to demand a pay rise of seven and a half cents per hour, although they are not sure how to get it. Sid meets Babe, and despite being on opposite sides of the dispute they are clearly in love. Babe’s work colleagues tease her about her feelings, but she brushes them aside saying “I Am Not At All in Love”.

In similar romantic news, the office efficiency expert Hines is in love with Gladys, the President’s Secretary but she has had enough of his jealous behaviour. The pair have a fight and Mabel, Sid’s secretary helps Hines stop his jealous ways, (“I’ll Never Be Jealous Again”). Babe continues to play with Sid, and he has to read his feelings into his Dictaphone, (“Hey There”).

The company hosts their annual picnic, where head of the Union Prez attempts to woo Gladys who does not appreciate his attentions, (“Her Is”). For entertainment, Hines demonstrates his knife throwing act as Babe continues to warm up to Sid during their “Once a Year Day”. Prez then turns to the easier target of Mae who responds aggressively. Sid and Babe continue to flirt and make “Small Talk” before they eventually let their feelings for one another come to the surface, (“There Once Was a Man”).

The factory try to strike by slowing down their work and Sid tells them that he will fire anyone who deliberately slacks off. Babe continues to head the strike campaign, and kicks the machinery, causing it to break. Sid is forced to fire Babe and as she leaves he questions their romance and if it can possibly work.

During a meeting with the union, Gladys performs a number for the boys in the factory, (“Steam Heat”). The group meet at Babe’s house and encourages the workers to sabotage the pajamas in order to make their point. Sid arrives at her house and attempts to make up with Babe but she forces him away.

Hines becomes affected by the factory slow down (“Think of the Time I Save”) and Sid begins to see things from the worker’s point of view. He takes Gladys out to a night club called “Hernando’s Hideaway” in order to get the company key from her without her knowing. Despite acting on behalf of Babe and the workers, Babe and Hines see the pair together and assume they are now romantically involved. Babe runs off, and Hines sees that his jealous thoughts were founded after all.

Sid uses the key to sneak into the firms office and see the books. He discovers that the boss Hasler has been keeping the extra profits despite putting the seven and a half cents onto the production costs. Sid rushes to bring the news to the union rally, and he saves the day by proving the strike action is justified. The factory are all happy and Sid and Babe go off together, (“The Pajama Game”).

Act I
  • “The Pajama Game Opening” – Hines
  • “Racing With the Clock” – Factory Workers
  • “A New Town Is a Blue Town” – Sid
  • “I’m Not At All in Love” – Babe and Factory Girls
  • “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again” – Mabel and Hines
  • “Hey There” – Sid
  • “Racing With the Clock” (Reprise) – Factory Workers
  • “Sleep-Tite” – Company
  • “Her Is” – Prez and Gladys
  • “Once a Year Day” – Sid, Babe, and Company
  • “Her Is” (Reprise) – Prez and Mae
  • “Small Talk” – Sid, and Babe
  • “There Once Was a Man” – Sid, and Babe
  • “Hey There” (Reprise) – Sid
Act II
  • “Steam Heat” – Gladys and the Box Boys
  • “The World Around Us” (added to 2006 production) – Sid
  • “Hey There” (Reprise) – Babe
  • “If You Win, You Lose” (added to 2006 production) – Sid, and Babe
  • “Think of the Time I Save” – Hines and Factory Girls
  • “Hernando’s Hideaway” – Gladys and Company
  • “The Three of Us (Me, Myself and I)” (added to 2006 production) – Hines and Gladys
  • “7½ Cents” – Prez, Babe and Factory Workers
  • “There Once Was a Man” (Reprise) – Sid and Babe
  • “The Pajama Game Finale” – Full Company

1955 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Featured Actress, Best Choreography.

2006: Drama Desk: Best Choreography

2006: Tony Award: Best Choreography (Kathleen Marshall)


UK: Josef Weinberger

USA: Musical Theatre International



Promises, Promises

Neil Simon’s book to Promises, Promises alongside a well covered score by Burt Bacharach and Hal David helped this show become one of the most popular Broadway musicals of the 1960s. Based on the Billy Wilder film ‘The Apartment’, the show is a fast paced farce focusing on sexual politics in the work place in 1960s New York. Michael Bennett’s original production featured iconic choreography to numbers such as ‘Turkey Lurkey’, and many of the show’s songs have since become standards after being covered by popular music artists, such as ‘Knowing When To Leave’ and ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’.

Promises Promises

Burt Bacharach

Hal David

Neil Simon

the screenplay The Apartment by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

David Merrick

Robert Moore

Michael Bennett

Promises Promises Original Broadway

Original Broadway Production

Schubert Theatre - Opened 1 Dec 1968, closed 1 Jan 1972

Cast: Jerry Orbach, Jill O’Hara, Edward Winter, Kelly Bishop, Graciela Daniele, Ken Howard, Baayork Lee, Donna McKechnie, Frank Pietri, Margo Sappington, and Marian Mercer.

Promises Promises Original London

Original London Production

The Prince of Wales Theatre - Opened 1 Jan 1969, closed 1 Jan 1970, 560 performances

Promises Promises Broadway Revival

Broadway Revival

Broadway Theatre - Opened 25 Apr 2010, closed 2 Jan 2011, 291 performances

Cast: Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth, Brooks Ashmanskas, Katie Finneran and Tony Goldwyn

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


A junior insurance executive at Consolidated Life, Chuck Baxter hopes to advance in his career quickly (“Half as Big as Life”). As such, he allows his superiors at the company to use his apartment with their respective mistresses for their continued promises he will be promoted “Upstairs” soon. Chuck, meanwhile, has fallen for a waitress in the company’s cafeteria named Fran who he hopes will notice him one day (“You’ll Think of Someone”).

The company’s personnel director, J.D. Sheldrake, figures out what Chuck is offering to his bosses because of their unilaterally glowing reviews. He meets Chuck privately to offer him that long-awaited promotion and tickets to a basketball game in exchange for having exclusive use of Chuck’s apartment. Chuck agrees, and asks Fran to go to the game with him. Fran says she would love to, but first has to meet with her soon-to-be-ex.

It turns out that Fran’s lover is Sheldrake, who is married. Fran wants to call it quits, but he manages to convince her to spend one last night with him (“Knowing When to Leave”), and she ends up standing Chuck up, but he immediately forgives her. Chuck’s bosses are furious that they can no longer use his apartment (“Where Can You Take a Girl?”). The company’s annual Christmas party is in full swing (“Turkey Lurkey Time”), where Sheldrake’s secretary Miss Olsen tells Fran that she is just one in a long line of mistresses and Chuck discovers that Fran is the girl Sheldrake has been bringing to his apartment.

On Christmas Eve, Chuck gets drunk at a bar, where he meets another lonely soul, Marge and invites her back to his place. Meanwhile at his apartment, Fran tells Sheldrake she knows all about his other affairs, but he replies that she’s the only girl he loves. She briefly takes him at his word before he says he has to leave to spend Christmas with his wife and family. Alone, Fran finds a bottle of Chuck’s sleeping pills and swallows them all.

Chuck arrives with Marge to find Fran passed out on his bed. He quickly sends Marge away and gets his neighbour, Dr. Dreyfuss to come rescue Fran from her overdose. Chuck calls Sheldrake to explain the situation, but Sheldrak says he can’t leave his family and asks Chuck to look after her on “Christmas Day.”

Chuck tries to keep Fran’s thoughts away from suicide, and the bond between them begins to grow as they discuss their private lives (“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”). One of the men who used to use Chuck’s apartment finds out that Fran has been staying there, and for revenge he contacts Fran’s protective brother, Karl. When Karl arrives, he believes Chuck is the reason for Fran’s heartbreak and promptly punches him in the face before taking her with him.

Miss Olsen discovers that Fran nearly killed herself over Sheldrake and decides to quit her job before telling Mrs. Sheldrake all about the affairs. With no other options, Sheldrake decides to win back Fran, and asks Chuck for the keys to his apartment on New Year’s Eve. Chuck refuses and quits his job too after growing sick of all his superiors broken promises (“Promises, Promises”). When Sheldrake tells Fran that Chuck has quit, she realises that he is the only on who really loves her. She runs to his apartment, where he confesses his love before they being a game of cards.


Act I

  • “Overture” – Orchestra
  • “Half as Big as Life” – Chuck
  • “Grapes of Roth” – Orchestra
  • “Upstairs” – Chuck
  • “You’ll Think of Someone” – Chuck & Fran
  • “Our Little Secret” – Chuck & Sheldrake
  • “I Say A Little Prayer” – Fran (added for the 2010 production)
  • “She Likes Basketball” – Chuck
  • “Knowing When to Leave” – Fran
  • “Where Can You Take a Girl?” – Dobitch, Kirkeby, Eichelberger, & Vanderhof
  • “Wanting Things” – Sheldrake
  • “Turkey Lurkey Time” – Miss Della Hoya, Miss Polansky, Miss Wong, & Ensemble
  • “A House Is Not a Home” – Fran (added for the 2010 production)
Act II
  • “A Fact Can Be a Beautiful Thing” – Marge & Chuck
  • “Whoever You Are (I Love You)” – Fran
  • “Christmas Day” – Orchestra
  • “A Young Pretty Girl Like You” – Dr. Dreyfuss & Chuck
  • “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” – Chuck & Fran
  • “Promises, Promises” – Chuck

1969 Tony Awards: Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Marian Mercer), Best Actor in a Musical (Orbach).

2010 Tony Awards: Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Katie Finneran)


UK: Music Scope UK

USA: Tams-Witmark



Porgy and Bess

Often called the ‘first American folk-opera’, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess opened in its original form in 1935. The piece was not recognised as a success in the author’s lifetime, and it is only in recent years with the development of larger opera companies that the show has been successfully and commercially performed. Two ‘musical’ versions of the show have been produced in London and in New York, with the 2012 production being the longest running production of the show. The piece has not been without its controversy and troubles, with claims of racism in its portrayal of the characters of Catfish Row, along with the heavily written dialect.

porgy and bess

George Gershwin

DuBose Heyward & Ira Gershwin

DuBose Heyward & Ira Gershwin

DuBose Heyward’s Novel Porgy

the Theatre Guild

Rouben Mamoulian

Porgy and Bess Original Broadway

Porgy and Bess - Original Broadway

Alvin Theatre - Opened 10 Oct 1935, closed 1 Jan 1970, 124 performances

Cast: Todd Duncan, Anne Brown, Warren Coleman, John W. Bubbles, Abbie Mitchell, Ruby Elzy, Georgette Harvey, Edward Matthews, Helen Dowdy & J. Rosamond Johnson.

Porgy and Bess First Broadway Revival

Porgy and Bess - First Broadway Revival

Majestic Theatre - Opened 1 Jan 1942, closed 2 Sep 1942

Porgy and Bess London Trevor Nunn

Porgy and Bess - London Revival

Savoy Theatre - Opened 6 Nov 2006, closed 1 Jan 1970

Porgy and Bess 2nd Broadway Revival

Porgy and Bess - Paulus Broadway Revival

Richard Rodgers - Opened 12 Jan 2012, closed 30 Sep 2012, 322 performances

Cast: Audra Macdonald, Norm Lewis 

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


After a short introduction the curtain rises on the inhabitants of Catfish Row. Jasbo Brown plays the piano for the community whilst Clara, a young mother, sings a lullaby to her newly born baby. The men prepare to play a game of craps, and Clara’s husband Jake attempts to educate his son about Women and their role in life. A disabled beggar, Porgy enters and tries to join the game of craps. Crown, a strong and intimidating man buys some ‘Happy Dust’ from Sportin’ Life, and is joined by his woman Bess who the other women hate. Robbins and Crown fight, ending in a brawl in which Crown kills Robbins with a cotton hook. As he runs from the police, he tells Bess to hide and that he will return later when the police leave. Bess tries to find shelter, but the only person to come to her aid is Porgy.

At Robbins’ wake, the community gather to collect money for a burial. Bess arrives with Porgy but everyone rejects her donation, until she explains that she lives with Porgy now. Peter is accused of the murder, but he tells the police it was Crown’s work, as they convince the detective to bury the body. Bess sings a gospel and is welcomed into the community.

A month later and everyone notices that Porgy has become a lot more cheerful since Bess arrived in his life. The men prepare to go out to fish despite news of storms. Sportin’ Life tries to sell his ‘Happy Dust’ and attempts to get Bess to run away with him to New York. The residents of Catfish Row are preparing to go on a church picnic to Kittiwah Island, but Porgy can’t go because of his disability. Left alone, they declare their love for one another.

At the picnic, Sportin’ Life presents his somewhat cynical views on the bible to keep people entertained. Crown appears and accosts Bess, reminding her that Porgy is only temporary and tries to kiss her. When she refuses, he drags her into the woods and rapes her.

Back at Catfish Row, Bess is suffering from a bad fever. Porgy can tell that she has been with Crown and she admits that she is scared of the hold that he has over her. Porgy tells her she should just leave him, but she refuses to do so. The hurricane bell begins to ring and Clara watches the water, scared of what could happen to Jake. Everyone gathers in the storm shelter and sings prayers to God to keep them all safe. Crown arrives at the shelter to taunt Porgy, as Jake’s boat floats past them upside down. Clara rushes out to try and find him. Crown leaves as the storm begins to rise.

Act three begins as the residents mourn the death of Jake and Clara. Bess sings the lullaby to Clara’s baby, as Crown enters and once again tries to claim her as his woman. He fights with Porgy, and is killed. Porgy admits to the killing and is dragged off. Sportin’ Life tries to convince Bess to leave with him to New York and gets her hooked once again on Happy Dust.

Porgy wins money whilst in jail by playing craps and is released awaiting trial. He is excited to return to Catfish Row and has bought a new dress for Bess. As he arrives he realises quickly that something is wrong, and is told that Bess has left for a new life in New York with Sportin’ Life. He grabs his cart and is determined to travel to find her – praying to God for guidance.


Act I

  • Introduction and Jasbo Brown Blues
  • Summertime
  • Oh, nobody knows when de Lord is gonna call
  • A Woman Is a Sometime Thing
  • Here come de-honey man ; Porgy’s Entrance
  • Here comes Big Boy! (Entrance of Crown and Bess)
  • Oh, little stars, little stars
  • Wake up an’ hit it out
  • Gone, Gone, Gone
  • Overflow
  • Well, well, well, a saucer-burying setup
  • My Man’s Gone Now
  • How de saucer stan’ now, my sister?
  • Leavin’ for the Promise’ Lan’
Act II 
  • It Takes a Long Pull to Get There
  • Mus’ be you mens forgot about de picnic
  • I Got Plenty o’Nuttin’  
  • Lissen there, what I tells you
  • I Hates yo’ Struttin’ Style
  • Mornin’, Lawyer
  • Dey’s a Buckra comin
  • The Buzzard Song
  • Lo, Bess, goin’ to the picnic?
  • Bess, You Is My Woman
  • Oh, I Can’t Sit Down
  • What’s de matter wid you, sister?
  • I Ain’t Got No Shame
  • It Ain’t Necessarily So
  • Dance; Shame on all you sinners
  • Crown!
  • What You Want wid Bess?
  • Lemme go, hear dat boat
  • Honey, dat’s all de breakfast I got time for
  • Tak yo’ hands off me, I say
  • Oh, Doctor Jesus
  • Strawberry Woman: Honey Man; Crab Man
  • Now de time, oh, Gawd
  • I Loves You, Porgy
  • Why you been out on that wharf so long, Clara?
Act III 
  • Oh, Doctor Jesus (Hurricane Scene)  
  • Summertime (Reprise)
  • What make you so still, Bess; Oh, dere’s somebody knockin’
  • You is a nice parcel of Christians
  • A Red-Headed Woman
  • Jake’s boat in de river
  • Clara, Clara
  • You low-lived skunk
  • Summertime (Reprise)
  • Wait for us at the corner, Al
  • What is your name?
  • Oh, Gawd! They goin’ make him look on Crown’s face
  • There’s a Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York  
  • Catfish Row Interlude
  • Good mornin’, sistuh! Good mornin’, brudder
  • It’s Porgy comin’ home
  • Oh, Bess, Oh, Where’s My Bess
  • Bess is gone
  • Oh, Lawd, I’m on My Way

UK: Music Scope UK

USA: Tams-Witmark



Parade is written by Alfred Uhry, featuring music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. The musical was first produced on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on December 17, 1998 in a production directed by Hal Prince. The show is a musicalised version of the trial of Jewish Factory manager Leo Frank which occurred in 1913 America, where the defendant was accused of raping and murdering a 13 year old girl. The music draws on a rich tapestry of musical influences, and Brown’s score is one of the finest in the modern musical theatre repertoire. The show has since been seen at the Donmar Warehouse in London.


Jason Robert Brown

Jason Robert Brown

Alfred Uhry

Harold Prince

Parade Broadway

Parade Original Broadway

Lincoln Centre - Opened 17 Dec 1998, closed 28 Feb 1999

Cast: Brent Carver, Carolee Carmello, Rufus Bonds Jr, Christy Carlson Romano, John Leslie Wolf

Parade London

Parade Original London

Donmar Warehouse - Opened 24 Sep 2007, closed 24 Nov 2007

Cast: Bertie Carvel, Lara Pulver, Jayne Wisener 

What was your favourite production? Add your thoughts in the comments box


In 1913, Leo Frank, a Jewish man from Brooklyn has emigrated to Georgia, where he runs a pencil factory. He does not feel he fits in the still prejudiced town (“How Can I Call This Home?”). His wife Lucille plans a picnic, but Leo decides to go into work on his day off. Two teenagers in the town, Frankie Epps and Mary Phagan head to “The Picture Show,” but first she stops by the factory to collect her pay cheque.
Two policeman arrive at Leo’s house and bring him to the factory, where they reveal Mary, who has been raped and murdered in the basement. The prime suspect is Newt Lee, an African-American night watchman who discovered the body. Over the course of the “Interrogation,” he says he is innocent, and causes the police to suspect Leo when he says he did not receive an answer when he called Leo’s house upon discovering the body.
The police arrest Leo, and news of the case begins to spread through the shocked town.

A few people in town begin to see the case as an opportunity to shine. Journalist Britt Craig sees it as the biggest story to come along in years. Governor Slaton calls the town’s prosecutor Hugh Dorsey and advises him he had better come up with a conviction no matter what. A right-wing newspaper writer, Tom Watson, decides he will cover the story with an anti-Semitic slant, and Frankie vows revenge on whoever killed Mary.

Though the evidence seems to indicate that Newt committed the crime, Dorsey decides they’ve already hanged enough African-Americans and focuses the case on Leo because he is Jewish. Meanwhile, Luther Z. Rosser takes on Leo’s case and promises to set him free. Lucille is flustered by the situation but stands behind Leo at his trial.

Craig and Watson have successfully engineered a campaign of hate against Leo before the trial has even begun. In court, Dorsey has arranged a number of witnesses to testify falsely against Leo. Frankie says that Mary mentioned Leo looking at her strangely before she was killed. Three teenaged girls who work at the factory each claim that Leo made sexual advances on them (“Come Up to My Office”). Finally, an ex-convict who briefly worked at the factory is given immunity from prosecution of his own crimes for claiming he helped Leo cover up Mary’s murder.

Leo is mortified at the number of people who have been found to falsely testify against him, and he makes a passionate speech maintaining his innocence (“It’s Hard to Speak My Heart”). Nevertheless, he is found guilty and sentenced to death.

Rosser immediately appeals the verdict, and the case becomes the cause of public outrage in the North given its clearly prejudiced nature. Lucille goes to Governor Slaton to plead for help, and meanwhile Dorsey decides to run for governor against the incumbent. The governor agrees to hear the appeal. He first finds the factory girls who admit they made their stories up. He visits Jim Conley, who has wound up in jail as an accessory to the murder, who refuses to recant his testimony.

The Governor decides to commute Leo’s sentence to life in prison given the lack of evidence against him. Leo regrets “All the Wasted Time” he spent at the factory instead of with Lucille. Furious at the governor’s decision, a mob descends on the jail and kidnaps Leo before hanging him from a tree. Lucille is devastated but relieved that Leo’s horrific experience is finally over and that he is in a better place.


Act I

  • Old Red Hills Of Home, The
  • Dream Of Atlanta, The
  • How Can I Call This Home
  • Picture Show, The
  • Leo At Work
  • What Am I Waiting For?
  • Interrogation: “I Am Trying To Remember…”
  • Big News!
  • It Don’t Make Sense
  • Real Big News
  • You Don’t Know This Man
  • Trial, The: People Of Atlanta
  • Twenty Miles From Marietta
  • Frankie’s Testimony
  • Factory Girls, The
  • Come Up To My Office
  • My Child Will Forgive Me
  • That’s What He Said
  • It’s Hard To Speak My Heart
  • Summation & Catwalk
Act II 
  • Rumblin’ And A Rollin’, A
  • Do It Alone
  • Pretty Music
  • Letter To The Governor
  • This Is Not Over Yet
  • Blues: Feel The Rain Fall
  • Where Will You Stand When The Flood Comes?
  • All The Wasted Time
  • Sh’ma
  • Finale

Nominated for 9 Tony Awards, 2 Outer Critics Circle Awards, and 13 Drama Desk Awards

Won Tony Awards:

  • Best Book (Alfred Uhry)
  • Best Score (Jason Robert Brown)

Won Drama Desk Awards:

  • Outstanding New Musical
  • Outstanding Actor (Brent Carver)
  • Outstanding Actress (Carolee Carmello)
  • Outstanding Music (Jason Robert Brown)
  • Outstanding Book (Alfred Uhry)
  • Outstanding Orchestrations (Don Sebesky)

UK: Josef Weinberger

USA: Musical Theatre International