A Minister's Wife

A CONCORD THEATRICALS TITLE

A Minister's Wife

Full-Length Musical, Drama  /  2f, 3m

Based on the play Candida by George Bernard Shaw / Music by Joshua Schmidt / Lyrics by Jan Levy Tranen / Book by Austin Pendleton / Conceived By Michael Halberstam

A sweeping adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's Candida, a young poet, Eugene Marchbanks, finds himself swept up in a love triangle when he falls in love with the wife of the admired Reverend James Morell.

Image: Paul Kolnik

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2f, 3m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences, Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Details

Summary
A Minister's Wife, a new musical based on George Bernard Shaw's Candida, is set in London in the swirl of a love triangle among energetic, admired Socialist clergyman, Reverend James Morell, his strong-willed and beautiful wife, Candida, and an idealistic young poet, Eugene Marchbanks, who, infatuated with Candida, aims to win her love. 
Cast Attributes
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
Performing Groups
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
Prossy Garnett arrives at the office of her employer, Anglican minister and ChristianSocialist James Mavor Morell, to prepare for the day’s work (“A Fine October Morning”).Morell has just received an urgent missive from the Guild of St. Matthew asking himto reconsider his decision to cancel a speech that evening. He has done so in orderto spend the evening with his wife, Candida, who is returning for just one night fromtheir country home, where she has been with their children. Morell’s curate, Lexy Mills,arrives (tardily as usual) and upon studying the letter announces that the only replacementthat can be found is the president of the Agnostic League, who insists on thedivorce of socialism from Christianity. This being contrary to everything Morell standsfor, he reverses his decision to not speak and prepares his speech (“Sermon”).Morell reconciles with spending only the afternoon with his wife (“Candida’s ComingHome”), who arrives accompanied by a young poet (and nephew to an Earl), EugeneMarchbanks. Marchbanks, Lexy and Morell are all captivated by Candida’s charm,while Prossy alone is unimpressed (“Enchantment” / “In Response”). Morell asksMarchbanks to stay for lunch, but the poet explains that Candida asked him to leave,though he doesn’t understand why. Morell tries delicately to infer that a husband andwife who haven’t seen each other for a while might like privacy for conjugal reasons.Marchbanks is horrified, and professes his love for Candida, and a sparring matchresults (The First Preaching Match: “The Love of a Fool” / “Kingdom of Heaven” / “Is ItLike This for Her Here Always?”). When Marchbanks compares Morell to King David,dancing naked before the ark of God, whipping his followers into a frenzy but foolishin front of his wife, Morell snaps and attacks Marchbanks, who cowers in fear butdeclares that while he is afraid of violence he is not afraid of a clergyman’s ideas, andwill fight them.

After lunch, Marchbanks inadvertently changes the settings on Prossy’s typewriter justas she walks in. She playfully suggests he thinks of the typewriter as a machine thatcan make love letters at the turn of a handle. Recognizing a capacity for poetry andlove in Prossy, Marchbanks senses a kindred spirit and implores her to open up to him(“Shy, Shy, Shy”). Prossy reveals that she is in fact in love with Morell. Having believedit impossible for a woman to truly love the minister, Marchbanks is crushed to realizeCandida may indeed love her husband.

Alone together for the first time that day, Candida begins teasing Morell, telling himthat he works too hard; that his congregants don’t really listen to his words anyway;that women come to his sermons only because he is so handsome; and that she thinksMarchbanks is about to fall in love with her (“Isn’t He Foolish?”). When she kissesMorell, he views it as a Judas kiss and begins raving. Marchbanks runs in to see whatis wrong, and Candida, embarrassed, busies herself filling the lamps. Marchbankstells Candida that he would take her far away from her daily routine (“Shallops andScrubbing Brushes”), and Morell, seeing his wife’s delight in Marchbanks, announcesthat he is off to give his speech (“Off to the Guild of St. Matthew”), leaving Candidaalone with Marchbanks in a test of their marriage.

In the twilight, Eugene reads poetry to Candida. He places his head in her lap andcalls her by her first name, and she, believing this to be an innocent and naive declarationof love, gently navigates him through the moment with kindness and integrity,teaching him that he can love her without shame and that she can love him back withoutcompromising her marriage vows (“At the Gate of Heaven” / “Candida, Candida!”).When Morell returns he demands that Marchbanks tell him what has happened inhis absence (“The Second Preaching Match”). Marchbanks claims that he seeks onlyCandida’s happiness, but Morell doubts the poet understands her. Prossy and Lexyburst in, quite tipsy, their animosity toward each other having become quite the opposite,raising the temperature in the room (“Champagne”). Morell declares that his wifemust choose between himself and Marchbanks, and Candida plays along (“The Bidsfor Candida”). After Morell offers his strengths and Marchbanks his frailties, Candidamakes her choice (“Spoiled from the Cradle”). Marchbanks, knowing he has lost, claimshe carries a greater secret in his heart and disappears “Into the Night,” leaving Candidaand Morell to embrace, while the question of the poet’s secret still lingers.

PRINCIPALS
3 Men
2 Women

CHARACTERS
The Reverend James Mayor Morell (Baritone)
Candida, Morell's wife (Mezzo)
Eugene Marchbanks, a poet (Tenor)
Miss Prosperpine ("œProssy") Garnett, Morell's Secretary (Soprano)
The Reverend Alexander ("œLexy") Mill, Morell's Curate (Tenor/Baritone)
  • Time Period 1900-1910
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Media

Photos

  • A Minister's Wife

    Image: Paul Kolnik

Music

Music Samples

1. ''Sermon'' - Morell, Lexy & Prossy
2. ''Candida's Coming Home'' - Morell, Lexy & Prossy
3. ''Enchantment'' - Company
4. ''In Response'' - Lexy & Prossy
5. ''Kingdom Of Heaven'' - Morell & Marchbanks
6. ''The First Preaching Match: The Love Of A Fool'' - Marchbanks & Morell
7. ''Is It Like This For Her Here Always'' - Marchbanks & Morell
8. ''Shy'' - Shy, Prossy & Marchbanks
9. ''Isn't He Foolish'' - Candida & Morell
10. ''Shallops And Scrubbing Brushes'' - Candida & Marchbanks
11. ''Off To The Guild Of St. Matthew'' - Company
12. ''At The Gate Of Heaven'' - Marchbanks & Candida
13. ''Candida'' - Candida!, Marchbanks & Candida
14. ''The Second Preaching Match'' - Marchbanks, Morell & Candida
15. ''Champagne'' - Prossy, Lexy, Morell & Candida
16. ''The Bids For Candida'' - Morell, Candida & Marchbanks
17. ''Spoiled From The Cradle'' - Candida, Morell & Marchbanks,
18. ''Into The Night'' - Company

Full Orchestration

Cello
Bass
Violin
Piano


  • Musical StyleOperetta
  • Dance RequirementsMinimal
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra SizeSmall/Combo
  • Chorus SizeNo Chorus

Materials

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
7 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Conductor
1 Piano-Vocal
1 Piano
1 Violin
1 Cello
1 Bass
1 Logo Pack
7 Libretto-Vocal Book
1 Piano-Vocal
1 Logo Pack

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Authors

Bernard Shaw

Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. His education was irregular, due to his dislike of any organized training. After working in an estate agent's office for a while he moved to London as a young man (1876), where he established himself as ...
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Joshua Schmidt

Josh Schmidt is the award-winning composer of Adding Machine (Lucille Lortel Award - Best Musical; Outer Critic’s Circle Award - Best Score & Best Off-Broadway Musical; Joseph Jefferson Award - Best Musical; as well as 4 Obie Awards, 9 Drama Desk nominations, and Drama League ...
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Jan Levy-Tranen

Jan Tranen wrote the lyrics forA Minister's Wife(Writers Theatre Chicago,Joseph Jefferson Award,Lincoln Center Theatre),Crazy Mary Lincoln, based on the life of Mary Todd Lincoln (University of Hartford Hartt School, Theatre Building Chicago, Pallas Theatre Collective, Washin ...

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Austin Pendleton

B.A. Yale University, 1961; studied acting in NY with Herbert Berghof, Uta Hagen and Robert Lewis. Apprenticed at Williamstown Theatre Festival; Acting: IVANOV (CSC), ROSMERSHOLM (Pearl Theatre), THE LAST WILL, LOVE DRUNK and ANOTHER VERMEER (Abingdon), MOTHER COURAGE and ROM ...

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Michael Halberstam

Michael Halberstam(Artistic Director)is the co-founder of Writers Theatre a theatre company dedicated to the world and the artist located on the North Shore of Chicago. He has directed over thirty-five productions for the company, includingNot AboutHeroes(starring Nicholas Pe ...

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