Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

A TAMS-WITMARK TITLE

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Jule Styne, Leo Robin, Anita Loos, Joseph Fields

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  3f, 4m

Music by Jule Styne / Lyrics by Leo Robin / Book by Anita Loos and Joseph Fields / Adapted from the novel by Anita Loos

Based on Anita Loos’s 1925 bestseller of the same title, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes follows Lorelei Lee, a blonde from Little Rock, Arkansas, who sails to Europe with her friend Dorothy to perform in a nightclub in Paris.

Photo: Joan Marcus

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 4m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period, Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
Description
Based on Anita Loos’s 1925 bestseller of the same title, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes follows Lorelei Lee, a blonde from Little Rock, Arkansas, who sails to Europe with her friend Dorothy to perform in a nightclub in Paris. Hit songs include "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend," "Bye Bye, Baby" and "I'm Just A Little Girl From Little Rock."
History
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8, 1949, starring Carol Channing, Yvonne Adair, Jack McCauley, Eric Brotherson and George S. Irving. The production played for 740 performances. In 1995, a production at the Goodspeed Opera House transferred to the Lyceum Theatre in New York and starred KT Sullivan. In 2012, a staged concert production was presented by New York City Center's Encores!, starring Megan Hilty and Rachel York.
Lorelei Lee is about to embark on the Ile de France for a cruise to Europe, where she will marry the delightfully rich Gus Esmond, son of America's Button King. With her is her friend Dorothy Shaw, both of them ex-Follies girls. However, two clouds appear on the horizon right away. Gus announces that his father insists he stay behind for an important button conference, so he can't travel with the girls. And he has heard worrying news about a new invention called the zipper, which just might ruin his great button empire.

The girls set about enjoying their cruise. They have plenty of help, notably from the American Olympic Team who are also en route for Paris. Also on board are Mrs. Spofford, the richest widow in Philadelphia, and her son Henry, who takes to Dorothy in a big way. There is an English couple too - Sir Francis and Lady Beekman; she has a diamond tiara that Lorelei just knows would look its best on her own blonde head. And there is Josephus Gage, a hearty young man who turns out to America's Zipper King. So when Lorelei gets a wireless message from Gus that his father has found out about a little escapade of hers with a revolver in Little Rock and it looks like the wedding is off, it is only logical that she should turn her attention to Josephus and Sir Francis.

Eventually Lorelei succeeds in getting her tiara and her Gus - and arranges a merger between the button business and the zipper business that looks like it will bring lots of success (and lots more diamonds) in the future.

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
Cautions
  • Mild Adult Themes

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: New York; Aboard the Ile de France; Paris. 1924.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Casting

3f, 4m
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Principals
(3 female; 4 male)

Lorelei Lee: Follies dancer, “retired” by a practical arrangement with Mr. Gus Esmond, Jr.
Dorothy Shaw: (dancer/singer) Follies dancer and fun-loving best friend to Lorelei.
Mrs. Ella Spofford: Philadelphia’s richest woman-alcoholic mother of Henry.

Henry Spofford: Shy college student, William Penn Memorial Glee Club conductor.
Sir Francis Beekman: Traveling with his wife but easily distracted by young women.
Gus Esmond, Jr.: The Button King, sponsor of Lorelei and Dorothy’s trip to Paris.
Josephus Gage: The Zipper King, an entrepreneur and health addict.

Supporting

Coles & Atkins: (singers/specialty tap dancers) Originally played by Honi Coles and Cholly Atkins (non-speaking roles).

Lady Phyllis Beekman: A matron representing the British traveling upper class.
Gloria Stark: (dancer) Follies dancer and former colleague of Lorelei and Dorothy.
Robert (Robbear) Lemanteur: French magistrate.
Louis Lemanteur: Son of Robert, a police officer.
Esmond, Sr.: Frail founding elder in firm control of his son and his Button empire.
Bill: (dancer) A small speaking role as the MC at the Pre-Catalan Club. Dance partner for Dorothy in “I Love What I’m Doing” and “Keeping Cool With Coolidge.”

Small speaking parts (doubling roles)

Pierre: A steward on the “Île de France.”
Steward: On the “Île de France.”
2nd Steward: On the “Île de France”.
3rd Steward: On the “Île de France”.
Frank: An Olympic boy, team member.
George: An Olympic boy, team member.
Two Show Girls: Passengers aboard ship.
Two Other Show Girls: Passengers aboard ship.
Olympic Man: Passenger aboard ship.
Taxi Driver: (dancer) A Frenchman, may be played by Bill, dance partner for Gloria in the scene under the Eiffel Tower.
Leon: A valet in the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
Maître d’Hôtel: Pre-Catalan Club, Paris.
Headwaiter: Pre-Catalan Club, Paris.
Fifi & Zizi: Girls being escorted by Sir Francis in Paris.
Headwaiter: Central Park Casino, New York

Non-speaking doubling roles played by Chorus and Dancers

On Ship:
Stewards (Male Quartet including Pierre)
Olympic Team Boys (8 including Frank & George)
Banner Carriers (2 young girls)
Showgirls: (8)
Autograph Seekers
Ship’s Passengers & Their Friends

In France:
Nursemaids (Sopranos & Altos) (9)
Workmen (Tenors & Basses) (9)
Shopgirls (8 Dancers)
Parisian Men (8 Dancers)
Breton Nurse
Little Girl (The nurse’s charge)
Priest (Tenor solo)
Paris Party People
Pre-Catalan Club Dancing Patrons
Waiters & Bartender
Flower Girl (Sells an orchid to Gus for Gloria)
Gigolo (Joins Zizi & Fifi when Sir Francis leaves)
Solo Tenor (or Contralto for the “Coquette” number)

In New York:
Singers & Dancers (as couples ballroom dancing at a party in the Central Park Casino)
Casino Waiters
Wedding Guests (They respond on cue as a group)
Policeman (Uniformed escorted for Esmond Sr.)
Bridesmaids & Wedding Attendants (Chorus)

Cast
12 principal speaking roles
7 principal singing roles (Dorothy also a principal dancer)
2 specialty singers/tap dancers (Coles & Atkins)
1 principal male dancer (Bill)
1 principal girl dancer (Gloria)
18 minimum chorus (5 soprano, 4 alto, 5 tenor, 4 bass)
16 dancers (8 girls & 8 boys)

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Dance Requirements: Moderate
  • Vocal Demands: Difficult
  • Orchestra Size: Large
  • Chorus Size: Large

Act I

Overture – Orchestra
1. “It’s High Time” – Dorothy, Steward Quartet, Olympic Team, & Chorus
1a. Exit: High Time – Orchestra
2. “Bye Bye Baby” – Lorelei, Gus, & Chorus
3. “I’m Just A Little Girl From Little Rock” – Lorelei
3a. Encore: “Little Rock” – Lorelei
3b. Dance Encore: Little Rock – Orchestra
4. “I Love What I’m Doing” – Dorothy
4a. Dance: I Love What I’m Doing – Orchestra
4b. Boat Deck Incidental: Underscore – Orchestra
4c. Lorelei’s Cabin: Scene Change – Orchestra
5. “Just A Kiss Apart” – Henry
5a. Scherzo (Gloria’s Dance) – Orchestra
6. “It’s Delightful Down In Chile” – Sir Beekman, Lorelei, & Chorus
6a. Place Vendome: Scene Change – Orchestra
7. “Sunshine” – Dorothy & Henry
8. Park Scene – Chorus & Dancers
8a. Pas de Deux – Orchestra
8b. Reprise: “Sunshine” – Chorus
8c. Scene Change – Orchestra
9. “I’m A Tingle, I’m Aglow” – Gage with Lorelei, Dorothy, & Mrs. Spofford
10. “You Say You Care” – Dorothy & Henry
10a. Party Entrance: Incidental – Orchestra
11. Finale Act One” – Lorelei & Chorus

Act II

12. Entr’acte – Orchestra
12a. Opening Act II – Orchestra
12b. Underscore: Orchestra
13. “Mamie Is Mimi” – Coles & Atkins
14. “Coquette” – Solo Tenor
15. “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” – Lorelei
15a. First Encore: “Diamonds” – Lorelei
15b. Second Encore: “Diamonds” – Lorelei
16. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” – Gus & Lorelei
17. Underscore – Orchestra
18. “Homesick” – Lorelei, Dorothy, Mrs. Spofford, Henry, Gus, & Gage
18a. Newspaper Drop – Orchestra
19. “Keeping Cool With Coolidge” – Dorothy, Mrs. Spifford, & Chorus
20. “Button Up With Esmond” – Lorelei & Chorus
21. Finale Act Two, Part One” – Lorelei, Gus, & Chorus
22. Finale Act Two, Part Two” – Full Company

Full Orchestration

Violin 1 (2 stands)
Violin 2 (2 stands)
Viola
Cello
Bass

Reed 1: Flute, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Reed 2: Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
Reed 3: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
Reed 4: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
Reed 5: Clarinet, Bassoon, Alto Saxophone & Baritone Saxophone

Horn
Trumpet 1 & 2
Trumpet 3
Trombone 1
Trombone 2

Percussion:

Timpani (2 drums)
Bass Drum
Snare Drum
Tom-toms (2)
Bongo Drums
Cymbals (2)
Hi-Hat Cymbals
Ship’s Bell (SFX)
Boat Whistle (SFX)
Cowbell
Wood Block
Castanets
Triangle
Slide Wind Machine
Bells
Chimes
Xylophone
Auxiliary instruments for:
Trumpet 2: Tin Shaker
Trumpet 3: Jawbone
Trombone 1: Claves
Trombone 2: Gourd

Guitar & Banjo
Piano & Celeste

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
36 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Reed 4
1 Reed 5
1 Horn
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trumpet 3
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Percussion
1 Guitar
1 Piano
2 Violin 1
2 Violin 2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

Piano Only:
1 Piano/Conductor
36 Libretto/Vocal book

Media

Music Samples

Photos

  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

    Credit: Joan Marcus

More

Authors

Jule Styne

Jule Styne (1905-1994) made Broadway sing for 50 years with shows including High Button Shoes; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes; Hazel Flagg; Gypsy; Peter Pan; Bells Are Ringing; Do Re Mi; Subways Are For Sleeping; Funny Girl; Fade Out-Fade In; Hallelujah, Baby!; The Red Shoes; and Darling of t ...

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Leo Robin

Leo Robin, an American lyricist and a major contributor to ‘The Great American Songbook’ of popular songs, was respected by his Hollywood colleagues for his modesty and lack of egocentricity even at the height of his fame. Robin was born in Pittsburgh, PA and attended the University of Pittsburgh. His father Max was ...

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Author

Anita Loos

Joseph Fields

Joseph Fields (1895-1966) was the son of actor, producer and theatre owner Lew Fields (who launched Rodgers & Hart's professional career in 1919) and the brother of Herbert and Dorothy Fields (co-librettists of Annie Get Your Gun, among many other credits). Joseph Fields served in the A.E.F. during Worl ...

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