Meet Me In St. Louis

A TAMS-WITMARK TITLE

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  7f, 5m

Songs by Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane / Book by Hugh Wheeler / Based on The Kensington Stories by Sally Benson and the MGM motion picture Meet Me In St. Louis / Songs by Martin & Blane published by EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. / Produced for the Broadway stage by Brickhill-Burke Productions, Christopher Seabrooke and EPI Products™

Based on the heartwarming MGM film, Meet Me In St. Louis is a rare treasure in the musical theatre: a wholesome and enchanting portrait of a turn-of-the-century American family.

Photo: © & TM Turner Entertainment Co. (s19)

Meet Me In St. Louis
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OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    7f, 5m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Adaptations (Stage & Screen), Christmas/Holiday, Period
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
Accolades
Accolades
  • Nominee: Four 1944 Academy Awards, including Best Song for "The Trolley Song"
    Nominee: Four 1990 Tony Awards, including Best Musical
    Winner! 1990 Theatre World Award (Jason Workman)
Description
It is the summer of 1903, and the Smith family eagerly anticipates the opening of the 1904 World’s Fair. Over the course of a year, the family's mutual respect, tempered with good-natured humour, helps them through romance, opportunity, and heartbreaks. The musical includes seven of the best-loved songs from the film, plus ten additional Martin and Blane songs written specially for the stage. Memorable musical numbers include "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song," and "Whenever I’m with You."
History
The MGM film Meet Me in St. Louis premiered on November 28, 1944, starring Judy Garland, Margaret O'Brien, Mary Astor, Lucille Bremer, Tom Drake and Marjorie Main. The stage version opened on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre on November 2, 1989, starring Betty Garrett, George Hearn, Charlotte Moore and Milo O'Shea.

Act I

The overture segues directly into the opening number ("Meet Me In St. Louis") which introduces the Smith family octet: Tootie, the youngest girl; Agnes, her closest sister; Lon, the son ready for college; Mrs. Anna Smith, mother; Katie, the family's Irish maid; Grandpa Prophater; Rose, the eldest daughter; and Esther, the second oldest. Everyone is excited about the fair. Esther harbors a crush on "The Boy Next Door," so Mrs. Smith dispenses some motherly advice on love ("You'll Hear a Bell").

Esther attempts to serve family dinner an hour earlier than usual, in order to give Rose some privacy to receive a long distance phone call from a wealthy suitor, Warren Sheffield, who is vacationing in New York. Mr. Smith insists on dinner at the usual time, and despite Katie's quick pace, the plan fails. The whole family overhears Rose's disappointing call.

At Lon's going-away-to-college party, Warren - now returned from New York - and Rose sing the delightful duet "A Raving Beauty." With the party in full swing, Lon leads Warren, Rose and the chorus in a rousing square-dance ("Skip to My Lou"). Caught after bedtime watching Lon's party from the stair landing above, Tootie and Agnes are invited down to perform "Under the Bamboo Tree" as a vaudeville turn for the guests. When the guests go home, Esther and John are left alone. Although he is shy and a bit awkward, John manages to express his feelings as he helps Esther turn down the gaslights ("Over the Bannister"). He then shakes her hand good night. Disappointed by the handshake, Esther nonetheless shrugs it off with a reprise of "The Boy Next Door" and ultimately celebrates new love with "The Trolley Song."

Act II

In the kitchen on Halloween night, Tootie and Agnes prepare to go out trick-or-treating. Katie, left alone with Esther and Rose, instructs them on the ways of romance ("A Touch of the Irish"). Tootie and Agnes return unexpectedly, and Tootie mischievously places the blame for their early return on John Truitt. This, of course, complicates matters between John and Esther, causing a misunderstanding and then an apology. John sings a reprise of "The Girl Next Door."

Mr. Smith is offered a promotion at work, but it will require the family to move to New York City. Everyone is upset by this news and has compelling reasons for not wanting to leave St. Louis. Mr. Smith explains the benefits of the big city ("A Day in New York"), but Mrs. Smith is the only one convinced to make the move. She reaffirms her love for her husband ("You'll Hear a Bell") and he responds in their duet, "Wasn't It Fun?"

The last big social event before the family leaves St. Louis is the formal Christmas Ball. Rose attends with Lon, but Esther is left without an escort; John did not get to the tailor in time to pick up his father's tuxedo. Grandpa Prophater saves Esther's evening by wearing his tuxedo and escorting her to the Ball. A prank Esther plans for Lucille, whom Lon admires, backfires on her, and Esther is forced to dance with three less-than-attractive men herself. Everything works out well for the three young couples. John manages to get his tuxedo and unexpectedly arrives at the Ball. Later that evening, he and Esther decide they should wait some time before marrying since they are only "practically of age" ("You Are for Loving"). Rose and Warren, and Lucille and Lon, pair off for the duration of the dance.

Back at home, Tootie is upset by the move away from St. Louis. Esther tries to comfort her ("Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas") but Tootie is unconvinced. Mr. Smith joyfully announces that the move is off and everyone celebrates.

The scene and time change to spring, as everyone prepares to attend the World's Fair ("The Trolley Song/Meet Me In St. Louis"). Suddenly, the singing is interrupted by a blackout. But the lights quickly come up, and the Smith family gapes in wonder at the spectacular panorama of the 1904 World's Fair.

Considerations

Performing Groups
  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Church / Religious Groups
  • Youth/Camp Programs
Cautions
  • No Special Cautions

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1900-1910
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Setting:

In and around the Smith family home, 5135 Kensington Avenue, St. Louis. From Summer 1903 to the Spring of 1904 and the opening of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

Casting

7f, 5m
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting
  • Roles for Teens
  • Roles for Children
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Principals
(7 female; 5 male)

Esther Smith — lively and attractive daughter, about seventeen
Mrs. Anna Smith — fortyish, good and loving mother
Tootie Smith — bright six-year-old daughter
Rose Smith — beautiful and chic daughter, about eighteen
Katie — the Smiths’ cook and housemaid, Irish and about fifty
Agnes Smith — tomboyish twelve-year-old daughter
John Truitt — handsome, athletic boy next door, about nineteen
Lon Smith — good-looking, nineteen-year-old Princeton freshman
Mr. Alonso Smith — fortyish, father and lawyer
Warren Sheffield — Rose’s suitor, an eligible young man from a rich family
Lucille Ballard - a sophisticated and charming young lady
Grandpa Prophater — Mrs. Smith’s father, a Civil War veteran

Supporting

Eve — Lon’s date at his going-away party
Postman — middle-aged Irish man
Motorman — trolley car driver

Clinton Badger, Peewee Drummond & Sidney Purvis — three awkward, bumbling young men

Ensemble

Trolley Passengers
Assembled Guests at Lon’s party
Ballroom Couples
Carolers

The original Broadway production had a cast of 41 performers, including chorus. Some doubling was employed in the minor parts.

Music

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

Act I

1. Overture – Orchestra
2. Opening Act One: “Meet Me In St Louis” – The Smith Family Octet
2a. Underscore – Orchestra
3. “The Boy Next Door” – Esther
3a. Scene Change – Orchestra
4. Reprise: “Meet Me In St. Louis” – Tootie, Agnes, Esther, & Grandpa
5. “Whenever I’m With You” – The Smith Family Octet
6. “You’ll Hear A Bell” – Mrs. Smith
6a. Interval Incidental – Orchestra
6b. Scene Change – The Smith Family Octet & Chorus
7. “A Raving Beauty” – Warren & Rose
7a. Piano Scene Change – Solo Piano
8. “Skip To My Lou” – Lou, Warren, Rose, Two Girls & Chorus
9. “Drunk Song” – Tootie
10. “Under The Bamboo tree” – Tootie, Agnes, & Esther
11. Underscore – Orchestra with Esther
12. “Over The Bannister” – John with Esther
13. “The Trolley Song” – Esther & Chorus

Act II

14. Entr’acte – Orchestra
14a. Scare Incidental – Orchestra
15. “A Touch Of The Irish” – Katie with Esther & Rose
16. Reprise: “The Boy Next Door" – John & Esther
17. “A Day In New York” – Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith, Rose, Esther, Katie, & Grandpa
18. Reprise: “You’ll Hear A Bell” – Mrs. Smith
19. “Wasn’t It Fun” – Mr. & Mrs. Smith
20. Scene Change – Orchestra
20a. Basketball Underscore – Orchestra
21. Christmas Waltz – Orchestra
21a. Waltz Underscore – Orchestra
22. “The Banjo” – Lou & Chorus
23. Auld Lang Syne – Orchestra
23a. Scene Change – Chorus
23b. Underscore: Let’s Wait – Orchestra
24. “You Are For Loving” – John & Esther
25. Scene change – Orchestra
26. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Esther
27. Decision incidental – Orchestra
28. Reprise: “The Trolley Song” – Chorus
28a. Reprise: “Meet Me In St. Louis” – Principals & Chorus
29. Finale – Mr. Smith, the Smith Family Octet, John, Warren, & Lucille
30. Bows – Full Company
31. Exit Music – Orchestra

Full Orchestration

Reed 1 – Flute, Piccolo and Clarinet
Reed 2 – Flute and Clarinet
Reed 3 – Oboe, English Horn (or Clarinet) and Clarinet
Reed 4 – Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, and Bassoon

Horn 1 & 2
Trumpet 1 & 2 (both double Flugelhorn; 1st doubles Cornet)
Trumpet 3 (doubling Flugelhorn)
Trombone 1 (Tenor Trombone)
Trombone 2 (Bass Trombone doubling Tuba)

Percussion 1 & 2 (trap drum set & mallet instruments)

Percussion I primarily plays Bells (Glockenspiel), Vibraphone, Xylophone, Timpani (2 drums), Suspended Cymbal, Triangles (small and large); occasionally Bell Tree, Castanets, Chuck Wagon Bell (18-inch Iron Ring); Crotale (E-flat), Gong, Gran Cassa, Jews Harp, Mark Tree, Piatti, Ratchet, Siren Whistle, Slap Stick, and Tambourine.
Percussion 2 primarily plays trap drum set (Bass Drum, Snare Drum, 2 Rack Toms, Floor Tom and Cymbals: hi-hat, crash, ride, sizzle, splash, thin crash, and large); occasionally Sleigh Bells and Small Triangle.
Both players use Temple Blocks (5 blocks), Wood Block, Cow Bell and Trolley Bell (Bell Plate or Brake Drum).

Guitar-Banjo
Harp
Keyboard (labeled “Piano”)

Keyboard part, primarily Piano, Celeste and Arco Strings.
Other required sounds are Banjo, Bells (Glockenspiel), Calliope, Guitar, Harpsichord, Honkytonk Piano, Piano/Celeste (split keyboard or additional keyboard), Soft Horns, Muted Strings, Woodwinds, and Xylophone. Cues are written for Harp, Horns and Strings.

Violin [3 stands; 5 or 6 players] (1 player doubles Banjorene)
Cello [2 stands; 2-4 players]
Bass

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
39 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
2 Horn 1 & 2
2 Trumpet 1&2
1 Trumpet 3
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Piano
1 Banjo
1 Harp
2 Percussion 1 & 2
3 Violins
1 Cello
1 Bass

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

A full score is available for this title for an additional fee. Please contact your licensing representative for additional information.

Additional Resources And Services Available

Media

Press

"A delightful take on a nostalgic classic" - Misha Berson, The Seattle Times
"A charming portrait of upper-middle-class American family life at the turn of the last century, when the World’s Fair was coming to St. Louis, complete with outdoor electric lights." - Anita Gates, The New York Times

"A bit of theatrical cotton candy, if you will...it is a tasty confection." - Bob Ashby, DC Metro Theater Arts

"Sweetly engaging...a snow globe of a show." - Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post Dispatch

"A delightful take on a nostalgic classic...Hugh Wheeler’s book for the musical, based on Sally Benson’s nostalgic stories, is family-friendly in its handling of first love, sibling rivalry, harmless pranks and hometown pride." - Misha Berson, The Seattle Times

Music Samples

Videos

  • Meet Me in St. Louis at the Muny

  • "The Trolley Song"

  • Meet Me In. St. Louis - 1990 Tony Awards

  • Meet Me in St. Louis - Osceola

More videos +

Photos

  • Meet Me In St. Louis

    Credit: © & TM Turner Entertainment Co. (s19)

  • Meet Me In St. Louis

    Credit: © & TM Turner Entertainment Co. (s19)

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Authors

Hugh Martin

Hugh Martin (1914-2011) was an American musical theater and film composer, arranger, vocal coach, and playwright. He was best known for his score for the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis, in which Judy Garland sang three Martin songs: "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song," and "Have Yourself a Merry ...

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Ralph Blane

Ralph Blane (1914-1995) met Hugh Martin in 1938, appearing in Hooray for What? They formed a quartet, “The Martins,” featured in Irving Berlin’s Louisiana Purchase, on Fred Allen’s radio series and with Judy Garland when she made a personal appearance with the premiere of The Wizard of Oz. ...

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Hugh Wheeler

Hugh Wheeler (1912-1987) won three Tony Awards, for Candide, A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd. He also wrote the libretto for the revival of Irene and is the author of the plays Big Fish, Little Fish; Look, We’ve Come Through; We Have Always Lived in the ...

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Sally Benson

Sally Benson (1897-1972) was an American screenwriter, who was also a prolific short story author, best known for her semi-autobiographical stories collected in Junior Miss and Meet Me in St. Louis. She began her career writing weekly interview articles and film reviews for the New York Morning Tel ...

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