Alice D.G. Miller, Jerome Kern, Otto Harbach

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  3f, 5m

Adapted from Alice Duer Millers Novel Gowns By Roberta / Music by Jerome Kern / Book and Lyrics by Otto Harbach

This playful romantic comedy, set in the glamorous world of Parisian fashion, features some of Jerome Kern’s most enduring hits, including "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and "Let's Begin."
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  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 5m
  • Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Romantic Comedy
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences
Set in the glamorous world of Parisian fashion, Roberta features some of Jerome Kern’s most enduring hits, including "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "The Touch of Your Hand," and "Let's Begin."
Roberta opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on November 18, 1933, starring Tamara Drasin, Bob Hope, George Murphy, Lyda Roberti, Fred MacMurray, Fay Templeton, Ray Middleton and Sydney Greenstreet. The show played for 295 performances.
John Kent is a star football player, who finds his talents are more appreciated on the gridiron than on the dance floor of the Alpha Beta Phi Fraternity House of Haverhill College. His fiancée Sophie Teale is irked at his clumsiness and embarrassing lack of ballroom charm. They quarrel and Sophie leaves for Paris with her mother. John becomes heir to Roberta’s, an exclusive dress shop in Paris. He and Stephanie, a Russian exiled princess who is the dress designer of the establishment, together put on a stunning fashion show accompanied by an onstage band. John is jealous of Ladislaw, the doorman at Roberta’s, who seems to be very intimate with Stephanie. Later he finds that Ladislaw is only her cousin and is delighted.


Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


Fraternity House at Haverhill College, U.S.A. and Roberta's in Paris, France. 1933.


3f, 5m
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting

(3 female; 5 male)

Aunt Minnie (trade name “Roberta”)
Stephanie, assistant to Roberta
Scharwenka (Mme. Nunez) The star customer

John Kent, the fullback
Billy, the hoofer
Huckleberry Haines, the crooner
Lord Henry Delves, friend of Roberta
Ladislaw, the doorman


Babe Face, the flapper
“Gin" Blossom, the freshman
Sophie Teale, the debutante
Mrs. Teale, her mother
Marie, the stylist
Mme. Anna Grandet
Sidonie, the presser
Luella La Verne, the model
M. Leroux, the solicitor
“The Collegians,” a jazz band
Angela, the assistant


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

Act I

1. "Let's Begin" - Billy & Ensemble
2. Incidental - Orchestra
3. Madrigal: "Alpha, Beta, Pi" - Huck, Billy, John & Ensemble
4. Madrigal Exit - Orchestra
5. Refrain: "You're Devastating" - Orchestra
6. "You're Devastating" - Huck & John
6a. Finaletto Prologue ("Let's Begin") - Billy & Ensemble
6b. "You're Devastating" (Reprise) - Stephanie
7. "Yesterdays" - Minnie
7a. Devastating Underscore - Orchestra
8. "Something Had To Happen" - Scharwenka with Huck & John
9. Rhapsody in Prose - Orchestra
9a. "You're Devastating" (2nd Reprise) - Stephanie
10. Touch of Your Hand Intro - Orchestra
11. "The Touch of Your Hand" - Stephanie and Ladislaw
12. Opening Scene 3 - Orchestra
13. Opening Scene 4 - Orchestra
14. "The Touch of Your Hand" (Reprise) - Sidonie
14a. Scene Change - Orchestra
15. Fashion Show - Orchestra
16. "I'll Be Hard To Handle" - Scharwenka
17. Yesterday's Dance - Orchestra
18. Finale Act I ("She'll Be Hard To Handle") - Scharwenka & Huck

Act II

19. Entr'acte - Orchestra
20. Opening Act II - Orchestra
21. "Hot Spot (Hold 'Em High)" - Scharwenka
22. "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" - Stephanie
23. "Let's Begin" (Reprise) - Huck & Stephanie
24. End of Scene 2 - Orchestra
25. Armful Incidental - Orchestra
26. "Something Had To Happen" (Reprise) - Scharwenka & John
27. "Let's Begin" (Reprise) - Huck, John, Lord Henry & Scharwenka
28. Opening Party Scene - Orchestra
29. "Don't Ask Me Not To Sing" - Huck & Ensemble
30. "The Touch of Your Hand" (Reprise) - Stephanie & Ladislaw
31. Change of Scene - Orchestra
32. Wardrobe Scene, Part 1 - Orchestra
33. Wardrobe Scene, Part 2 - Orchestra
34. Finale: "Hard To Handle"/"You're Devastating" - Company

Full Orchestration

Violin A
Violin B
Violin C
Violin 2

Oboe & English Horn

Trumpet 1 & 2


Piano 1 (doubles Celeste)
Piano 2



Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:
1 Piano/Conductor Score
35 Libretto/Vocal Books
1 Flute
1 Oboe & English Horn
1 Clarinet
1 Bassoon
2 Trumpet 1 & 2
1 Trombone
1 Percussion
1 Piano 1
1 Piano 2
1 Violin A
1 Violin B
1 Violin C
1 Violin 2
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

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




Alice D.G. Miller

Jerome Kern

Jerome Kern (1885-1945) composed his first complete show, The Red Petticoat, in 1912. Between 1915 and 1919, he composed a series of intimate chamber musicals, mostly in collaboration with Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, known as the Princess Theatre shows. These works — Very Good Eddie; Oh, Boy!; Oh, Lady! Lady! ...

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Otto Harbach

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