A CONCORD THEATRICALS TITLE

First Lady Suite

Full-Length Musical, Comedy

By Michael John LaChiusa / Words and Music by Michael John LaChiusa

Discover the lives of some of history's most neglected figures: the wives of former U.S. presidents, including Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Mamie Eisenhower, Bess Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Period, Docudrama/Historic
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First Lady Suite

Details

Summary

Michael John LaChiusa's First Lady Suite is an enthralling look into the lives of some of history's most neglected figures, the wives of U.S. presidents. They are: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Mamie Eisenhower, Bess Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt. First Lady Suite has a distinct structure. The first piece, the staccato, yet hauntingly lyrical Over Texas, takes place aboard Air Force One on November 22nd, 1963. Mary Gallagher, the First Lady's personal secretary, and Evelyn Lincoln, personal secretary to the President, are trying to relax as they fly into Dallas. Mary is coaxed into napping by the cool, collected, Evelyn. Mary's dreams become portentous nightmares as they are haunted by a ghostly Jackie and an eerie Lady Bird. The brassy, bouncy Where’s Mamie? takes place in Ike and Mamie's bedroom at the White House, yet quickly turns into a time-travel fantasy as Mamie, melancholic and alone on her birthday, is paid a visit by the celebrated opera star Marian Anderson. Marian whisks Mamie off to Algiers to confront Ike about an affair, and warn him of the racial strife he'll face later in life as President. The comical Olio presents first daughter Margaret Truman at a recital trying her best to sing as she's constantly upstaged by First Lady Bess. The final piece of the Suite, Eleanor Sleeps Here, is a heart rending examination of the relationship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok as they're being flown over Washington by Amelia Earhart.

Running time approximately 90 minutes.

History
First Lady Suite was produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival (George C. Wolfe, Artistic Director), in New York City, in December, 1993. It was directed by Kirsten Sanderson; the set design was by Derek McLane; the costume design was by Tom Brioecher; the lighting design was by Brian MacDevitt; the musical direction was Alan Johnson; the choreography was by Janet Boradus and the production stage manager was Liz Small.
Cast Attributes
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
Keywords
Performing Groups
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre

Principals: 1 Man, 6 Women

Flexible Casting: the New York production used an ensemble of 1 man and 6 women playing 13 women and 1 man.

 

OVER TEXAS

Evelyn Lincoln

Mary Gallagher

A Presidential Aide

The First Lady (Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy)

Lady Bird Johnson

 

WHERE’S MAMIE?

Mamie Eisenhower

Marian Anderson

Ike (Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Ike's Chauffeur

 

OLIO

Bess Truman

Margaret Truman

 

ELEANOR SLEEPS HERE

Eleanor Roosevelt

Hick (Lorena Hickok)

Amelia Earhart

 

Media

"A mesmerizing celebration of extraordinary women" — David Clarke, Broadway World

"LaChiusa is part of the post-Stephen Sondheim generation of composers who are as happy to explore the dynamics of a relationship or the contents of a character's mind as their predecessors were to chronicle a clambake or a hoedown.” — David Richards, New York Times

"The composer-lyricist-librettist's gift for tossing off engaging melody and his sly sense of humor are as abundant and nourishing as April rain" — David Finkle, TheatreMania

Music

Music Samples

1. ''Opening'' - Ensemble
2. ''"Always something..."'' - Mary Gallagher and Evelyn Lincoln
3. ''Over Texas'' - Mary
4. ''"Ladies... Tea?"'' - Aide, Mary, Evelyn
5. ''Four More Years'' - Mary, Evelyn
6. ''Caroline'' - Mary, Evelyn
7. ''Kitty Cat Nap'' - Jacqueline, Mary, Lady Bird Johnson
8. ''The Smallest Thing'' - Jacqueline, Mary
9. ''"What what?"'' - Mary, Evelyn
10. ''This Is What We Are'' - Evelyn, Mary
11. ''"Mary Gallagher, you're needed"'' - Aide, Mary, Evelyn
12. ''"This is the worst birthday..."'' - Mamie
13. ''Where's Mamie?'' - Mamie
14. ''My Husband Was an Army Man'' - Mamie
15. ''Melba, Gloria'' - Marian Anderson, Mamie
16. ''"To Algiers"'' - Mamie, Marian
17. ''Algiers'' - Mamie, Marian, Ike, Ike's Chauffeur
18. ''Kidnapping'' - Mamie, Marian, Chauffeur, Ike
19. ''Old Rules Are Old Rules'' - Mamie, Ike
20. ''Tomorrow I Will Love You More'' - Ike, Mamie, Marian, Chauffeur
21. ''"Bluer than blue"'' - Ike, Mamie, Marian
22. ''"This is the beginning..."'' - Eleanor Roosevelt, Lorena Hickok (Hick), Amelia Earhart
23. ''Eleanor's Room'' - Hick
24. ''Wingwalk'' - Hick, Eleanor, Amelia
25. ''Eleanor's Hand'' - Hick
26. ''"If the DAR wants to support rearmament..."'' - Eleanor, Amelia, Hick
27. ''When Eleanor Smiles'' - Hick
28. ''Eleanor's Letter'' - Hick, Eleanor
29. ''Eleanor Sleeps Here'' - Hick
30. ''"Miss Hickok, I must ask you to come back inside"'' - Amelia, Hick
31. ''Great Ladies'' - Amelia
32. ''"Look at Washington!"'' - Eleanor, Hick, Amelia
33. ''Closing'' - Ensemble

Full Orchestration

2 Pianos

  • Musical StyleJazz, Contemporary Broadway
  • Dance RequirementsMinimal
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra SizePiano Only
  • Chorus SizeNo Chorus

Materials

Music Rentals

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11 Two Piano Arrangement Scores
2 Piano-Vocal Scores (Reduction)

Scripts

Available Formats:

Authors

Michael John LaChiusa

Michael John LaChiusa – composer, lyricist and librettist – established himself as a powerful presence on the American musical theatre scene after winning Off-Broadway’s 1993 Obie Award for his musicals First Lady Suite and Hello Again. Six years later, LaChiusa was represent ...

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