Continuing our tradition of reviving gems from the golden age of musical comedy (roughly from 1923-42), we are pleased to open Shedd Theatricals’ 17th season with Roberta, Otto Harbach’s 1933 stage adaptation of Alice Duer Miller’s charming novel published that same year, Gowns By Roberta. The story is as much romance as comedy, with plenty of intrigue, star-crossed loving and Russian royalty in disguise mixed in with simply great songs by Harbach and the always masterful Jerome Kern.
John Kent, an all-American fullback at Haverhill College learns he has inherited a dress shop in Paris run by his Aunt Minnie under the trade name Roberta, who is the estranged black sheep of the family but has a deep affection for him. When John’s stuck up socialite fiancee Sophie throws him over, he travels to Paris, only to find that Aunt Minnie has died. Knowing how much his aunt relied on her beautiful assistant Stephanie (a real Russian princess in disguise), John proposes that she runs the shop in partnership with him. A budding romance between the two almost comes to naught when Sophie, appears on the scene bent to win John back.
The fabulous score by Kern includes such beauts as “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”, “Lovely To Look At”, “Yesterdays”, “I Won’t Dance”, “You’re Devastating”, and “I’ll Be Hard To Handle”.
| ||I Won't Dance|
(1934) Three Sisters
Words by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Jerome Kern
|Featured composers, lyricists, creators|
Oscar Hammerstein II, 1895-1960
Otto Harbach, 1873-1963
Jerome Kern, 1885-1945