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Little Me (1962)

Compositeur: Cy Coleman

Parolier: Carolyn Leigh

Librettiste: Neil Simon

This is an outrageously funny musical. It tells the story of the rise to fame, and excessively large fortune, of Belle Poitrine, a little girl from the wrong side of the tracks who finds her way to the right side with the help of several willing gentlemen.

Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités

 

Historique du musical

Inspiration

The musical Little Me is based on the novel by Patrick Dennis titled Little Me: The Intimate Memoirs of that Great Star of Stage, Screen and Television/Belle Poitrine, an illustrated autobiography of an imaginary diva (published in 1961). In his memoir, Rewrites:A Memoir, Neil Simon wrote that aside from tailoring the musical's book to the talents of Sid Caesar, the second attraction of the project was a chance to work with choreographer Bob Fosse. "With the exception of Jerome Robbins, for my money Fosse was the best choreographer who ever worked in the theater." (Simon and Caesar had worked together on the television variety program "Your Show of Shows.")

Génèse du musical

Little Me opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 17, 1962 and closed on June 27, 1963, running for 257 performances. Directed by Cy Feuer and Bob Fosse with choreography by Fosse, Sid Caesar starred playing multiple roles, with Virginia Martin as Young Belle and Nancy Andrews as Old Belle.
The London production opened at the Cambridge Theatre on November 18, 1964 and ran for 334 performances. Bruce Forsyth and Eileen Gourlay starred.
The 1982 revival at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre opened on January 21, 1982 and closed on February 21, 1982 after 30 previews and 36 performances. The multiple Caesar roles were split between Victor Garber and James Coco. The director was Robert Drivas and choreographer was Peter Gennaro, with Mary Gordon Murray as Belle; Bebe Neuwirth was in the ensemble.
Little Me was revived on the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre, opening on May 30, 1984 and running for 334 performances. Russ Abbot and Sheila White starred.
Little Me was revived on Broadway by the Roundabout Theatre Company at the Criterion Center Stage Right as a vehicle for Martin Short, opening on November 12, 1998 and closing on February 7, 1999 after 99 performances and 43 previews. With direction and choreography by Rob Marshall, Faith Prince played the combined roles of Old and Young Belle. According to Rob Marshall: "Without Marty, we wouldn't do it. And we're fortunate that we still have Neil and Cy with us, and they'll be working with us and tailoring it for Marty."
The next professional revival of Little Me is scheduled to take place at the Rose and Crown Theatre, London from the 13th - 31st August 2013. Directed by Brendan Matthew, with choreography by Chris Whittaker and designed by Stuart Charlesworth

 

Détails

Liste des chansons

Original Numbers
Act I
• Overture - Orchestra
• The Truth — Miss Poitrine, Today, Patrick Dennis and Servants
• The Other Side of the Tracks — Belle
• The Rich Kid Rag — Orchestra
• I Love You — Noble Eggleston and Belle
• The Other Side of the Tracks (Reprise) — Belle
• Deep Down Inside — Mr. Pinchley, Belle, Pinchley Junior and Poor People
• Be a Performer — Benny Buchsbaum and Bernie Buchsbaum
• Dimples — Belle and Police Escort
• Boom-Boom — Val du Val and Val du Val-ettes
• I've Got Your Number — George Musgrove and Belle
• Real Live Girl — Fred Poitrine
• Real Live Girl (Reprise) — The Doughboys
• Boom-Boom (Reprise) — Belle and Val du Val
• Finale Act I: Boom-Boom - Belle
Act II
• Entr'acte - Orchestra
• I Love (Sinking) You (Reprise) — Belle and Noble
• Poor Little Hollywood Star — Belle
• Be a Performer (Reprise) - Benny Buchsbaum and Bernie Buchsbaum
• Little Me — Miss Poitrine, Today and Belle
• Goodbye (The Prince's Farewell) — Prince Cherney, Yulnick, Doctor and Loyal Subjects
• Here's to Us — Miss Poitrine, Today and Guests
• Finale Act II: Here's to Us - Miss Poitrine, Today and Company

1982 Revival
Act I
• Don't Ask A Lady - Belle
• The Other Side of the Tracks — Belle
• The Rich Kids' Rag — Company
• I Love You — Noble Eggleston, Belle, and Company
• The Other Side of the Tracks (Reprise) — Belle
• Deep Down Inside — Pinchley Junior, Belle and Company
• Boom-Boom — Val du Val
• I've Got Your Number — Frankie Polo
• Real Live Girl — Fred Poitrine
• Real Live Girl (Reprise) — The Doughboys
Act II
• I Love You (Reprise) — Belle and Noble
• I Wanna Be Yours — Mr. Worst and Belle
• Little Me — Belle and Mama
• Goodbye — Prince Cherney, Yulnick, Doctor and Loyal Subjects
• Here's to Us — Belle and Company
• Finale — Noble Eggleston and Miss Poitrine, Today

1999 Revival
Act I
• Overture - Orchestra
• Little Me - Belle and Belle's Boys
• The Other Side of the Tracks (Slow) — Belle
• The Other Side of the Tracks (Fast) - Belle
• The Rich Kid Rag — Orchestra
• I Love You — Noble Eggleston, Belle, and Company
• The Other Side of the Tracks (Reprise) — Belle
• Deep Down Inside — Amos Pinchly, Pinchley Junior, Belle and Company
• Be a Performer! - Benny Buchsbaum, Bernie Buchsbaum and Belle
• Dimples - Belle and Chain Gang
• Boom-Boom — Val du Val and Boom-Boom Girls
• I've Got Your Number — Lucky
• Real Live Girl — Fred Poitrine
• Real Live Girl (Reprise) — Fred Poitrine and Soldiers
• Boom-Boom (Reprise) - Belle and Val du Val
• Finale Act I: Boom-Boom - Belle
Act II
• Entr'acte - Orchestra
• I Love (Sinking) You (Reprise) — Belle and Noble
• Poor Little Hollywood Star - Belle
• Goodbye — Prince Cherney, Yulnick, Doctor and Loyal Subjects
• Here's to Us — Belle and Company
• Finale Act II: I Love You — Noble Eggleston and Miss Poitrine, Today

Liste des rôles

Mama — mother of Belle. A hooker with a heart of gold. Often played in drag. Her first name, Tallulah, is only given in the Garber and Coco revival.
Belle Poitrine — the heroine, née Schlumpfert. Played by two women, Older Belle and Younger Belle in the original version, and by one woman in the Martin Short revival.
Mrs. Eggleston — Noble's mother. Her first name, Flo, is only given in the Garber and Coco revival. Often played in drag.
George Musgrove — a young, handsome gambler who falls in love with Belle. Renamed Frankie Polo, the gangster, in the Garber and Coco revival, and Lucky Malone in the Martin Short revival.

The Men in Belle's life:
Noble Eggleston — Belle's true love
Mr. Pinchley — old rich man
The Buchsbaum Brothers — Benny and Bernie, two fast-talking vaudeville bookers
Val du Val — an entertainer
Fred Poitrine — a World War I private
Otto Schnitzler — movie director
Mr. Worst — An eccentric millionaire. Present only in the Garber and Coco revival.
Prince Cherney — a Prince

NOTE: The parts of Noble, Mr. Pinchley, Val du Val, Fred Poitrine, Otto Schitzler and Prince Cherney are almost always played by the same actor, from Sid Caesar's days to today. Martin Short added the role of Benny Buchsbaum to this list. An occasional summer stock production has gone the extra mile, doubling Patrick Dennis and George Musgrove as well, but none of these doublings are essential or considered canon.

Other Characters:
Patrick Dennis — A famous writer, ghost-writing Belle's autobiography. Present only in the original version, since the in-joke that the real Patrick Dennis wrote the fictional autobiography Little Me is essentially lost on modern audiences who mostly do not remember him.
Bernie and Benny Buchsbaum — Two theatrical producers who take advantage of Belle's notoriety to make her a vaudeville star (despite her lack of talent) and later produce her self-financed film career.
Ramona Nightengale — Noble's fiancee, chosen by his mother
Brucey — Noble's sycophantic, arrogant sidekick
Yulnick — Prince Cherney's confidante.
Butler/Hairdressers — At Belle Poitrine's Southhampton house. Present only in the original production.
Junior — Mr. Pichley's son.
Mrs. Kepplewhite — Mr. Pinchley's secretary.
Nurse — Mr. Pinchley's nurse.

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Versions du musical

Versions majeures de Little Me

Version 1

Little Me (1984-05-Prince of Wales Theatre-London) (Revival)
Durée : 10 ans 12 mois
Nombre : 334 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : mercredi 30 mai 1984
Dernière : jeudi 25 mai 1995
Mise en scène : Val May
Chorégraphie : Bob Fosse
Avec : Russ Abbot, Eileen Gourlay (Young Belle), Sheila White (Older Belle), Tudor Davies
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Mais aussi, quelques versions régionales ou mineures, ... de Little Me

 

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