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Nymph Errant (1933)

Compositeur: Cole Porter

Parolier: Cole Porter

Librettiste: Romney Brent

Fresh out of boarding school, pretty young Evangeline is looking to lose her innocence. Her quest takes her to the beach at Neauville, the Cafe du Dome in Paris, a palazzo in Venice, and a harem in Turkey — without an ounce of success. Returning home dejected and defeated, she receives an unexpected and welcome proposition from the family gardener.

Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités

Résumé

Evangline Edwards has left her finishing school in Switzerland and, encouraged to “experiment” by the school’s chemistry mistress, Miss Pratt, decides to explore the exciting world of sex and lose her virginity before settling down in England. Her “experiments” all fail! Attempted romances include Folies Bergère producer André de Croissant who wants to make her a star; Alexei, a Russian violinist who shows her the soul of Russian music; Count Mantalini of the Holy Roman Empire; Greek businessmen Constantine; and an unfortunate incident where she gets sold into a harem, guarded by Ali. Throughout it all, she is still a virgin. In the harem she meets Haidee, a kidnapped American, and when Ben Winthrop breaks into the harem to rescue Haidee, Evangeline persuades him to rescue her instead, and they run away together to the desert. But he is more interested in plumbing than in love-making. Back in Paris, Evangeline decides to join the Folies after all - enticed by the ten handsome chorus boys in the show. But they are all gay! She gives up and ends up back in Oxford in the vicarage garden with Reverend Pither and friends. As the others go in for tea, Evangeline remain behind. Along comes the new young handsome gardener Joe. They chat awhile, get closer and closer, and finally Joe offers Evangeline an apple. As she takes a bite from the apple, the curtain falls.

Synopsis complet

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Based on the somewhat scandalous novel by James Lavers, this Cole Porter show was expressly created for London and was considered far too saucy for Broadway. It did not get a New York production for almost another 50 years. It was a huge success for Gertrude Lawrence. It was also the first musical with choreography credited to Agnes de Mille.

 

Historique du musical

Génèse du musical

Cole Porter's biographers invariably list Kiss Me Kate, Anything Goes and Out of This World as his best scores, but Porter himself had one show that he always maintained was his own personal favorite: Nymph Errant. Porter’s choice is hardly known today, but in 1933 it represented the last word in “star vehicle” musical theatre writing. We presented it at Moon in 1998, and are delighted to bring it back as the opening show of our “Going Places” season. If ever a show “went places,” it’s Nymph Errantl

Nymph Errant was originally a wildly successful 1932 novel by James Laver, which chronicled the adventures of a young Englishwoman named Evangeline Edwards, who makes a rather eccentric tour of the world. British producer Charles Cochran was looking for a vehicle for Gertrude Lawrence - flamboyant, outrageous, and one of Broadway and London’s brightest stars. He thought Nymph Errant was a perfect fit.

Cochran quickly enlisted Cole Porter, who was coming off a string of Broadway hits including Gay Divorce, The New Yorkers and Fifty Million Frenchmen. Porter brought along his pal, raconteur/actor/director Romney Brent, to write the book and direct. The writing process proved particularly harmonious, as novelist Laver and librettist Brent joined Porter at his Paris town-house for writing sessions marked in equal measure by hard work, laughter, and champagne breaks.

Following an out-of-town run in Manchester (where the title song was added), Nymph Errant debuted to one of the biggest, most glamorous opening nights London had ever seen. “Experiment,” “How Could We Be Wrong,” and “It’s Bad For Me” were hailed as Porter’s newest hit tunes, but the showstoppers that night were Lawrence’s dazzling laundry-list of body parts, “The Physician” and Elisabeth Welch’s exhilaratingly abandoned delivery of “Solomon.”

Although there were some critical cavils about the extremely frank nature of the book, Gertrude Lawrence and the Porter score were met with acclaim, and the show settled in as London’s latest hit. After a few months, Lawrence’s financial and health problems (she was suffering from exhaustion) led to an early closing for Nymph. Fox Films planned, and then abandoned, a movie version, and a New York transfer never materialized. (Porter immediately followed Nymph with his biggest hit yet, Anything Goes.)

Nothing more was heard from Nymph Errant until a sequence from the show was performed in the 1968 Julie Andrews biography of Lawrence, Star! The American premiere was a workshop presentation by New York’s Equity Library Theatre in 1982. London saw a major concert evening of the songs in 1987 with Lisa Kirk, Alexis Smith, Kaye Ballard, Andrea McArdle, and, amazingly, Elisabeth Welch, singing the song she had introduced 55 years earlier, “Solomon.”

A new, rewritten version of Nymph Errant was performed at the Chichester Festival in England in 1999. It’s unlikely that the show will enjoy a Broadway production anytime in the near future, but the original 1933 version (which we are presenting tonight) still exists to remind us of Laver’s blithely ingenuous heroine and her amatory odyssey, Brent’s cunning wit and - of course - Porter’s supremacy at writing droll, emotional and gloriously melodic songs.

 

Détails

Liste des chansons

1.Overture (Orchestra)
2. Experiment (Mrs Pratt and chorus)
3. It's Bad for Me (Evangeline)
4. Neauville-sur-Mer (Chorus)
5. The Cocotte (Clarissa)
6. How Could We Be Wrong? (Evangeline and Chorus)
7. They're Always Entertaining (Chorus)
8. Georgia Sand (Henrietta and Chorus)
9. Nymph Errant (Evangeline and company)
10. Ruins (Chorus)
11. The Physician (Evangeline)
12.Solomon (Haidee)
13. Back to Nature with You (Evangeline and Ben)
14. Plumbing (Ben)
15. Si vous aimez les poitrines (Madeleine and chorus)
16. You're Too Far Away (Alexei)
17. Sweet Nudity (Girls and Boys - with soloists)
18. My Louisa (not used)
19. Cazanova (Henrietta)
20. Concert Finale: Experiment (The Company)

Textes disponibles on-line

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Aucun dossier informatif complémentaire concernant Nymph Errant.

 

Versions du musical

Versions majeures de Nymph Errant

Version 1

Nymph Errant (1933-09-Opera House-Manchester) (Pre-London Try Out)
Durée :
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : lundi 11 septembre 1933
Dernière : Inconnu
Mise en scène : Romney Brent
Chorégraphie : Agnès de Mille
Avec : Evangeline Edwards ... Gertrude Lawrence / Madeleine ... Iris Ashley / Henrietta Bamberg ... Doris Carson / Ben Winthrop ... Walter Crisham / André de Croissant ... Austin Trevor / Constantine ... David Burns / Haidee Robinson ... Elisabeth Welch / Clarissa Parks ... Queenie Leonard / Miss Pratt ... Moya Nugent / Dr. Roberts & Kassim ... Ralph Roberts
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 2

Nymph Errant (1933-10-Adelphi Theatre-London) (Original)
Durée : 4 mois 2 semaines
Nombre : 154 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : vendredi 06 octobre 1933
Dernière : samedi 17 février 1934
Mise en scène : Romney Brent
Chorégraphie : Agnès de Mille
Avec : Evangeline Edwards ... Gertrude Lawrence / Madeleine ... Iris Ashley / Henrietta Bamberg ... Doris Carson / Ben Winthrop ... Walter Crisham / André de Croissant ... Austin Trevor / Constantine ... David Burns / Haidee Robinson ... Elisabeth Welch / Clarissa Parks ... Queenie Leonard / Miss Pratt ... Moya Nugent / Dr. Roberts & Kassim ... Ralph Roberts
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 3

Nymph Errant (1989-05-Drury Lane Theatre-London) Concert (Concert)
Durée :
Nombre : 1 représentations
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : dimanche 21 mai 1989
Dernière : dimanche 21 mai 1989
Mise en scène : Aucun
Chorégraphie :
Avec : Kaye Ballard / Emile Belcourt / Fiona Fullerton / Patricia Hodge / Larry Kert / Lisa Kirk / Andrea McArdle / Maureen McGovern / Virginia McKenna / Liliane Montevecchi
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 4

Nymph Errant (1999-08-Chichester Festival Theatre) (Revival)
Durée :
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : jeudi 05 août 1999
Dernière : Inconnu
Mise en scène : Roger Redfarn
Chorégraphie : Nikki Woollaston
Avec : Evangeline Edwards ... Rae Baker / Joyce Arbuthnot-Palmer ... Helen Anker / Henrietta Bamberg ... Alison Carter / Bertha ... Ruby-Marie Hutchinson / Miss Pratt, The Cocotte, Mrs. Bamberg, Aunt Ermyntrude ... Marilyn Cutts / Madeline St. Maure ... Isabelle Georges / All Male Roles ... Mark Adams
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 5

Nymph Errant (2011-10-Eureka Theatre-San Francisco) (Revival)
Durée : 2 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : mercredi 05 octobre 2011
Dernière : dimanche 23 octobre 2011
Mise en scène : Greg MacKellan
Chorégraphie : Lee Ann Payne
Avec : Miss Pratt, Coquette, et al ... Carolin Altman / Bertha, Haidee, et al ... Leanne Borghesi / Hercule, Ali, et al ... Michael Cassidy / Count Mantalini, Kassim, et al ... Saif Eddin / Henrietta, Winnie, et al ... Alexandra Kaprielian / Joyce, et al ... Eliza Leoni / Madeleine, et al ... Lauren Parker / Andre de Croissant, et al ... Ray Renati / Alexei, Rev. Pither, et al ... Steve Rhyne / Evangeline ... Sharon Rietkerk
En savoir plus sur cette version

Version 6

Nymph Errant (2012-07-Harold Clurman Theatre-Off Broadway) (Revival)
Durée : 3 semaines
Nombre :
Première Preview : Inconnu
Première : samedi 07 juillet 2012
Dernière : dimanche 29 juillet 2012
Mise en scène : Will Pomerantz
Chorégraphie : ???? ????
Avec : Miss Pratt ... Cady Huffman / Evangeline Edwards ... Jennifer Blood / Henrietta Bamberg ... Sara Jayne Blackmore / Joyce ... Laura Cook / Bertha ... Amy Jo Jackson / Madeline ... Aubrey Sinn
En savoir plus sur cette version

Mais aussi, quelques versions régionales ou mineures, ... de Nymph Errant

 

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