EMI-MGM PRESENTS A KEN RUSSELL PRODUCTION
WINNER OF TWO HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS AWARDS
BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER
CO-STARRING CHRISTOPHER GABLE
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY KEN RUSSELL
LITHO IN USA
HAD BEEN FOLDED, TAPED, AND HAS SMALL RIPS
"The Boyfriend" redirects here. For other uses, see The
The Boy Friend
Original Broadway Cast Album
Music Sandy Wilson
Lyrics Sandy Wilson
Book Sandy Wilson
Productions 1953 West End
1984 West End Revival
2005 North American Tour
The Boy Friend (sometimes mis-spelled The Boyfriend) is a musical by Sandy Wilson.
The musical was written at a time when the United Kingdom
was still recovering from the devastating effects of World
War II and is set in the carefree world of the French
Riviera in the Roaring 1920s, a similar period of peace
and gradual recovery after the rigours of World War I.
The musical's original 1954 London production ran for 2,078 performances, making it briefly the third-longest running musical in West End or Broadway history (after Chu Chin Chow and Oklahoma!,
until it was demoted a rank by Salad Days. It marked
Julie Andrews' American debut.
The Boy Friend is a comic pastiche of 1920s shows (in
particular early Rodgers and Hart). The title is an
obvious parody of The Girl Friend. Its relatively small
cast and low cost of production makes it a continuing
popular choice for amateur and student groups.
Sandy Wilson was to write a sequel to the The Boy Friend.
Set ten years later, and, appropriately, a pastiche of 1930s musicals (in particular those of Cole Porter) it was entitled Divorce Me, Darling!
and ran for 91 performances at London's Globe Theatre in 1965. It is sometimes revived as a "double bill" with The Boy Friend.
The musical was first performed in London in 1953.
It opened at the Players' Theatre Club on April 14, 1953,
and reopened in an expanded version on October 13. It
transferred for a short season to the Embassy Theatre, Swiss Cottage and then opened at Wyndham's Theatre in the West End on 14 January 1954.
The light, tuneful piece proved immensely popular with the
British public and ran for more than five years, a total
of 2,082 performances.
In 1995, on its 40th anniversary, the musical returned to
The Players' Theatre in London in a new production that
was as near a reproduction of the original as possible.
It was directed by Maria Charles,
who played the original Dulcie.
The choreography was by Geoffrey Webb who was also in the original production.
It was originally planned that the choreography would be
done by Larry Drew, the original Bobby van Husen, but he
died suddenly during the early planning stages of the
Set design was by Disley Jones who was responsible for the
hat designs in the original production.
Among the cast were Gemma Page, Oliver Hickey,
Sophie Louise Dann and John Rutland (in his original role as Lord Brockhurst).
Following its success at the Players' it went on a nationwide tour and was very successful.
A production played in 2006 at the Open Air Theatre at Regent's Park, London. This also proved to be a highly acclaimed production, and was revived during the Open Air Theatre's 2007 season.
The Boy Friend opened on Broadway at the Royale Theatre on
September 30, 1954 and closed on November 26, 1955 after
485 performances. Starring was newcomer Julie Andrews in
her Broadway debut as Polly,
with a cast including John Hewer, Geoffrey Hibbert, Dilys
Laye, Bob Scheerer, Anne Wakefield, Millicent Martin, and
Moyna MacGill (some of whom had earlier and present
connections with The Players' Theatre in London). Andrews
received the Theatre World Award.
Andrews was "discovered" by My Fair Lady producers during
her appearance in this play,
prompting her casting in the lead in that production, and
catapulting her to Broadway fame (and beyond) in the
A revival opened on Broadway at the Ambassador Theatre on
April 14, 1970, and ran for 111 performances. Starring
were Judy Carne as Polly, Sandy Duncan as Maisie and
Ronald Young as Tony.
Duncan received the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance as well as a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
Regional revival and North American tour
In 2003, Julie Andrews made her directorial debut with a
production of The Boy Friend at the Bay Street Theater in
Sag Harbor, NY, starring Meredith Patterson as Polly
Browne and Sean Palmer as Tony Brockhurst.
This production was revived at the Goodspeed Opera House,
running from July 2005 through September 24, 2005, where Sean Palmer returned as Tony and Jessica Grové took over the role of Polly.
Costume and scenic design were by Tony Walton, with choreography by John DeLuca. The show was performed in two acts, instead of three,
and the song "Safety in Numbers" was moved from the scene
on the beach to the Carnival Ball. The production next
toured the United States and Canada, playing 11 cities,
Boston, Orange County, and Toronto, from October 2005 through March 2006.
The touring cast included Bethe Austin as Hortense, Paul
Carlin as Percival, Andrea Chamberlain as Maisie,
Drew Eshelman as Lord Brockhurst, Rick Faugno as Bobby
Van Husen, Nancy Hess as Madame Dubonnet, Darcy Pulliam as
Lady Brockhurst, Scott Barnhardt as Alphonse, Andrew
Briedis as Pierre, Jordan Cable as Marcel, Margot de La
Barre as Nancy,
Pamela Otterson as Monica, Krysta Rodriguez as Fay, Eric
Daniel Santagata as Phillipe, Tom Souhrada as Garcon, and
Kirsten Wyatt as Dulcie.
In the Villa Caprice, or Madame Dubonnet's School for
Young Ladies, Maisie and the girls live with the maid,
Hortense, and Mme. Dubonnet. Hortense orders a costume
for "a Miss Polly Browne" and Maisie and the other girls
(Dulcie, Nancy, and Fay)
sing the sarcastic "Perfect Young Ladies" with Hortense.
Polly arrives and tells everyone about her made-up boy
friend who is "motoring down from Paris" to meet her for
the upcoming carnival ball,
and sings about "The Boy Friend". Later, Bobby surprises
Maisie and they dance to "Won't You Charleston With Me?"
Polly's widowed father, Percy, then arrives at the school
to discover that the headmistress is an old flame of his.
They sing "Fancy Forgetting" to rekindle the spark.
Polly, though a millionaire's daughter, feels left out
because she is the only one of her set who does not have
a boyfriend, and she needs a partner for the fancy dress
ball. However, when the errand boy, Tony, arrives to
deliver her Pierrette costume,
they are immediately attracted to each other, and sing "I
Could Be Happy With You." Later, they meet at the beach
(after the chorus number "Sur La Plage") and sing
about "A Room in Bloomsbury".
they then kiss and decide to meet at the ball. The
comically flirtatious Lord Brockhurst arrives on the
scene, leading to a comical meeting with the rigidly
mannered Percival Browne.
Lord Brockhurst's domineering wife Lady Brockhurst is also
introduced. Percival Browne and Dubonnet then
sing "The 'You-Don't-Want-To-Play-With-Me' Blues".
When Polly goes to meet Tony on the promenade, Lord and
Lady Brockhurst, who are passing by, recognize him. When
he runs off, everyone else assumes that he is a thief. The
act ends on a sad note.
At the ball, Bobby and the three boys propose to Maisie
and the three girls, but the girls reply in unison
that "we'll let you know at midnight" and everyone dances to "The Riviera".
Lord Brockhurst sings "It's Never Too Late To Fall In
Love" with the flirty Dulcie, and is caught out by Lady
Brockhurst. Polly confides in Mme. Dubonnet, and they
sing "Poor Little Pierrette".
Tony later arrives at the ball and takes Polly by
surprise. He asks "May I have this dance, Pierrette?" to
which Polly replies, "I'm afraid I can't dance with a
He then kisses her to remind her. Polly discovers that
Tony is really the son of Lord and Lady Brockhurst, who
had left home to try to make his own way in the world.
Percy and Mme.
Dubonnet announce that they are getting married. The clock
strikes midnight, and the girls unanimously say yes to
the boys' proposals.
The last scene has everyone dancing as soon as Bobby, with
the last spoken line in the play, asks "So how about that
Charleston?" The show ends with a reprise of "The Boy
Friend" and "I Could Be Happy With You."