Songs From The Musicals
BROADWAY • WEST END • OFF-BROADWAY
Show Boat
OVERVIEW: WHAT'S THE SHOW ABOUT?
  • Authors Music
    JEROME KERN

    Book & Lyrics
    OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
  • Description This musical is based on Edna Ferber's novel of the same name. The story, which spans almost fifty years, deals primarily with the fortunes of an impressionable young woman named Magnolia Hawks, her father who owns a show boat named the Cotton Blossom, and a troubled riverboat gambler/actor named Gaylord Ravenal. Magnolia and Gaylord fall in love while acting on the showboat and eventually marry and move to Chicago. They separate, however, after Gaylord loses all of their money gambling. The subplot involves Magnolia's mulatto friend, the tragic Julie La Verne.
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  • Premieres ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION Ziegfeld Theatre
    December 27, 1927 BROADWAY REVIVAL 1946 Ziegfeld Theatre
    January 5, 1946 BROADWAY REVIVAL 1983 Uris Theatre
    April 24, 1983 BROADWAY REVIVAL 1994 George Gershwin Theatre
    October 2, 1994
PRODUCTIONS: WHERE HAS IT PLAYED?
  • ORIGINAL BROADWAY PRODUCTION
    Ziegfeld Theatre - December 27, 1927
    CREATIVE TEAM
    Producer : FLORENZ ZIEGFELD JR
    Direction : ZEKE COLVAN & OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
    Musical Staging : SAMMY LEE
    Orchestrations : ROBERT RUSSELL BENNETT
    Scenic Design : JOSEPH URBAN
    Costume Design : JOHN HARKRIDER
    CAST
    Magnolia Hawks : NORMA TERRIS
    Gaylord Ravenal : HOWARD MARSH
    Julie LaVerne : HELEN MORGAN
    Capt. Andy Hawks : CHARLES WINNINGER
    Parthy Ann Hawks : EDNA MAY OLIVER
    Frank Schultz : SAMMY WHITE
    Ellie May Chopley : EVA PUCK
    Joe : JULES BLEDSOE
    Queenie : TESS GARDELLA
    BROADWAY REVIVAL 1946
    Ziegfeld Theatre - January 5, 1946
    CREATIVE TEAM
    Producer : JEROME KERN & OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
    Direction : HASSARD SHORT
    Musical Staging : HELEN TAMIRIS
    Scenic Design : HOWARD BAY
    Costume Design : LUCINDA BALLARD
    CAST
    Magnolia Hawks : JAN CLAYTON
    Gaylord Ravenal : CHARLES FREDERICK
    Julie LaVerne : CAROL BRUCE
    Capt. Andy Hawks : RALPH DUMKE
    Parthy Ann Hawks : EDNA MAY OLIVER
    Frank Schultz : BUDDY EBSEN
    Ellie May Chopley : COLLETE LYONS
    Joe : KENNETH SPENCER
    Queenie : HELEN DOWDY
    BROADWAY REVIVAL 1983
    Uris Theatre - April 24, 1983
    CREATIVE TEAM
    Producer : JAMES NEDERLANDER, THE JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, THE DENVER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
    Direction : MICHAEL KAHN
    Musical Staging : DOROTHY DANNER
    Scenic Design : HERBERT SENN & HELEN POND
    Costume Design : MOLLY MAGINNIS
    Lighting Design : THOMAS SKELTON
    Sound Design : RICHARD FITZGERALD
    CAST
    Magnolia Hawks : SHERYL WOODS
    Gaylord Ravenal : RON RAINES
    Julie LaVerne : LONETTE McKEE
    Capt. Andy Hawks : DONALD O'CONNOR
    Parthy Ann Hawks : AVRIL GENTLES
    Frank Schultz : PAUL KEITH
    Ellie May Chopley : PAIGE O'HARA
    Joe : BRUCE HUBBARD
    Queenie : KARLA BURNS
    BROADWAY REVIVAL 1994
    George Gershwin Theatre - October 2, 1994
    CREATIVE TEAM
    Producer : LIVENT INC
    Direction : HAROLD PRINCE
    Musical Staging : SUSAN STROMAN
    Scenic Design : EUGENE LEE
    Costume Design : FLORENZE KLOTZ
    Lighting Design : RICHARD PILBROW
    Sound Design : MARTIN LEVAN
    CAST
    Magnolia Hawks : REBECCA LUKER
    Gaylord Ravenal : MARK JACOBY
    Julie LaVerne : LONETTE McKEE
    Capt. Andy Hawks : JOHN McMARTIN
    Parthy Ann Hawks : ELAINE STRITCH
    Frank Schultz : JOEL BLUM
    Ellie May Chopley : DOROTHY STANLEY
    Joe : MICHAEL BELL
    Queenie : GRETA BOSTON
  • playbill playbill-photo playbillcom
SYNOPSIS: WHAT'S THE STORY?
  • THE STORY

    The story spans 47 years, beginning aboard the showboat Cotton Blossom in the 1880s, on the Mississippi River near Natchez, Mississippi. Cap'n Andy Hawks, owner of the showboat, introduces all of his actors to the excited crowd on the levee.

    Almost immediately, a fist fight breaks out between Steve Baker, the leading man of the troupe, and Pete, a rough, coarse engineer who had been making passes at Steve's wife, Julie La Verne, the company's leading lady. Steve knocks Pete down and Pete swears revenge, apparently knowing some dark secret about Julie. Cap'n Andy pretends to the shocked crowd that the fight was a preview of a scene from one of the melodramas performed on the boat. The troupe exits with the showboat band.

    A handsome riverboat gambler, Gaylord Ravenal, comes aboard the boat and is taken with eighteen year old Magnolia Hawks, an aspiring performer and daughter of Cap'n Andy and his wife Parthy Ann. Magnolia (aka Nolie) is likewise smitten with Ravenal. She seeks advice from Joe, one of the Negro (the word then in vogue) workers aboard the boat. He replies that there are "lots like [Ravenal] on the river", [1] and, as Magnolia excitedly goes inside the boat to tell her friend Julie about the handsome stranger, Joe mutters to himself that she ought to ask the river for advice. With the other dock workers joining him in the second chorus, he then sings the most famous song in the musical, Ol' Man River.

    During the rehearsal for that evening's show, full of comical blunders, the mood abruptly changes when Julie and Steve are alerted that the town sheriff is coming to arrest them. To the shock of all except Julie, Steve then takes out a large pocket knife and makes a cut on the back of her hand, sucking the blood and swallowing it. Then Pete returns with the sheriff, who insists that the show not go on, because Julie is a mulatto woman married to a white man, and local laws prohibit miscegenation. Julie admits that she is a mulatto. But Steve, because he swallowed Julie's blood (and therefore has at least "one drop of black blood" in him), is able to claim that he too is mulatto. The sympathetic troupe backs him up. The sheriff is powerless to arrest Julie and Steve, but they must leave town anyway. Pete is fired by Cap'n Andy. As Julie and Steve prepare to leave, Gaylord Ravenal returns and asks for passage on the boat: his gambling has cost him the boat ticket he planned to use to leave town. Noticing Ravenal's good looks, Andy immediately hires him as the new leading man, and suggests, over Parthy's objections, that Magnolia be the new leading lady. Julie bids a tearful goodbye to Magnolia and leaves with Steve.

    Weeks later, Magnolia and Gaylord are an enormous hit with the crowds and have fallen deeply in love. Gaylord proposes to Magnolia and she accepts. The two are married while Parthy is out of town: she can do nothing, despite her disapproval of Gaylord.

    Years pass. Gaylord and Magnolia are living in Chicago with their daughter, Kim. Gaylord's gambling debts are out of control, so their living quarters are a cheap apartment. Depressed and shamed by his inability to support his family, Gaylord leaves Nolie. Frank and Ellie, two actors on the boat, choose this time to visit. These old friends seek a singing job for Magnolia at the same club where they are doing a New Year's show, a club called the Trocadero. Unbeknownst to Magnolia, Julie, abandoned by Steve and now a drunken cabaret singer at the Trocadero, hears Magnolia singing "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" for her audition, the song Julie taught her years ago. Julie secretly abandons her position so that Magnolia can fill it, and Magnolia never learns of her sacrifice. (At this point, the character of Julie completely disappears from both the stage and the 1936 film versions, though in the 1951 film she is given one more scene near the end.)

    On New Year's Eve, Andy, in Chicago with Parthy for a surprise visit, ends up at the Trocadero while celebrating without her. He is unaware of Magnolia's presence and troubles, only to discover her choked with emotion and nearly being booed off stage. Andy rallies the crowd to her defense by standing up and initiating a grand sing-along of the old song "After the Ball". Magnolia becomes a great musical star.

    More than 20 years pass; it is now 1927. Magnolia has become an international star of the stage and radio. Cap'n Andy has a chance meeting with Ravenal and, knowing that Magnolia is retiring from the stage and returning to the Cotton Blossom with Kim, arranges for a reunion. Although Ravenal is uncertain whether he has the right to ask Magnolia to take him back, she does. As the happy couple walks up the boat's gangplank, Joe and the chorus sing a final reprise of "Ol' Man River".
  • Show Boat
    Rebecca Luker and company of the 1994 Broadway revival.
SONG NUMBERS: WHAT SHOWTUNES ARE IN THIS MUSICAL?
  • ACT ONE


    Cotton BlossomStevedores, Gals and Townspeople

    Cap'n Andy's BallyhooCap'n Andy, Parthy Ann Hawks, the Showboat Troupe, Stevedores, Gals and Townspeople

    Where's the Mate for Me?Gaylord Ravenal

    Make BelieveGaylord Ravenal and Magnolia

    Ol' Man RiverJoe and Stevedores

    Can't Help Lovin' Dat ManJulie, Queenie, Joe, Magnolia and Ensemble

    Till Good Luck Comes My WayGaylord Ravenal, Pete, Frank and Townsmen

    Mis'ry's Comin' ArounQueenie, Stevedores and Gals

    I Have the Room Above HerGaylord Ravenal and Magnolia

    Life Upon the Wicked StageEllie and Townswomen

    Queenie's BallyhooQueenie, Stevedores and Gals

    You Are LoveGaylord Ravenal and Magnolia

    The Wedding CelebrationCompany



    ACT TWO


    Why Do I Love You?Parthy Ann Hawks and Company

    Dandies on ParadeCity Folk

    Alma Redemptoris MaterChoir

    Ol' Man River (Reprise)Joe

    BillJulie

    Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Reprise)Magnolia

    Goodbye, My Lady LoveFrank and Ellie

    After the Ball Magnolia and Ensemble

    Ol' Man River (Reprise)Joe

    Dance Away the NightMagnolia

    Kim's CharlestonKim, Parthy Ann Hawks and Company

    FinaleJoe and Company
  • Lyrics/Libretto
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    Lyrics and/or libretto is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. No copyright infringement intended.

    File Contents : Full Libretto
    File Size : 984.26 KB

    By clicking the download button, you agree to use the downloaded file for personal use only.

MULTIMEDIA: WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THIS SHOW?
  • IMAGES
    VIDEO
    MUSIC
  • PHOTOS
    1994 Broadway Revival
    showboat1.jpg
    showboat2.jpg
    POSTERS
    showLogo1.jpg
    showLogo2.jpg
    VIDEO
    video
    Tammy Amerson and Elaine Stritch lead the 1994 Broadway revival cast in "Kim's Charleston" at the Tony Awards.
    MUSIC
    music

    Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man1993 Toronto Cast Recording

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Comments

2 years ago
Life upon that wicked stage, is just my best show song saw it at Leeds Grand theatre, it was lovely too, it's only make believe??