The Story
Two Gentlemen Of Verona
Music
GALT MacDERMOT

Lyrics
JOHN GUARE

Book
JOHN GUARE & MEL SHAPIRO
This musical is based on William Shakespeare's comedy of the same name. Lifelong friends Proteus and Valentine leave their rural hometown to experience life in urban Milan. Valentine falls in love with Sylvia, whose father has betrothed her against her will to the wealthy but undesirable Thurio, and plots to win her hand. Disregarding his loyalty to Valentine and Julia, his sweetheart back home, Proteus also sets his sights on Sylvia. He plans to expose his friend's intentions to her father, have Valentine banished from Milan, and claim her for himself.

PHOTOS
Original Broadway Production
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THE STORY

ACT ONE

We hear the sounds of nature, as Visi D'Amore - the Spirit of Love - runs on and sings Jack Benny's old theme song, "Love in Bloom". He runs off. The Ensemble wanders on and sings the prologue, a joyful ode to springtime and to love. During the song, an oversized Cupid moves among them, bow-and-arrowing everyone, while Lucetta appears on the top-most level and pours a bucketful of red tissue-paper hearts down on them and the audience.

The story begins in the provincial town of Verona. Valentine, a young gentleman, is preparing to depart "to see the wonders of Milan." He tries to convince his best friend, Proteus, to join him. Valentine asks Proteus, "what do you want to do with the rest of your life?" Proteus replies: that's a very interesting question. However, Proteus cannot bring himself to leave Julia, whom he loves from afar. Valentine leaves for Milan, accompanied by his servant, Speed.

Proteus writes Julia a love letter but when Julia actually appears, he is too terrified to speak to her - much to her dismay. Gathering the Ensemble for support, he re-enters to present her with a Symphony. During the song, his love letter is handed down through each Ensemble member until it gets to Julia, who abruptly tears it up. Julia explains to the audience: I Am Not Interested In Love.

Suddenly Visi D'Amore reappears in giggly pursuit of a Soprano. Singing they happily throw magic love confetti at each other and on Julia, before running off again. Now "metamorphosed," Julia frantically tries to put the pieces of the torn letter back together. She writes Proteus a letter. She and Proteus meet and declare their love.

Proteus' father, Antonio, ignorant of his son's new love, orders him to join Valentine in Milan to further his education. A heartbroken Proteus tells Julia he must depart but before leaving, Proteus gives her a giant string of pearls, and she gives him her virginity. Proteus' servant, Launce observes and comments.

Launce has his own problems: he has been ordered to accompany his master Proteus away from both his beloved Verona and his beloved dog, Crab, who is to be left as another gift to Julia. Crab seems oddly indifferent. Proteus and Launce set off on theirjourney.

Back in Verona - some time later - Julia has discovered she is pregnant. With the help of the Female Ensemble, she and Lucetta concoct a plan to travel to Milan in search of Proteus - they will disguise themselves as Two Gwentlemen of Verona.

Enroute to Milan, Valentine and Speed, Proteus and Launce, and Julia and Lucetto all become lost. Valentine and Speed arrive in Milan, and it is indeed the most exciting place imaginable. In the midst of the crowd appears the Duke who introduces his daughter Silvia and the foppish Thurio, whom the Duke intends for Silvia to marry. The Duke makes a campaign speech, promising that if re-elected he will end the war and "Bring all the Boys Back Home".

Valentine has opened a letter-writing shop in Milan, but confesses to Speed that he is having difficulty concentrating on his work, for he has fallen in love with Silvia. Silvia arrives at Valentine's shop to send a letter:. After convincing Valentine to rescue her from Thurio, Silvia declares, "I came in here to write to my lover Eglamour. Instead I found a truer love." She and Valentine make plans to elope that night, and she leaves.

Proteus and Launce enter and are joyously reunited with Valentine and Speed. Valentine confides in them his love for Silvia. Valentine gets on his bicycle (which has appropriate Renaissance/Baroque decorations) and exits in search of a "night ladder" for the elopement. Launce and Speed go off in search of ale.

Left alone, Proteus confesses to the audience that he is filled with jealousy towards his friend Valentine, for he too has fallen in love with Silvia. It is only with great sarcasm that he pretends to be happy for Valentine. He makes a plan: he will forswear both his love for Julia and his friendship with Valentine. By revealing the elopement plans to the Duke, he will surely cause Valentine's banishment, gain favor with the court, and become the front runner for Silvia's hand. He runs off to carry out his scheme.


ACT TWO

Using a "Renaissance" telephone, Proteus calls the Duke and anonymously warns him of Valentine and Silvia's plans. Julia and Lucetta, disguised as boys, enter in time to overhear Proteus proclaim his love to the many pictures of Silvia he has now draped around the stage. Before they can leave, Proteus sees them. He asks about their origins, and Lucetta wryly explainsthat they come from the land of betrayal. Proteus does not recognise the two "men," and takes them into his employ.

Valentine enters on his bicycle, and is stopped by the Duke and Thurio, who reveal that Valentine is concealing a rope ladder under his cape. The Duke promptly has Valentine drafted into the army, and Proteus himself leads Valentine out of the city. A distraught Silvia complains bitterly to her father, who orders her back to her tower. Thurio is worried that Silvia will not accept him instead of the more manly Valentine, but the Duke reassures Thurio that she had nothing but praise for him.

Meanwhile, in the local tavern, Launce and Speed are "glowingly" drunk, but not so lucky in love as their employers. Each wishes that he too could become a "Hot Lover. Proteus gives "Sebastian" (Julia) the same ring that she had given him back in Verona, with instructions to present it to Silvia. Left alone, Julia muses upon some improbable yet pleasant methods for regaining Proteus' heart.

Proteus returns, having gathered the Ensemble to assist him in serenading Silvia. During his song Proteus tries in vain to get the ring away from Julia, but then does succeed in bringing on a tearful Launce to give away - again! - his dog, Crab. As the Ensemble converges on Silvia and smothers her with gifts, she suddenly breaks free, protesting that she is no idol. During the final verse, a dove flies to her (on a wire) from over the audience; she ties a note to it and sends it flying back again.

Silvia's long-lost love, Eglamour appears in the rear balcony of the audience, dressed in an army uniform and carrying Silvia's dove on his shoulder. He is Chinese. As he and Silvia sing he literally climbs down to her on the stage.

Eglamour and Silvia escape to the forest, and the Duke raises the alarm. Proteus leads the charge as the Ensemble heads to the forest to hunt down the escaped lovers.

Deep within the forest, amidst trees and a full moon, Eglamour and Silvia reach his encampment and go into his tent. Meanwhile, in another part of the forest is Valentine, standing guard in his army uniform, and thinking about his lost love. Proteus finds the tent and reacts to what he has sees inside.

Proteus jumps into the tent, forcing Silvia and Eglamour to come rushing out. After chasing Eglamour away, Proteus is overcome with lust for Silvia. He throws himself on top of her. At first she protests, but then starts to giggle. At that moment Valentine finds them. Silvia is embarrassed; Proteus is contrite, as Valentine tells him, "Proteus, I must never trust thee more." But before they can sort things out, Eglamour returns with reinforcements in the form of a Chinese dragon - the type that one might see in a parade. Proteus and Valentine defend themselves with swords; eventually the dragon turns on Eglamour and chases him off.

Julia, Lucetta, Launce and Speed arrive as Valentine and Proteus forgive each other in the aftermath of the battle. In a magnanimous gesture to restore their friendship, Valentine relinquishes to Proteus his claim to Silvia. Hearing this, Julia swoons, and Proteus at last recognizes her. Lucetta, Speed and Launce advise her not to have the baby but Julia, ever faithful to Proteus, decides to take him back, albeit on her terms. And he agrees.

Valentine confronts Thurio who, being a complete coward, gives up all claims to Silvia and runs away. The Duke, seeing Thurio's actions, decides that Valentine is a much better suitor offer all, and presents Silvia to him.

Thurio sees Lucetta, and it's love at first sight. He douses her with confetti and they run off together. Launce, too, has finally found love. Back in Milan, the Duke wishes everyone well. The Finale of the show is a literal free-for-all, with cast members playing basketball, throwing frisbees into the audience, blowing bubbles, juggling, twirling batons, and even swinging from the rafters, while red paper heart confetti falls from everywhere: an enormous and joyful celebration of life and love.

LIBRETTO

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CAST & CREATIVES
Creative
Producer THE NEW YORK SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Direction MEL SHAPIRO
Choreography JEAN ERDMAN
Scenic Design MING CHO LEE
Costume Design THEONI V. ALDREDGE
Lighting Design LAWRENCE METZLER
Sound Design JACK SHEARING
Cast
Proteus RAUL JULIA
Valentine CLIFTON DAVIS
Silvia JONELLE ALLEN
Julia DIANA DAVILA
MUSICAL NUMBERS
ACT ONE

Summer, SummerEnsemble
I Love My FatherEnsemble
That's a Very Interesting QuestionProteus and Valentine
I'd Like to Be a RoseProteus and Valentine
Thou, Julia, Thou Hast Metamorphosed MeProteus
SymphonyProteus and Ensemble
I Am Not Interested in LoveJulia
Love, Is That You?Vissi D'Amore
Thou, Proteus, Thou Hast Metamorphosed MeJulia
What Does a Lover Pack?Julia, Proteus and Ensemble
PearlsLaunce
I Love My Father (Reprise)Proteus
Two Gentlemen of VeronaJulia, Lucetta and Ensemble
Follow the RainbowValentine, Speed, Proteus, Launce, Julia and Lucetta
Where's North?Valentine, Speed, Duke of Milan, Silvia, Ensemble and Thurio
Bring All the Boys Back HomeDuke of Milan, Thurio and Ensemble
Love's RevengeValentine
To Whom It May Concern MeSilvia and Valentine
Night LetterSilvia and Valentine
Love's Revenge (Reprise)Valentine, Proteus, Speed and Launce
Calla Lily LadyProteus


ACT TWO

Land of BetrayalLucetta
Thurio's SambaThurio, Duke of Milan and Ensemble
Hot LoverLaunce and Speed
What a Nice IdeaJulia
Who is SylviaProteus, Tavern Host and Ensemble
Love MeSilvia and Ensemble
EglamourEglamour and Silvia
KidnappedJulia, Duke of Milan, Proteus, Thurio and Ensemble
MansionValentine
Eglamour (Reprise)Silvia and Eglamour
What's a Nice Girl Like HerProteus
Dragon FightDragon, Eglamour, Proteus and Valentine
Don't Have the BabyJulia, Lucetta, Speed and Launce
Love, Is That You? (Reprise)Thurio and Lucetta
MilkmaidLaunce and Milkmaid
I Love My Father (Reprise)Full Company
Love Has Driven Me SaneFull Company

Love Story
Hello Dolly!
South Pacific
SIGHTS & SOUNDS

Original Broadway Production
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