The Happiest Girl in the World – Original Broadway Cast 1961
In ancient Athens the Olympic Games draw to a close, and the audience responds with cheers for the hero as the winner is crowned with laurel. At the same time, another hero appears, the victorious Kinesias (Bruce Yarnell), who has triumphed over the Spartans. He is honored by the Chief of State (Cyril Ritchard) and the populace in “The Glory That Is Greece.” When Kinesias at last arrives at his home, his wife Lysistrata (Dran Seitz) tells him that she is “The Happiest Girl in the World.” But before they have spent even five minutes together, the Chief marches in to “The Greek Marine” hymn to tell Kinesias that war has broken out again. Lysistrata is both angry and sorrowful when he is gone, as she wonders, “Shall We Say Farewell?” and calls on the gods to end war. Meanwhile, up on Olympus, the gods are distressed by her pleas. Jupiter admits that only Pluto, god of the nether regions, has the power to cause wars. Pluto (also Cyril Ritchard) arrives in a burst of flame and cautions them to “Never Be-Devil the Devil.” He announces his intention of continuing to make trouble on the earth, and then disappears. Diana (Janice Rule), the chaste goddess of the moon, begs her father Jupiter to send her to earth as a peacemaker. She is sympathetic toward earthlings and their peculiar passion for love, “Whatever That May Be.” Jupiter reluctantly agrees to let her go, as the gods cry “Eureka!” On earth, Diana inspires the sleeping Lysistrata with the idea that women must refuse their favors until men agree to keep the peace. In the Agora, Lysistrata convinces the women of Athens of her plan, and the women take “The Oath,” to Diana’s delight. Uncle Pluto arrives to tell Diana she must learn more about life than she has thus far seen; surprisingly he exhorts her to virtue, but with his own twist, in “Vive La Virtue!” The brief war ends, and Kinesias again returns to Lysistrata (“Adrift on a Star”). Then war erupts again. Like the other women of Athens, Lysistrata nearly forgets her vow, but a sharp reminder from Diana brings her to her senses, and she leads the women in capturing the Citadel, where they lock themselves in. The war is called off, but the women remain adamant. The distraught men, led by the Chief of State, engage in strenuous exercise and work to take their minds off their misfortune in “That’ll Be the Day.” The women in the Citadel are no less lonely, as they ask, “How Soon, O Moon?” will the men come to their senses? The wily Pluto disguises himself as a shepherd and tries to break up the strike; he beguiles the sentinel, Myrrhina, with the “Love-Sick Serenade,” but is unsuccessful. When Kinesias entreats Lysistrata to return to him for “Five Minutes of Spring,” she refuses him. The women learn that the Persian courtesan Rhodope is coming with her girls to comfort the men. They capture and imprison the entourage, and Lysistrata disguises herself as Rhodope and sets forth to make a fool of Kinesias. Pluto, meanwhile, continues to make trouble; his advice to the women is “Never Trust a Virgin.” Lysistrata finds Kinesias and lures him into asking her to live with him; as an honest courtesan, though, she tells him she could never be honestly his. Kinesias suddenly recognizes his wife, but before they can be reconciled, the Chief of State arrives with the summons to another war. But the Spartan women have used the same stratagem as the Athenian girls, and the Spartan men ask for a lasting peace. The Athenians agree, and husbands and wives are reunited. Diana returns happily to Olympus, and only Pluto is disconcerted.
Kinesias: Bruce Yarnell Chief of State, Pluto: Cyril Ritchard Lysistrata: Dran Seitz Diana: Janice Rule Sentinel: Nancy Windsor Myrrhina: Lu Leonard Book by Fred Saidy and Henry Myers Story by E.Y. Harburg, based on Lysistrata by Aristophanes Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg Music by Jacques Offenbach, adaptation by Robert DeCormier and Jay Gorney Orchestrations by Robert Russell Bennett and Hershey Kay Musical direction and vocal arrangements by Robert DeCormier Dance arrangements by Gerald Alters