The Boy Friend – 1954
Act I Madame Dubonnet’s Finishing School Near Nice – 1926. Hortense, a chic French maid, is on the phone with Monsieur Gaston’s dress shop confirming that dear Polly Browne’s costume for the Carnival Ball to be held this very evening is going to be delivered in time. Her exposition is interrupted by the arrival of a group of giggling and animated young girls. Hortense, who takes her job quite seriously, tells them that they must behave themselves and remember who they are – Perfect Young Ladies. The girls are all excited about the ball, especially Maisie, who – although she’d deny it to the end – is absolutely in love with that very sweet and very moneyed Bobby Van Husen, and he’s simply gaga over her. Polly Browne joins them fresh from the tennis court with terribly exciting news – she has received a letter from Paris! HE will be arriving later that afternoon. HE is that someone special for whom all the girls envy Polly – The Boy Friend. None of the girls has ever met him, and Polly won’t even reveal his name. As they begin to press her for this information Madame Dubonnet arrives and sends all the girls except Polly off to class. Madame Dubonnet has guessed that Polly doesn’t have a boyfriend at all; the “letter from Paris” was postmarked Nice, and Polly admits that it’s true, she has no boyfriend because her father forbids it. It seems that Polly’s father is enormously wealthy, and he has told her that she could never really be sure someone loved her for herself or for her money. Madame Dubonnet tells her that she will speak to him and see if she can secure permission for Polly to have a boyfriend. After all, he is coming to visit this very day! Maisie enters and after Madame Dubonnet and Polly leave she is interrupted by the attractive and financially abundant Bobby Van Husen. He wants Maisie to promise to dance every dance with him at the ball that night – Won’t You Charleston With Me? Maisie makes no promises, but Bobby won’t take no for an answer. Polly’s father, Percival Browne, arrives, and Madame Dubonnet reminds him that he was young once. She remembers him well and he remembers her, his sweet Kiki – Fancy Forgetting. The girls have finished their classes for the day, and all decide to go and try on their costumes for the ball. All, that is, except Polly, whose costume has yet to arrive. Tony, the delivery boy from Monsieur Gaston’s, arrives with Polly’s costume. Polly and Tony fall instantly in love – I Could Be Happy With You. Polly tells him that she is Madame Dubonnet’s secretary so that she can be sure he loves her for herself and not for her money, She then invites him to escort her to the ball that evening. He would love to but isn’t sure he will be able to get away. They arrange to meet later that afternoon on the Plage beside the bandstand. Tony leaves a gleeful Polly and a more understanding Percival enters. Polly greets him effusively – at last she has a boyfriend! Act II That Afternoon on the Plage. Everyone loves life Sur la Plage. After its praises are sung, Lord and Lady Brockhurst enter. He has a wandering eye for beautiful young ladies, while she is all but inconsolable over the disappearance from Oxford of their beloved son Tony. Polly appears, preparing for her rendezvous with Tony, When he arrives they tell each other of the simple life they’ve imagined for themselves – A Room In Bloomsbury. As they are about to kiss they are discovered by Hortense, who warns them to be careful about what they are seen doing in public. What would people say if they saw that Polly’s boyfriend was just a poor messenger? Polly swears Hortense to secrecy. At the same time Percival and Madame Dubonnet (Kiki) are walking along the Plage; she tries to entice him into the wonders of romance but he won’t allow himself to succumb to her temptation – The “You-Don’t-Want-To-Play-With-Me” Blues. Meanwhile Maisie is being her noncommittal self to that dreamy and affluent Bobby Van Husen as well as to all the other boys. She likes playing the field and feels very strongly that there’s Safety In Numbers. Polly and Tony are still in love, but when Tony sees his parents, Lord and Lady Brockhurst, who see him at the same time – he runs away. Lady Brockhurst bellows for a gendarme to have him stopped. Polly wrongfully assumes that Tony is just a thief who was only after her money. However, it wasn’t money that Tony stole, it was her heart. When Hortense offers to explain to all those gathered that Tony is just a poor messenger boy who is also Polly’s boyfriend, Polly stops her. After all, it would only prove that her father was correct in preventing her from getting involved with affairs of the heart. Poor Polly, now she has no one with whom she can go to the ball. Act III The Terrasse of the Café Pataplon – That Night. All of the girls have been proposed to by all of the boys. The girls just don’t know what to say. The handsome and wealthy Bobby Van Husen asks Maisie to marry him, and Maisie, still playing hard to get, tells him she’ll give him her answer at midnight. But while they’re waiting they all do the latest local dance craze – The Riviera. Arriving at the ball dressed as Pierrot, to match Polly’s Pierrette, Tony persuades Hortense to bring Polly to the ball; he knows he can make her understand her misunderstanding and convince her that he loves her. Lord Brockhurst, well out of sight of Lady Brockhurst, pursues Dulcie and explains to her that It’s Never Too Late To Fall In Love. Lady Brockhurst discovers her husband and Dulcie and reprimands him. When Polly enters, dressed as Pierrette, her friends try to cheer her up, and Pepe and Lolita dance the rage of the Continent – Carnival Tango. Madame Dubonnet consoles Polly with her tale of Poor Little Pierrette. Needless to say, Pierrot (Tony) enters and after revealing their true wealthy identities, all is made right between them. Percival tells Polly that he has asked Kiki – that is, Madame Dubonnet, to be his wife and she has accepted. Maisie accepts the smashing and rich Bobby Van Husen’s proposal and all of the girls follow Maisie’s example. Everybody has the happy ending they so justly deserve – Finale.
Hortense: Paulette Girard Nancy: Millicent Martin Maisie: Ann Wakefield Fay: Stella Claire Dulcie: Dilys Lay Polly: Julie Andrews Marcel: Joe Milan Alphonse: Buddy Schwab Pierre: Jerry Newby Madame Dubonnet: Ruth Altman Bobby Van Husen: Bob Scheerer Percival Browne: Eric Berry Tony: John Hewer Phillipe: Jimmy Alex Monica: Berkley Marsh Lord Brockhurst: Geoffrey Hibbert Lady Brockhurst: Moyna Macgill Susanne: Lyn Connorty Guests: Phoebe Mackay, Marge Ellis, Mickey Colin Gendarme: Douglas Deane Waiter: Lyn Robert Pepe: Joe Milan Lolita: Stella Claire