Play the Songs
Noël Coward’s operetta, set in 19th and early 20th century England and Austria-Hungary, centers on a young woman’s elopement with her music teacher. Songs from the score include “If Love Were All,” “The Call of Life,” “If You Could Only Come with Me,” “I’ll See You Again,” “Dear Little Café,” and “Green Carnation.”
Music samples courtesy of Jay Records and Warner Brothers Music.
Everything that wealthy London society had to offer a properly brought-up girl lay at the feet of little Sarah Millick in 1875; but she fell so desperately in love with her handsome young singing master that she threw it all away in order to be with him. In Vienna, five poverty-stricken years later, her adored Carl is killed in a duel. But his music lives on as the self-reliant Sarah earns fame throughout Europe with her singing. Finally returning to England, she marries the elderly Marquis of Shayne who has waited so patiently for her. Years later, at a madly bright party in the late 1920s, she tells her story, winning the grudging admiration of the smart young set. The Marchioness, they decide, must have been a gay old bird.
Book, Music and Lyrics by Noël Coward
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2 Violin I
1 Violin II
2 Flute I & II (Flute II doubles Piccolo)
2 Clarinet I & II (in Bb and A)
2 Horn I & II (in F)
2 Trumpet I & II (in Bb and A)
2 Trombone I & II
Bass Drum with Cymbals
1 Harp & Celeste
1 Piano (cued in Piano-Conductor’s Score)
1 Bass (cued in pit orchestra Bass part)
1 Trap Drum Set (cued in pit orchestra Percussion part)
1 Violins (2 players, cued in pit orchestra Violin I part)
1 Clarinet & Alto Saxophone (cued in pit orchestra Clarinet I & II part)
1 Guitar (cued in pit orchestra Violin II part)
1 Accordion (cued in pit orchestra Harp part)
Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material. (There is no Piano in the orchestration.)
2 Piano/Conductor Scores
20 Libretto/Vocal Books
Marchioness of Shayne – In 1929, a seventy year old woman, slim figured and with snow white hair.
Sarah Millick – In 1875, Lady Shayne as a girl, seventeen.
Madame Sari Linden – In 1880, Carl’s wife.
Marquis of Shayne – In 1895, a distinguished old man.
Carl Linden – Music Master to Sarah, later her husband.
Manon (La Crevette) – A French café singer.
Vincent Howard – Band Leader, an amiable young man.
Dolly Chamberlin – An attractive girl, about twenty.
Henry Jekyll – Engaged to Dolly, older and faintly pompous.
Young friends of Dolly Chamberlin:
Mrs. Violet Millick – Sarah’s mother.
Hon. Hugh Devon – In 1875, engaged to Sarah.
Lady Devon – Hugh’s mother.
Mrs. Margaret Devon – In 1895, Hugh’s wife, fat and vague.
Sir Arthur Frenchurch – A pompous looking old gentleman.
Four Footmen – A male quartet.
Sarah’s bridesmaids, and the girls sextet:
Victoria (later, Lady Steere)
Harriet (later, Lady James)
Gloria (later, Mrs. Proutie)
Effie (later, Mrs. Bethel)
Jane (later, Mrs. Vale)
Honor (later, Lady Sorrel)
Young men, who later become the husbands of Sarah’s bridesmaids:
Lord Edgar James
Ladies of the town, girls quartet:
Fritz – A French café waiter.
Herr Schlick – Vienna Café owner, oily and ingratiating.
Captain August Lutte – Debonaire and imposing looking.
Lieut. Tranisch – Lutte’s aide.
Captain Schensi – A singing Officer.
The Prater girls – Dancers:
The Green Carnation quartet:
Vernon Craft – A poet.
Cedrick Ballantyne – A painter.
Lord Henry Jade – A dilettante.
Bertram Sellick – A playwright.
Young Man – Foreign looking, accompanist for Sari Linden.
Parker – Lady Shayne’s butler.
Butler – Lord Shayne’s butler.
Among the guests at Lord Shayne’s house, 1895:
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Meadowes
Mr. & Mrs. Vivian Naylor
Sir George and Lady Churt
BITTER SWEET was first produced in 1929 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, where it ran for 967 performances. It played on Broadway at the Ziegfeld and Shubert Theatres for 159 performances. It opened on November 4, 1929 and starred Evelyn Laye, Gerald Nodin, Mireille, and Desmond Jeans.
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Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance