Irene (Revised 1973)


Based on James Montgomery’s play Irene O’Dare, IRENE tells the story of a shop assistant and recent immigrant to New York’s Upper West Side who is introduced to Long Island’s high society when she’s hired by one of its leading grande dames to help redecorate her home. The score includes the hits “Alice Blue Gown,” “You Made Me Love You” and “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.”

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    Irene O’Dare is a humble but ambitious, hard-working Irish girl from the humble West side of Manhattan, who runs a little music store with her widowed mother. Irene is sent to tune a piano for young tycoon Donald Marshall III, a Long Island society gentleman. Once at Donald’s estate, Irene falls in love with him, and each is captivated by how different the other is from their usual friends.

    Donald’s ne’er-do-well cousin Ozzie wants help to jump-start a fashion business to be run by his friend, “Madame Lucy”, a flamboyant male artiste, who pretends to be a famous French couturier. Irene and her pretty best friends, Helen McFudd and Jane Burke, are recruited to model Madame Lucy’s gowns, while Donald provides financing. Irene agrees to pose as a society girl to convince everyone to shop at Madame Lucy’s, but she becomes angry with Donald when he asks her to continue the ruse. Meanwhile, Irene’s mother and Donald’s mother do not see eye-to-eye.

    Act II

    Madame Lucy, Helen, Jane and Ozzie are overjoyed at their success, as Madame Lucy’s creations are now world-famous. Donald realizes that he loves Irene. He goes to the piano store but on the way he runs into some unsavory fellows who beat him badly. He and Irene reconcile but then argue again, and he runs out. Helen and Jane give Donald some advice about acting like a man and wooing Irene properly. Following their counsel, he sweeps her into his arms and kisses her passionately, which results in more bruises, this time from her.

    At the grand ball at Donald’s estate, Irene’s mother finds Irene brokenhearted over another love of her life, Liam O’Dougherty. It turns out that Madame Lucy is Liam O’Dougherty, and he reunites happily with Irene. Donald announces that he loves Irene, and her true identity is revealed. He tells her, “You Made Me Love You,” and all ends happily.

    Book by Hugh Wheeler and Joseph Stein
    From an Adaptation by Harry Rigby
    Based on the Original Play by James Montgomery
    Music by Harry Tierney
    Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
    Additional Lyrics and Music by Charles Gaynor & Otis Clements
    Original Production Supervised by Gower Champion
    Produced for Broadway by
    Harry Rigby, Albert W. Selden & Jerome Minskoff

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • Instrumentation: 21 Parts

    3 Violins I-II
    2 Cellos
    1 Bass (optional Tuba for “Stepping on Butterflies”)

    1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Alto flute (or Clarinet), Soprano Saxophone (or Clarinet), Alto
    1 Reed II: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed III: Flute (or Clarinet), Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Oboe (or Clarinet), Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed V: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, Bass Saxophone (or Baritone Saxophone)

    2 Trumpet I & II
    2 Trumpet III & IV
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II
    1 Trombone III (Bass Trombone)

    2 Percussion I and II: (Optional Additional Mallet Percussion Player)
        I Mallet Percussion:
          Slap Stick
          Timpani (2-pedal)
          Tom Tom
          Snare Drum
          Bongo Drums
          Temple Blocks (3)
          Cymbals: Suspended, Piatti (hand)
          Wood Block
          Cow Bell
          Train Bell (or file on gong)
          Pop Gun
          Sleigh Bells
          Police Whistle
          Siren Whistle
        II Trap Drum Set:
          Snare Drum
          Bass Drum
          Tom Toms (3)
          Wood Block
          Cow Bell
          Temple Blocks (3)
          Cymbals: Hi-Hat, Suspended, Piatti (hand), Choke, Toy
          Siren Whistle
          Bird Calls

    1 Harp
    1 Guitar-Banjo (optional Ukulele for “Last Part of Ev’ry Party)
    1 Organ-Piano

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

  • Principals

    Mrs. Geraldine O’Dare (Irene’s mother)
    9th Avenue Friends of Irene – Helen Burke, Jane McFudd & Jimmy
    Irene O’Dare (“The Girl” — a piano tuner)
    Clarkson (butler)
    Mrs. Emmiline Marshall (Donald’s mother)
    Donald S. Marshall III (“The Boy”)
    Ozzie Babson (Donald’s cousin)
    Madame Lucy/Liam O’Dougherty (a dressmaker)
    Arabella (a debutante)


    Boys & Girls of Ninth Avenue, Painter, Sign Man, Phone Man, Delivery Boy, Vendors, Debutantes, Party Dancing Couples, Models, Pages

  • The original Broadway production of IRENE opened at the Vanderbilt Theatre in 1919 and ran for 675 performances, setting a record as the longest-running musical in Broadway history, which it held for nearly twenty years.

    This revival of IRENE opened on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre, March 13, 1973 and played for 594 performances, starring Debbie Reynolds in the title role and George S. Irving as Madame Lucy.

    AWARDS (1973)

    The Tony Award for Best Featured Actor (George S. Irving)

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