O. Henry’s classic Christmas story is brought to vivid life in this romantic musical adaptation, originally presented as a network television special. In turn-of-the-century New York, newlyweds Jim and Ella struggle to make ends meet. Despite their bleak circumstances, they each sacrifice to make Christmas special, leading to an ironic but heartwarming conclusion.
It is Christmas in New York, but for two young lovers, Jim and Della, the prospects are bleak, as both are out of work and penniless. But as those familiar with the famous O. Henry story are aware, their dilemma is solved when both part with their most precious possessions, (she her beautiful long hair, he his heirloom pocket watch) in order to buy presents for each outer thereby creating, at least for a magical moment, an aura of warmth and giving in the cold, impersonal winter city.
In addition to their story, there are glimpses of various city folk (played by the same two performers) going about their holiday business, and the hilarious plight of a cheerful bum named Soapy, who wants only to get arrested so he can spend the night in a cozy cell, all gracefully enhanced by tuneful songs and neatly tied together by a newsboy narrator, Willy, who adds his own melodious contribution and informative observations to the delightful proceeding.
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
Music and Lyrics by Richard Adler
Book by Wilson Lehr
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THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
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Instrumentation: 15 Parts
1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Alto Flute & Clarinet
1 Reed II: Oboe, English Horn & Clarinet
1 Reed III: Flute & Clarinet
1 Reed IV: Flute, Clarinet & Bassoon
1 Horn II
Timpani (2 drums)
Cymbals: Suspended, hi-hat
Piano, Celeste & Organ
2 Piano/Conductor Scores
20 Libretto/Vocal Books
Jim Young – a young working man
Della Young – his wife of one month
Skidder, Jim’s buddy
Miss Peaslee, switchboard operator
Miss Asher, typist
Miss Grattan, bookkeeper
Danny, office boy
Young Mr. Livingston
Drunk No. 1
Vice-President of a bank
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI originated as a 1958 broadcast on CBS television. The broadcast starred Sally Ann Howes and Eli Wallach.
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