The White Horse Inn was the Society’s production in both 1962 and 1974. This musical comedy (sometimes categorised as operetta) revolves around the owner of the titular inn and her head waiter. He is in love with her, but she has set her sights on another, a doctor, a regular visitor to the inn. In turn, he has his eye on another woman and typical intrigues occur before the scenario is finally resolved happily
Composer: Robert Stoltz, Ralph Benatzky
Libretto (English): Robert Gilbert, Eric Charell et al
The classic pantomime!
A firm favourite of the Society, with productions revived in 1973, 1983 and1992.
One of the last light “Follies -style” musical comedies, Rio Rita was the 1950 Society production.
Rio Rita was filmed several times, including an Abbott and Costello version in 1942.
Set on the Rio Grande, the story tells of a Texas Rangers captain who, disguised as a bandit, falls in love with hotel singer Rita. His love rival attempts to create a rift between the two. An America couple arrive in town to get married. However, one of them still needs to get divorced!
Composer: Harry Tierney
Libretto: Joseph McCarthy
Book: Guy Bolton, Fred Thompson
Although the Society couldn’t have known it, its 1938 production of Betty would be its last for for a number of years. Although rehearsals were under way in 1939 on the hugely successful musical comedy, The Arcadians, the advent of war put a halt on the Society’s activities. Not until 1946 would the Society stage another full-scale production, although throughout the war years, various members gave charity concerts in the local area.
Betty tells of the Duke of Crowborough, frustrated by his dissolute son, Gerald and insisting that he takes a wife. Out of spite, Gerald proposes to Betty, a kitchen maid, although with no intention of settling down with her. The Duke cunningly settles Gerald’s allowance on Betty, whose charms eventually win over everyone.
Composer: Paul Rubens, Ernest Steffan
Libretto: Adrian Ross, Paul Rubens
Book: Frederick Lonsdale, Gladys Unger
Successful in the West End and Broadway, Miss Hook Of Holland was also popular with amateur operatic groups up until the 1950s. The Society put on its production of the show in 1933.
Sally Hook is a smart businesswoman who has invented a liqueur called “Cream of the Sky”. When the recipe is stolen and sold, her father offers a reward, believing that the “finder” and “thief” will turn out to be the same person. Sally’s love rivals must prove which of them is trustworthy.
Composer/Libretto: Paul Rubens
No! No! Nanette is a well-loved musical comedy. It is essentially a farce centring around three couples who wind up in Atlantic City: Jimmy, a wealthy Bible publisher and his frugal wife Sue, Sue’s best friend Lucille and her husband Billy, and Jimmy and Sue’s ward, Nanette and her beau Tom. Jimmy is trying to extricate himself from three women with whom he has an apparently platonic benefactor relationship, which Sue doesn’t know about. When they threaten to blackmail him, he enlists Billy’s help which, in turn causes a rift with Lucille. Meanwhile, Nanette wants to have some fun before she settles down with Tom, so heads to the beach against Sue’s wishes, secretly aided by Jimmy.
The Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society put this show on in1931 and again in 1951.
Composer: Vincent Youmans
Libretto: Irving Caesar, Otto Harbach
Another James Tanner musical comedy was 1928’s production. Prudence, the The Quaker Girl of the title, is cast out after drinking a glass of prohibited champagne. Later on, in Paris, her plain grey clothing becomes the height of fashion. This three-act show enjoyed a successful West End run and countless revivals by amateur operatic groups up to the 1990s.
The Hebden Bridge Light Opera Society put on a further production of The Quaker Girl in 1949.
Composer: Lionel Monckton
Libretto: Adrian Ross, Percy Greenbank
Book: James Tanner
For the 1927 production, the Society chose two act musical comedy The Earl And The Girl, by Seymour Hicks. This was another successful West End show, with a Broadway run featuring additional songs by Jerome Kern, amongst others. The plot concerns the confusion over the heir to Hole Hall, with the usual mix-ups over identity and even some circus performers! As usual, in Act Two, everything is satisfactorily resolved.
Composer: Ivan Caryll
Libretto: Percy Greenbank