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On the Razzle


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AT: He Will Go on a Spree; The Merchant of Yonkers; The Matchmaker A: Johann Nestroy Pf: 1842, Vienna Pb: 1844 Tr: 1939 G: Farce with songs in 4 acts; German prose S: Vienna, and Zangler's home in a neighbouring town, early 19th c. C: 14m, 7fWeinberl, assistant to a grocer, is put in charge of the shop while Zangler his employer is away. However, impelled to undertake a big adventure, he and the apprentice Christopherl set off for Vienna. Seeing Zangler, they seek refuge in the salon of the fashionable Madame Knorr. In order to explain his presence here, Weinberl pretends to be the new husband of the rich widow Frau von Fischer. She then arrives, but is so intrigued by Weinberl's effrontery that she does not betray him. There follows a series of farcical situations, during which Weinberl gets mistaken for the fiancé of Zangler's niece. On returning home, Weinberl manages to foil a burglary and so redeems himself in the eyes of his employer. He wins the love of his young widow, and Zangler's niece is free to marry when her fiancé inherits a fortune.

AT: He Will Go on a Spree; The Merchant of Yonkers; The Matchmaker A: Johann Nestroy Pf: 1842, Vienna Pb: 1844 Tr: 1939 G: Farce with songs in 4 acts; German prose S: Vienna, and Zangler's home in a neighbouring town, early 19th c. C: 14m, 7f

Based on A Day Well Spent by a contemporary librettist John Oxenford, this is Nestroy's most popular play and is a fine example of the Viennese farces of the first half of the 19th century. As theatre director and actor (Nestroy played the role of Weinberl), Nestroy was prolific in writing and producing satirical comedies about Viennese life. Since many of the references are to contemporary Vienna, most translations tend to be adaptations. Thornton Wilder adapted the piece as The Merchant of Yonkers (1939) and again as The Matchmaker (1954), leading to the musical Hello, Dolly! (1964), and Tom Stoppard wrote a version On the Razzle (1981).

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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