Show Boat

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(Kern). Lib. by Oscar Hammerstein II; 2 acts; f.p. Washington DC 1927 (prior to the opening in New York six weeks later), cond. Victor Baravelle.

On the banks of the Mississippi, at the World Fair (1893), and on the Cotton Blossom, 1890–1927: Capt. Andy Hawks and his wife Parthy Ann Hawks run a show boat, the Cotton Blossom. Their daughter Magnolia HAWKS falls in love with Gaylord Ravenal, a gambler, and they marry despite her parents’ objections. On the boat, the chief stars are Julie La Verne and her husband Steve Baker. The black servants are Queenie and her man Joe. It emerges that Julie is partly black and therefore she and Steve are no longer wanted on the boat. Magnolia and Ravenal take over their roles. Years pass—Gaylord loses his money gambling and cannot support his wife and their daughter Kim. They leave the boat, separate, and Magnolia finds a job as a singer. In 1927, on the modernized show boat Cotton Blossom, Magnolia and Kim become the stars and Gaylord, a somewhat reformed character, returns to them. Things on the river just keep rolling along.

Subjects: Music Theatre.

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