Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)
Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)
Music by Jerome Kern | Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II | Based on the novel "Show Boat" | By Edna Ferber | Adapted by Rob Ruggiero

Created for a Reduced Cast and Orchestra.

Spanning the years from 1880 to 1927, this lyrical masterpiece concerns the lives, loves and heartbreaks of three generations of show folk on the Mississippi, in Chicago and on Broadway (and their life-long friends). The primary plot follows Magnolia, the naive daughter of the show boat captain, as she marries a gambler and moves with him to Chicago. His gambling continues as his debts compound, and soon he deserts her and their young daughter. A subplot concerns the potential arrest of Magnolia's selfless best friend on charges of miscegenation when it's discovered that she is mulatto, and her subsequent downward spiral into despair. The passing of time reunites Magnolia and her now-grown daughter with her family on the show boat as well as with her husband, who eventually returns offering a hopeful second chance at familial fulfillment.

This Version Originally Produced by Goodspeed Musicals; Michael P. Price, Executive Director; Adapted and Directed by Rob Ruggiero.

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About The Show

News for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

Production Info


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News for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's SHOW BOAT opened at the New London Theatre on April 25, 2016! Read the reviews!  read more
The recent San Francisco Opera production of the stage classic SHOW BOAT starring Tony Award® winners Bill Irwin and Harriet Harris is set to be presented in a new Blu-ray™ edition coming out next month. read more
"Siam sur Seine" - "Siam on the Seine."  So did the company of The King and I at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris name themselves during their triumphant reign earlier this summer.  This resplendent production, starring international opera star Susan Graham (alternating with Christine Buffle) and French film star Lambert Wilson, represented the R&H musical's Parisian premiere.   read more
If you really like theater, there are few experiences as cool as standing off stage in the wings during a curtain call.  If that moment marks the end of a limited run of a production that has clearly energized the theater, it becomes all the more remarkable.  read more

Trivia for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

In 1885 was the birthday of legendary composer Jerome Kern, writer of SHOW BOAT in collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II.
In 1927, SHOW BOAT came to Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theater, staged by Oscar Hammerstein II. The show ran for 572 performances.

 Press for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

  • Quotes
This deservedly beloved classic has been retooled for 21st-century audiences (and budgets) with no loss of impact…The director of this SHOW BOAT, Rob Ruggiero, with the blessing of the rights holders, has slimmed it down to allow for a tighter space, a smaller ensemble, fewer sets and a shorter running time. As a result, the show’s dramatic core…comes sharply into focus.
— New York Times
Goodspeed Musical’s delicious revival…proves that you can revisit and rethink a classic in a way that honors the original…[Director Rob] Ruggiero’s contributions to this production extend beyond the routine tasks of the director. He has worked closely with the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization to shrink and tighten the legendary 1927 musical to a manageable size for the tiny Goodspeed stage and length for modern audiences prone to fidgeting from cellphone withdrawal after 2-and-a-half hours…Ruggiero wisely focuses on the intimate family drama at the heart of the spectacle and therein succeeds in creating a heartfelt and emotional SHOW BOAT. — Jacques Lamarre, Broadway World
SMALL BOAT, BIG SHOW!...SHOW BOAT is a three-hour long extravaganza…That spells big bucks, and now that America’s financially beleaguered regional theater companies are increasingly turning to small-scale productions of surefire shows, revivals of SHOW BOAT have become fewer and farther between…Now Goodspeed Musicals has triumphantly solved the SHOW BOAT problem. Rob Ruggiero’s heart-lifting new revival succeeds in shoehorning SHOW BOAT onto a very small stage without compromising its expansive spirit in any way…Mr. Ruggiero has skillfully trimmed the score and streamlined the book with an eye toward making SHOW BOAT more practical to produce…[His version] deserves to be seen widely…I hope it will encourage other companies that long to perform America’s first great musical but are afraid of busting their budgets. — Wall Street Journal
This grand, glorious and smart production…captures the sweep of the themes while zeroing in on the story…Director Rob Ruggiero creates a production that is all of a piece, that has both sweep and intimacy and is nothing less than a minor miracle of staging. — Hartford Courant
It took the Goodspeed Opera House to prove it, but size doesn’t matter! That’s right, although it may be on a much smaller stage in a compact, jewel-box of a theater, but Goodspeed Musicals’ current adaptation…is a full-fledged sprawling revelation…Not for a minute does one feel shortchanged by this production, which makes subtle, generally unnoticeable cuts to the book and judiciously trims a few unremarkable songs and extended dance music from the overall score. Met with approval by the Hammerstein, Kern and Ferber estates, director Rob Ruggiero’s delightful, rewarding and ultimately moving production is more of an accommodation to the limitations of a smaller stage rather than an overall rethinking of the musical. In fact, this production will no doubt open doors to SHOW BOAT being staged by theaters previously intimidated by the size and scope of the musical landmark…Ruggiero’s take [is] able to fit the richness of the score and epic scope of the plot into an economic model that can ensure the work’s preservation for years to come. — Hartford Examiner, 2012

Musical Numbers for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

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Character Name
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Writers Notes for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)


Written By: Edna Ferber

As the writing of the musical play proceeded (and its ups and downs were even more heartbreaking than those of most musical plays) I heard bits and pieces of the score. Once or twice everything was seemingly abandoned because Ziegfeld said he couldn't produce the play. Almost a year went by. I had heard 'Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man' with its love-bemused lyric...I had melted under the bewitching strains of 'Make Believe' and of 'Why Do I Love You?'...And then Jerome Kern appeared at my apartment late one afternoon with a strange look of quiet exultation in his eyes. He sat down at the piano. He didn't play the piano particularly well and his singing voice, though true, was negligible. He played and sang 'Ol' Man River.' The music mounted, mounted, and I give you my word my hair stood on end, the tears came to my eyes, I breathed like a heroine in a melodrama. This was great music. This was music that would outlast Jerome Kern's day and mine. I have never heard it since without that emotional surge. When SHOW BOAT was revived at the Casino Theater in New York just four years after its original production at the Ziegfeld I saw a New York first-night audience, after Paul Robeson's singing of 'Ol' Man River,' shout and cheer and behave generally as I've never seen an audience behave in any theater in all my years of playgoing.


Written By: Alice Hammerstein Mathias

For the 1946 revival of SHOW BOAT, my father Oscar Hammerstein II inserted a note in the program giving P.G. Wodehouse full credit for the lyrics to “Bill.”  Wodehouse did write the original lyric, but my father contributed to the song as performed in SHOW BOAT. In addition, as was customary in the 1920’s, the authors interpolated three ‘modern’ selections to the second act. They are John Philip Sousa’s “The Washington Post March,” Joseph E. Howard’s “Goodbye, My Lady Love,” and Charles K. Harris’ waltz “After the Ball.”  All three have become part of the traditional score of SHOW BOAT.

- Alice Hammerstein Mathias


Performance Tools for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

Playbill VIP:

MAKE YOUR OWN PLAYBILL! Playbill VIP allows you to create your very own Playbill Program. We have provided Playbill with all of the credits, song listings, musical numbers and more so that most of the work is already done for you. Just add your productions details, photos of the cast and share it with all of your friends. Learn more: www.playbillvip.com


Rental Materials for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

STANDARD

  • SHOW BOAT (Goodspeed Version) - Full Score, 1 Act I, 1 Act 2)
    • 1 – Full Score, Act I
    • 1 – Full Score, Act II
  • SHOW BOAT (Goodspeed Version) - Orchestration (12 Books/11 Players)
    • 1 – Reed I
    • 1 – Reed II
    • 1 – Trumpet I
    • 1 – Trumpet II
    • 1 – Trombone
    • 1 – Keyboard I
    • 1 – Keyboard II
    • 1 – Guitar
    • 1 – Drums
    • 1 – Violin
    • 1 – Bass
    • 1 – Full Score, Act I
    • 1 – Full Score, Act II
  • SHOW BOAT (Goodspeed Version) - Rehearsal Set
    • 20 – Libretto-Vocal Book
    • 2 – Piano Vocal Score

ADDITIONAL

  • SHOW BOAT (Goodspeed Version) - Libretto-Vocal 10-Pack
    • 10 – Libretto-Vocal Book
  • ShOW BOAT (Goodspeed Version) - Pre-Production Pack
    • 1 – Piano Vocal Score
    • 1 – Libretto-Vocal Book

Cast Requirements for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

(Doubling is indicated by a slash. A cast of 24 is suggested.)

Captain Andy Hawks
Ellie May Chipley
Frank Schultz
Parthy Ann Hawks
Julie LaVerne
Queenie
Gaylord Ravenal
Magnolia Hawks
Joe
Kim, a child
Steve Baker / Ensemble
Pete Gavin / Jeb, another Backwoodsman / Ensemble
Windy, the pilot / Jim Greene / Ensemble
Willy, a stagehand / a Backwoodsman / Ensemble
Sheriff Ike Vallon / Ensemble
Town Girl #1 / A Governess / Lottie, a young lady / Ensemble
Town Girl #2 / Nun #1 / Dottie, a young lady / Ensemble
Town Girl #3 / Nun #2 / Kim, an adult / Ensemble
Mrs. O’Brien, a landlady / Mother Superior / Old Lady / Ensemble
Jake, a piano player / Ensemble
Charlie, a doorman / Ensemble
Ensemble (3)

Set Requirements for Show Boat (Goodspeed Version)

SHOW BOAT takes place between 1887 and 1927 along the Mississippi River and in Chicago.

Act 1
Scene 1: The levee at Natchez on the Mississippi, 1887
Scene 2: The Kitchen Pantry on the Cotton Blossom
Scene 3: The Auditorium & Stage on the Cotton Blossom
Scene 4: The Fore-deck of the Cotton Blossom, three weeks later
Scene 5: The Upper Deck of the Cotton Blossom, that night
Scene 6: The levee at Greenville, the next morning

Act 2
Scene 1: Various Locations on the River & in Chicago, 1892-1899
Scene 2: A Chicago Boardinghouse
Scene 3: St. Agatha’s Convent, the same time
Scene 4: The Trocadero Nightclub, a Rehearsal two weeks later
Scene 5: A Chicago Street
Scene 6: The Trocadero Nightclub, New Year’s Eve, 1899
Scene 7: Kitchen Pantry of the Cotton Blossom, 1927
Scene 8: The Deck of the Cotton Blossom

Materials Notes

Featured News

All Aboard the Cotton Blossom! SHOW BOAT opens in the West End!
Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's SHOW BOAT opened at the New London Theatre on April 25, 2016! Read the reviews!  Read More
San Francisco Opera's SHOW BOAT Blu-ray™ Available 06/30, Pre-Order Now!
The recent San Francisco Opera production of the stage classic SHOW BOAT starring Tony Award® winners Bill Irwin and Harriet Harris is set to be presented in a new Blu-ray™ edition coming out next month. Read More
Rodgers and Hammerstein Europe 2014
"Siam sur Seine" - "Siam on the Seine."  So did the company of The King and I at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris name themselves during their triumphant reign earlier this summer.  This resplendent production, starring international opera star Susan Graham (alternating with Christine Buffle) and French film star Lambert Wilson, represented the R&H musical's Parisian premiere.   Read More

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