Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)
Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)
Music by Jerome Kern | Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II | Based on the novel by Edna Ferber
Since its premiere in 1927, SHOW BOAT has never stopped moving. For over seven decades this seminal musical has continued to evolve on a journey that has reflected the ongoing development of the lyric theater, confirming its status as the pivotal work bridging operetta and contemporary musical theater. After three film versions, numerous Broadway and London revivals, countless tours and recordings, legendary director Harold Prince took the helm for a new Broadway production in 1994 that instantly became the blockbuster hit of the season. With Oscar Hammerstein's eldest son William serving as advisor, Prince studied all previous versions of SHOW BOAT and, with the celebrated choreographer Susan Stroman, developed a version of the classic that was hailed as a triumph by critics and audiences alike. This epic musical spans 40 years in the lives of three generations of show folk, following theirs loves and heartbreaks, their ambitions and disappointments along the Mississippi River and in Chicago.
Description Tags: Strong Role for a Leading WomanRoles for ChildrenSpecific Minority CastingStrong Role for a Leading WomanRoles for ChildrenSpecific Minority CastingStrong Role for a Leading WomanRoles for ChildrenSpecific Minority CastingStrong Role for a Leading WomanRoles for ChildrenSpecific Minority CastingMusical ComedyMusical DramaMusical ComedyMusical DramaMusical ComedyMusical DramaMusical ComedyMusical DramaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaFrom the World of LiteratureSocial ThemesPeriod Piece/HistoricalAmericanaClassic BroadwayOperetta/OperaticClassic BroadwayOperetta/OperaticClassic BroadwayOperetta/OperaticClassic BroadwayOperetta/Operatic.
Cast Size: Medium (5-21)Large (14+)Medium (5-21)Large (14+)Medium (5-21)Large (14+)Medium (5-21)Large (14+). Vocal Demands: ModerateChallengingModerateChallengingModerateChallengingModerateChallenging. Dance Requirements: ExtensiveSome Dancing RequiredMinimalExtensiveSome Dancing RequiredMinimalExtensiveSome Dancing RequiredMinimalExtensiveSome Dancing RequiredMinimal. Good For: Elementary SchoolHigh SchoolCollege/UniversityAmateur/CommunityProfessional TheatreReligious OrganizationElementary SchoolHigh SchoolCollege/UniversityAmateur/CommunityProfessional TheatreReligious OrganizationElementary SchoolHigh SchoolCollege/UniversityAmateur/CommunityProfessional TheatreReligious OrganizationElementary SchoolHigh SchoolCollege/UniversityAmateur/CommunityProfessional TheatreReligious Organization.
Participate in the R&H Online Community.Leave comments or talk with other fans in the forum!

About The Show

News for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)
History for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

Production Info


Create/Order Merch for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

To request the rights to make merchandise for this show email brian.sherman@rnh.com.

Fan Info:

News for Show Boat (Hal Prince 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

Stand behind the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut, today and you get a pretty good feeling of what the Mississippi River must have felt like in the era of Edna Ferber's novel SHOW BOAT.  You are literally on the banks of the Connecticut River, either on the shore or on the dock at which boats can still tie up. read more

Trivia for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

In 1997 the tremendously successful Hal Prince revival of SHOW BOAT closed on Broadway after 947 performances and five Tony Awards.
In 1885 was the birthday of legendary composer Jerome Kern, writer of SHOW BOAT in collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II.
The birthday of Broadway director and producer Harold Prince. Prince directed the 1994 revival of SHOW BOAT, and the premieres of EVITA, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, LOVEMUSIK, and CABARET. His hit collaborations with Stephen Sondheim include FOLLIES, COMPANY, and SWEENEY TODD.
In 1994, the Hal Prince-directed revival of SHOW BOAT premiered at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. The revival ran for 947 performances, making it the most successful production of the show to date. In 1995 the show won five Tony Awards, including Best Direction and Best Revival of a Musical.
In 1926, writer Edna Ferber signed a contract giving Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern "dramatico-musical rights"" to her novel SHOW BOAT."
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 (Hal Prince Version)

  • Quotes
"Bliss . . .this SHOW BOAT is a dreamboat!" — New York Magazine
"Masterful storytelling . . .How often does anybody anywhere see anything done so right?" — USA Today
"A superb revision." — New Yorker Magazine

Musical Numbers for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

Song #
Song Name
Character Name
Play
Other Versions



It was 1993, and the time was ripe for a reinterpretation of SHOW BOAT. The 1927 musical was pushing 70, and while there was never any doubt that Hammerstein and Kern’s jazzy, bluesy score was a timeless masterpiece, the social sensitivities of the 1990s had made the show’s long-controversial racial politics impossible to ignore.

It was producer Garth Drabinksy’s idea to mount a revival of SHOW BOAT that would completely rework the production for modern audiences. Of course, this idea was nothing new in itself—indeed, it is a longstanding SHOW BOAT tradition, for the show has never really had a fixed text. The original Broadway version was different from its out-of-town previews, and the first touring production was different still. The 1929 film version cut the interracial love story, so as not to offend Southern audiences. A 1939 radio production did the same thing; in 1940, another radio production removed all the black characters and turned the mulatto Julie into a white woman. The 1951 film cut the all-black chorus entirely, and though Lena Horne was originally cast as Julie, the studio was afraid of casting a black woman in the lead, and the role eventually went to Ava Gardner.

But Drabinsky approached SHOW BOAT from another angle. Instead of sanitizing the story, he wanted to highlight its uncomfortable racial tensions, to make a point about race relations in American history.

The estimable Harold Prince was chosen to direct. Devoting himself to research, he explored the overflowing SHOW BOAT archives, comparing and contrasting the many different versions of the musical since 1927. Mixing and matching bits from various productions, Prince cobbled together a brand new SHOW BOAT with his own personal touch.

The result was a trenchant portrait of racial oppression over four decades in the American South. Prince had cut some light comedic sequences that didn’t advance the plot, making for a darker, more streamlined show. He restored a haunting gospel number for the black chorus, "Mis’ry’s Comin’ Round," which had been cut from the original production. Choreographer Susan Stroman created a new time-lapse mime sequence that portrayed African-American street dancers doing a new dance, only to be co-opted by stylish white people, who are shown doing the same dance later. And throughout the show, the all-black chorus was pointedly kept onstage, doing all the real work—cleaning up the messes left by the oblivious white characters and even appearing to move the sets between scenes.

The show arrived in Toronto on October 17, 1993; despite some intial protest from concerned citizens who hadn't seen the show and worried that it would be offensive, it soon proved to be a popular success. It was received even more warmly when it moved to New York, where critics were effusive in their praise for Prince’s revisions: Frank Rich of the New York Times called it "a seismic event in the American musical theater."

Prince’s SHOW BOAT went on to win five Tony Awards, including Best Revival, as well as five Drama Desk Awards and four Outer Critics Circle Awards. Today, it is as popular as the original in high schools and community theaters.


 

The question I have been asked more frequently than any other since I began to work on this version of Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's masterpiece, SHOW BOAT, is why I would be interested, after all these years of directing new musicals, in mounting a revival.

Well, SHOW BOAT is not just another American musical. First presented in 1927, it is the first great contemporary modern musical. The first to merge the traditional, happy-go-lucky naïveté of the Broadway musical comedy with serious themes. The first with a score ranging from light-hearted, popular 32-bar songs to 19th century operetta and grand opera. Undeniably, it is Jerome Kern's PORGY AND BESS.

This version of SHOW BOAT is culled from the original 1927 production, the subsequent London script, the 1946 Broadway revival and the 1936 film. It owes a great deal to the scholarship and boundless enthusiasm of two men: John McGlinn, who produced and recorded a version of all the music and lyrics written for SHOW BOAT (annotating every major production), and Milse Kreuger, who published who exegesis on "SHOW BOAT: The Story of a Classic American Musical."

Here are some of the observations that I have made during the two-and-a-half years of working on the production, not necessarily in order of their importance:

SHOW BOAT is essentially a celebration of the family (the nuclear family, yes, but also the extended family) and it is a love affair with theatre people. Ironically, the original version of the play seems to me more modern than the 1946 revival, which, while slick (in 1946 terms), lacked the sweep and historical punch of the original. Some of the most beautiful material written by Kern and Hammerstein ("Mis'ry's Comin' Aroun'") never saw the light of day because it was deemed too serious for its time. Earlier SHOW BOATs have been hampered by limitations imposed by stagecraft. In this version the designer, Eugene Lee, and I have taken advantage of modern techniques to create montages which integrate a leap of years, restore serious incidents and clarify plot and character motivations. In the old days, musical theatre was restricted by the need for "in-one" shallow scenes in front of drops or curtains, while major scenery was changed upstage. Today, we can move more fluidly from full-stage set to full-stage set. We can employ motion picture techniques such as cross-fades, dissolves and even close-ups. Further, we have chosen to replace the conventional and irrelevant second-act opener at the Chicago World's Fair, returning instead to our principal story. In 1927 and well into the 1950s, every musical opened its second act with high energy entertainment, devoid of story content. (I am reminded of "Too Darn Hot" from KISS ME, KATE or "Steam Heat" from THE PAJAMA GAME.) This may have been because audiences were still returning to their seats from the bar next door, or it may have been just a popular convention. Prior to SHOW BOAT's opening in Toronto in the autumn of 1993, a minority within the city's black community expressed concern about a revival of SHOW BOAT on the basis of alleged racism. Throughout preproduction and rehearsal, I was committed to eliminating any inadvertent setereotype in the original material, dialogue which may seem "Uncle Tom" today. However, I was determined not to rewrite history. The fact that during the 45-year period depicted in our musical there were lynchings, imprisonment and forced labour of the blacks in the United States is irrefutable. Indeed the United States still cannot hold its head high with regard to racism. The creators of SHOW BOAT were men and women of moral stature, particularly Oscar Hammerstein, who time and time again (the subject of miscegenation was central to SOUTH PACIFIC 22 years later) took fierce aim at prejudice in our society. "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" are his words. Once our production was premiered in Toronto, the protestors' allegations were proven to be unfounded and the protests ended. I hope it is clear that SHOW BOAT's creators (including, of course, this cast and creative team) share the deepest solidarity with those who have been victims of racism.

Awards for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

Outer Critics Circle Awards

January 01, 1995 — 4 Awards including Best Musical Revival

Drama Desk Awards

January 01, 1995 — 5 Awards including Best Musical Production

Vocal Range of Characters:

Photos for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

// Photos

Writers Notes for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

DIRECTOR'S NOTES
Written By: Hal Prince


The question I have been asked more frequently than any other since I began to work on this version of Jerome Kern’s and Oscar Hammerstein II’s masterpiece, SHOW BOAT, is why I would be interested, after all these years of directing new musicals, in mounting a revival.  Well, SHOW BOAT is not just another American musical.  First presented in 1927, it is the first great contemporary modern musical.  The first to merge the traditional, happy-go-lucky naivete of Broadway musical comedy with serious themes.  The first with a score ranging from lighthearted, popular 32-bar songs to nineteenth century operetta and grand opera.
SHOW BOAT is essentially a celebration of the family (the nuclear family, yes, but also the extended family) and it is a love affair with theatre people.  Ironically, the original version of the play seems to be more modern than the 1946 revival, which, while slick (in 1946 terms), lacked the sweep and historical punch of the original.  Some of the most beautiful material written by Kern and Hammerstein (“Mis’ry’s Comin’ Aroun’”) never saw the light of day because it was deemed too serious for its time.
In the old days, musical theatre was restricted by the need for “in-one” shallow scenes in front of drops or curtains, while major scenery was changed upstage.  Today, we can move more fluidly from full-stage set to full-stage set.  We can employ motion picture techniques such as cross-fades, dissolves and even close-ups.  In this version the designer and I have taken advantage of modern techniques to create montages which integrate a leap of years, restore serious incidents and clarify plot and character motivations.  Further, we have chosen to replace the conventional second-act opener at the Chicago World’s Fair, returning instead to our principal story.  
Prior to SHOW BOAT’s opening in Toronto in the autumn of 1993, a minority within the city’s black community expressed concern about a revival of SHOW BOAT on the basis of alleged racism.  Throughout pre-production and rehearsal, I was committed to eliminate any inadvertent stereotype in the original material, dialogue which may seem “Uncle Tom” today.  However, I was determined not to re-write history.  The fact that during the 40-year period depicted in our musical there were lynchings, imprisonment and forced labor of the blacks in the U.S. is irrefutable.  Indeed, the U.S. still cannot hold its head high with regard to racism.
The creators of SHOW BOAT were men and women of moral stature, particularly Oscar Hammerstein II who time and time again (the subject of miscegenation was central to SOUTH PACIFIC 22 years later) took fierce aim at prejudice in our society.  “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” are his words.  Once the production was premiered in Toronto, the protesters’ allegations were proven to be unfounded and the protests ended.
I hope it is clear that SHOW BOAT’s creators (including, of course, the cast and creative team of the 1994 production) share the deepest solidarity with those who have been victims of racism.

 


EDNA FERBER on SHOW BOAT
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 (Hal Prince 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 (Hal Prince Version)

STANDARD

  • SHOW BOAT(PRINCE) - Orchestra Package (25 Books/31 Players)
    • 1 – PIANO VOCAL SCORE
    • 1 – REED I (Flute, Piccolo)
    • 1 – REED II (Flute, Clarinet)
    • 1 – REED III (Oboe, English Horn)
    • 1 – REED IV (Clarinet)
    • 1 – REED V (Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)
    • 1 – REED VI (Bassoon, Tenor Sax)
    • 2 – HORN I-II
    • 2 – TRUMPET I-II
    • 1 – TROMBONE
    • 1 – TROMBONE/TUBA
    • 2 – DRUMS/PERCUSSION (see "Materials Notes", under "Production Information")
    • 1 – PIANO/SYNTHESIZER
    • 1 – HARP
    • 1 – GUITAR/BANJO
    • 3 – VIOLIN A-B-C
    • 2 – VIOLA A-B
    • 1 – CELLO
    • 1 – BASS
    • 1 – Partitur Act I
    • 1 – Partitur Act II
  • Rehearsal Set (42 Books)
    • 20 – Libretto
    • 1 – Logo CD
    • 22 – PIANO VOCAL SCORE
    • Digital Logo

ADDITIONAL

  • SHOW BOAT HAL PRINCE- PRE-PRODUCTION PACKAGE
    • 1 – Libretto
    • 1 – PIANO VOCAL SCORE

Cast Requirements for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

PRINCIPALS
5 Women
4 Men

FEATURED
Numerous Featured Roles

ENSEMBLE
African-American and Caucasian Singing-Dancing Ensembles consisting of Stevedores, their Gals, Children, Townspeople along the Mississippi, and City Folk in Chicago

CHARACTERS
Steve Baker - the leading man in the Show Boat Troupe
Queenie - the African-American cook on the Show Boat
Pete - the engineer on the Show Boat
Parthy Ann Hawkes - Cap'n Andy's wife
Windy - the pilot on the Show Boat
Cap'n Andy - the captain of the Show Boat
Ellie May Chipley - the soubrette in the Show Boat Troupe
Frank Schultz - Ellie's boyfriend, the villain in the Show Boat Troupe
Julie LaVerne - Steve's mulatto wife, the leading lady in the Show Boat Troupe
Gaylord Ravenal - a handsome gambler
Sherrif Vallon - of Natchez
Magnolia Hawkes - Parthy and Andy's daughter
Joe - Queenie's husband, an African-American stevedore
Card Dealer
Jeb - a backwoodsman
Another Backwoodsman
Young Kim - Magnolia and Ravenal's 10 year old daughter
Ethel - a boardinghouse cleaning woman
Mrs. O'Brien - a boardinghouse landlady
Mother Superior - at St. Agatha's Convent
Jim Greene - the director of the floor show at the Trocadero Nightclub
Jake - the pianist at the Trocadero
Charlie - the doorman at the Trocadero
Lottie - an elegant lady of the evening
Dottie - her friend
A Drunk
A Radio Announcer
Kim
Old Lady on the Levee
Stevedores, their Gals, Children, Townspeople along the Mississippi, and City Folk in Chicago

Set Requirements for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version)

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

SPECIFIC LOCATIONS
The Levee at Natchez on the Mississippi River
The Kitchen Pantry on the Cotton Blossom
A Riverfront Gambling Saloon in Natchez
The Auditorium and Stage on the Cotton Blossom
The Windows of Magnolia's and Ravenal's Cabins on the Cotton Blossom
The Box Office on the Cotton Blossom in Fort Adams
The Upper Deck of the Cotton Blossom
The Levee at Natchez
Magnolia and Ravenal's Cabin on the Cotton Blossom
Outside the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago
A Room in a Chicago Boardinghouse
St. Agatha's Convent in Chicago
The Trocadero Nightclub in Chicago

Materials Notes

ORCHESTRA NOTE:  The scores and parts you will be using for your production of SHOW BOAT (Hal Prince Version) are photographic reproductions of the actual materials used in the orchestra pit for the 1992 revival of this version of the musical.  The instrumental parts may be marked and/or edited by the original players.  The piano-vocal score contains minimal orchestral cues. As such these materials have not yet been edited to our usual standards. There may be minor discrepancies between the scores and parts that have not yet been brought to our attention.  However they are eminently readable and playable. Your musical director may want to refer to the full score (partitur), which is also available for rental. Please feel free to contact us should you discover anything in this edition that impedes your musical preparation of this remarkable version of this magnificent score.
Trap Set, Suspended Cymbal, Crash Cymbal, Wood Blocks, Temple Blocks, 2 Timpani, Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Chimes.

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

Media Rights

*Currently media rights for Show Boat (Hal Prince Version) are not available. Please contact customer service with any questions.
Select artwork to see description. Learn About Our Artwork