Stop the World – I Want to Get Off

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Stop the World –
I Want to Get Off
StopTheWorld1.JPG
London Cast Recording
MusicLeslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
LyricsLeslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
BookLeslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
Productions1961 West End
1962 Broadway
1966 Film
1978 Broadway revival
 
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Stop the World –
I Want to Get Off
StopTheWorld1.JPG
London Cast Recording
MusicLeslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
LyricsLeslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
BookLeslie Bricusse
Anthony Newley
Productions1961 West End
1962 Broadway
1966 Film
1978 Broadway revival
Original Broadway cast recording

Stop the World – I Want to Get Off is a musical with a book, music, and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

According to Oscar Levant, the play's title was derived from a graffito.[1]

Plot[edit]

Set against the backdrop of a circus, the show focuses on Littlechap, from the moment of his birth to his death. Each time something unsatisfactory happens, he calls out 'Stop the world!' and addresses the audience. After being born, going through school, and finding work as a tea-boy, his first major step towards improving his lot is to marry Evie, his boss's daughter, after getting her pregnant out of wedlock. Saddled with the responsibilities of a family, he is given a job in his father's factory. He has two daughters, Susan and Jane, but truly longs for a son. He allows his growing dissatisfaction with his existence to lead him into the arms of various women in his business travels—Russian official Anya, German domestic Ilse, and American cabaret singer Ginnie—as he searches for something better than he has. He becomes rich and successful, and is elected to public office. Only in his old age does he realize that what he always had—the love of his wife— was more than enough to sustain him. Evie dies, however, and writing his memoirs, Littlechap comes to terms with his own selfishness. At the moment of his death, however, he watches his second daughter give birth to a son. When the boy nearly dies, Littlechap intervenes, and allows Death to take him instead. He then mimes his own birth, beginning the cycle once again.

Production history[edit]

The West End production, directed by Newley, opened on 20 July 1961 at the Queen's Theatre, where it ran for 485 performances. Newley starred as Littlechap, with Anna Quayle playing the multiple roles of Evie and the other women in his life. Marti Webb was a member of the chorus. An original cast recording was released by Decca Records[2]

Producer David Merrick, always impressed by a low-cost project requiring minimal sets, costumes, and a small cast, decided to stage the show in New York City. It was directed by Newley, and featured scenery and lighting design by Sean Kenny, musical supervision by Ian Fraser, musical direction by Milton Rosenstock, orchestrations by Ian Fraser. After one preview, the Broadway production opened on 3 October 1962 at the Shubert Theatre, eventually transferring to the Ambassador to complete its 555-performance run. Newley and Quayle reprised their London roles. Newley later was replaced by Kenneth Nelson, then Joel Grey, and Joan Eastman assumed the roles of Evie et al. A Broadway cast recording was released by Polydor.[3] On the national company tour, the show starred Grey and Julie Newmar.

A Broadway revival directed by Mel Shapiro opened on 3 August 1978 at the New York State Theater in Lincoln Center, where it ran for 30 performances. The cast included Sammy Davis, Jr. and Marian Mercer. A revival cast recording was released by Warner Bros. Records [4]

Film adaptation[edit]

A 1966 Warner Bros. release was little more than a filmed version of a staged production. Directed by Philip Saville, it featured additional material by Alan and Marilyn Bergman, David Donable, and Al Ham. The cast included Tony Tanner and Millicent Martin. Neither a critical nor commercial success, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Music Scoring.

Sammy Davis, Jr. and Marian Mercer reprised their Broadway revival roles for Sammy Stops the World, a 1978 television adaptation [5]

Songs[edit]

Act I
  • The A.B.C. Song
  • I Want to Be Rich
  • Typically English
  • A Special Announcement
  • Lumbered
  • Welcome to Sludgepool
  • Gonna Build a Mountain
  • Glorious Russian
  • Meilinki, Meilchick
  • Family Fugue
  • Typische Deutsche
  • Nag! Nag! Nag!
Act II

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

YearAwardCategoryNomineeResult
1963Tony AwardBest MusicalNominated
Best AuthorLeslie Bricusse and Anthony NewleyNominated
Best Composer and LyricistNominated
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a MusicalAnthony NewleyNominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a MusicalAnna QuayleWon

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oscar Levant, The Unimportance of Being Oscar, Pocket Books 1969 (reprint of G.P. Putnam 1968), page 6 (ISBN 0-671-77104-3)
  2. ^ Castal bum DB .
  3. ^ Castal bum DB .
  4. ^ Castal bum DB .
  5. ^ IMDb .

External links[edit]