The Merry Widow From Bluegum Creek



Queanbeyan Players’ next production is a new version of “The Merry Widow” the most popular and most-performed operetta of the 20th century. Franz Lehar’s music created a world-wide waltz craze. Its famous songs include “The Merry Widow Waltz”, “Vilja”,  “Maxim’s”, “Girls, Girls, Girls” “Grisettes Song“. This new version is meticulous in its faithfulness to this brilliant music. What’s different is a new libretto with an Australian twist, the Widow is from rural Australia, Bluegum Creek, the relict of a wool baron.

It’s 1901, the Federation of Australia is newly formed, and the new Australian Ambassador to France, Sir Zaccharia Wentworth, is understandably nervous about his first official function. Apart from his own staff, there is as array of guests to meet a mysterious recently widowed Australian who happens to be in the area and “thought she’d drop in”. To add to his woes, the PM has sent a telegram telling him that this widow of a Wool Baron should not marry a foreigner or they’d all be looking for new jobs. The new federation cannot afford to lose that amount of money.

However, all does not go as planned. The widow, Anna, turns out to be quite young and pretty, with typical Australian contempt for the protocol Zack had been so carefully trying to establish. His assistant attache, Danny, seems to be nowhere in sight when needed, and the other two attaches appear to be losing the battle to keep their wives away from various amorous Frenchmen. At least his young wife, Valerie, is no trouble. He has much to do, it is a pleasure to have her escorted by the nice young cove, Count Camille de Rosillon.  Zack has also been fortunate to find a Frenchman, Michelin, to translate for the embassy staff, but he appears to understand little of the English that Zack and his staff use, and tends to spend most of his time organising everything else. This includes Zack’s favourite project, the flag competition, for his new country.

We find that Danny and Anna have a history back in Bluegum Creek. They reminisce but soon are at each other’s throats. Maybe things will go better the next night when Anna has invited everyone to an Australian fancy dress ball at her rented mansion. Things just seem to go from bad to worse. Zack’s Ned Kelly costume is just a bit tight and he ends up getting lost, missing Anna’s lovely song, and not being able to see where he is going with his head jammed in a tin bucket, but there is plenty of beer, so all is not lost. Then there is some real fun when he discovers one of the Frenchmen in the summer house with one of the wives. However, as the Australian women appear on the scene, Zack is heartbroken when he thinks that it is his beloved Valerie in the summer house.

Again Zack is embarrassed when it is Anna who steps out of the summerhouse and there is consternation all around.  Danny deserts the party to go back to his favourite haunt, Maxim’s, but Anna organises for it to be moved to her residence for the evening and all the women present their own cancan for the men. The men are mighty impressed. Soon the waltz works its magic and Danny and Anna pledge their love. The Australian economy is saved, for the moment.

4 – 19 November 2016
Friday 4 November 2016 – 8pm
Saturday 5 November 2016 – 2pm
Friday 11 November 2016 – 8pm
Saturday 12 November 2016 – 2pm
Saturday 12 November 2016 – 8pm
Sunday 13 November 2016 – 2pm
Thursday 17 November 2016 – 8pm
Friday 18 November 2016 – 8pm
Saturday 19 November 2016 – 2pm
Saturday 19 November 2016 – 8pm
Adult: $45
Concession (Pensioner, Seniors, F/T Students): $40
Child (15 years and Under): $25
Groups 6+: $35

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