The Boyfriend

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(Redirected from The Boy Friend)

The Boyfriend (or The Boy Friend) is a musical by Sandy Wilson, first performed in the West End in 1954 starring a newcomer named Julie Andrews. It opened London's Players Club on April 14 of that year, and reopened in an expanded version on October 13 before moving to the West End proper. It opened on Broadway the same year on September 30 with the same cast.

The Boyfriend is a comic pastiche of 1920s shows, with a relatively small cast. Songs include:

  • "A Room in Bloomsbury"
  • "I Could Be Happy With You"
  • "It's Nicer in Nice"

The action takes place on the French Riviera during the 1920s, and is set in a finishing school for young ladies:

"We're perfect young ladies preparing to take
our places among the noblesse.
We're perfect young ladies preparing to make
the most of the charms we possess."

The heroine, Polly Browne, though a millionaire's daughter, feels left out because she is the only one of her set who does not have a boyfriend, and she needs a partner for the fancy dress ball: ("Poor little Pierrette! Where's your Pierrot?") When an errand boy arrives to deliver her costume, they are immediately attracted to one another, and Polly asks him to meet her at the ball.

Polly's widowed father arrives at the school, to discover that the headmistress is an old flame of his. They decide to marry. When Polly goes to meet her new boyfriend on the promenade, he is recognised by a wealthy couple who are passing; when he runs off, the assumption is made that he is a thief. At the ball, all becomes clear. Polly's young man turns out to be the missing son of Lord and Lady Brockhurst, and everything ends happily.

Ken Russell's 1971 film version of the show, starring Twiggy and Christopher Gable, was an alternative interpretation, weaving the basic plot into a more complicated story in which an amateur dramatic company, performing the show, are visited by a film producer on the very night that the leading lady has to be replaced by her shy understudy a la 42nd Street. It also contained references to numerous other Busby Berkeley and MGM movie musicals of the 1930s.

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