Meet Me in St. Louis
Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane
Meet Me in St Louis is one of MGM’s most endearing musicals, with Judy Garland at the peak of her career and a rip-roaring score, containing showstoppers Meet Me in St Louis, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Things that go bump in the night – and the clang-clanging crowd-pleaser, The Trolley Song.
It is the summer of 1903 and all eight members of the Smith family (including grandpa and the maid) are excited about the World’s Fair and the expected 20 million guests. This is a chance to witness the latest technological and medical discoveries, alongside motor cars and aeroplanes, alongside the greatest entertainers.
The international spotlight will shine on their city.
We hear about Esther’s crush on The Boy Next Door and her big sister Rose frets about a new-fangled trunk call from a wealthy suitor, Warren Sheffield, who is vacationing in New York. Younger brother Lon is off to Yale and his going-away-to-college party is where love blossoms.
Mr. Smith announces a promotion – requiring a move to New York – and the family each have a compelling reasons for not wanting to leave their comfortable roots. Their last big social event is the Christmas Ball. How will the girls pair up? Will the tuxedo be found? But back at home they are glum. Mr. Smith sees the move is tearing apart his family and he changes his mind.
Fast forward to spring and everyone prepares to attend the 1904 World ‘s Fair.
Mr Alonso Smith: Alex Bourne
Mrs Anna Smith: Rebecca Thornhill
Rose: Bronté Barbé
Esther: Laura Pitt-Pulford
Agnes: Palmer Newson/Drew Hylton
Tootie: Annalise Bradbury/Kiera Chansa
Lon Jr: Shem Omari James
John Truitt: David Seadon-Young
Grandpa Prophater: Michael Siegel
Katie: Geraldine Fitzgerald
Music and lyrics: Hugh Martin (1914-2011) & Ralph Blane (1914-1995)
Book: Hugh Wheeler based on The Kensington stories by Sally Benson and the MGM motion picture Meet Me in St Louis, 1944
First performance: 2 November 1989, George Gershwin Theatre, Broadway
UK premiere: 11 December 2013, Landor Theatre, Clapham
A musical in two acts with the BBC Concert Orchestra