House of Flowers (musical)

Infobox Musical
name= House of Flowers

music= Harold Arlen
lyrics= Harold Arlen
Truman Capote
book= Truman Capote
basis= Truman Capote's novella
"House of Flowers"
productions= 1954 Broadway
1968 Off-Broadway
2003 New York City concert

"House of Flowers" is a musical by Harold Arlen (music and lyrics) and Truman Capote (lyrics and book), based on his own novella. This was Capote's only musical.

After a Philadelphia tryout, the show opened on Broadway on December 30, 1954 at the Alvin Theatre and played for 165 performances. The director was Peter Brook. The cast included Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll, Juanita Hall, Ray Walston, and Geoffrey Holder. Although the show received generally poor reviews, the dance-rhythm infused score has been praised for its mix of blues and calypso. Most of the original orchestral score for "Flowers" has been lost, but the piano score survives. [ [ NY Times review of the Encores! production] ] Oliver Messel won the Tony Award for Best Scenic Design, the show's only nomination.

The story concerns two neighboring bordellos that battle for business in an idealized West Indies setting. One of the prostitutes, Ottilie, turns down a rich lord to marry a poor mountain boy named Royal. Her madam plots to keep her by having Royal sealed in a barrel and tossed into the ocean. Royal escapes the watery death by taking refuge on the back of a turtle. The lovers are eventually married and live happily ever after.

There was an unsuccessful Off-Broadway revival in 1968 at Theater de Lys. In 2003, there was an Encores! production, starring Tonya Pinkins and Armelia McQueen as the battling bordello madams and Maurice Hines as Captain Jonas, the smuggler. The virginal Ottilie was played by Nikki M. James, and the mountain boy, Royal, was played by Brandon Victor Dixon. Roscoe Lee Browne played the voodoo priest, Houngan.

In 2003, Columbia Masterworks reissued the original cast recording. In addition to such tunes as “A Sleepin’ Bee” and “Don’t Like Goodbyes,” the CD also included bonus tracks of “Mardis Gras Waltz” (Percy Faith and His Orchestra), “Two Ladies in the Shade” (Enid Mosier), “Ottilie and the Bee” (Truman Capote) and “A Sleepin’ Bee” (a demo recording by Harold Arlen).

Musical numbers

;Act 1
* Waitin' — Pansy, Tulip and Gladiola
* One Man Ain't Quite Enough — Madame Fleur
* Madame Tango's Tango — Madame Tango and Tango Belles
* A Sleepin' Bee — Ottilie alias Violet, Pansy, Tulip and Gladiola
* Bamboo Cage — The Champion, the Steel Band, Do, Don't, Pansy, Tulip, Gladiola, Madame Tango, Chief of Police and the Ensemble
* House of Flowers — Royal and Ottilie
* Two Ladies in de Shade of de Banana Tree — Pansy, Gladiola, Carmen, Tulip and the Ensemble
* What Is a Friend For? — Madame Fleur
* A Sleepin' Bee (Reprise) — Ottilie and Royal
* Mardi Gras — Mother, Carmen, Alvin and the Ensemble
* I Never Has Seen Snow — Ottilie;Act II
* Husband Cage — Pansy, Tulip, Gladiola and the Ensemble
* Has I Let You Down? — Madame Fleur, Pansy, Tulip and Gladiola
* Voudou — Houngan and the Ensemble
* Slide, Boy, Slide — Madame Tango, Alvin and the Ensemble
* Don't Like Goodbyes — Madame Fleur
* Turtle Song — Royal, Ottilie and the Ensemble
* Bamboo Cage (Reprise) - The Company
* Two Ladies in de Shade of de Banana Tree (Reprise) - The Company


* [ Detailed review of the Encores! production]
* [ Scathing review at the site]
* [ More positive review of the album at]

External links

* [ Information about the musical, including roles, plot]
* [,9171,844405,00.html Time Magazine review of the 1968 Off-Broadway revival]

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