Généralités: Histoire, thèmes et particularités


The show is set in the World War 2 Californian town of Ithaca (a classical reference to the place Ulysess longed to return from his Odyssey). 14 year old Homer Macauley, a telegram messenger, faces the day-to-day sorrows and joys of the town. His mother Kate struggles to support her children following the death of her husband; his older brother Marcus is in the army; his teenage sister Bess daydreams about romance; and his younger brother Ulysses divides his attention between the passing trains and an unrequited desire to know why his father had to die. Other characters include Spangler and Grogan, who run the telegraph office, Spangler's girlfriend Diana, Marcus's orphaned army buddy Toby and Marcus's sweetheart Mary. There are glimpses of deep pain in the story, especially when Homer brings his mother the telegram announcing the death of his older brother, and the scene in which the bereaved citizens are presented with neatly folded American flags in memory of their dead soldier sons.

Synopsis complet


Historique du musical

Génèse du musical

The off-Broadway production, directed by Wilford Leach, opened on December 28, 1983 at Joseph Papp's Public Theater, where it ran for 79 performances. The cast included Stephen Geoffreys as Homer, Bonnie Koloc as Kate, Don Kehr as Marcus, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Bess, Josh Blake as Ulysses, Rex Smith as Spangler, Gordon Connell as Grogan, Leata Galloway as Diana, Joseph Kolinski as Tobey, Caroline Peyton as Mary, and Laurie Franks as Miss Hicks.

Like Hair and A Chorus Line before it, The Human Comedy garnered reviews favorable enough to prompt Papp to transfer it a larger, uptown Broadway house. After twenty previews, with its downtown director and cast intact, it opened on April 5, 1984 at the Royale Theatre, where it ran for only 13 performances.

Frank Rich's critique of the original production had been positive, but New York Times policy prohibited re-reviewing shows unless they were changed substantially, so his earlier comments were overshadowed by those damaging ones made more recently by Clive Barnes, among others. The general consensus was that The Human Comedy, with its intimate story staged in a semi-oratorio style with no scenery save for rear projections used to define each scene's locale, was not suited for a large venue with a conventional proscenium stage. Following Dude and Via Galactica, it was MacDermot's third critical and commercial failure, and proved to be his last attempt at a Broadway musical.

An original cast album was recorded but never released until 1997, when an 86-track, 2-CD set was issued by Original Cast Records

In autumn of 1997, the show enjoyed a partially staged reading at the York Theatre in New York City as part of the York's Musicals In Mufti series.



Liste des chansons

Act I
In a Little Town in California
Hi Ya, Kid
We're a Little Family
The Assyrians
You're a Little Young for the Job
I Can Carry a Tune
Happy Birthday
Happy Anniversary
I Think the Kid Will Do
Beautiful Music
Cocoanut Cream Pie
When I Am Lost
I Said, Oh No
Daddy Will Not Come Walking Through The Door
The Birds in the Sky
Remember Always to Give
Long Past Sunset
Don't Tell Me
The Fourth Telegram
Give Me All the Money
Everything Is Changed
The World Is Full of Loneliness
Hi Ya, Kid (Reprise)

Act II
How I Love Your Thingamajig
An Orphan I Am
I'll Tell You About My Family
I Wish I Were a Man
Marcus, My Friend
My Sister Bess
I've Known a Lot of Guys
Dear Brother
The Birds In The Trees/A Lot of Men
Mr. Grogan, Wake Up
Hello, Doc
What Am I Supposed to Do?
Long Past Sunset (Reprise)
I'm Home
Somewhere, Someone
I'll Always Love You
Hi Ya, Kid (Reprise)
Fathers And Mothers (And You And Me)

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