Musical Plays and RevuesBitter Sweet

This is the place to explore and enjoy Noël Coward's musical plays and revues.

A Beginning

Noël Coward spent Christmas 1922 as the guest of Ned Lathom (3rd Earl of Lathom, Edward Bootle-Wilbraham) and his sister Barbara at Davos in Switzerland where he joined a party of showbusiness guests at The Grand Hotel, Davos-Platz - Coward stayed at the Hotel Belvedere. Here he convinced Ned and eventually the theatrical impressario André Charlot, to provide the finance and opportunity for a revue that became London Calling - named after a new radio station call sign. This was Noël's first revue - a complex style of entertainment of songs and sketches that grew out of the Victorian music-hall and became a major form of entertainment in the 1920s and 30s. Charlot trusted Ned Lathom's money but not the young Noël's ability to write and paired him with an established writer, Ronald Jeans, who wrote the book for the revue. Noël found the art of revue 'a very tricky and technical business... everything has to be condensed to an apalling brevity.'

The revue, staged in 1923, was a great success with Fred Astair helping with some choreography and Elsie Tree his arranger, orchestrator and general factotum getting involved at the beginning of an association with Noël that lasted until 1946.

A song featured in the revue was to provide Coward with an early musical success - Parisian Pierrot sung by Gertrude Lawrence and featured towards the end of the show. This extract is taken from the CD Star! (Living Era CD AJA 5265) (NCMI) Buy? - in the UK & US

Those musicals below marked with an * have still to be completed.

Part of the chorus of Parisian Pierrot from 'London Calling' - Noël's first big song hit!

Recordings listed on the pages shown below are under one of three headings used in the NCMI. Original cast Recordings (OCR); Recordings by Noël Coward (NCR) and Other Notable Recordings (ONR). More detail on this is given in Abbreviations in the NCMI.

Revues and Musical Plays by Noël Coward

- select a title to find out more. . . Ace of Clubs
Year Revues   Year Plays with Music
1923 London Calling   1934 Conversation Piece
1925 On With the Dance   1960 Waiting in the Wings
1928 This Year of Grace!   1935 Red Peppers (from Tonight at 8:30)
1932 Words and Music      
1938 Set to Music   Year Musical Plays based on Coward's work
1945 Sigh No More   1964 High Spirits
Year Musical Plays and Operettas   Year Musical Revues and Gala Concerts
1929 Bitter Sweet   1968 Noël Coward's Sweet Potato
1938 Operette   1969 A Talent To Amuse
1946 Pacific 1860   1972 Cowardy Custard *
1950 Ace of Clubs   1972 Oh Coward!
1954 After The Ball   1982 Noël and Gertie (in the US If Love Were All) *
1961 Sail Away   1994 Let's Do It *
1963 The Girl Who Came to Supper   1999 Blithe Spirit (Radio) *
      1999 Coward Centenary *  

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