Edith:Wise men dwell in the House of SorrowFools in the house of MirthNo power on earth can make you wiseIf you can’t see the sorrow in his eyes.
Wise hearts dwell in a house of mourningFools fill their hearts with MirthIn fashion’s frills they earn their Worth,Until returning to the cold drab earth.
Selden: No one cares much for the heart of a beautyLike the beautiful Miss Lily Bart, it’s her duty to be…
Edith:Perched on Society’s crumbling structureYou won’t survive the fall.When you’re stuck, you’re going to end it all,Going to end it when you’ve spent it all.
Ladies Chorus (Judy, Bertha, Aunt Peniston):Hearts and minds mean nothing at allBreeding and brains mean even lessThe dutiful wife in the Beautiful LifeNeeds money to make her man a success. Lily: No money, no man and no success…
Edith: But with the right kind of moneyFrom the right kind of manFrom the right kind of family tree….The best have more cream than the rest can dream of, (Lily: Couturier, a tighter corset, please!)But still and all, you must be willing to squeeze…
Edith: Squeeze the sweat from farmers and minersFlee the stench of the steel and the oil refinersFleece the rent from the tenement dwellers (Lily: While floating far off from the buyers and sellers…)
Edith: Our mothers and fathers taught us that (Lily: Milliner, make me a bigger hat.)
Chorus (Judy, Bertha, Aunt Peniston) :Our God forbids we should tinker or tradeTo contaminate the purity of our Easter ParadeOur fathers and mothers Taught us sweat was for others.On the labor of the lesser our fortunes are made.
Edith: Milliner, shield the lady’s eyes… with an even bigger hat. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 2. GRAND CENTRAL STATION 1905set to “Tong Poo” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyric: Emily King © 2015
Men:Grand Central Station, the hub of the nation;You get on here and can step off almost anywhere.
All:You step on here, take a ride and get offWhere you always wished you could go…
Selden & Rosedale: You’re gonna go where you want.You’re gonna be who you choose.
Judy Trenor: You’re gonna do all you canTo make sure you win and not lose.
Bertha & Aunt Peniston:You buy a ticket and hop on boardAnd a whirling world is your reward; that whizzes byAnd speeds along beneath your feet.
All:Oh, what an age in which to be alive,In this year of grace, in nineteen-oh-five.Find your place, not only to survive, but thrive!
Gus Trenor:With McKinley shot, then what we gotWas a president who’s evidentlyDestined to shake up the status quo!
Rosedale:A progressive future surely looking swell to Roosevelt!
Selden: Teddy speaks softly and carries a big stick,A stick to make rich moguls sick…Now they have to pay for having everythingTheir own fat way. All:These are the days it pays to be aliveFor the human race in 1905.It’s a chase where anyone can win the prize…
Percy: Edison… electrifying;
Aunt Peniston:Wilbur Wright… death-defying;
Gus Trenor:The Model B, as designed by Henry Ford,…
Rosedale:So even Rockefeller could afford it…
Aunt Peniston:Electric trolleys opening up the town;Suburban workers mowing the farmers down;And if the city’s jostling crowd’s impossible,
All:There’s Interborough Rapid Transit underground!
Men:Zeppelin’s built his big gas-bag balloon;
Women:Meliès’s magic takes us to the moon.
All:The Frères Lumières’ cinematographRepairs a hit-and-run who’s cut in half
Percy: Caruso singing on the phonograph…
Gus & Judy Trenor: Trans-Atlantic liners cut their time in half…To get you sooner back from Gay Paree
Bertha & Judy Trenor: To parade your latest chic-est shopping spree.
Selden: While down below decks – stowed in steerage –Huddled masses, heading here To learn the truth of all the lies they’re toldOn streets not even gilded, much less gold.
Bertha: From every port around the globeThey come with bundles bound with hopeTo do the job Americans used to doA working man can now choose not to do…In factory, … mine and orchardThese immigrants won’t mind the tortureOf the daily grind of dingy laborBeside those who may be disinclined… to love their neighbor.
Rosedale: Push and shove and slave and workTo prove these new Americans … will never shirk.They now can be depended on to doWhat old Americans no longer want to do… Percy: So far the Twentieth Century only provesThat all of the world… is now on the move…So this must be the American Century,
Rosedale: …Whoe’er an American be.
All:With all for one and one for all you mightGet workers to unite….
Lily: I’m going to be who I want.I’m going to go where I please.No one can tell me I can’tFight to be free because these…….Are the days my happiness arrives,In this golden year of 1905,Lit with all the loveliness I can contrive.
This is the year I can’t afford to waste.They’ll be awestruck by my exquisite taste,And a brilliant bridegroom will excuse my haste.
Carefully I’ll choose my pathAnd calculate to cool the wrathOf furies who deem all allure impure!
Rich bachelors like Percy GrycePrefer their fiancées... naïve and nice!
The secret to this affairIs my appearing that I do not care…Men pursue as long as the illusion beThe prey is not them, but me!
I’m afraid it is a kind of war;The combat I’ve been armor-plated for.The age-old battle’s only charm is this:That marriage is… the armistice.
Men:So with the whole world knocking at our door,There is no more warWorth the fighting for.
Women:In a cent’ry Americans can sayNo more… to war.
All:This is the century we’ll live to see…Plenty, peace and prosperity,Universal understanding, and unity,Of peace and joy…Of peace and joy and LOVE!!!
(Lily and Selden are suddenly face to face.)
Lily:Oh, Mr. Selden! What good luck! %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 3 SELDEN’S LAMENTset to “Intermezzo” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyrics by Emily King © 2015
Selden:I cannot tell you…How lovely to see youThere standing so perfectly poised and so near.No need to tell me I’m not on your wish-listOf the wealthier bachelors in fashion this year…
I shouldn’t tell you (You wouldn’t believe me.)In weaving your netI have been caught in your snare.
Am I that stupid?Captured by Cupid…I’m out of your orbit;You couldn’t afford it, To marry a man Who’s not part of your plan!
But if I say…“My dear Miss Bart,How lovely you’re looking today!You have stolen my heart! Run awayWith me from this quandary the world puts a miss in…”The world wouldn’t listen,So why should you?
What if I sayThat gilded cage has one little doorYou can fly through: just risk being poor!”When the world laughs upon your behalf, Then what good would it do?
Lily: Oh….. dear! Mr. SeldenYou know well, thenI’d be ruined and You would be ruined too…[She departs.]
Selden (alone)Why can’t I tell you how much I adore you?A fortune made for you is all that I lack.No high-finance hero –My credit is zero –In the keen calculation you make in your simplest act.
Your business is marriage.Your exquisite carriage,From your porcelain fingertips to the gold in your hair…Though the future seems futile, Your material’s so fine…The proof of God’s cruelty is in your design.Why settle for less when the best is on show?No need to guess that the answer is… no. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 4 PERCY’S WALTZset to “Chanson” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyric: Emily King © 2015
Lily:Winters on Fifth AvenueAnd summers on CapriWith my Mamma and dear Pappa Showering the best of things; they loved me,Whirling ‘round the continentIn elegance and luxury…That atmosphere’s my element.It’s made a rare bird of me….
Of course the charm of our New York’sThe best of people know you.The promenading in the Park,The brilliant ballrooms show you…The glory of the opera, the glittering social season…Mister Gryce, don’t you agree, then?
Percy: My mother tells me so, or else I’d never go… anywhere.
Lily: Percy:Mothers might not see She’s a beauty,Your diffidence is caused by shyness. No denying!While others quite agree She could woo meThat book collecting tends towards dryness. Without trying.An affectionate and pious girl A girl so niceWon’t smoke or drink or gamble. Might strike my mommaShe can insulate your quiet world … As a brand new Gryce Dear Percy, shall we ramble? For my Americana…
Percy: My mother tells me to, or else I’d never do… anything.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 5 WHEN I FOUND YOUset to “Aqua” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyrics by Emily King © 2002
Selden: When I was a childI thought as a childNow that I’m a manI do the best I canFor to do our best is all we knowAnd all we’ll ever know of God.
When I was a boyTo see you face was all my joy.When I learned the truth,It meant the end of youth.For to learn the truth can break your heartBut a lie can tear your soul apart.
When I found you‘Twas all that I could doTo keep from runningInto your arms.
When you found me‘Twas there for all to seeThat you’d be runningFrom my loveAll your life.
Lily:When I was a girlMy head was filled with whirling thingsNow that I am grownMy beauty sleeps alone.For my duty keeps me all aloneSo starved of love and all it brings…
When I found you‘Twas all that I could doTo keep from runningInto your arms.
When you found me‘Twas there for all to seeI’d be runningFrom your loveAll my life.
Both:When I’m afraidI’ll watch my/your beauty fadeNever knowing what a lifeWe could have made
I see your faceAnd know I’ve lost my placeA place too lovelyTo ever trustWith my life.
Selden:All my life. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
6 ROSEDALE’S PROPOSALset to “Lorenz and Watson” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyric: Emily King © 2015/21
Rosedale: Although my name is Rosedale,They call me “the Levantine;”Now what the hell does that mean?When what they mean’s a Jew.But one they find convenient…
Gentlemen who place their betsWhen they cannot pay their debts See Rosedale…Ladies hoping for adviceWhen investing’s not quite nice Ask Rosedale, I tell themI’m not out to sell them,If they will enableMy seat at the tableWith an invitation….
They talk about my “people”,They rant about my “race”…They spit their words like poison, But not into my face.They think that they’re so different…
So…If you ask Simon RosedaleWho’s laughing that last laugh?We’d best get down to businessAnd ask my better half.(to Lily)That is if you will have me…
Watch the other wives turn green,You’ll wear diamonds like a queen, Missus Rosedale…
Wanting money makes you wince?Making millions made a prince Of Rosedale... (to self)I’ll need it.Suppose they’ll Concede it?I’ll woo herAnd win her, For weekends and dinners.She’s my invitation… %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 7 AUNT PENISTON’S ANTHEMset to “Put Your Hands Up” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyrics by Emily King © 2015
Aunt Peniston:We made the rules and you… you must play the game.Wise men or fools, the catch may be the same.It may seem cruel, or all too tedious and tame.But a woman is naught, ‘til she’s got a man’s name.
Both:They made the rules, and so, we must play the game.
Aunt Peniston:Living for love…. just isn’t done.With help from above, you might catch the one…
Lily: You made the rules, but it’s I who must take the chance.I pay the tune, though it’s you who taught me the dance.A girl’s scorecard is nil, until her dance card is filled.You can waltz to the moon, there’s no chance for romance.
Both:We pay the tune although they taught us the dance…
Aunt Peniston:Don’t lose your virtue in flirtation!…your reputation with romance…
Lily: Dream in vain of a castle in SpainWhere a girl could try her wings…She’s aching to fly but she can’t even tryLaden down with luxurious things…Sables and lace in exquisite taste.Who pays the price when needy’s not nice?
Aunt Peniston:There’s a rumor…
We made the rules, and you must pay for mistakes.Don’t bet on cards if you can’t raise the stakes.On country-house weekends, ensure the Sabbath is blest;Don’t gamble or dance on the Lord’s day of rest.But…I’ll pay your bills – and you must settle your debts.
Both:It’s a pityBeing prettyIn this city…
Aunt Peniston:Really isn’t quite enough
Lily:She has no clue what really comes dueTo a beauty no longer young…
Aunt Peniston:The wings that I hear are not death drawing nearBut the fury of scandal’s tongue…Brace for the worst, hope for the best!It won’t be the first timeThey’ve paid for the rest…
Lily:If you’re lucky… %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 8 QUADRILLE SEXTET set to “Opus” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyric: Emily King © 2015/21
Gus Trenor :Hang your thanking me; I don’t want to be thanked!You know, Lily,Those cheques you’re banking,From me -- you deserve to be spanked…You’re so… chillyTo me, it’s time to collect;That’s something men expectWhen girls aren’t circumspect…So what do you say?
Bertha Dorset: They say that Lily’sBeen bought by money from Gus!You know, LilyHas never really Been thought of as one of us…Oh no! … Not really…It’s not just that she can’t be trustedBy a nice young man like Percy Gryce…(smiles) Which somehow he knows…
Lily:I know I was a fool to put such blind trustIn finances finagled by our friend Gus.If it’s not mine, I swear I’ll pay back every dime.My reputation’s running out of time…
Selden:If time is money in this game you’re playing,This loan will lose you more than ever you may win…
Rosedale: May I cut in?...
Selden: Of course…
Rosedale (dancing with Lily):I can’t believe that you’re Waltzing here in my arms!You know – Miss Lily –That it’s perceived by the party’sPart of your charms.To show it’s finallyTime to pay for the crimeOf looking so divineBy saying you’ll be mine…So what do you say?
Judy Trenor (to Selden):I’d say I’m dreamingBut I’m afraid that I can’t…You know, our Lily’s A scamp for schemingBut to vamp that impossible man…De trop! Poor sillyGirl out twirling the floorWith that party-crashing boor, that upstart…(Selden leaves her to go to Lily)Who the hell do they think they are?
Selden:You asked me once to help you and I do itThe only way I can – by loving you!
Lily:Ah, love me, love me, -- but please don’t tell me so!I can’t say yes, but it’s so sweet to know…I won’t be like my mother, just another headstrong wifeWhose love dies in the living of the wrong life!
Selden: (walking away)… Then have your own way…
Lily:What the hell did I say…. And what will I do? %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 9 MISS BARTset to “Sonatine” by Ryuichi SakamotoLyrics by Emily King © 2002
Lily:Winters on Fifth AvenueAnd summers on CapriWhere my Mamma would drive Pappa to buyThe best of things in life for me(No, they weren’t free!)And she worked him to deathAnd then in turn, With her last breathShe sadly said her only dread:“The only true unhappinessIs unforgiveable shabbiness.”
But then Pappa was ruinedAnd then Pappa… he died.Leaving Mamma one daughter unfit to be a bride;Mamma was fit to be tied.
Your face, she’d say, your faceYou’ll get it all back with your face.She’d no idea how easilyOne slips into disgrace.
One fatal miscalculationIn her dreadful determinationTo marry me to…(laughing) It didn’t matter who,To be some fabulously wealthy man’s wife.
Mamma’s defeatIs now complete.Her greatest fear has stranded me hereIn this desperately dingy little life.
Your face, she’d say, your faceYou’ll get it all back with your face.I’ve no idea how I ended hereIn this so sad and sordid place.
My face, Mamma, my face…Look in the mirror please and tell meThat you don’t see what I see…Younger, plainer, richer cousinsDebut each season, marry by dozens
If I knew where I kept itI might know where to startIf I knew where she put itI’d look into my heartBut years ago she tore it apart.
And dingy turns dirtyFor girls who reach thirty….An elegant sufficiency is nowhere near plentyAnd now, here I am – nine and twentyAnd still… Miss… Bart.
My face, Mamma, my face…My face, Mamma, my face…My face, Mamma, my face…Mamma, my face…
But what of my heart? %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 10 IN LILY’S LAST ROOMset to “ENERGY FLOW” by Ryuichi Sakamoto; Lyrics by Emily King © 2002
Lily:NowThe end is nearWith nothing left to fearFor nothing’s all I own
When The folks who knew me thenWould never recognizeThis shabby and despised Lily
Lily & Ladies Chorus (Aunt Peniston, Edith):Down in this part of townNowhere to go but downThe point of no return.RoomsWhere nothing ever bloomsDown sordid-smelling hallsWith dingy faded wallsOf flowers quaintly made…Flowers whose beauties faintly fade.
Lily:Past tenThis’ll be the last then.All these letters pay debtsOf the Lily they all findIt’s kinder to forget.
Right nowI’ve got to decide how…How to do it quickly.Just enough to die and not be leftBereft and sickly.
Lily:Tiny bottle, warm and brown,I tip you up and drink you down.I love the feeling sweet and sure,A love whose motive’s always pure.
Selden (a vision):I love you, Lily.
Lily:Tiny bottle, warm and brownI tip you up and drink you downAnd… then…. and… then…And now….
Now… I know the truthI wasted all my youthIn fear of being poor
In my quest to marry wellI made a kind of hellThat’s all I know I can be sure of….
Now… It’s time to go.I’ve paid the debts I owe.No need to say goodbye.
Why prolong a life of griefWhen it is my beliefThat win or loseWe die… and die alone.
Ladies Chorus (Aunt Peniston, Edith):Down in this part of townNowhere to go but downThe point of no returnRoomsWhere nothing ever bloomsDown sordid-smelling hallsWith dingy faded wallsOf flowers quaintly made…Flowers whose beauties faintly fade.
Lily:Lie down.Watch the flowers waltz ‘round.No time for a nightgown.Hope the one who finds my bodyWill be kindly.
No pain.Sleeping in a soft rain.Drifting off away fromAll I ever wasAnd never shall be seen to be Again… %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 11. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH Coda
Edith:Wise hearts dwell in a house of mourningFools fill their hearts with MirthIn fashion’s frills they earn their Worth,Until enfolded in the cold drab earth.
Ladies Chorus (Judy, Bertha, Aunt Peniston):Dark and dingy and dirty and dankThey don’t deserve us, it’s us they should thank.We show them how beautiful life could beIf all of them were as splendid as we.
Edith:Growing old is the most interesting thing that ever happened to me. I wasted my youth trying to be beautiful, but now that I have given up all hope, I feel far more… free.