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Theatre / The Most Happy Fella

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The Most Happy Fella is a musical in three acts with music, lyrics and libretto by Frank Loesser, based on the play They Knew What They Wanted by Sidney Howard.

The plot begins one January evening in 1927, when a middle-aged Italian grape farmer by the name of Antonio Esposito happens to dine at a restaurant in San Francisco. After closing time, one of the waitresses finds at her table a tie pin accompanied by a love letter written in broken English and addressed to "my dear Rosabella." Soon Tony and Rosabella are exchanging letters and photographs, but Tony is too shy to send a picture of himself and sends her instead one of his handsome young foreman, Joe. By the springtime, Rosabella leaves her home and job for Tony's ranch in the Napa Valley, where his neighbors and neighbors' neighbors have a big wedding party planned. The occasion is ruined by some unfortunate accidents, but despite their lasting consequences and over the unsatisfied objections of Tony's sister Marie, the marriage lasts.

The musical was first presented in 1956. A revival starring Giorgio Tozzi and Sharon Daniels was televised in 1980 by PBS.

Questo dramma musicale contiene questi tropi:

  • And Here He Comes Now: Lampshaded when Rosabella is singing that she loves Tony:
    Cleo: Don't tell me, kid, tell him. Tell him exactly how. And like they say in a musical comedy— (dramatic chord) —here he comes now!
  • Beta Couple: Herman and Cleo, though they don't meet until the second act.
  • Butt-Monkey: Herman gets pushed around a lot by Pasquale and the other workers, but he has no complaints until the last scene.
  • Girl Watching: Herman and his pals, in the song "Standing on the Corner."
  • Gratuitous Italian: All over the place. "Abbondanza" and "Benvenuta" are sung entirely in Italian.
  • Hands-On Approach: Cleo and Herman literally bond with each other when he teaches her how to paste labels on glue boxes.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In the opening scene, Cleo describes what her customer left on her table:
    "Seven million crumbs and a gravy spot,
    Teaspoon stuck in the mustard pot,
    Napkin on the floor,
    Ashes in the cup
    And—one Canadian dime!"
  • Non-Standard Prescription: Tony's doctor prescribes him (in song) "love and kindness from the nurse."
  • Spaghetti and Gondolas: The show has the atmosphere of stereotypical Hollywood Italy (Gratuitous Italian and tarantellas abound), despite being set in the vineyards of Napa Valley, California.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Until the final scene, Tony and the audience don't know that Rosabella's real name is Amy.
  • Take Back Your Gift: The last thing Rosabella does for Tony before leaving him is handing him back the amethyst tie-pin which he left her as a tip when she was working as a waitress and he first saw her. When they reconcile by doing a Relationship Reboot, he gives it to her again, this time in person.
  • Wanderlust Song: "Joey, Joey, Joey."
  • Wheelchair Antics: Tony enthusiastically joins the hoe-down in his wheelchair.