A musical (based on Eudora Welty's 1942 short story), with book and lyrics by Alfred Uhry and music by Robert Waldman. The musical premiered on Broadway in 1975 (starring Kevin Kline and Patti Lu Pone as Jamie and Rosamund), where it was nominated for two Tony awards, and again in 1976. In addition, it was briefly revived off-Broadway in 2016, starring Steven Pasquale and Ahna O'Reilly as Jamie and Rosamund.
The musical, set on the Natchez Trace in the late 18th century, tells the story of Jamie Lockhart, a Robin Hood-esque figure who leads a double life - honest and law-abiding by day, swindling and thieving (as "The Bandit of the Woods") by night. After saving the life of Clement Musgrove, the wealthiest planter in Mississippi, Jamie is invited to the man's farm, where he meets Musgrove's beautiful daughter Rosamund.
Meanwhile, Musgrove's wife Salome, who despises her stepdaughter, plans to kill her in order to inherit Musgrove's money. To do so, she hires a small-time criminal named Goat, who is less than successful in his various attempts. During this time, Rosamund meets "The Bandit" and becomes enamored with him, not knowing that he is also Jamie Lockhart, the man her father intends for her to marry.
Further complicating things is the presence of the Harp brothers, who try to rob Musgrove at the beginning and get involved with Salome's various schemes to kill Rosamund.
Not to be confused with the fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm or The Robber Bride, a novel by Margaret Atwood.
This musical contains examples of:
- Anti-Hero: Jamie Lockhart, our thieving, murdering protagonist.
- Babies Ever After: Jamie and Rosamund
- Death Song: "Goodbye Salome", which is a more upbeat example than most, given who's being sent off.
- Dramatic Irony: The audience is aware of Jamie's double life as The Bandit of the Woods, but most of the other characters are not.
- Gonk: Salome is described as such ("She had buzzard eyes/Crocodile jaws/Grabby long arms/And her fingers were technically claws"), but is typically played by attractive actresses.
- "I Am" Song: "Steal With Style" and "Love Stolen", where Jamie describes his personal philosophies on thieving and romance, respectively. "Steal With Style" also doubles as an "I Am Great!" Song.
- "The Pricklepear Bloom", where Salome bemoans her lack of conventional attractiveness and the troubles it has caused her, also counts.
- "I Want" Song: Rosamund gets two - "Rosamund's Dream" and "Nothin' Up". In both of these songs, she laments her state of loneliness and desires for someone to sweep her off her feet and take her away from her life.
- The Ingenue: Rosamund, though she is more sexually active than the average example.
- Intercourse with You: "Deeper in the Woods", which ends in Jamie and Rosamund consummating their relationship."Comes a boy, he walks so steady. Comes a girl, she feels so ready.""And he stopped, and he laid her on the ground, and there he robbed her of that which he had left her the night before."
- Many of the show's songs have aspects of this.
- List Song: "Poor Tied-Up Darlin', where Little Harp lists all the things he will give to Goat in exchange for Rosamund.
- Magic Realism: The show takes place in a generally realistic Deep South setting, with the exception of the Harp brothers' talking raven and Big Harp's ability to survive decapitation.
- Mrs. Robinson: Salome, who "lusted after every pair of pants on the Natchez Trace". This includes Jamie, who is presumably quite younger than herself.
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: The philosophy behind "Love Stolen".
- Off with His Head!: Happened to Big Harp some time before the story began, though somehow, he managed to survive the incident.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Jamie's idea of disguising himself involves rubbing berry juice on his face. Subverted in that it works on Rosamund and her father.
- The Family That Slays Together: The Harp brothers, who commit crimes together, even though Big Harp is only a head in a box.
- Stupid Crooks: Goat, who has "a brain the size of a scuppernong seed" and repeatedly tries and fails to kill Rosamund. Little Harp is only marginally smarter, though at least he has the self-awareness to know that he's not the brains of the operation.
- Villain Song: Several.
- "The Pricklepear Bloom" for Salome.
- "Two Heads" for the Harp brothers as a pair.
- "Poor Tied-Up Darlin" for Goat and Little Harp.
- Wicked Stepmother: Salome, who actively tries to murder her stepdaughter.