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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a musical with a book by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos, lyrics by Leo Robin, and music by Jule Styne, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Loos. The story involves an American woman's voyage to Paris to perform in a nightclub.

The musical opened on Broadwaymarker in 1949 (running for 740 performances and introducing Carol Channing), a London production was mounted in 1962, and there was a Broadway revival in 1995. An adaptation called Lorelei played on Broadway in 1974. It was made into a film of the same name in 1953, starring Marilyn Monroe. The popular songs "Bye, Bye Baby" and "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" were introduced in this musical.


In the 1920s, Lorelei Lee, a blonde from Little Rock, Arkansasmarker, and her friend Dorothy Shaw board the ocean liner Ile de France, to embark for Europe ("It's High Time"). Lorelei and her boyfriend (who is her "sugar daddy") Gus Esmond, the "Button King", are parting for a while ("Bye, Bye Baby"), and Dorothy is her chaperone. On board Lorelei has many admirers, including a rich Philadelphiamarker man, Henry Spofford and his mother Mrs. Ella Spofford, an Englishman, Sir Francis Beekman, and the physical fitness fanatic Josephus Gage, who is "The Zipper King". Using her feminine charms, Lorelei borrows $5,000 from Sir Francis and buys a diamond tiara from his wife. Once in Paris, Lorelei and Dorothy have many adventures with the help of Gage. Lorelei performs in a nightclub. Gus arrives in Paris and, initially jealous of Gage, merges their businesses. Meanwhile Dorothy and Henry Spofford get together.


Act I
  • It's High Time - Dorothy Shaw and Ensemble
  • Bye, Bye Baby - Gus Esmond and Lorelei Lee
  • I Love my Mommy - Gus Esmond and Lorelei Lee
  • Bye, Bye Baby (Reprise) - Gus Esmond and Ensemble
  • A Little Girl From Little Rock - Lorelei Lee
  • I Love What I'm Doing - Dorothy Shaw
  • Just a Kiss Apart - Henry Spofford
  • It's Delightful Down in Chile - Sir Francis Beekman, Lorelei Lee, Show Girls and Male Ensemble
  • Sunshine - Henry Spofford and Dorothy Shaw
  • In The Champ de Mars - Ensemble
  • Sunshine (Reprise) - Ensemble
  • I'm A'tingle, I'm A'glow - Josephus Gage
  • House on Rittenhouse Square - Dorothy Shaw
  • You Say You Care - Henry Spofford
  • Finaletto - Lorelei Lee and Ensemble

Act II
  • Bye, Bye Baby (Reprise) - Dancing Ensemble
  • Mamie is Mimi - Gloria Stark, Coles and Atkins
  • Coquette - The Tenor and Show Girls
  • Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend - Lorelei Lee
  • You Say You Care (Reprise) - Dorothy Shaw and Henry Spofford
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - Lorelei Lee and Gus Esmond
  • Homesick Blues - Lorelei Lee, Dorothy Shaw, Gus Esmond, Henry Spofford, Mrs. Ella Spofford and Josephus Gage
  • Keeping Cool with Coolidge - Dorothy Shaw, Bill and Ensemble
  • Button Up With Esmond - Lorelei Lee, Show Girls and Ensemble
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Reprise) - Lorelei Lee, Gus Esmond and Ensemble
  • Bye, Bye Baby (Reprise) - Entire Company


The musical opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8, 1949 and closed September 15, 1951, after 740 performances. It was produced by Herman Levin and Oliver Smith, directed by John C. Wilson, and choreographed by Agnes de Mille, with vocal direction by Hugh Martin.

The original cast featured:
  • Carol Channing as Lorelei Lee
  • Yvonne Adair as Dorothy Shaw
  • Rex Evans as Sir Francis Beekman
  • Anita Alvarez as Gloria Stark
  • Eric Brotherson as Henry Spofford
  • Jack McCauley as Gus Esmond
  • George S. Irving as Josephus Gage
  • Irving Mitchell as Mr. Esmond, Sr.
  • Alice Pearce as Mrs. Ella Spofford
  • Reta Shaw as Lady Phyllis Beekman

Several well-known blonde actresses, including Betty Hutton, Jayne Mansfield (Carousel Theater, 1964),Mamie Van Doren, Barbara Eden (Florida, January 1999), and Morgan Fairchild, have starred in regional and summer stock productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes over the years.

The musical ran in the West Endmarker, London at the Princes Theatre, opening on August 20, 1962 for 223 performances, and featured Dora Bryan as Lorelei Lee, Anne Hart as Dorothy, and Bessie Love as Mrs. Ella Spofford.

In 1974 a revised version entitled Lorelei ran for 320 performances on Broadway, also starring Channing.

The Goodspeed Opera Housemarker, East Haddammarker, Connecticutmarker, revival ran in November 1994, and featured KT Sullivan as Lorelei Lee, Karen Prunzik as Dorothy Shaw, Jamie Ross as Josephus Gage, and Allen Fitzpatrick as Gus Esmond. The production transferred to Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre on April 10, 1995 and closed on April 30, 1995 after 16 previews and 8 performances.

The Open Air Theatre, Inner Circle, Regent's Parkmarker, London production ran from July 23, 1998 through September 1, 1998, and featured Sara Crowe as Lorelei Lee and Debby Bishop as Dorothy.

42nd Street Moon theatre company, San Franciscomarker, Calforniamarker, presented the musical in April 2004.

Film version

A 1953 film adaptation, released by 20th century Fox, was directed by Howard Hawks and starred Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe.

See also


  1. "The voice of Kevin Kelly", The Boston Globe, November 30, 1994, p. 65
  2. "Theater", Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida), October 25, 1998, p. 14
  3. Gentlemen Prefer, accessed September 2, 2009
  4. "Chronology of London Shows, 1962", accessed September 2, 2009
  5. Richards, David. "Theater Review: Lorelei Lee Returns, Dizzy and Savvy as Ever",The New York Times, November 25, 1994
  6. Connema, Richard. "'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' Comes Back to San Francisco", April 14, 2004

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