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Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Stage 
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Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:21 pm
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Post Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Stage
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a movie musical that would be hard to pull off on stage, but I have some ideas that I think might work. There are several songs that the Sherman Brothers wrote for Bedknobs and Broomsticks that never made it into the film, even the extended version. It would be great if we could see a version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks featuring all the songs they wrote, and I think a stage version would be the best way to do that. I would like to present my vision of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on stage in the summary below. Let me know your thoughts, especially when it comes to my ideas about the Naboombu sequence.

Summary of Scenes

Act I

Scene 1: Pepperinge Eye Street

The show opens with World War II soldiers marching through the village ("The Old Home Guard"). Miss Price arrives in town to pick up a package from Mrs. Hobday. Mrs. Hobday introduces her to the Rowlins children: Charlie, Carey, and Paul. She tells Miss Price that many children have been evacuated from London due to bombings and that these children must live with her for a while. Miss Price is reluctant to take them in, but agrees to a temporary arrangement.

Scene 2: Living Room of Miss Price's House

Miss Price brings the children into the house and gives them some rules, which they dislike. The children tell Miss Price how they have no parents and that their aunt recently died during one of the bombings. They act as though they're fine with having no adult family even though it's clear they are troubled by it ("Nobody's Problems").

Scene 3: Outside Miss Price's House

That evening after the children are asleep, Miss Price sneaks outside with her package, which turns out to be a broomstick. She tells herself that this broom will be useful on the road to becoming a great witch ("A Step in the Right Direction"). As she takes her broom for a test ride, the children start sneaking out of the house hoping to return to London. They see her flying, and then she crashes into the bushes. Charlie then decides that they should stay and see if they can get something worthwhile out of Miss Price now that they know her secret.

Scene 4: Living Room of Miss Price's House

Charlie tells Miss Price that they saw her flying and makes a few demands. She decides to show him how dangerous it is to blackmail a witch by pulling out her notebook and transforming him into a rabbit, but he transforms back in less than a minute. She laments the fact that her lack of wickedness and hatred are what keep some of her spells from lasting very long ("The Fundamental Element"). She decides to give the children one of her more valuable spells in exchange for their silence. She casts a "traveling spell" on a knob Paul took off the bed in the next room and tells them that the knob will cause the bed to take them wherever they want to go. She tells them to bring the bed into the living room where there is more room when the bell rings. It is a letter telling her that all mail-order witchcraft lessons have been canceled. After the children drag the bed in through a large archway, she tells them that she must go to London to speak to her teacher, Mr. Browne. Carey and Paul agree to come with her, but Charlie refuses because he doesn't believe it will work. Miss Price tells him about the problems of a doubtful attitude ("The Age of Not Believing"). She then tells Paul how to work the spell. Charlie decides to jump onto the bed at the last second. The bed stays in place as the scene shifts and lights flash.

Scene 5: Alley in London

They look around and don't see Mr. Browne, so Miss Price walks away to look for him. After she leaves, Mr. Browne shows up and starts presenting a magic act to the various pedestrians. His tricks are obviously fake, but he believes that the crowd will love them because of his showmanship ("With a Flair"). The disappointed crowd leaves and Miss Price comes back. She tells Mr. Browne that she desperately needs the last lesson, but he refuses. She stops him from leaving by turning him into a rabbit. When he turns back into a human, he is amazed that a woman with real magic exists. He thought that his spells were just nonsense words he got out of a book. She insists that he show her the book, and he agrees to take them to his house. They travel on the bed, which clearly makes him uncomfortable.

Scene 6: Library of Mr. Browne's House

They arrive in a fancy house that Mr. Browne moved into after an unexploded bomb drove everyone out of the neighborhood. The children look at some of the books in the library while Mr. Browne tells Miss Price ideas he has about her joining him in show business and improving his magic act. She is uninterested and searches for the book of spells as he goes on ("Eglantine/Don't Let Me Down"). She turns him into a rabbit to get him to cooperate. He gets the book for her and then transforms back. She sees that half of the book is missing, which explains why he couldn't send her the final spell. He says that the other half is probably in the market where he bought it at Portobello Road. As they all get on the bed and begin to travel again, he starts telling them about the place ("Portobello Road").

Scene 7: Portobello Road

The song continues as they reach Portobello Road and start exploring the shops. As Miss Price continues searching for the book, the children enjoy some dances of various cultures from people in the street ("Portobello Road Street Dance"). The Bookman of Portobello Road eventually shows up with the other half of of the book. The book doesn't have the magic words; it just says that they were engraved on the star necklace worn by the sorcerer Astaroth. The Bookman then tells them a story of how Astaroth cast spells on animals to make them like humans. The animals apparently stole Astaroth's star and sailed away to the uncharted "Isle of Naboombu." Paul tells them that the children's book he got from Mr. Browne's library is about Naboombu. Miss Price decides that they should go to Naboombu, so they get back on the bed and travel there.

Scene 8: Isle of Naboombu

When they reach the island, they encounter a talking Bear. He tells them that the King doesn't like people and that the King is especially upset today because the annual talent show has been canceled due to lack of participants. They insist on seeing the King, who is nearby. The King is a talking lion wearing the star of Astaroth. Mr. Browne tells the King that he can use his entertainment skills to save the talent show, which puts the King in a happy mood. Before they go to prepare for the talent show, Miss Price expresses hope that they can get the star so that she can perform the spell she needs ("A Step in the Right Direction Reprise").

Act II

Scene 1: Naboombu Stage

Miss Price, Mr. Browne, and some animals in fish costumes perform a spectacular number at the talent show ("The Beautiful Briny"). As the judges of the talent show make their decision, Miss Price offers to do an encore number. She invites the King on stage to help her act out the song. She uses him as a prop and slyly takes the star away from him as she sings ("Solid Citizen"). After she goes off stage, the king opens the judge's envelope and announces that the humans have won the contest. When they don't come on stage to claim their prize, the Bear comes on announcing that they're gone in a not-so-subtle reference to The Sound of Music.

Scene 2: Living Room of Miss Price's House

After they arrive back, Miss Price decides to test the spell with Mr. Browne's shoes. When the spell doesn't work, Mr. Browne encourages her to give the spell a bit of flair with rhythm ("Substitutiary Locomotion"). The shoes start moving on their own. Unfortunately, so do other objects in the house. (Please note that the objects are held up by fishing wire and controlled from above the stage.) Miss Price performs a cut-off spell from her notebook, and the objects drop to the ground as the doorbell rings. Mrs. Hobday is at the door to tell Miss Price that a farmer is willing to take the children in. Miss Price tells her that the children have grown on her. Paul adds that Mr. Browne is also acting as their dad now. Mr. Browne looks tempted to stay with them, but decides that it's time he took a train back to London. After some emotional goodbyes, he leaves and Miss Price sends the children to bed. She then tries to reassure herself that she's happier without a man in her life ("Nobody's Problems Reprise"). She goes to the front door intending to call out for Mr. Browne to come back when she sees a couple of Nazi soldiers. She tries to call the police, but the soldiers come inside and stop her.

Scene 3: Outside of Miss Price's House

Mr. Browne is coming back towards the house having changed his mind about leaving. He sees the Nazis exiting the house with Miss Price and the children, so he hides in a shed. He overhears the Nazis saying that Miss Price and the children will be locked up in the town's museum while they use her house to prepare for an invasion of England. Mr. Browne notices that the shed contains Miss Price's various magical equipment and papers with spells written on them. He finds the spell for rabbits and transforms himself so that he can sneak into the village and rescue Miss Price and the children.

Scene 4: Inside the Museum

Miss Price and the children are surrounded by medieval armor and weapons, which Charlie suggests she use with the substitutiary locomotion spell. Mr. Browne enters the museum as a rabbit and then turns back into himself encouraging Miss Price to go with Charlie's suggestion. She casts the spell and brings all the armor to life. (Note that actors will be wearing the armor, but they will be wearing all black underneath.)

Scene 5: Outside Miss Price's House

The armor comes after the Nazis. The Nazis shoot at them, but all they continue moving forward and occasionally remove an arm to dump out the bullets. Miss Price flies on her broom supervising her troops as they scare off the Nazis ("The Battle: Substitutiary Locomotion Reprise"). One Nazi quickly places a bomb by the shed before leaving. The explosion destroys the shed and causes Miss Price to fall down. Her fall breaks the spell and the armor falls down. Mr. Browne laments the loss of her equipment and spells, but she takes pride in the fact that she was able to help prevent an invasion. She adds that she had never been very good at being a witch anyway ("The Fundamental Element Reprise"). Mr. Browne then notes that her love for England and hate for the Nazis might have been what helped her to do magic so well that night. They hear shots fired and see that the Home Guard is driving the Nazis back to the sea. This gives Mr. Browne an idea.

Scene 6: Outside Miss Price's House

Mr. Browne puts on a uniform because he has volunteered to join the Home Guard so that he can protect Miss Price and the children. Miss Price, now married to Mr. Browne, promises that they will start a brand new magic act together once the war is over. Paul indicates that they will continue to have adventures with the bedknob in the future. Mr. Browne then marches away with the rest of the Home Guard ("Finale: The Old Home Guard Reprise")


Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:52 pm
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