STOP THE WORLD – I WANT TO GET OFF is a thought-provoking tale about the fleeting nature of worldly success. The hero of the show, Littlechap, attempts to apply some braking effect on his world before it spins out of control.
LITTLECHAP thought he was more perspicacious than the other clowns in the stupendous, non-stop circus life; he was a natural, surely, for the role of ringmaster. LITTLECHAP’s intentions were clear and shining in his mind. He would make himself rich – a thousand a week, say – and carry out seasonal excursions to Cannes, Capri and Royal Ascot. He would rise up from his bed-sitter off the Brompton Road to show this mighty, menacing world that he was a little more equal than all the other equal men.
The top deck of the 8:30 bus was not an ideal setting for LITTLECHAP’s some enchanted evening act but with a girl like EVIE some drastic form of getting-to-know-you campaign was called for to counteract the unexpectedly sharp snubbing at the bus stop. LITTLECHAP had never mashed up tea for a more entrancing woman than EVIE; she was head, shoulders and other vital limbs above the rest of the factory girls. If LITTLECHAP had ever found time to finish his memoirs, he might have realized that his first and greatest asset in life was really EVIE. After all, if his boss had not become his father-in-law when LITTLECHAP married EVIE, he might never have made that first, important step up from tea-boy to manager of the northern office.
There were other women in LITTLECHAP’s life but to him they were all EVIE. Indeed, none of them would have excited him in the least had they been located, dish-mop and pan-scrub poised, in front of a loaded kitchen sink. The fact was, however, that these others were to be found in unconventionally romantic surroundings. On a business trip with the International Trade Mission to Moscow, LITTLECHAP allowed himself to be seduced swiftly and efficiently by his Russian EVIE in the athletic form of ANYA. He encountered ILSE, his German EVIE, on home ground and her American counterpart, GINNIE, a club songstress, living high, amongst the tall skyscrapers of Manhattan. Remarkably, LITTLECHAP managed to bring into his grasp just about every challenging conquest which had swollen out and colored his earliest dreams. He could control the building of mountains when it came to streamlining the northern branch office at Sludgepool (twixt Huddersfield and Crewe); he could command the attentions of an interminable number of EVIES with what he liked to think of as a brilliant suaveness of his tongue; he could sway quite discerning constituents and white-haired cabinet ministers alike by the alacrity of his political debating; he could always speak (without fear of contradiction) to his Fellow Members of Snobb’s … but he never found the power and strength to make himself, his wife, his two daughters or anyone else truly happy and, despite his diligent attention to Overseas Affairs, he failed to find the glory of fathering the son for which he constantly longed. He crisscrossed the globe upon his travels but he never did find the secret brake which might have decelerated his world to a tolerably peaceful speed.
Only when senility crowded out from his mind the more fatuous mental calculations necessary to the scuffling, virile business of living, did LITTLECHAP find a brief opportunity to reflect, upon the ultimate failure of his superficial successes. Like Everyman, he recalled the past in a fleeting parade of memories but, since the world of LITTLECHAP moved at a more relentless rate, it was much too late to pause for remorse. As he tumbled breathlessly off his swirling world, LITTLECHAP was permitted the final comfort of seeing the birth of his first grandson, the undoubted heir to all his fortunes and misfortunes.
Sensational tunes: What Kind of Fool Am I?, Once In A Lifetime, Gonna Climb A Mountain, and Mumbo Jumbo.
STOP THE WORLD I WANT TO GET OFF
Book, Music and Lyrics by
Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley
Produced for the Broadway stage by
David Merrick in association with Bernard Delfont
Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.
The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:
STOP THE WORLD I WANT TO GET OFF
is presented by arrangement with
MusicScope & Stage Musicals Ltd. of New York
1 Reed I: Flute, Piccolo, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
1 Reed II: Flute , Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
1 Reed III: Clarinet , Bass Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & Baritone Saxophone
1 Reed V: Bassoon
1 Trumpets I & II
1 Trombone I
1 Trombone II
2 Percussion I & II
Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
Cymbals (Suspended & Hi-Hat)
Tom Toms (3 Pitches)
Gong (Tam Tam)
Timpani (3 Drums)
Piano (Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.)
Evie (Also Anya, Ilse and Ginnie)
Chorus of Seven Girls
STOP THE WORLD – I WANT TO GET OFF opened at the Queen’s Theatre, London, where it played for 485 performances. On Broadway, it played for 555 performances at the Shubert and Ambassador Theatres starring Anthony Newley and Anna Quayle.
The Tony Award for best featured actress in a musical (Anna Quayle).