The Midkar Group Presents

Rio Rita

Music by Harry Tierney
Lyrics by Joseph McCarthy
© 1927 by Leo Feist Inc. New York

Rio Rita is a 1927 stage musical with a book by Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson, music by Harry Tierney, lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, and produced by Florenz Ziegfeld. This musical united Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey as a comedy team and made them famous.

It premiered on Broadway on February 2, 1927, at the new Ziegfeld Theatre and, after moving to the Lyric Theatre and Majestic Theatre, closed on April 7, 1928 after 494 performances, a very long run for its time. In Sydney, Gladys Moncrieff appeared in a successful production at the St James Theatre. The musical premiered in London's West End on April 3, 1930, at the then newly opened Prince Edward Theatre.

The musical was made into a film in 1929, Rio Rita, starring Bebe Daniels and John Boles along with the team of Wheeler & Woolsey. Based on the success of this film, Wheeler & Woolsey were also given contracts to star in a series of comedies. Another film based on the musical was made in 1942.

The captain of the Texas Rangers, Jim Stewart, is in San Lucar Mexico on the Rio Grande, in disguise in order to catch the notorious bandit Kinkajou. While there, he falls in love with Rita Ferguson, an Irish-American-Mexican girl who sings in the local hotel after being displaced, along with her brother, from her family ranch.

General Esteban, the Governor of the San Lucar District, also loves Rita and hates all gringos. He hatches a plot to set Jim and Rita at odds by making Rita doubt both her own brother, who may be the Kinkajou, and Jim, who may be spying on her brother through her.

Amid all of this intrigue, Chick Bean, a soap salesman, and Dolly, an American cabaret girl, arrive in San Lucar and get married. Unbeknownst to Dolly, Chick also went to Mexico to obtain a quick divorce from his unfaithful first wife, Katie. But then hours after Chick and Dolly are wed, Ed Lovett, a lawyer of dubious reputation, informs Chick that his divorce is not recognized by the U.S. Government. Complications ensue.

sequence by James Pitt-Payne, London UK, 2017
in association with Veda Meyer-Castens
Score thanks to Torquil Syme

Tune List
# Title Size
1 Overture 26kb
1a Opening Chorus 14kb
2 The Best Little Lover In Town 13kb
2a Segue and Chorus 11kb
3 Sweetheart 5kb
4 River Song 6kb
5 Eight Little Gringos 5kb
6 Are You There? 13kb
7 Rio Rita 16kb
8-9 Rangers Chorus and Song 29kb
10 Spanish Shawl 13kb
11 The Charra Dance 19kb
12 The Kinkajou 17kb
13 You're Always In My Arms 20kb
14 If You're In Love You'll Waltz 8kb
15 Moonlight Ballet 15kb
16 Out On the Loose 23kb
17 Finale Act I 27kb
18-19 Opening Chorus - Pirate Number 19kb
20-21 Ballet and Chorus 17kb
22 I Can Speak Espagnol 28kb
23-24 Roses And Song 15kb
25-26 Reprise of Two Songs 13kb
27-28 Reprise Rio Rita and Incidental Music 7kb
29 Following the Sun Around 11kb
30 Finale - Wedding Scene 16kb

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