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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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 Broadway 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, Arkansas, 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 Philadelphia 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.

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