The Red Mill is an operetta with a book written by Victor Herbert and Henry Blossom, with a libretto by Henry Blossom and Forman Brown and music by Victor Herbert.
It premiered on Broadway on September 24, 1906 at the Knickerbocker Theatre and ran for 274 performances, starring comedians Fred Stone and David Montgomery. It was revived on October 16, 1945 at the Ziegfeld Theatre, where it ran for 531 performances.
In 1906, producer Charles Dillingham made theatrical history by placing in front of the Knickerbocker Theater a revolving red windmill powered and lit by electricity. This was Broadway’s first moving illuminated sign.
In a village in Holland, two American vaudevillians, Con and Kid, who have been travelling in Europe but itch to get back to New York, are stranded penniless in the little inn, “The Sign of the Red Mill”. Trying to sneak out of the inn without paying their bill, they are caught and thrown into jail. The Innkeeper, however, pities them and arranges for their release to work at the inn until the debt owed is paid off.
The Burgomaster’s daughter, Gretchen, loves Captain Doris van Damm while her father wishes her to marry the Governor of Zeeland. The Americans agree to help Gretchen and the Captain to elope. Willem overhears the lovers’ plot and tells the Burgomaster. He locks Gretchen in the mill, where she pines away for the man she loves. Kid and Con try to rescue her, but the Burgomaster has made all arrangements for the marriage of his daughter to the governor. The two Americans appear at the wedding festivities in various disguises in an attempt to delay the wedding. When it is discovered that Captain Van Damm is heir to a large fortune, all resistance to him collapses. The lovers are united, and the Americans return home to New York.