Haddon Hall
Derbyshire, England

Chu Chin Chow Libretto by Oscar Asche

Chu Chin Chow is a musical comedy written, produced and directed by Oscar Asche, with music by Frederic Norton, based, with embellishments, on the story of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves. The play premiered at His Majesty’s Theatre in London on August 31, 1916 and ran for five years and a total of 2,238 performances (more than twice as many as any previous musical), a record that stood for nearly forty years.

Oscar Asche wrote the following introduction to his play.
  For the story of the entertainment I have gone to The Arabian Nights and have taken as my subject The Forty Thieves, the best beloved, I imagine, of all the tales with which Shahrazad soothed her lord. Providing as it does such opportunities for musical illustration, for decorative dances, for pictorial artistry, for the making of atmosphere--the theme is irresistible.
  Mainly I have used Richard Francis Burton's intimate translation, carefully collating the several variants of the story to be found in other literatures. I would point out that The Forty Thieves, as it is commonly known here, has acquired strange and uncongenial characters and incidents. These I have removed; while the exigencies of a play so spacious as to fill so large as His Majesty's Theatre in London have needed the introduction of other scenes and personalities.
  Indeed, I have used the license of the dramatist, with a carefully maintained consciousness of the spirit of The Arabian Nights. And I hope these magic doors may open on a lifelike and stimulating vision of the romance, the splendour, the inscrutable mystery of the East.

Chu Chin Chow Libretto and Chu Chin Chow Novel have been included in the book Three Musical Plays. A printed copy of the book may be purchased at www.LULU.com/shop
Enter TRUTT in the Search Books box.

Click to download 0.6 MB PDF file Chu Chin Chow Libretto by Oscar Asche : DOWNLOAD

As the piece became more popular, the following year a souvenir booklet was prepared, which included a novelized version by Willam A. Page. He included background explanations with which the audience would have become familiar through the scenery and physical attributes of the characters. Page had the characters in his 'novel' use the dialogue from the play when appropriate.

Click to download 0.5 MB PDF file Chu Chin Chow Novel by William Page : DOWNLOAD

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