Friml, Stothart, Harbach and Hammerstein’s “musical play” Rose-Marie, set in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, premiered on Broadway on September 2, 1924. A traditional romance with a touch of murder and melodrama, the show concerned Rose-Marie LaFlamme, a French-Canadian girl in love with a local trapper. Leaning more towards operetta than musical theatre, the score featured several popular tunes, the most famous of which remains “Indian Love Call” (“When I’m calling you…”). Audiences ate it up, and the show ran for 554 performances, setting a record as Broadway’s longest-running musical.
An early success for Oscar Hammerstein II, Rose-Marie played an astounding two-year run on the West End and was adapted into three separate films. The musical had such a strong cultural impact that the very image of a Canadian Mountie and his girl has come to symbolize the entire genre of American operetta.
Rose-Marie, the featured singer at Lady Jane’s Hotel in Saskatchewan, is a great favorite with all the local Mounties and fur trappers, but her heart belongs only to trapper “Wild Jim” Kenyon. The wealthy Edward Hawley, who also loves Rose-Marie, witnesses a murder and places the blame on Jim, promising to save him only if Rose-Marie agrees to become his wife. Jim’s sidekick “Hard-boiled Herman” and his girlfriend Lady Jane are little help, so Rose-Marie agrees to Hawley’s proposal. Fortunately, just before the wedding, the real murderer is discovered, and Rose-Marie and her true love are reunited.
Rose-Marie La Flamme – Featured singer at Lady Jane’s, in love with Jim Kenyon
Jim Kenyon – A formerly “wild” fur-trapper, now devoted to Rose-Marie
Edward Hawley – A local businessman of great wealth with an eye for Rose-Marie
Lady Jane – Proprietress and barkeep of Lady Jane’s Hotel, Herman’s girlfriend
Hard-Boiled Herman – Jim Kenyon’s right-hand man, devoted to Lady Jane