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Sweethearts can refer to two stage works, a play by W.S. Gilbert (1874) and a musical play by Victor Herbert (1913)

Sweethearts, a comic play by W. S. Gilbert (1874)

The original text

The play by W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911)[1] is also billed as a "dramatic contrast" in two acts, and is a piece about the differing recollections of a man and a woman about their last meeting together before being separated and reunited after 30 years.

First produced on 7 November 1874 at the Prince of Wales's Theatre in London, running for 132 performances until 13 April 1875. There have been many revivals till the 1920s.

Translations and adaptations

The plot suggests this could have been a source of inspiration for the superb BBC TV series As Time Goes By.

Performance history in South Africa

1878: Performed as a matinee performance on 14 September by the company of Henry Smith and Richard Thatcher in the Exhibition Hall, Cape Town, along with a "Musical, Dramatic and Shakespearian recital" by Sutton Vane and Ada Ward. The band was that of the Connaught Rangers.

Sweethearts, an operetta / musical play by Victor Herbert (1913)

The original text

A fantasy about the infant princess of the little kingdom of Zilinia, hidden away in Bruges during the war, and then returned to claim her throne after 22 years, even though unaware that she is a princess.

The music is by Victor Herbert (1859-1924)[2], lyrics by Robert B. Smith (1875-1951)[3] and book by Harry B. Smith (1860-1936)[4] and Fred de Gresac (?-1943)[5].

First performed at the Academy of Music in Baltimore during March 1913. A shortened and overhauled version was then tried out in Philadelphia and in Boston for ten weeks before opening on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on September 8, 1913. It transferred to the Liberty Theatre on November 10, 1913 where it ran for a total of 136 performances.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa









D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.203-205

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