Help Support
« Shows


Candide is based on a famous novel by Voltaire, a satiric story about an innocent young man who believes that eventually all is for the best, in this best of all possible worlds. He and his friends survive any number of disasters, always continuing their optimistic search for this "best of all possible worlds". Sondheim is only peripherally connected with this show, having written additional lyrics for the 1973 and 1997 revivals.

Candide was originally a collaboration between Composer Leonard Bernstein and Playwright Lillian Hellman. Bernstein was writing Candide with Hellman (and lyricist John LaTouche) at the same time that he was writing West Side Story with Sondheim, and indeed, several numbers originally intended for one show ended up in the other. John LaTouche died early in the process, and Bernstein asked Sondheim to write lyrics for the show. Sondheim declined, Bernstein turned to lyricist Richard Wilbur, and the 1956 version of the show featured lyrics by LaTouche, Richard Wilbur, Bernstein, Dorothy Parker (for "The Venice Gavotte") and Lillian Hellman. (The lyrics were credited to Richard Wilbur, with "additional lyrics" by John LaTouche.) Although the score was uniformly admired, the show flopped in 1956. Most critics blamed the book.

In 1973, the show was revived, with a new book by Hugh Wheeler, who threw out the Hellman book and went back to Voltaire. Hal Prince directed, with choreography by Patricia Birch, in a now famous environmental staging at the Chelsea Theatre Center. (This became known as "The Chelsea Version"). For this new incarnation, Sondheim agreed to write some new lyrics, mainly to music written for the show but not used in the original production, as well as adjusting some of the older lyrics. His numbers include "Life is Happiness Indeed" (which was based on, and essentially replaced Bernstein and Parker's "The Venice Gavotte" from the 1956 version), "This World", "The Sheep Song", and half of "Auto Da Fe". For this incarnation, the lyric credits read "Lyrics by Richard Wilbur. With additional lyrics by John LaTouche, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim". This second incarnation of the show was a hit, and they transferred to Broadway, (at the Broadway Theatre) in 1974, environmental staging and all.

The show was revived again in 1982 at the NYC Opera, and broadcast on "Live at Lincoln Center". For this version, Hal Prince and Pat Birch reconceived their environmental staging for a proscenium, in what came to be known as "the Opera House" version of the show. Much of the music that had been cut from the original 1956 version for the 1973 "Chelsea Version" was restored.

Most recently, the show was revived on Broadway at the Gershwin in 1997, with Hal Prince and Patricia Birch essentially remounting their Opera House staging. Sondheim wrote some additional material for this incarnation, including an expanded version of "I Am Easily Assimilated" and other material for the Old Lady, who was played in this production by Andrea Martin. He is said to be the uncredited author of the humorous notes (titled "Dr. Voltaire's Marvelous Glossary") that were inserted into each Broadway playbill to help the audience follow the language and characters in the show. Lyric credits revert back to "Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, With additional lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and John LaTouche."

- June Abernathy

Show Data

Broadway Production Info:

Opened March 10, 1974
Closed January 4, 1976
Ran 740 Performances
Theatre Broadway Theatre
Book Hugh Wheeler
  Adapted from Voltaire
Music Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics Richard Wilbur
Additional Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
  John LaTouche
Uncredited Lyrics Leonard Bernstein
Director Harold Prince
Assistant Director Ruth Mitchell
Artistic Director Robert Kalfin
Executive Director Michael David
Production Director Burl Hash
Producers Harold Prince
  Ruth Mitchell
Choreographer Patricia Birch
Production Design Eugene Lee
  Frank Lee
Lighting Tharon Musser
Musical Direction John Mauceri
Orchestrations Hershey Kay
Presented by Chelsea Theatre Center

Broadway Cast:

Dr. Voltaire Lewis J. Stadlen
Dr. Pangloss Lewis J. Stadlen
Governor Lewis J. Stadlen
Host Lewis J. Stadlen
Sage Lewis J. Stadlen
Candide Mark Baker
Cunegonde Maureen Brennan
Paquette Deborah St. Darr
Maximillian Sam Freed
Old Lady June Gable

Musical Numbers:

  1. Overture
  2. Life is Happiness Indeed *
  3. Parade
  4. The Best of All Possible Worlds *
  5. Oh Happy We
  6. It Must Be So
  7. O Miserere
  8. Oh Happy We
  9. Glitter and Be Gay
  10. Auto Da Fe (What a Day) *
  11. This World *
  12. You Were Dead, You Know
  13. The Rich Jew & the Grand Inquisitor
  14. I Am Easily Assimilated
  15. My Love
  16. Barcarolle (Upon a Ship at Sea)
  17. luia
  18. Sheep's Song *
  19. Bon Voyage
  20. The Best of All Possible Worlds
  21. You Were Dead, You Know
  22. Barcarolle
  23. Finale: Make Our Garden Grow

* Includes contribution from Sondheim

Broadway Revival Production Info:

Opened April 29, 1997
Closed July 27, 1997
Ran 103 Performances
Theatre Gershwin Theatre
Book Hugh Wheeler
Music Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics Richard Wilbur
New Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
Additional Lyrics Stephen Sondheim
  John LaTouche
Uncredited Lyrics Leonard Bernstein
Directed Harold Prince
Producer Livent, Inc.
Choreographer Patricia Birch
Set Designer Clarke Dunham
Costume Designer Judith Dolan
Lighting Designer Ken Billington
Hair Design Bobby Grayson
Production Supervisor Clayton Phillips
Musical Direction Eric Stern

Broadway Revival Cast:

Voltaire Jim Dale
Dr. Pangloss Jim Dale
Businessman Jim Dale
Governor Jim Dale
Second Gambler and Sage Jim Dale
Old Lady Andrea Martin
Candide Jason Danieley
Cunegonde Harolyn Blackwell
  Glenda Balkan
Paquette Stacey Logan
Maximillian Brent Barrett
Don Issachar Arte Johnson
Judge Gomez Arte Johnson
Father Bernard Arte Johnson
Turhan Bey Arte Johnson
Baron Von Thunder Mal Lawrence
Grand Inquisitor Mal Lawrence
Pasha-Prefect Mal Lawrence
Columbo Mal Lawrence
Baroness Von Thunder Julie Johnson
2nd Bulgarian Soldier Paul Harman
Heresy Agent David Girolmo
Governor's Aide Allen Hidalgo
Sheep Nanne Puritz
  D'Vorah Bailey
Lion Seth Malkin


  1. Broadway Cast Recording (Stereo)
    1974 Columbia, S2X 32923

  2. Broadway Cast Recording (Quad.)
    1974 Columbia, Q2S 32923

  3. Broadway Cast Recording (CD)
    1997 RCA Victor, 09026-68835-2

  4. Broadway Cast Recording (Tape)
    1997 RCA Victor, 09026-68835-4


  • 1974 Tony Awards - 5 nominations, 3 wins:

    1. Best Director (Harold Prince)
    2. Best Book (Hugh Wheeler)
    3. Best Costume Design (Franne Lee)

  • 1997 Tony Awards - 4 nominations, 1 wins:

    1. Best Costume Designer (Judith Dolan)

    Secondary performance rights handled by Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.


    Discuss this show in's community forum: Finishing the Chat... ››



    Recently Overheard...
    Assassins is about how society interprets the American Dream, marginalizes outsiders and rewrites and sanitizes its collective history. "Something Just Broke" is a major distraction and plays like an afterthought, shoe horned simply to appease. The song breaks the dramatic fluidity and obstructs the overall pacing and climactic arc which derails the very intent and momentum that makes this work so compelling...”
    - Mark Bakalor

    Follow the thread...

    “I found [the Sondheim Celebration's Company] to be completely delightful. Almost all of the numbers excited and energized me, and most of the scenes were about as pitch-perfect as you can get. I just sat there with a big smile on my face the whole show.

    Which is not to say that it is perfect...”
    - popcornonmyknees

    Follow the thread...

    Explore the rest of the Finishing the Chat Community Forum

    Music, Books & More
    Elaine Stritch
    With three hand-held cameras, one major theatrical milestone and nearly nineteen hours of footage, this rare and intimate look with Original Cast Album - Company is a must for any Sondheim fan.

    DVD: $26.96
    VHS: $24.95

    One of Sondheim's most beloved works is sure to be Sunday in the Park with George, available on DVD, video tape, and CD.

    CD: $13.99
    DVD: $25.49
    VHS: $19.98

    Nathan Lane
    All Sondheim completists are sure to now own the first complete recording of The Frogs coupled with Evening Primrose. Do you?

    CD: $18.97

    Browse additional merchandise...


    © 1994-2004 hijinks design. All Rights Reserved. | Site design and hosting by hijinks design.