The Red Mill

The Red Mill

Infobox Musical
name= The Red Mill

caption= Sheet music cover
music= Victor Herbert
lyrics= Henry Blossom
Forman Brown
book= Henry Blossom
Victor Herbert
productions= 1906 Broadway
1945 Broadway revival

"The Red Mill" is an operetta written by Victor Herbert, with a libretto by Henry Blossom. 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. The Red Mill includes the famous songs "Every Day is Lady's Day with Me", "The Streets of New York", "You Never Can Tell About a Woman", and "Because You're You".

A 1927 silent movie version starred Marion Davies and was directed by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle under the pseudonym of William Goodrich- The situation of Gretchen and the Captain is retained from the operetta, but it is made a sub plot. Marion Davies plays a character invented for the film.


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.


*Con Kidder, Kid Connor - Two Americans "doing" Europe
*Burgomaster Jan van Borken - of Katwyck-aan-Zee
*Bertha - his sister
*Gretchen - his daughter
*Willem - innkeeper at the "Red Mill"
*Tina - his daughter
*Captain Doris van Damm
*Franz - the sheriff of Katwyck-aan-Zee
*The Governor of Zeeland
*Joshua Pennyfeather - an English solicitor
*Countess de la Fère - an automobilist
*Flora, Dora, Lena, Anna, Phyllis, Madge, etc.

Musical numbers

;Act I
* By the Side of the Mill - Chorus
* Mignonette - Tina and Girls
* You Can Never Tell About a Woman - Jan Van Borkem and Willem
* Whistle It - Kid Conner, Con Kidder and Tina
* A Widow Has Ways - Bertha
* (In) The Isle of Our Dreams - Captain Doris Van Damm and Gretchen
* (Always) Go While the Goin' Is Good - Con Kidder, Kid Conner, Tina and Bertha
* An Accident - Countess de La Tere, Tina and Chorus
* Moonbeams - Gretchen, Captain Doris Van Damm and Male Choruscol-break ;Act II
* Gossip Song - Bertha and Chorus
* (The) Legend of the Mill - Bertha and Chorus
* Good-a-bye, John (Lyrics By Harry Williams, Music By Egbert Van Alstyne) - Con Kidder and Kid Conner
* I Want You to Marry Me! - Tina and Chorus
* Every Day Is Ladies' Day With Me - The Governor of Zeeland and Male Chorus
* Because You're You - Bertha and The Governor of Zeeland
* The Streets of New York (In Old New York) - Con Kidder, Kid Conner and Chorus
* The Wedding Song (Wedding Bells) - The Governor of Zeeland and Chorus
* The Streets of New York (In Old New York) - Entire Company


Decca Records recorded six selections (on three 10-inch 78-RPM records) in 1945. The recording featured Eileen Farrell, Wilbur Evans and Felix Knight with a chorus and orchestra conducted by Jay Blackton. This album was reissued on one side of a 12-inch Lp ("Babes in Toyland" was on the reverse) in 1957. This edition stayed in print until 1969. After a long absence from the catalogue, Decca Broadway reissued the complete album on CD (again paired with "Babes") in 2002.

Also in 1945, RCA Victor issued an album based on the hit Broadway revival but using studio singers (and Al Goodman's orchestra) instead of the Broadway cast. These eight highlights were issued on Lp by RCA Victor (1951) and on their budget label RCA Camden (1958) but have been unavailable in any format since 1960.

A Capitol album starring Gordon MacRae was issued as part of a series of recordings based on MacRae's popular Railroad Hour program, which featured potted operettas and musicals. The first release was a 10-inch Lp, it was later reisued on one side of a 12-inch Lp (with "Naughty Marietta" on the reverse.) This version has been released on CD along with selections from "Naughty Marietta" and Sweethearts. [ [ Recording of "Naughty Marietta, The Red Mill" and "Sweethearts",] (2008)]

A stereo recording was made by Reader's Digest for their 1963 album "Treasury of Great Operettas". Each of the 24 operettas in the set is condensed to fill one Lp side. "The Red Mill" selections have not been re-released on CD.

In the 1920's, Chandler Goldwaithe "recorded" selections from "The Red Mill" on a paper roll for use in an E. M. Skinner player organ. A CD of this roll playing on a 1929 Skinner organ was released by JAV Recordings in 2001.



* [ Synopsis and other information about "The Red Mill" from Musicaltheatreguide]
* [ Information about "The Red Mill" from]
* [ Synopsis and other information from the site]
* [ Profile of "The Red Mill" from the NODA website]

External links

* [ Vocal score]
* [ Information about 1907 film clips]

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