Johnny Johnson

Musical play in two acts.
Book and lyrics by Paul Green.

Song List
Performance Information
Principal Productions


Johnny goes off to World War I in spite of his love for peace, and leaves behind his true love, Minny Belle, in their rural town. Naive and idealistic, Johnny baffles the recruiters and commanders, but still winds up fighting in Europe, where he manages to halt the war temporarily by attacking a meeting of the generals with laughing gas. When the leaders come to their senses, the war continues and Johnny is committed to an asylum where he is held for ten years. Meanwhile, Minny Belle has married the dreary town capitalist. Johnny is released and becomes a toymaker, still trying to spread peace in an increasingly warlike society.

Song list

Performance Information

Cast: Singing roles -- Mayor, Minny Belle Tompkins (soprano), Grandpa Joe, Johnny Johnson (high baritone), Aggie Tompkins, Captain Valentine (baritone), Sergeant Jackson, Private Harwood, Chief of Allied High Command, French Nurse (soprano), American Priest (tenor), German Priest (baritone), Dr. Mahodan (baritone).
Speaking roles -- Anguish Howington, Dr. McBray, Johann Lang, Brother George, photographer, messenger, villagers, orderlies, generals, officers, soldiers, politicians, madmen.
Orchestra: Reed 1 (cl, E-flat cl, bass cl), Reed 2 (cl, bass cl., alto sax, bari. sax); 2 tpt, tbn; Hammond organ (piano), guitar (banjo), timp & perc; 2 vn, cello.
Duration: full evening, 65 minutes music
Authorized Translations: German -- Fred Berndt and Jörg Gronius
Authorized Adaptation: German -- Richard Weihe

Principal productions

LP MGM E-3447
LP Heliodor H25024
CD Polydor 831384-2
Studio Cast 1955 [excerpts]
Burgess Meredith, Thomas Stewart, Evelyn Lear, Lotte Lenya,
Jane Connell, Hiram Sherman, Bob Shaver, Jean Sanders,William Malten, Scott Merrill, 
Samuel Matlowsky, cond.
Erato 0630-17870-2 Boston Camerata, 
The Otaré Pit Band, 
Joel Cohen (cond.)


War Play
Suite from Johnny Johnson arranged by David Drew
for soprano, mezzo, two tenors, bass and instrumental ensemble.

Song list


Part 1: Europe 1914
Empire Song
Song of the Statue
Veteran's Song
Interlude 1
Song of the Guns

Part 2: USA 1917
Over in Europe
Democracy's Call 1
Democracy's Call 2
Recruitment Music
Farewell Song
Over in Europe
Interlude 2

Part 3: Europe 1917-18
Battle Music
Song of the Wounded Frenchmen
The Allied High command
Song of the Soldier's Mother
Armistice Music
Hymn to Friendship
Hymn to Peace

Performance Information

Orchestra: Reed 1 (cl, E-flat cl, bass cl), Reed 2 (cl, alto sax, bar. sax); 2 tpt, tbn; guitar (banjo), Hammond organ (piano), timp, perc; 2 vn, cello.
Duration: 40 minutes
First performance: September 13, 1975, Berlin, Berliner Festwochen, Mary Thomas, Meriel Dickinson, Philip Langridge, Michael Rippon, vocalists, London Sinfonietta, David Atherton, cond.