Love Life

Vaudeville in two acts.
Books and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.

The Cooper family: Front, Johnny (Johnny Stewart) and Elizabeth (Cheryl Archer).
Back, Susan (Nanette Fabray) and Sam (Ray Middleton).


Love Life tells the story of family values in America from colonial days to the mid-twentieth century. Samuel and Susan Cooper and their two children, who do not age, progress through different eras, and we see how their relationship changes and weakens as stress from outside the home grows. The scenes are interspersed with different kinds of vaudeville numbers (such as magic acts, vocal ensembles, a trapeze act) which comment on the story. At the end, Samuel and Susan are trying to save their marriage, their resolve strengthened by their hard-won knowledge of all the pressures that face them. Love Life is generally regarded as one of the first "concept" musicals.

Song list

Performance Information Cast: Singing roles -- Susan Cooper (soprano), Sam Cooper (bass baritone), Elizabeth Cooper, Johnny Cooper, Mary Jo, George Hamilton Beacon, Jonathan Anderson, Charlie, Hank, Will, Tim, three children, Slade, Boylan, Harvey, Leffcourt, Miss Horoscope (coloratura soprano), Miss Mysticism, Miss Ideal Man, Mr. Cynic, ensemble of vaudevillians, townspeople, minstrels.
Speaking roles -- Magician, Walt, Trapeze Artist, William Taylor, dancers.
Orchestra: Reed 1 (cl, alto sax), Reed 2 (cl, bass cl, alto sax, fl), Reed 3 (cl, ten. sax, fl, picc), Reed 4 (cl, ten. sax, ob), Reed 5 (cl, bar. sax, bn); 3 tpt, tbn; guitar (banjo), piano (accordion), timp & perc; strings (without violas).
Duration: full evening, 110 minutes music

Principal productions

LP Heritage H0060
CD DRG 5246
Alan Jay Lerner, Kaye Ballard, et al. 
Love Song 
Here I'll Stay 
Green Up Time 
Susan's Dream 
Mr. Right 
CD EMI 7243 5 55563 2 5 Kurt Weill on Broadway
Thomas Hampson
London Sinfonietta
John McGlinn, cond.
Who is Samuel Cooper?
My Name is Samuel Cooper
Here I'll Stay
I Remember It Well
This is the Life (2 CDs) American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia
Neal Ben-Ari, Debbie Shapiro and Richard Muenz
Revival  16 June 1990


"Ho, Billy O!" from Love Life (1948)

Madrigal for SATB chorus a cappella, with divisi.
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner.

Performance Information

Duration: 6 minutes
Published Editions: TRO #S7071
First performance: (Probably) July 20, 1985, New York, Festival of American Music Theatre, The National Chorale, Martin Josman, cond.

PRCD 1030
  Songs of Humor and Satire
The Gregg Smith Singers