From New York to Paris, from ragtime to jazz, an ensemble of actors chronicles the story of America’s first women soldiers in a new musical by Prospect Theater Company. These intrepid heroines served as bilingual telephone operators on the front lines, helping turn the tide of World War I. They then returned home to fight a decades-long battle for equality and recognition, paving the way for future generations. THE HELLO GIRLS celebrates the centennial of these groundbreaking women.
Enjoy a preview from Prospect Theater Company’s World Premiere of THE HELLO GIRLS:
Learn more about the real world “Hello Girls” in this video from Peter Mills’ channel
Reviews of the World Premiere of THE HELLO GIRLS:
“Move over, Mean Girls and Wicked: There’s a new musical exploding with grrrl power, female camaraderie and uplifting songs” – TimeOut NY
“Simply stated, don’t miss it…fascinating historical story, great music, an exceptional cast, and the finest staging…The company of The Hello Girls is tops.” – BroadwayWorld
“Filled with memorable songs and brilliant performances, it is a musical as triumphant as the true story on which it is based…Mills (who wrote the music and lyrics) has filled this action-packed war story with instant-classic songs…a particularly joyous experience. You won’t want to say goodbye.” – Theatermania
“First-class entertainment…musically rich, beautifully staged and vibrantly performed” – CurtainUp
“one of the best new musicals I’ve seen Off-Broadway…a consummate ensemble piece…The Hello Girls is a winner on all fronts” – BlogCritics.org
“The musical numbers are catchy, and the lyrics are bright and intelligent…winning performances” – Wolf Entertainment Guide
“Terrific beyond belief…Mills is a “deft lyricist” and “one of our major lyric writing talents”– BroadwayRadio
The protagonist of THE HELLO GIRLS is Grace Banker, chief of the first female telephone operators’ unit of the US Army Signal Corps. The unit was set up in 1917 on the orders of General Pershing, who wanted skilled telephone operators to ensure effective communication between the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. Of course, the best operators at that time were women, so that’s who Pershing set out to recruit.
In order to coordinate with Ferdinand Foch’s army, the operators also need to be fluent in French, making Franco-American Louise LeBreton a shoo-in. Idaho farm girl Helen Hill has been speaking French with her maman since she could crawl. Bertha Hunt isn’t content to sit at home while her husband ships off, so she joins the army too. Suzanne Prevot sees enlistment as an opportunity for adventure. She convinces Grace to join her, arguing, “Girls like us – we aren’t cut out for tending Victory Gardens.” Of course, Grace will have to cultivate her professional relationship with her immediate superior, Lt. Joseph Riser, a man’s man who is none too thrilled about leading a company of ladies.
THE HELLO GIRLS
Music and Lyrics by PETER MILLS
Book by PETER MILLS and CARA REICHEL
Orchestrations by PETER MILLS and BEN MOSS
Additional Drum Arrangements by ELENA BONOMO
NOTE: The names of the Composer, Lyricist, and Bookwriter shall be equal in size, type, coloring, boldness, and prominence. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent than the billing to the Authors except for the title of the play. The credit to the producer shall appear in a type size of no less than eight (8) point.
Grace Banker: Articulate and poised, with a core of steely strength that makes itself apparent as she grows into her role as leader.
Suzanne Prevot: From New York City. Feisty, sardonic, tough-talking. A close friend of Grace’s from AT&T.
Helen Hill: From Idaho. A typical small-town farm girl… Sweet, over-enthusiastic, wholesomely kooky and prone to nervous panic.
Bertha Hunt: Married to a Navy doctor who is also serving. Older, wiser, reliable – The Den Mother. Extremely knowledgeable about military matters.
Louise Lebreton: 18. Fearless, flirty, headstrong and often insubordinate. Born in France, she has family fighting with the French army.
Cpt. Joseph Riser: The Signal Corps officer who recruits and trains the women. A career army man, a stickler for rules and order, he is skeptical of the women’s presence in the army.
Lt. Ernest Wessen: Head of the recruiting center for the Signal Corps
Pvt. Eugene Matterson: An enlisted man who works closely with Lt. Riser.
Pvt. Robert Dempsey: A Signal Corps operator at the Paris Telephone Exchange
Gen. John Pershing: Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces. Hard, relentless, inflexible, with a deep sense of honor and American individualism and identity.
*with the exception of Capt. Riser and Gen. Pershing, the men all play a variety of supporting roles
9 Musicians (or Actor-Musicians)
Keyboard 2 / Accordion / Bells*
Trumpet / Euphonium **
*Accordion and bells may be substituted by keyboard patches.
**The fingering for these instruments is the same.