The Flamingo Hat An exotic magical hat causes havoc in Colonial Georgetown. This 1954 collaboration between Dirksen and Frank Baer (a St. Albans teacher) was revised and repeated in 1958.
Baer and Dirksen partnered again in 1957 for The Houseboat-on-the Styx in which an exclusive male Apparitions Club gets thoroughly equalized.
Joan Dirksen wrote the book and Wayne provided the music and lyrics for The Rose and The Ring in 1959. Based on a Christmas pantomime by William Makepeace Thackery, magical love tokens gifted by witches are a trial for all. The show features three comic villains, each worse than the last!
In 1961’s Tularosa they turned a tiny story in the Washington Post about a New Mexico ranch woman’s threat to secede from the Union into a warm-hearted tale predicting the fulfillment of JFK’s vision for space travel. This is Dirksen’s best overall score.
Last but not least, in 1962 they completely re-worked the 1957 show into Houseboat, adding substantial roles for Sherlock Holmes, Lucrezia Borgia, and Captain Kidd’s inept pirates.
From Wayne’s Annotated Catalog:
The choral music in these operettas is complex and often in four to eight parts with divisi in each. The chorus comprises a rich choral-orchestra which augments the solo piano accompaniment. In our productions we would get as many of the choristers into costume as possible and put them on the stage in crowd scenes. This was usually a little less than half of the eighty-or-so glee club members. The remainder were seated in the area before the stage to both sides of the piano like an orchestra. They were dressed in formal evening attire and sang all of their music from memory, with power and impeccable precision, standing to face the audience at the big-sound, show-stopping moments. In this way they were all involved in the operettas and savored the importance of their vital musical support.