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"After All, Miss, This Is France!" France and Musicals

I've compiled this list in honor of a new friend, Carole, who lives in France. I was trying to think of musicals that had a French element to them, and since I do these lists, it seemed only natural to formalize the topic online.

France has been the setting for some of the most popular musicals of all time. In particular, Paris, with its aura of sophistication, excitement, romance, and beauty, makes a wonderful place to set musicals. And a number of musicals have employed French actors and actresses, especially Liliane Montevecchi, a former Folies Bergeres star.

This list consists of musicals set partially or entirely in France, written by French authors, containing at least one notable French character, or dealing in some way with France and its people. I also include musicals concerned with French-speaking areas of the world, such as Quebec, and revues with a French connection. However, I have left out various editions of the Ziegfeld Follies and similar entertainments that may have had a French song or France-based comedy routine. I've also left out movie musicals.

Aspects of Love (Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and Don Black)

In this story of complex romantic entanglements, the uncle of the main character lives in Paris, and much of the action takes place there. The rest of the action takes place in Montpellier and Pau.

The Baker's Wife (Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz)

Set in the village of Concorde in Provence in 1935. A town gets a new baker (and his wife) when the old one dies. The wife, being pretty and young, fools around with a townsperson, and the baker is so depressed that he quits baking. The townspeople, who love their bread and are going crazy without it, try to talk the wife back into her husband's arms, and she eventually returns because she realizes she loves him.

Bless the Bride (Music by Vivian Ellis, lyrics by A. P. Herbert)

This 1947 classic of the London musical stage is set in England during 1870. In a nutshell: The Franco-Prussian war is on the horizon, but Great Britain will remain neutral. Thomas, who is affianced to Lucy, has "French actor friends," Pierre (played by Georges Guetary) and Suzanne. A croquet game in progress is stopped because the game is fashionable in France ("Ah, France! The moral pest!"). Pierre is attracted to Lucy, who is intrigued but initially faithful to Thomas. Suzanne is jealous. Lucy decides she doesn't love Thomas, and Pierre spirits her away to France; Suzanne accompanies them and causes friction. Thomas's family follows the trio to France and dress up ineptly as French stereotypes; comic complications ensue. When war is declared, Pierre marches off with Suzanne, and a disappointed Lucy returns to England. She comes to believe that Pierre has been killed, but she cannot bring herself to marry Thomas. Eventually, Suzanne resurfaces with Pierre as a gift for Lucy, and Thomas generously gives them the wedding ring he'd bought for Lucy.

Beauty and the Beast (Music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice)

This show is set in a small French village and a large French castle, but the story doesn't particularly feel French or make a big deal out of being set in France, aside from the names and atrocious accents of some of the characters. And also, Mrs. Potts is quite English....

Ben Franklin in Paris (Music by Mark Sandrich, Jr., lyrics by Sidney Michaels, with additional material from Jerry Herman)

Latter-day floperetta with Robert Preston in the title role sounding a bit too much like Harold Hill for comfort. For some bizarre reason they hired a Swedish actress (Ulla Sallert) to play the Comtesse Diane de Vobrillac. I guess all European accents sound alike to us Americans. Anyway, Ben Franklin goes to Paris in 1776 to drum up support for the American colonies. He meets King Louis XVI, who is cool to the idea because the Comtesse is advising him against it. As she had had a fling with Franklin years ago, Franklin decides to seduce her again and win her over to his cause.

Black and Blue (Music and lyrics by various)

Originating in Paris, this revue reflected the period in France between the wars, when black artists such as Josephine Baker were major stars in nightclubs.

The Boy Friend (Music, lyrics, and book by Sandy Wilson)

Set at Madame Dubonnet's finishing school near Nice in 1926, though the girls are British. There's a French maid, though. The plot is a confection about the girls and their boyfriends, or lack thereof. Polly pretends that she has one, but she doesn't because her wealthy father forbids it, lest she hook up with a fortune hunter. Madame Dubonnet takes steps to remedy this situation, but Polly falls in love with a delivery boy, who ultimately turns out to be just as wealthy as her. Songs: "Sur la Plage," "The Riviera," and "Nicer in Nice." The latter was, I believe, originally cut from the show, as only hints of it appear on the OBC, but it appears on Hey! Mr Producer! and, I guess, was featured in the London revival.

La Cage aux Folles (Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman)

Based on a play by French author Jean Poiret and set on the idyllic island of St. Tropez. Albin (or Zaza) is a gay female impersonator, the star of the Cage aux Folles nightclub. His partner Georges, who owns the nightclub, has a son, Jean-Michel, from a brief heterosexual fling years ago. The son is affianced to the daughter of a conservative politician, and the politician and his wife need to meet the parents of their daughter's fiance. Georges can pass for straight, but Albin cannot, and everyone wants Albin to absent himself when the parents show up. Albin is infuriated, but love for Georges and his son eventually has him showing up in his "working clothes" to play Jean-Michel's mother. Circumstances ultimately allow Albin to get a little of his own back.

Camelot (Music by Frederick Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner)

Lancelot du Lac, the insufferable French knight who arrives at Camelot to give the Englishmen the benefit of his presence and purity, turns everything upside-down by falling in love with Guenevere and cuckolding Arthur. The Round Table collapses partially because of the friction between the three.

Can-Can (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter; book by Abe Burrows)

Stuffy Parisian authorities want to ban the can-can and arrest its wild women in this show, one of Porter's weaker efforts, though it did introduce the song "I Love Paris (in the Springtime)." One of the few musicals with a French native in any of the roles, it starred Lilo, a hopeful French musical star. As history records, however, the show was stolen by Gwen Verdon in a supporting role. Lilo would star in one more musical, a flop, and then disappear from these shores.

Candide (Music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by John Latouche, Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, and others)

Based, of course, on the famous satire by French author Voltaire. One place Candide searches for his beloved Cunegonde is Paris.

Carnival (Music and lyrics by Bob Merrill)

This show originated as a short story based on a true story that took place within the context of an American TV show. Before it arrived on stage it was reset to a French setting and went through a bunch of plot convolutions as it traveled through novel form and movie form to its final incarnation as a musical. Roughly, an orphaned girl joins the circus; the puppeteer, a bitter crippled man, is attracted to her, but she's being seduced by the circus magician and is pretty turned off by the puppeteer anyway. The puppeteer can only relate to the orphan through his puppets. Some of the characters are still French, and the carnival is the "Grand Imperial Cirque de Paris," but the show is set in southern Europe.

Collette Collage (Music by Harvey Schmidt, lyrics by Tom Jones)

One of the very few musicals about an author, this show is actually two shows about Collette, who at one time was France's most popular author. The first part covers her younger life: she is forced to ghost-write material for her husband, who takes the credit for himself, but she finally breaks away from him and discards her last name to become simply Collette. The second part deals with the older, well-established author and her love affair with a much younger man. Contains some of Schmidt's most exquisitely beautiful music.

Dear World (Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman)

Beloved flop musical based on the story "The Madwoman of Chaillot." A dignified, beauty-loving, crazy woman who lives in the Paris sewers struggles against corporate polluters in the world above. Apparently, the source was too delicate for a person of Jerry Herman's tendencies to successfully musicalize (I haven't read the original, so I can't comment myself; I rather like the score); one wonders what Schmidt and Jones could have done with the story.

The Desert Song (Music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II)

Classic operetta in which a Frenchwoman is abducted by the Red Shadow, the masked leader of the Riffs, who are staging an uprising in French Morocco. The Red Shadow turns out to be (surprise!) the wimpy son of the (French) governor of Morocco.

Dubarry Was a Lady (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter)

What a crime that this Bert Lahr-Ethel Merman vehicle was not recorded! Anyway, it's about a washroom attendant who admires the star of the nightclub where he works. When the attendant takes a Mickey Finn, he dreams that he is French King Louis XV, and the star is his unwilling concubine. Among other things, this musical seems to have sparked the movie career of Betty Grable, who made an impression in a supporting role.

Fanny (Music and lyrics by Harold Rome)

Set in Marseilles, this show consolidates three French films--Marius, Fanny, and Cesar--into one complicated musical about two men who love the same young woman, and what happens when she gives birth.

Fifty Million Frenchmen (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter)

This was Porter's first hit and was subtitled "A Musical Comedy Tour of Paris." A millionaire bets that he will be engaged in a month. He disguises himself as a poor tour guide to shepherd his lady love around and determine if she really wants to marry him or is just interested in his money. Places visited include the Ritz Hotel bar, the Cafe de la Paix, the Longchamps Racetrack, the Hotel Claridge, and Les Halles. Songs: "Paree, What Did You Do To Me," "You Don't Know Paree."

Follies (Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

One of the many Weismann Follies girls is Solange, either a Frenchwoman or an American pretending to be French (it's not very clear). The original was played by Fifi D'Orsay; Liliane Montevecchi played her in the concert version and the Paper Mill Playhouse version; and the revival had Jane White, who by many accounts was the best ever and was the first to turn her song "Ah! Paris!" into a genuine showstopper. I know I was impressed.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Leo Robin)

This adaptation of the Anita Loos novel and play has golddigger Lorelei Lee taking an ocean liner, the Ile de France, to Paris. About a third of the show takes place there among the Americans.

Gigi (Music by Frederick Loewe, lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner)

Weak stage version of the classic movie musical, set in Paris, of course.

The Girl in Pink Tights (Music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Leo Robin)

Flop musical notable mostly for being Romberg's last musical, and for the presence of Jeanmaire, an exuberant French ballet dancer who projects something of the force that Lauren Bacall did in her musicals. The show was about the birth of the American musical in 1866--a stranded French ballet troupe is clumsily but effectively integrated into a play, thus creating the art form that we love so much.

Goodtime Charley (Music by Larry Grossman, lyrics by Hal Hackaday)

A weird and unsuccessful, but well-scored and well-performed, musical about Joan of Arc from the point of view of King Charles VII (aka Charley). He's an awkward and mild prince who doesn't want to be king, but Joan's successes will force him into the role. Ultimately, of course, she's burned at the stake for her heresies. The opening number, "Overture/History," has various statues of French royals talking about their places in history and the circumstances that led up to the events that would take place in the musical.

The Happy Time (Music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb)

Easily the worst of the Kander & Ebb shows, this weak vehicle for Robert Goulet is set in St. Pierre, Quebec. He's a respected photographer who returns to his estranged family and gets involved with helping his godson deal with various adolescent problems. William Goldman wrote a scathing indictment of this show and why it failed in The Season.

Irma-la-Douce (Music by Marguerite Monnot; lyrics by Julian More, David Heneker, and Monty Norman)

This was the first musical imported from France to do well on these shores, and one of the relatively few musicals with a female composer. With only one woman in the cast (Elizabeth Seal), the story was about poules (prostitutes) and their mecs (pimps). Irma-la-Douce was one of the poules. Nestor, a poor student, falls in love with her and wants her to focus only on him, so he dressed up as Oscar, an older man, and regularly pays her enough to make him her only customer. Complications ensue when he gets tired of the double life--he's jealous of Irma's affection for Oscar--and kills his alter ego, only to be arrested for murder!

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Music by Jacques Brel; lyrics by Jacques Brel, Eric Blau, and Mort Shuman)

Well-received, groundbreaking 1968 revue of the famous Belgian "singer-composer-poet-balladeer."

Les Miserables (Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Alain Boubil and Herbert Kretzmer)

The classic French musical.

Little Me (Music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh)

One of the many husbands of Belle Poitrine (whose name means "Beautiful Tits," more or less, in French) is Val du Val, a seedy French nightclub performer (and pure stereotype) whose signature tune is "Boom-Boom." He dies when the ocean liner Gigantic sinks; his amnesia recurs, and he forgets how to yell "Help!"

Martin Guerre (Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Alain Boubil and )

Unsuccessful adaptation of the French novel by the same guys who brought us Les Mis and Miss Saigon.

Mata Hari (Music by Edward Thomas, lyrics by Martin Charnin)

This troubled musical about the fabled spy of World War I is partially set in Paris and partially on the battlefield in two parallel stories, one about the horrors of war and one about Mata Hari and how the French Military Intelligence attempts to prove that she's a spy.

The Merry Widow (Music by Franz Lehar, lyrics by Adrian Ross)

Ancient (1907) classic operetta based on L'Attache d'Ambassade by Henri Meilhac. Set in Paris. The Baron Popoff, ambassador from Marsovia, wants his attache, Prince Danilo, to marry Sonia Sadoya, a wealthy widow, for her money. They do fall in love eventually--and the Prince proposes after Sonia confesses she has no money.

Miss Liberty (Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin)

Set in 1885. Two New York newspapers search Paris for the model who posed for the Statue of Liberty. They find a girl, who turns out to be the wrong person, and consternation ensues when the mistake is discovered. Songs: "Let's Take an Old-Fashioned Walk" (about the joys of walking in Paris) and "Paris Wakes Up and Smiles."

Miss Saigon (Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Alain Boubil)

A French creation, if not a musical about France, though there are some mentions of the French presence in Vietnam.

Mlle. Modiste (Music by Victor Herbert, lyrics by Henry Blossom)

Ancient (1905) operetta set in Paris. A millinery girl (the shop is on the Rue de la Paix) wants to be a singer, and a wealthy American helps her achieve this goal and win over her sweetheart's crotchety uncle.

Naughty Marietta (Music by Victor Herbert, lyrics by Rida Johnson Young)

Ancient (1910) classic operetta set in 1780 New Orleans (and one that makes the same mistake as The New Moon by calling the city a French possession). Marietta has fled there to escape an unwanted marriage in France. Capt. Dick will be leading his men against a pirate gang led by Bras Pique ("Tattooed Arm"), who turns out to be the son of the lieutenant governor. Initially attracted to the latter, she turns to the arms of the former when the latter's identity is revealed. Produced by Oscar Hammerstein (grandfather of Oscar II).

The New Moon (Music by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II)

Later turned into a fairly crappy movie musical with Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald. In 1788, a French nobleman wanted for murder serves as a bondsman and recruits "Stout-Hearted Men" to join the fight for freedom. He's arrested and returned to France via the ship New Moon, which coincidentally is also carrying his paramour. His men, disguised as pirates, rescue the pair, and they set up shop on an island. Makes the historical error of calling New Orleans a French colony when it was actually a Spanish possession at that time.

Nine (Music and lyrics by Maury Yeston)

Guido Contini's producer is Liliane La Fleur (conveniently played by Liliane Montevecchi), a Frenchwoman whose idea of a great movie contains production numbers along the lines of the Folies Bergeres. Song: "Folies Bergeres." Also, Guido threatens to run away to Paris when Venice starts getting uncomfortable, and the actress Claudia lives in Paris and eventually returns to life with her lover, Michel.

No Strings (Music and lyrics by Richard Rogers)

Featuring an interracial romance, no strings in the orchestra, and other innovations, this unjustly neglected work begins in Paris, home of Barbara (Diahann Caroll), a fashion model. She meets David (Richard Kiley), a writer, and they fall in love and tour Europe (including a fling in St. Tropez--I wonder if they stopped to take in the show at La Cage aux Folles?). The issue of race isn't an issue until they talk about marriage and how Barbara might not fit in in Maine, David's home.

Notre-Dame de Paris (Music by Richard Cocciante; French lyrics by Luc Plamondon; English lyrics by Will Jennings)

Based on Victor Herbert's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, this show was a big hit in Europe but lit no fires over here. Part of the problem may have been that the English lyrics are supposed to be terrible (I haven't heard them myself) and the show debuted on these shores at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, which is not the best place in the world for a musical to debut. Also, the taste for Europop musicals has diminished these days (witness the closing of Les Mis), so I deem it unlikely that this show will ever show up on Broadway.

Nymph Errant (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter)

Another early Porter score with a paucity of recordings. Advised to experiment with life, finishing-school girl Evangeline has various adventures around Europe, at one point dancing for the Folies de Paris.

Of Thee I Sing (Music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin)

In this farce, the presidential candidate of the National Party, John P. Wintergreen, is supposed to marry the winner of a beauty contest, Diana Devereaux, but he loves Mary and her corn muffins. Scorned, Diana enlists the aid of the French ambassador, who discovers that Diana is descended from Napoleon. Thus, France insists that John divorce Mary and marry Diana, or there will be war. John is poised to be impeached, until Mary turns up pregnant. Diana is married to the vice president, which mollifies France.

Pacific Overtures (Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

A French admiral, as portrayed by a Japanese actor doing every French stereotype under the sun, is one of several foreign dignitaries to sail into Japan and make requests (backed up by guns) of the reluctant Japanese government.

Phantom: The New American Musical (Music and lyrics by Maury Yeston)

An American version of The Phantom of the Opera (there are several), this one crops up periodically in dinner theatres and regional theatre because it's a lot easier to stage than the more famous one. This version humanizes the Phantom a bit more than the ALW one below.

The Phantom of the Opera (Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe)

Set, of course, in a French opera house, and based on the novel by French writer Gaston Leroux.

The Pink Lady (Music by Ivan Caryll, lyrics by C. M. S. McLellan)

Ancient (1911) musical adapted from the French play Le Satyr. Lucien wants to have a last fling with a lady friend before settling down to marriage with Angele, and he goes off with Claudine, known as the Pink Lady because all her clothes are pink. Of course they run into Angele, and Lucien is forced to pass Claudine off as the wife of a friend. Locations: a restaurant in Compiegne and a furniture shop on the Rue Honore.

Pippin (Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz)

Pippin is the ineffectual, peace-loving son of Charlemagne, but this musical is about as French as French fries. In fact, the story is so much at odds with the lyrics of the songs (and the booklet to the original CD is so useless) that a friend of mine who considers this his favorite musical and who's loved it for years had no idea what the plot was supposed to be. He was quite surprised to discover that it had something to do with Charlemagne. (Note: Charlemagne really did have a son named Pepin. However, the Clovis line of French kings [pre-Charlemagne] had a hereditary line of advisors named Pippin.)

Roberta (Music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Otto Harbach)

Football player John inherits a "Parisian modiste's shop" from his old aunt, whose professional name was "Roberta," hence the title of the show. He travels to Paris to run the shop, leaving behind a fiancee, Sophie, who jilted him. American-French culture clash ensues. His chief designer is Stephanie, a Russian princess in disguise, and they become involved, despite the efforts by Sophie to come back to him. Previously, the only version of this on CD was a studio version by Jack Cassidy, Joan Roberts, and other notables--extremely rare, one of the holy trinity of collectable Broadway CDs. Now there's another version on CD--not sure whether it was a revival or what--with Alfred Drake, which also includes The Vagabond King with Drake. You can hear one song, "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," by its original singer on the Smithsonian's American Musical Theatre v.1.

The Rothschilds (Music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick)

Although this show is set in Germany and England, there's a French twist because of the Napoleonic Wars in the background. The duchy (or whatever it is) of Hesse falls under French control, and Prince William of Hesse flees, meaning that the Rothschilds (who have been the prince's agents) have no court left to be agents of. Mayer Rothschild sends his five sons across Europe to gather the money owed the prince before the French can get ahold of it.

Silk Stockings (Music and lyrics by Cole Porter)

Musical version of Ninotchka set mostly in Paris. A Russian composer has defected to the West, and three rather inept Communist agents are sent to retrieve him. Paris casts its spell over the agents, however, so a fourth agent, a hard-as-nails but beautiful woman, is sent to find out what's going on. The Hollywood agent dealing with the composer intercepts the female agent, and, with Paris winking at her, she ends up melting into his arms and abandoning her mission. Then the composer voluntarily goes back to Russia when he discovers that one of his serious compositions ("Ode to a Tractor") has been dicked around with and turned into a jazzy popular song. All ends happily, however, when the composer embraces American jazz.

Sunday in the Park with George (Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

Classic and elegant musical about the French painter Georges Seurat and his problems with his girlfriend and the creative process as he works on his famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." In the second act the musical shifts to Georges's great-grandson, George, a kinetic sculptor, who must content with declining critical acceptance of his art, struggles for funding, and creative blockage. "Artists are bizarre...."

The Three Musketeers (Music by Rudolf Friml, lyrics by Clifford Grey)

Based on the Alexandre Dumas classic.

Tovarich (Music by Lee Pockriss, lyrics by Anne Croswell)

Like Silk Stockings, a musical about Russians in Paris--this time, exiled Russian royalty just after the Communist takeover. These unfortunates are forced to work as doormen, janitors, etc.--a far cry from their former luxurious lives. Two of them, a prince and his consort, are guarding the Czar's fortune, and as a result are magnets for lots of people who want the money. Based on a screwball farce of a play by French playwright Jacques Deval. This show was mainly notable for its lead actress, Vivian Leigh, who would collapse with craziness six months into the show's run. The leading man was Jean Pierre Aumont--ironically, a French actor playing a Russian prince.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown (Music and lyrics by Meredith Willson)

After Johnny Brown strikes it rich in Leadville, CO, Molly attempts to join Denver society, but she's snubbed because of her low-class background and behavior. Determined to become sophisticated, she and Johnny travel to Europe. The second act opens in Paris, where she's spent several years learning manners and languages, and she's made friends with continental society, including a French prince. Johnny is appalled by the change in her. She returns to Denver with the prince, but a big party she throws for revenge on Denver society is ruined when some of her friends from her former life turn the place upside-down. She returns to Europe, eventually ending up in Monte Carlo. Johnny doesn't come with her, and the prince proposes, but she decides she loves Johnny more, and books passage on the Titanic to get back to him. Since this is not Titanic the musical, the whole sinking incident is glossed over.

The Vagabond King (Music by Rudolf Friml, lyrics by Brian Hooker)

Operetta about the fifteenth-century outlaw Francois Villon during the reign of Louis XI. He's appointed king for a day in order to save himself and Paris by leading the rabble in battle against the Duke of Burgundy.

Victor/Victoria (Music by Henry Mancini and Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Frank Wildhorn)

Set mostly in 1930s Paris, with an interlude in Chicago. Victoria is a penniless and unemployable British actress stranded in Paris. She meets Toddy, a gay nightclub performer, and they become friends immediately. When Victoria is mistaken for a young man by Toddy's former lover, Toddy comes up with a brilliant notion: Victoria will become the world's greatest female impersonator. Songs include "Paris by Night," "Louis Says," and "Paris Makes Me Horny." (See also Really Crappy Lyrics.)

Honorable Mention:

Babes in Arms--The show that the teenagers put on is initially a flop, but when a transatlantic French flyer lands nearby, the publicity that results helps the show become a success.

Carousel--Set in New England and thoroughly American, but based on Liliom by Ferenc Molnar.

A Connecticut Yankee--Includes the character of Lancelot in a very minor role.

Grand Hotel--I can't verify what the nationality of the ballerina played by Liliane Montevecchi is supposed to be.

If Love Were All--This 1999 charmer about Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence unfortunately doesn't have a plot summary in the booklet, so I'm not sure if anything actually took place in France, but one of the songs is "Parisian Pierrot."

Madame Sherry--1910 American musical based on a 1903 English musical based on a French musical. Dunno if anything French survived the transition.

My One and Only--The aviator (played by Tommy Tune) beats Lindburgh to Paris but turns around and returns to the woman he loves.

All non-lyric material copyright 2002, D. Aviva Rothschild. All rights reserved

I invite additions and corrections to this list, or comments about the examples above. If I like your whole letter I'll ask if I can publish it on my letters page.

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