Show History



The Baker's Wife is based on the French film, La Femme de Boulanger by Marcel Pagnol and Jean Giono. The stage rights for the film were originally optioned in 1952 by producers, Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin. By 1976, the rights had transferred to producer, David Merrick.


The Baker's Wife was originally intended to be written by composer/lyricist, Frank Loesser, and librettist, Abe Burrows, with Bert Lahr as the star.

Later, in the 1970s, producer, David Merrick, tapped Joseph Stein to write the book and Stephen Schwartz to write the score. The Baker's Wife began a pre-Broadway tour on May 11, 1976, in Los Angeles with Topol as Aimable and featuring the last set designed by the late Jo Mielziner. The show underwent major changes on the road, including the replacement of Topol with Paul Sorvino and of Genevieve – twice. In Washington, D.C., after six months on the road, the authors canceled their November booking at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York.

The Baker's Wife resurfaced in 1985 at the York Theatre Company in New York. In 1989, director, Trevor Nunn, who fell in love with the show, persuaded the authors to mount a production in London, where its augmented score was given a lavish two-disc cast recording. Starring Alun Armstrong and Sharon Lee-Hill, The Baker's Wife opened November 27, 1989, in the West End at the Phoenix Theatre. It played 56 performances before closing on November 27, 1989.

In 1997, the original creative team reunited for a production at The Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee, Indiana, directed by Scott Schwartz. Later, the team premiered a revised version at the Goodspeed Opera House in Chester, Connecticut, in 2002. The final reworked version played the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey, from April 13, to May 15, 2005. Directed by Gordon Greenberg and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, the cast included Alice Ripley, Max von Essen, Lenny Wolpe, Gay Marshall and Richard Pruitt.


  • The original cast LP of The Baker's Wife received a Grammy nomination.
  • The song, "Meadowlark," is a frequently covered musical piece and has been performed by a number of artists and vocalists, including Sarah Brightman, Patti LuPone, Alice Ripley, Betty Buckley and Susan Egan.