Ok, well, I knew the main songs from The Baker's Wife. I knew all the songs from the Patti LuPone (ALL HAIL QUEEN LUPONE) recording, because I owned the CD way back when. I think my sister has all my musical theatre CDs. Jen, is that true? Anyway, I listened to the West End recording on youtube, which included a loooooooot more, but most of it* is unnecessary because the only GOOD songs where the ones on the Patti LuPone CD.
The Baker's Wife never made it to Broadway after a long tour, including a long(ish) run at the Kennedy Center in DC. It did get to the West End in 1990, though. According to wikipedia,
"After hearing the song "Meadowlark" countless times in auditions, director Trevor Nunn persuaded the authors to mount a London production."...which is HILARIOUS (and, I hope true) because basically that means that "Meadowlark" has been overdone for several decades, and there we all were in college, thinking it was only being sung by Lauren and then me, after Lauren graduated.
College was really great, btw. I had so many friends who I loved and I learned SO MUCH in Theatre History.
The Baker's Wife is the story of a middle-aged baker, whose wife is gorgeous and much younger than him. They move to a new town (in France) and the wife gets seduced by.. well.. basically it's GASTON, and leaves him for a while. She then discovers that although "the fire is there" -- in regards to the passion she has with her lover, "Gaston" -- "but where is the warmth?" -- in regards to the deep feelings of comfort and love she has with her husband. She sings a BEAUTIFUL song called "Where is the Warmth?" (which I obviously just quoted from and summed up for you) and returns to him.
While Genevieve (his wife) is away, Amiable (the baker) basically pretends none of this is happening and tries to go about his daily life, looking forward to the day she returns "from her mother's house." The townspeople know what's going on and are really gossipy. He takes her back in the end.
The Baker's Wife is good, not great (it maybe could have been great if the ensembles' songs were as good as the leads' songs), but the character development for the actors playing Amiable and Genevieve is definitely great. REAL choices are being made and considering the biggest one happens during that old classic, "Meadowlark", the actor is given a fucking GIFT in being able to bring that to life.
I hope you all choose the Baker, and not Gaston**, though.
The Baker's Wife
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Joseph Stein
*the one thing off the West End cast recording that I was happy to hear was the scene when Genevieve returns and Amiable is just happy to see her. Their cat, who ran off at the same time, ALSO comes back, and the Baker goes crazy towards the cat and starts screaming at her and calling her a "slut" and other things, obviously taking his anger on Genevieve out on the cat. He did, however, always leave a bowl of milk out for her, while she was gone. He asks the cat if now that she got the milk if she was going to run off again and Genevieve tearfully says, "She will not go!" It's a good moment. (AND I JUST RUINED IT FOR YOU! HAHAHA!)
**His actual name is Dominique, not Gaston