Contractual Relations

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Marriage is not the only option for men of means and beautiful women in Belle Epoque France. The delightful revival of the Lerner and Loewe musical Gigi, about sex, money, jewelry, love, and ironclad contracts, is now on Broadway after a successful run at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) plays Gigi with impish glee as a high-spirited teenage girl being groomed, in the tradition of her family, to become a high-class courtesan. Young Parisian bon vivant Gaston Lachaille falls in love and seeks to make her his mistress.

Much of the drama revolves around the negotiations conduced by Gigi's Aunt Alicia, who extracts sumptuous guarantees from Lachaille's lawyers concerning real estate, servants, gowns, dinners out, and the quantity and quality of the jewelry she can expect. Such scenes thwart our expectations about how an onstage romance should play out. Spoiler alert: Gigi and Gaston do eventually wind up accepting the standard marriage contract. -Ronald Bailey

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