The Sentimental Bloke

Music by Albert Arlen
Book and Lyrics by Nancy Brown, Albert Arlen, Lloyd Thomson and C J Dennis

Featured OzMade Musicals 2008

Michael Cormick and Brett Wood perform from The Sentimental Bloke by Albert Arlen, Nancy Brown, Lloyd Thomson and C J Dennis at OzMade Musicals 2008
THE SENTIMENTAL BLOKE tells the story of Bill (the Bloke) and his love for Doreen, his ideal girl, who works in the pickle factory. The audience comes to identify with Bill as a quintessential Australian character, as he battles with the travails of daily life, plucks up the courage to attract Doreenís attention, deals with her relations, challenges the Melbourne Cup and reflects on life with his best mate Ginger Mick. Ultimately, the Bloke triumphs over the odds, memorably expressed in the classic language of CJ Dennis as adapted by Arlen, Brown and Thomson, with Arlenís music creating the appropriate mood throughout.

THE SENTIMENTAL BLOKE was the most successful Australian musical of the twentieth century with an original score. Arlen first approached author George Johnston (My Brother Jack) in the late 1940s to write the book, but Johnston proved to be too unreliable. By the 1950s Arlen and Brown had written it themselves, working with their friend, the diplomat Dr Lloyd Thomson who had a PhD from Oxford University, writing the book. During almost twenty years of work in theatre and radio Arlen had written several musicals for BBC radio and for the stage, so he was very experienced by the time he came to write the score of The Bloke. J C Williamson showed little interest in producing the Arlen and Brown musical until, after it had run successfully in Canberra (produced by the Arlens themselves) they changed their mind. Eventually, on 4 November 1961, The Bloke opened at the Comedy Theatre. It was such a success that Williamsons produced it around Australia,  leading to two cast recordings, a television production, a ballet and continuous revivals for the rest of the century.


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