Death Takes a Holiday (Musical)

Death Takes a Holiday (Musical)

by  Maury Yeston, Peter Stone, Thomas Meehan

Full Length Musical, Comedy  /  7m, 7f

Although "death" is in the title, the operative word is "HOLIDAY!" Based on the 1934 film, Death Takes a Holiday is a celebration of the limited time we spend on earth.

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Death Takes a Holiday (Musical)
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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    7m, 7f
  • Duration


    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Fantasy, Adventure, Adaptations (Stage & Screen), Period
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

In Death Takes a Holiday, it's just after World War I and the loneliest of souls arrives at an Italian villa disguised as a handsome young Prince, and for the first time experiences the joys and heartbreaks of life. The show began as an Alberto Casella play from the 1920s that was made into a much-loved 1934 film starring Fredric March as Death, disguised as a debonair nobleman. The original film was remade in 1998 as Meet Joe Black, starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins.
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  • Nominee! Ten 2012 Drama Desk Awards - including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Music, Outstanding Book of a Musical, and Outstanding Lyrics



"Timeless appeal... One lush, soaring number after another... a melody-rich score that draws on a wide range of influences, from the Baroque to the British poperetta craze of the 1980s."
The New York Times, Read More

"Top 10 Plays and Musicals of 2011" – Time Magazine, Read More

"Compellingly introspective musicals are hard to come by... Maury Yeston is one of the few Broadway composers who has demonstrated the ability to weave the necessary spell, and his score for Death Takes a Holiday hits splendid heights." – Variety, Read More


Focus on a Playwright: MAURY YESTON
June 1, 2009


  • Beyond Broadway: "Death Takes a Holiday"
  • Show Clips: "Death Takes a Holiday"
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Death, Fairy Tales, Love


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: 1920s, 1910s / WWI
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: In and around the Villa Felicita, the home of Duke Vittorio Lamberti, at the edge of the Lago di Garda in northern Italy.
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway, Jazz
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Medium
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Song Samples

Nothing Happened (Corrado, Grazia, Vittorio, Daisy, Alice, Stephanie
How Will I Know (Grazia)
Shimmy Like They Do in Paree (Alice, Sirki)
I Thought That I Could Live (Sirki)
December Time (Dario, Evangelina)
Finale (Death, Grazia)


7m, 7f

DEATH / PRINCE NIKOLAI SIRKI: Male, Mid 30's (Range: Tenor, Bb2-G4)
Grows tired of taking people's lives and unable to comprehend why all men fear him. Curious to know what it means to "live." After pausing at taking Grazia's life, decides to take "holiday" under the disguise of Prince Nikolai Sirki.

DUKE VITTORIO LAMBERTI: Male, Late 40's (Range: Baritone, D3-E4)
Father of Grazia. Master of the Villa Felicita. Allows Death to take room in his villa for the weekend.

DUCHESS STEPHANIE: Female, Mid 40's (Mezzo Soprano, G3-E5)
Lamberti's wife. Does everything in her power to see Prince Sirki enjoys his stay. Doesn't understand Lamberti's odd reservations towards the charming prince.

GRAZIA: Female, 21 (Range: Soprano, G3-G#5)
After a brief brush with death, wonders if she's made the correct decisions in life, including accepting Corrado's proposal.

CORRADO DANIELLI: Male, 25 (Range: Bari-Tenor, D3-F4)
Engaged to Grazia. Troubled over the sudden appearance of Prince Sirki and Grazia's strange behavior.

CONTESSA EVANGELINA DI SAN DANIELLI: Female, Mid 70's (Range: Mezzo Soprano B3-D5)
A widow, Corrado’s guardian. Forgetful mind, which comes with her age. Convinced Prince Sirki will be taking someone with him when he departs.

BARON DARIO ALBIONE: Male, Mid 70's (Range: Baritone, B2-E4)
Evangelina’s Doctor in residence, and an intimate old friend of the family as well.

ALICE: Female, 26 (Rage: Mezzo Soprano Belt, D4-G5)
GRAZIA’s sister-in-law. Was married to Grazia’s late brother, Roberto, killed in the war. Takes an immediate liking to Sirki. An American from Indiana. Her bark is bigger than her bite.

MAJOR ERIC FENTON: Male, Mid 20’s (Range: Tenor, Db3-G4)
An American army aviator, Corrado’s best man & best friend.

DAISY FENTON: Female, 16 (Range: Mezzo Soprano, A3-F5)
Grazia’s best friend and Eric's sister. Infatuated with prince Sirki. Disheartened she’s not allowed to be alone with him.

FIDELE: Male, Age Flexible (Range: Baritone, F2-E4)
A Majordomo. Burdened with the fact he is the only other person who knows Prince Sirki's true identity.

SOPHIA: Female, 18-20 (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible)
A Housemaid

LORENZO: Male, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible)
A Chauffeur/Gardener

CORA: Female, Age Flexible (Range: Ensemble/Part Flexible)
The Cook

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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

15 Piano/Vocal Scores

Reed 1 (Piccolo, Flute, Alto Flute, Clarinet, Oboe, English Horn)
Reed 2 (Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Bassoon)
French Horn
Trumpet (Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Cornet, and Piccolo Trumpet)
Keyboard 1/Conductor Score
Keyboard 2



Maury Yeston

Maury Yeston is a composer, lyricist, author and teacher, and moves easily between the worlds of theater, film, and academia, writing concert music, Broadway shows, and holding teaching posts as a respected musicologist. In addition to winning his second Tony Award for Best Score for Broadway’s Titanic(which won five T ...

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Peter Stone

Peter Stone (1930-2003) was the first writer to win the Tony, the Oscar and the Emmy. With 15 Broadway productions to his credit, he received Tony Awards for his books to 1776, Woman of the Year, Death Takes a Holiday,The Will Rogers Folliesand Titanic(all four also winning the Tony for Best Musical). His other Broadwa ...

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Thomas Meehan

Thomas Meehan

Death Takes a Holiday opened Off-Broadway on July 14, 2011 at the Laura Pels Theatre as a Roundabout Theatre Company production.

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