Love in a Time of Tuberculosis

by Tom Read

Seriously entertaining musical theatre!


‘Love in a Time of Tuberculosis’  is a work for the musical theatre based on German author Thomas Mann’s novel  ‘The Magic Mountain’





Well, it has been done – and it is entertaining! Mann entertained hopes that the novel and its welter of ideas might one day be made visual. Now it has been – using all the possibilities that musical theatre allows.


Imagine an evening of musical theatre from which, after two- hours of looking at some of contemporary life’s vexing questions, a satisfied audience leaves humming the tunes…..


‘Love in a Time of Tuberculosis’ takes an ordinary young man to a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps for a journey of discovery. Drawn into the sanatorium’s lazy tuberculous atmosphere, he finds his way through dreams, new and clashing ideas, love in confusing forms, and death. Or does he? TB, he finds, is not simply TB – there is no question!


Gently ironic throughout, its vivid characters, compelling story line and songs such as ‘Eat, drink and be merry’, ‘Don’t be afraid of Freud’ and the beautiful love song ‘I believe this dream’ make ‘Love in a Time of Tuberculosis’ seriously entertaining. “Analgesia couldn’t be easier!”


The composer writes:


Thomas Mann said that he had consciously adopted a light style in writing The Magic Mountain. (Some readers may feel that his tongue must have been in his cheek!) In writing for the musical theatre, I have adopted that light tone in dialogue, lyric and music while being true to the welter of ideas. Those ideas presented in Mann’s novel in Nobel-prize winning form in 1924 resonate today. Where Mann had TB, we now have AIDS. His hero’s quest takes him right into our post modern and post rational era. Hawking and Dawkins find their way into the mix. The clash between Religion and Western thought continues.


My aim has been to produce a work of musical theatre that is serious in its intent and satisfyingly entertaining in its execution.


Tom Read


[A note on copyright: The rights to Mann’s novel have lapsed in some countries and not in others, meaning that in some countries (mostly in the southern hemisphere), the musical can be performed without permission to do so (and probable royalties to be paid) from the publishers of the novel.]


Synopsis with excerpts from the songs

Cast list


Outline of scenes