Synopsis: Nixon in China

from John Adams

Chou En-Lai, a small group of officials, and contingents of China’s military forces are on hand to greet the arrival of President Nixon, the First Lady, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at an airfield outside Beijing. Elated, the President pauses to reflect on the historical significance of this encounter, which is being televised worldwide. He meets with Chairman Mao, who speaks largely in parables and veiled references. The President and Mrs. Nixon attend a banquet held in their honor; Premier Chou offers a toast to patriotic fraternity, the first of several throughout the evening.

Scene 1
Soldiers of heaven hold the sky (Chorus)
The people are the heroes now (Chorus)
Landing of the Spirit of '76
Your flight was smooth, I hope (Chou, Nixon)
News has a kind of mystery (Nixon, Chou, Kissinger, Chorus)

Scene 2
I can't talk very well. My throat… (Mao, Nixon, Chou, Kissinger, 3 Secretaries)
You know we'll meet with your confrere, the Democratic candidate (Mao, Nixon, Kissinger)
You've said that there's a certain well - known tree (Chou, Nixon, Mao, Kissinger, 3 Secretaries)
Founders come first, then profiteers (Mao, 3 Secretaries, Nixon, Chou, Kissinger)
We no longer need Confucius (Mao, 3 Secretaries)
Like the Ming Tombs (Nixon, 3 Secretaries, Mao, Chou)

Scene 3
The night is young (Nixon, Pat, Chou, Kissinger, Chorus)
Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends (Chou, Chorus, Pat, Kissinger)
Mr. Premier, distinguished guests (Nixon, Chorus)
Cheers! (Chorus, Nixon, Chou, Pat, Kissinger)

Mrs. Nixon tours a glass factory, a collective farm, and the Summer Palace. The Nixons attend an opera, The Red Detachment of Women, created by Mao’s wife, Chiang Ch’ing. The plight of the heroine, a downtrodden peasant girl, draws them into the action. Sensing that the Nixons have missed the ideological message of her opera, Chiang Ch’ing gives voice to her revolutionary fervor.

Scene 1
I don't daydream and don't look back (Pat)
Look down at the earth (Chorus, Pat, 3 Secretaries)
This is prophetic! (Pat)
At last the weather's warming up (Pat, Chorus)

Scene 2
Young as we are (3 Secretaries)
O what a day I thought I'd die! (Kissinger as Lao Szu, Chorus as Ching - hua, 3 Secretaries, Pat)
Whip her to death! (Kissinger as Lao Szu, Pat, Nixon)
Tropical Storm: There there, there there (Pat)
Flesh Rebels (Chorus as Militia)
I have my brief (Kissinger as Lao Szu, Nixon)
It seems so strange (Chorus as Ching - hua, Chiang Ch'ing, Pat, Nixon, 3 Secretaries)
I am the wife of Mao Tse - tung (Chiang Ch'ing, Chorus)

During the last evening of the Presidential visit, the Nixons, Chairman Mao and Chiang Ch’ing, and Premier Chou reminisce privately about their lives.

Some men you cannot satisfy (Kissinger, Nixon, Pat, Chou, Chiang Ch'ing)
I am no one (Mao, Chou, Kissinger, Chiang Ch'ing, Pat)
The Maos Dance (Chiang Ch'ing, Mao, Pat, Nixon, Chou)
Sitting around the radio (Nixon, Pat)
Let us examine what you did (Mao, Chiang Ch'ing, Chou)
When I woke up I dimly realized the Jap Bombers had given us a miss (Nixon, Pat)
I have no offspring (Chou, Mao, Chiang Ch'ing)
I can keep still (Chiang Ch'ing)
After that the sweat had soaked my uniform (Nixon, Pat, Chiang Ch'ing, Mao, Chou)
Peking watches the stars (Chiang Ch'ing, Mao)
You won at poker (Pat, Nixon, Chiang Ch'ing, Mao)
I am old and I cannot sleep (Chou)