Marriage vs. Career is a common theme in musical theater. While the leading ladies in my last post had to compromise their ambitions to keep their partners, the leading men in The Will Rogers Follies, Barnum and Stop the World; I Want To Get Off ignore their marriages till death puts a sudden end to them.
Barnum and Littlechap tell their stories in a Circus Ring while Will Rogers performs his in a heavenly Ziegfeld Follies. I almost included Pippin here. His life is presented as a play (and a circus in the 2013 revival) and he contemplates committing suicide rather than settling down with Catherine. Still his quest for meaning takes him many other directions in the first act and his quick foray into a career is quickly abandoned.
Will Rogers and Betty Blake have the least combative marriage of the three couples, though his career leaves her singing "There's No Man Left for Me." Barnum and Cherry's squabbling has a friendly nature to it but Littlechap and Evie turn genuinely sour, not reconciling till late in their lives.