- VERY GOOD EDDIE
- Book: Philip Bartholomae and Guy Bolton
Music: Jerome Kern
- Lyrics: Schuyler Greene
- Princess Theatre, December 23, 1915 (341 perf.)
- Director: unaccredited
Choreographer: David Bennett
Ernest Truex, Alice Dovey, Oscar Shaw, Helen Raymond, John E. Hazzard, John Willard,
- REVIVAL PRODUCTION
- Booth Theatre, December 21, 1975 (307 perf.)
- Director and Choreographer: Bill Gile
- Musical Director and Orchestration: Russell Warner
- Mrs. Elsie Lilly- Cynthia Wells- Soprano
- Mr. Dick Rivers- David Christmas- Tenor
- Mr. Eddie Kettle- Charles Repole- High Baritone
- Mrs. Elsie Darling- Virginia Seidel- Soprano
- Mr. Percy Darling- Nicholas Wyman- Baritone
- Mrs. Georgina Kettle- Spring Fairbank- VTNE
- Mme. Matroppo- Travis Hudson- Alto
- Steward- James Harder- VTNE
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 6M/4F total
- The scene opens showing the deck of a Hudson
River Dayliner in June 1913. The steward briefly enters telling us that this particular
landing is Poughkeepsie. As he leaves the entire company is revealed. They echo the
excitement of the day (WE'RE ON OUR WAY- F Solo and Mixed Chorus).
- As the opening number closes the audience has
already learned that Dick Rivers, a journalist, has fallen in love with Elsie Lilly, a
voice student of Madame Matroppo, whom he has never met before. During the opening song,
Dick blew her a kiss, which Madame Matroppo accidentally intercepts for herself. Rivers
tells Madame that he wishes to write an article on the "Matroppo Voice Culture
Method" and must interview Elsie for the article. Madame Matroppo falls unwittingly
into his scheme. Rivers tells Elsie that he is in love but he does not tell her with whom.
They discuss his past loves (SOME SORT OF SOMEBODY- M and F Duet).
- Next we meet the first set of newlyweds,
Georgiana and Eddie. Quickly it becomes apparent that Georgiana is indeed the one out of
the two that is in charge (THIRTEEN COLLAR- M Solo)
- As Georgiana and Eddie leave the deck, the
second group of newlyweds, Percy and Elsie, appear. Unlike the previous couple, the
husband, Percy, is the domineering one (BUNGALOW IN QUOQUE- M and F Duet).
- These two contrary couples meet while still
on board the deck of the dayliner. Rapidly Georgiana and Percy begin to argue over the
close proximity of the two sets of suitcases. In the middle of the argument, Percy and
Eddy recognize each other as old school chums. They all discover that they were married by
a Reverand Hoskins at different times earlier that morning (ISN'T IT GREAT TO BE MARRIED?-
Quartet-2F. and 2M.).
- Accidentally Percy and Georgiana are left on
the pier together while a terrified Eddie and Elsie are left alone on board the dayliner
(GOODNIGHT BOAT- Mixed Chorus). Somehow the whole boat is under the impression that Eddie
and Elsie are married to each other. This frightens the timid two even more but they are
obligated to continue with the facade (LEFT ALL ALONE AGAIN BLUES- F Solo and M Chorus).
Because of Eddie's incompetence, the facade becomes worse as it is his mishap to meet
another old school friend, Rivers, and convince him that Elsie Darling is his wife. Rivers
leaves. Elsie asks the steward for lunch and instead the steward sings a song about
romance (HOT DOG- Mixed Chorus).
- The longer that Elsie and Eddie are together
the closer they become as their acquaintance moves to friendship (IF YOU'RE A FRIEND OF
MINE- M and F Duet). And within that friendship, Eddie is a little more daring as he tries
to impress Elsie with the way he can belt down cocktails. Much to their mutual terror, on
the conclusion of the last song, they kiss. Eddie blames the kiss on the effects of the
champagne they've been drinking and also on seasickness, but it is becoming more apparent
that love is beginning between the two. To make matters worse, the others on the dayliner
surround the two with garlands of flowers and push them together for the finale of act one
(WEDDING BELLS ARE CALLING ME- Mixed Chorus).
- Act II opens in the lobby of the Honeymoon
Inn in the Catskills where Elsie and Eddie have been left off since their respective mates
have taken their boat tickets with them (HONEYMOON INN- F Solo and Mixed Chorus). Soon it
is established that the Frenchman, Madame Mattrappo, her voice students and Dick Rivers
have also gotten off the dayliner at the same inn. The Frenchman begins to persue all
Madame Mattroppo's voice students (I'VE GOT TO DANCE- Mixed Chorus and M Solo).
- Still, Eddie and Elsie Darling are considered
husband and wife. Thus, they must register as Mr. and Mrs. although they are able to get
separate rooms. Madame Matroppo is seen chasing Dick Rivers and flirting with the
Frenchman; both are not interested. She is obviously in the mood for love (MOON OF LOVE- F
Solo and M Chorus). Madame continues in hot pursuit after a man, while Eddie and Elsie
decide to spill ink on the hotel register in order to destroy any evidence that might
later betray them. Rivers attempts to tell Elsie Lilly his feelings about her by telling
her that he loves all women but after she exits, he whispers, "I love just you"
(OLD BOY NEUTRAL- M and F Duet). Rivers then devises a plan in which he sends Elsie Lilly
a bunch of roses asking her to wear one to breakfast if she feels the same way about him.
The clerk carelessly shoves copies of the note Rivers wrote to Elsie under the doors of
the Frenchman's and Elsie Darling's rooms, as well as Elsie Lilly's.
- Late that same night, the plot thickens when
Georgiana and Percy make it to the inn, then take the only room available. The clerk
remarks that the inn is a respectable one, thus Georgiana and Percy must register as a
married couple. After they depart to their room a scream is heard. Eddie runs to the
rescue of Elsie Darling, who has been frightened by a mouse in her room. He comforts her
tenderly (BABES IN THE WOOD- M and F Duet). At the end of the song, they go to their rooms
throwing a finger kiss to each other.
- The next morning the hilarity continues as
the clerk bungles Rivers' plan by passing out roses to Elsie Darling, the Frenchman and
the intended Elsie Lilly. We discover that Georgiana and Percy's relationship is following
a similar path as that of Eddie's and Elsie's. Percy sees Rivers, who is an old college
chum of his. Rivers mentions that Eddie and his wife are there at the inn having a wild
time. Percy and Georgiana are shocked. In the meantime, Madame Matroppo decides to
approach the clerk with certain propositions. The clerk refuses but seems to enjoy her
flirtations. She sings to him (KATYDID- F Solo).
- The plot takes another turn when Eddie gives
Elsie Darling the roses that the clerk gave to him. She has received a copy of the note
that Rivers wrote to Elsie Lilly and this upsets her. Elsie Lilly thinks that Eddie, who
is an old flame of hers, sent the note. She quickly angers when she discovers that Eddie
is with someone elses wife. She vows to now forget him at last, leaving herself open
for Rivers. When Rivers approaches her she is more accepting of his affections (NODDING
ROSES- M and F Duet).
- Georgiana and Percy overhear Eddie and Elsie
who are pretending to be in love in front of the suspicious clerk. Percy and Georgiana
confront them. The evidence seems against poor Eddie and Elsie until it is discovered the
Percy and Georgiana are registered as man and wife. Eddie has changed because of the
adventure; more forceful and confident, scaring Georgiana, who says that she will be going
home to her mother. Suddenly the Frenchman enters with two telegrams, one for each couple.
It is revealed that Reverand Hoskins' license had expired the month before, meaning that
the marriages are not legal. The four are overjoyed (FINALE- Company).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- This charming Revival was one of the original
Princess Theatre Musicals especially written for the intimacy of the 299 seat house. The
idea behind the productions was to develop musicals limited to two sets, a small cast and
orchestra. This was extremely innovative in 1915 as musicals of the day tended to be
Revue, Operetta and nearly plotless, all mounted on a large scale.
- Revived in 1975 by the Goodspeed Opera, a
professional theatre in East Haddam, Connecticut who seasonally produces two revivals and
a new musical, the show subsequently moved to Broadway where it received three Tony
- The dialogue is witty, the characters well
drawn and the situation hilarious. The production needs a chorus of good singer/dancers
and principals with impeccable timing. The character roles of the Frenchman, the Steward,
who also acts as the desk clerk, and Mme. Matroppo and excellent character vignettes and
add greatly to the delight of the show. An excellent vehicle for any group with a good
Director/Choreographer who can time the comic chases and recapture the style of the Pre
World War I dances.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Ive Got to Dance," Mixed chorus, could be a mixed
quartet for class study, period 1915 dance number staged as Vernon and Irene Castle,
- "Thirteen Collar," High Baritone Solo sung by Eddie who has
married a domineering woman, song of the down trodden meek and small in size husband,
problem charm song, character oriented
- Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, 2 reeds, trombone, trumpet, percussion,
- Script: NP
- Score: T B Harms
- Record: DRG
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
- Synopsis by UNH alum Brian Sutherland who
subsequently performed the role of King Marchan in the Broadway
- Book: Blake Edwards
- Music: Henry Mancini
- Additional Musical Material: Frank Wildhorn
- Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse
- Marquis Theatre, October 25, 1995 (# perf.)
- Director: Blake Edwards
- Choreographer: Rob Marshall
- Musical Director and Vocal Arrangements: Ian Fraser
- Orchestration: Billy Byers
- Dance and Incidental Music: David Krane
- Fight Staging: B. H. Barry
- Victoria Grant- Julie Andrews- Alto
- Carroll Todd- Tony Roberts- Baritone
- King Marchan- Michael Nouri- Baritone
- Norma Cassidy- Rachel York- Mezzo
- Squash Bernstein- Gregory Jbara- Baritone
- Andre Cassell- Richard B. Shull- Baritone
- Henri Labisse- Adam Heller- Baritone
- Richard Di Nardo- Michael Cripe- Tenor
- Jazz Singer- Devin Richards- Tenor
- Street Singer- Tara OBrien- Mezzo
- Sal Andretti- Ken Land- Baritone
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 12M/9F equal mix of Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Baritone
- At the opening of Act I, we find ourselves in
a gay club on Paris Left Bank called "Chez Lui," where Carroll Todd
("Toddy") is holding court (PARIS BY NIGHT- M Solo and M Chorus). Business
isnt exactly booming, and when Toddy insults a group of customers, which includes
his old flame, Richard, he is threatened with immediate dismissal by the clubs
extremely high-strung owner, Labisse. Toddy makes the mistake of trying to help a
destitute soprano named Victoria who has come to audition, and an enraged Labisse fires
him and tosses them both out on the street. Victoria has nowhere to go and Toddy offers
her the modest comfort of his tiny flat, where they hit it off instantly.
- They muse on what it would be like to be the
opposite sex; Victoria is sure that shed be better off as a man (IF I WERE A MAN- F
Solo). To demonstrate, she dons some clothing belonging to Richard (Toddys recently
insulted ex), who shows up to claim his belongings. When Richard becomes hostile, Victoria
socks him and throws him out and the "macho" display sparks Toddys
imagination. He hatches a scheme: Victoria could become a man, but to capitalize on her
singing ability she would be a female impersonating-man. "His" name will be
Count Victor Grazinsky, a Polish aristocrat. Victoria is skeptical but Toddy is enthused
(TRUST ME!- M Solo to M/F Duet).
- Toddy introduces his new "lover"
Victor to his impresario friend Cassell, and soon "he" is the toast of
Paris café scene (LE JAZZ HOT- F Solo to Mixed Chorus). Victors gender is
unquestioned by all except a visiting "businessman" (read gangster) from Chicago
named King Marchan. He is somewhat of an expert on the fairer sex and assures his
vivacious but intellectually challenged girlfriend, Norma, and his loyal bodyguard,
Squash, that no man could be as convincingly feminine as Victor. To prove his point, he
arranges a meeting with Victor backstage, and later at the opening night party sends Norma
to dance with him (THE "PARIS BY NIGHT" TANGO- Dance). Victor passes this test
with flying colors, and back at the hotel King struggles with opposing forces: a newly
libido-charged Norma, fresh from her tango with Victor (PARIS MAKES ME HORNY- F Solo) and
his uncomfortable feelings for a man named Victor. Things are equally topsy-turvy in the
adjoining suite, where Victoria confesses to Toddy her attraction to King and her
frustration at having to hide both her feelings and her identity (CRAZY WORLD- F Solo).
- When Act II begins, Victor is still wowing
them in Paris (LOUIS SAYS- F Solo to Mixed Chorus), and, having sent Norma packing back to
Chicago, King determines to confront his doubts about himself and Victor once and for all
(KINGS DILEMMA- M Solo). A night out on the town with Victor and Toddy is planned
and, when dinner yields no fresh insight, they retire to Chez Lui for a nightcap. Labisse
has his own suspicions about Victor and invites him to sing. In the middle of a hastily
improvised duet with Toddy (YOU & ME- M/F Duet), Toddys old friend Richard
rudely interrupts and Victor again responds with manly force. A brawl ensues and King and
Victor escape to the street, where the now thoroughly aroused and perplexed King succumbs
to his attraction and kisses Victor. He doesnt even seem fazed when Victoria
confesses her true gender. They kiss again in the romantic square outside the club,
serenaded by a street singer (PARIS BY NIGHT [REPRISE]- F Solo).
- Later, back at the hotel, Squash is stunned
to find his boss in bed with Victor and, when King tries to explain, he is stunned when
Squash reveals that he, too, is gay. Victoria and King reluctantly agree that their
romance as two men wont work (ALMOST A LOVE SONG- M/F Duet). Meanwhile, back in a
Chicago nightclub (CHICAGO, ILLINOIS- F Solo to F Chorus), a disgruntled Norma enlists the
aid of Kings partner, Sal Andretti. When Sal learns that King has thrown Norma over
for a "gay polish fairy," they head for Paris.
- Toddy and Squash have become quite cozy, but
Victoria cant keep up the charade any longer if it means she and King cant be
together (LIVING IN THE SHADOWS- F Solo). She and Toddy agree that Victor will soon
retire, but before the official final appearance they attempt to keep up the ruse. Upon
Sal and Normas arrival, King professes his love for "Victor," but, when
Labisse witnesses Victorias revealing of her true femininity to Norma (thereby
vouching for Kings manhood), all seems lost. Labisse will expose "Victor"
to the world as a fraud. At the final performance, its Toddy to the rescue, in drag
in place of Victoria, and the day is saved for all happy couples (VICTOR/VICTORIA- M/F
Duet to Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Victor, Victoria won Drama Desk Awards
for Best Actress and Featured Actress and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Broadway
Musical and Actress.
- Based on the film of the same name, Victor,
Victoria ran on Broadway from October 1995 until August 1997. The Broadway
production was considerably splashier than the film, taking advantage of the use of the
theatrical stage in the performance numbers, and of the talents of its choreographer, Rob
Marshall. It also starred Julie Andrews, reprising her film role (she was later replaced
by Liza Minnelli, and then Raquel Welch), and featured Tony Roberts in the role of Toddy
(Robert Preston in the film) and Michael Nouri as King (James Garner in the film).
- As with all Blake Edwards pieces, the
emphasis is clearly on comedy (including one extended chase sequence without dialogue,
reminiscent of some "Pink Panther" films). The characters are outlandish and the
comic elements easily as important as the love story. That being said, it requires expert
comedic actors in the leads- Victoria must be able to convincingly morph genders at will,
not to mention sing and dance. Toddy must be played by an actor who is very comfortable
with portraying an unabashedly gay man who is unwilling to behave in a traditionally
"manly" way. In fact, he envies Victorias opportunity to live out the
fantasy of switching genders.
- Although the Broadway production was
decidedly big-budgeted and played a very large house, it is feasible to produce
Victor/Victoria on a smaller stage. It could even be in a cabaret type space (since the
performance numbers do ostensibly take place in a café), with more emphasis on book
scenes and less on production values.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "If I Were a Man," "Crazy World," "Living In
the Shadows," and "Le Jazz Hot," Alto Solos, can be used in class or even
as audition material
- "Paris Makes Me Horny," "Chicago, Illinois,"
Mezzo Solos, good for comedy, a female comic in the tradition of Adelaide and Ado Annie
- "Kings Dilemma," Baritone Solo, soliloquy, good
practice at using a song as a problem solving-monologue, not really appropriate for
auditions, as it is specific to the context in many places
- Instrumentation: 3 violins, 2 violas, 1 cello, 1 bass, 5 woodwinds, 3 trumpets, 2
trombones, 1 guitar, drums and percussion, accordion, keyboards
- Selections: Warner Bros., dist. by Hal Leonard
- Record: Philips
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
Synopsis by UNH alum John Porcaro who
performed in SpeakEasy Stage Companys Boston premier production
- Book and Lyrics: Brian Crawley
- Music: Jeanine Tesori
- (Based on The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris
ORIGINAL NEW YORK PRODUCTION
- Playwrights Horizons, NYC, March 12, 1997 (# perf.)
- Director: Susan H. Schulman
- Choreographer: Kathleen Marshall
- Musical Director: Michael Rafter
- Orchestration: Joseph Joubert and Beryl Reid
- Father- Stephen Lee Anderson- Baritone
- Creepy Guy/Bus Driver2/Radio Singer/Billy Dean/Virgil- Kirk McDonald - Tenor
- Flick- Michael McElroy - Baritone
- Leroy Evans/Waiter/Mechanic/Lead Radio Singer/Bus Driver 3/Earl- Michael Medeiros -
- Old Lady/Hotel Singer/Old Lady 2- Cass Morgan- Mezzo
- Woman with Fan/Music Hall Singer/Mabel- Paula Newsome- Mezzo
- Monty- Michael Park- Tenor
- Young Vi- Amanda Posner- Mezzo
- Woman Knitting/Landlady/Hotel Singer2/Gospel Soloist- Roz Ryan- Mezzo
- Violet- Lauren Ward- Mezzo (belt)
- Bus Drivers 1 & 4/Preacher/Rufus/Radio Singer- Robert Westenberg- Tenor
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: None, but it can be expanded
- The show begins with Violet sitting on a
bench in Spruce Pine, North Carolina waiting for a Greyhound Bus. It is September 1964 and
she is a 25-year old girl with a tremendous scar across her cheek, stretching from her ear
to the bridge of her nose. She received the scar 12 years ago, when she was only 13, from
an accident in which her fathers ax blade flew off its handle and struck her in the
face. Her father saved up enough money to take her to a plastic surgeon for her 18th
birthday, but unfortunately it was too late. It has now been two years since her
fathers death and Violet has saved up enough of her own money to travel from North
Carolina across Tennessee and Arkansas to Tulsa, Oklahoma in hopes of meeting a
televangelist who will grant her a miracle and heal her scar.
- As Violet waits for the bus, she sees herself
at the age of 13, before the accident (WATER IN THE WELL- F Linear Duet). Violet is
brought back to reality upon hearing her father yell his failed warning to her at the
moment when the ax blade flew off its handle. She is approached by a local who asks her if
she is going somewhere. Annoyed with his stupidity and the stupidity of the townsfolk in
general, she takes great pleasure in thinking how theyll react to her once she
returns without her scar (SURPRISED- F Solo). During the course of the song she boards the
bus and we see the reaction of the bus driver when he sees her scar. He is shocked and
immediately looks away. Violet continues to get on the bus and advises him to stare at her
all he wants, knowing that within a week the scar will be gone. The Old Lady takes the
seat next to Violet and comments on The Baltimore Catechism that Violet is
carrying. We find out that it belonged to Violets mother and serves as her journal
throughout her trip. The Old Lady continues to talk non-stop, while Violet imagines what
the Old Ladys features would look like on her own face. Along with the rest of the
people on the bus, she is beginning her journey (ON MY WAY- F Solo and Mixed Chorus).
- There is a brief flashback to young Vi and
her father in which her father confronts her about being picked on by the neighborhood
children. He convinces her that theyre ignorant and gives her a quarter to go see a
movie while he goes and deals with the neighborhood bullies.
- We return to the present time and the bus has
made its first stop in Kingsport, Tennessee where the passengers look forward to the time
off the bus (M&Ms Mixed Chorus). While in the roadside diner, Violet meets two
soldiers on their way to Fort Smith, Arkansas. One is named Flick and the other named
Monty. They invite Violet to join them in a game of poker and we once again go back in
time to see Young Violet getting a lesson from her father in how to play poker. (LUCK OF
THE DRAW M Solo with Principals) Mid-way through the song, we are brought to the
present where Violet is winning the poker game in the diner. The song ends with both young
Violet and Violet beating their opponents, much to their surprise.
- Back on the bus, Monty questions Violet about
her journey and, when she tells him about going to see the preacher to be healed, both
Monty and Flick laugh at the idea. Monty shares his opinion that Violet has lived a
sheltered life in the mountains and has no idea what the real world is like
(QUESTION & ANSWER- M/F Duet). Monty takes Violets catechism away from her,
causing a scene in front of the other passengers. He reads out loud from it, making fun of
what she has written. Violet grabs it from him and we flashback to Young Violet in the
attic of her house being confronted by her father for looking at her mothers book.
She is told that there are things in its pages not suitable for a young girl,
Young Violet obeys her fathers wishes and returns the book to him.
- Back to the present, we find Violet, Flick
and Monty at the bus station in Nashville, Tennessee. Flick asks Violet what it is she
really wants to change about herself. Violet grabs a movie magazine from a local vendor
and, with the magazines help, describes to the men what it is she really wants (ALL
TO PIECES- F Solo). They get back on the bus and Violet daydreams about seeing the
preacher. We see Young Violet talking to the preacher about her accident and she explains
to him that she is ready for him to heal her (A HEALING TOUCH- M Solo).
- As the bus gets closer to Memphis, Flick and
Violet continue their conversation and he attempts to convince her that she doesnt
need a preacher to heal her, she can heal herself (LET IT SING- M Solo). The bus arrives
in Memphis and Violet, Flick and Monty are preparing to say goodbye to each other when
confronted by a couple of locals looking for a fight. They immediately target Flick, due
to the fact that he is black, and a fight ensues. The locals are chased away, but they
managed to take Violets suitcase, which contained all of her clothes and the phone
number of the relatives she was going to stay with for the night. Flick and Monty convince
her to stay the night with them and she will leave first thing in the morning. Violet is
shown to her room, turns on the radio and takes a nap (WHOLL BE THE ONE [IF NOT ME]-
M Solo with 2M Singers). Violet dreams of her younger self, introducing her father to the
Old Lady from the bus and dancing around the room with Monty. While she naps, Monty comes
in the room to wake her and sees Violets catechism sitting on the nightstand. He
picks it up and begins to read what Violet has written in it. He reads some comments that
have been written about him that he is not too pleased with, but rather than become angry,
he decides for forgive Violet, given all that she has gone through (YOURE DIFFERENT-
- Flick enters and Violet is now awake. The
three of them set out for a night on the town and find themselves in a Beale
Street music hall (LONELY STRANGER- F Solo). In the music hall, all three are dancing
together and Monty makes a pass at Violet. Seeing this, Flick leaves the music hall and
Violet goes after him. Flick and Violet return to the boarding house and are confronted by
the landlady who watches until they both go off to their separate bedrooms. Later in the
night, after Violet has been asleep for some time, Monty enters her bedroom through her
unlocked door, wakes her and they make love.
- We are back in the past on the last day of
high school where we see a Young Violet being followed home by Billy Dean. We discover
that Billy Dean has been paid to approach her for sex by the other kids in the
neighborhood because he is a virgin. Young Violet is aware of the situation and confronts
Billy Dean who quickly admits the truth. She agrees to go along with him, as long as he is
gentle. This is Violets first sexual experience.
- We return to Violet and Monty in bed, where,
after making love, Monty quickly falls asleep while laying with his head on Violets
chest (LAY DOWN YOUR HEAD- F Solo). This brings us to the end of the first act where we
see Violet and Monty in bed together, Flick drinking alone at a local bar and a trio of
locals, the music hall singer, a hotel singer and a street walker (ANYONE WOULD DO- F
- Act II begins on the bus, coming to a stop in
Fort Smith, Arkansas. Monty gets off the bus, promising Violet a surprise when he returns.
While Monty is gone, Flick confronts Violet about what went on the night before (HARD TO
SAY GOODBYE- M/F Duet). As the song finishes, Violet runs off into the bathroom to
practice what she is going to say to Monty when he returns. At the same time, Monty is
getting advice from Flick as to what to say to Violet when she returns. But when the time
actually comes for them to say goodbye, Monty ends up asking Violet to meet him back at
Fort Smith once her healing is complete (PROMISE ME, VIOLET- 2M/F Trio). She gets on the
bus, promising nothing.
- The song segues immediately into the middle
of choir rehearsal at the Hope and Glory Building in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (RAISE ME UP- Mixed
Chorus) where Violet has become completely enthralled with the preacher rehearsing his
sermon. At the climax of the song, the preacher stops everything and reprimands the choir
for their performance. While doing this, he includes Violet and yells at her, thinking she
is part of the television crew. She tells him that she doesnt work for him, but is
there to be healed. He tells her to come back the next night, and send his assistant to
pray with her so shell go away.
- As they begin praying, Violet sees her father
carrying her younger self down the mountain immediately following the accident (DOWN THE
MOUNTAIN- M/F Duet). After trying to talk some sense into the preachers assistant,
Violet gives up and runs away from him, trying to find the preacher herself. She comes
upon the televangelists empty chapel and starts laying out her hand written bible
quotes on the altar. The preacher discovers her in his chapel and continues attempting to
get her to leave. She refuses and begs him once again to heal her scar (RAISE ME UP
[REPRISE]- F Solo). He tells her that there is nothing he can do for her, after all the
scar is already healed. He tells her that his preaching has become more of a show than
anything else. Violet informs him that his deception has stolen years of her
life. She insists that he see her for what she really is (LOOK AT ME- F Solo).
During the song, the preacher exits without Violet noticing. She continues to set up the
altar for her healing and, as the song reaches its climax, Violet begins tearing up the
catechism, scattering the torn pieces all around the altar. Violet hasnt noticed
that her father has replaced the preacher. He is joined by Young Violet. Violet watches
her younger self confront her father about the accident and they fight until her father
finally apologizes. He tells her that he is aware that he may not have always known how to
be the best father to her, but he did the best that he could do (THATS WHAT I COULD
DO- M Solo).
- After the confrontation with her father,
Violet becomes aware that something about her has changed and assumes that it is her scar
(SURPRISED [REPRISE]- F Solo). She refuses to look at it for herself, deciding to give it
some more time to heal. She re-boards the bus and, although all the passengers on board
are different people, they remind her of the people she traveled with before (M&Ms
[REPRISE]- Mixed Chorus). She strikes up a conversation with one of the passengers telling
her that if she gets to Fort Smith and Monty doesnt recognize her then shell
know that shes been so completely transformed she could live happily ever
after with him. She also says that if he does recognize her shell know that
she is too ugly to ever be happy and will immediately get back on the bus. Her fellow
passengers dont quite know what to make of her, and suggest that she maybe needs
- When the bus stops at Fort Smith, both Monty
and Flick are waiting for her. Violet rushes off to see Monty and, when she asks him what
he thinks, he says, I tried to tell you what would happen. But you didnt want
to hear it. Upon hearing this, Violet realizes that her scar is still there and she
hasnt been healed. She is speechless and doesnt want either of them to look at
her. Monty tells her that he has volunteered to go to Vietnam and is leaving in a few
days. He asks Violet if she will go with him to San Francisco for a few days before he has
to leave, but she refuses and he leaves. Flick can see that Violet has indeed changed
since the last time he saw her, even though the scar remains. He tries to convince her to
stay with him (PROMISE ME, VIOLET [REPRISE]- M/F Duet). At first she refuses, but then the
image of her younger self enters and helps to convince Violet to stay with him. As the
show comes to an end, Violet and Flick join hands and are surrounded by the entire
company, who have watched Violet find her true beauty, inside herself (BRING ME TO LIGHT-
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Violet had a limited run as part of
Playwrights Horizons 1996-97 season. It won the New York Drama Critics Circle
Award for Best Musical and was the first Off-Broadway show to do so. Violet was also
awarded the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical. The shows composer,
Jeanine Tesori, was awarded an Obie Award Special Citation for Music.
- The show works well in a very small space
with a small cast, but can be enlarged for school or community groups wanting to give more
performing experiences for their company. In an enlarged cast there would be little or no
doubling. Due to the various locations throughout the piece (North Carolina, Tennessee,
Arkansas and Oklahoma) a dialect coach would be helpful, to make sure the accents are
consistent with each location. The use of various musical styles (gospel, country, rock
and roll, as well as classical musical theatre) throughout the score make it very
appealing to all audiences, as the show contains something for everyone. This
is an ideal show for high school audiences as it deals with the issues of internal vs.
external beauty. Violets entire struggle is based on what she looks like on the
outside, but throughout her journey she discovers that she is truly beautiful on the
inside where it matters. It is especially touching when she discovers that someone (Flick)
is able to see what a truly beautiful person she really is.
- The Boston production of the show was
extremely well received and earned Bridget Beivrne, who played the title role, an Elliot
Norton Award for Best Musical Performance in the 2000 season of Boston theatre. The Boston
production of Violet was also awarded the Best Musical Award by the Independent
Reviewers of New England.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "On My Way," Upbeat chorus number that could easily be
trimmed down for use in the classroom or in a revue, great melody and harmonies
- "Lay Down Your Head," Mezzo Solo, beautiful ballad that can
be easily used out of the context of the show, also good for 16-32 bars for audition
purposes (Can also be heard on Audra McDonalds solo CD How Glory Goes)
- "Let It Sing," M Solo, (medium tempo, not ballad) a great
find for a strong baritone, can also be cut for 16-32 bars for auditions
- "Youre Different," Baritone Solo, good choice for
16-32 bars for an audition (section near the end of the song)
- "Hey Im Dyin," F Solo Also a good choice for 16-32
bars for an audition (especially for 16-32 bars for up-tempo, Rock)
Instrumentation: bass, percussion, 2 guitars, 3 keyboards, violin, cello
Record/CD: Resmiranda Records
- Book: Roger OHirson and Kitti Frings
- Lyrics: Sammy Cahn
- Music: James Van Heusen
- (Based on the play Hobsons Choice
by Harold Brighouse)
- Lunt Fontanne, November 26, 1966 (161 perf.)
- Director: Cy Feuer
- Choreographer: Danny Daniels
- Musical Director: Julian Stein
- Will- Norman Wisdon-
- Hobson- George Rose-
- Alice- Sharon Dierking-
- Albert- James B. Spann-
- Mrs. Hepworth- Emma Trekman-
- Maggie- Louise Troy-
- Beenstock- Ed Bakey-
- Vickie- Gretchen Van Aken-
- Freddie- Michael Berkson-
- Tubby Wadlow- Gordon Dilworth-
- Chorus and Smaller Roles:
- The show is set in an industrial town in
Lancashire, England in 1880.
- At the Moonrakers Pub, the men are starting
to leave when Beenstock, a temperance believer, arrives to give his nightly speech (THINK
OF SOMETHING ELSE- Sc to M Chorus).
- In Hobsons shop, while Hobsons
two daughters, Vickie and Alice, moon over their two boyfriends, Albert and Freddie
Beenstock, Maggie, Hobsons intelligent oldest daughter, sells Freddie a pair of
shoes and convinces Albert to fix his. The two leave and Maggie tells the girls that the
boys had better declare their intentions. When Hobson, at thirty, informs Maggie that she
is an old maid, Maggie accuses him of not looking for a husband for her. He denies it and
exits. Maggie fumes that her father forces her to run the store and keep the house (WHERE
WAS I?- Sc to F Solo). Knowing her father is using her, Maggie is determined to outwit him
and find her own husband.
- In the cellar of the Bootery, Will Massop, a
thirty-year old bootmaker, asks Tubby how to act around a girl (HOW DYA TALK TO A
GIRL- Sc to M/F Duet).
- Maggie, realizing Will is a talented
bootmaker, proposes to him and promises that love will come. She tells him that he is her
best chance to succeed in life and he happily agrees to the marriage (IF I BE YOUR BEST
CHANCE- Sc to M Solo). But when she tells him bans will be posted the following Sunday, he
tells her he has already promised himself to Ada Figgens, the daughter of the man he
- Maggie goes to Adas house to argue with
Ada for Will, but Adas mother pushes Will at two men who begin a barrel dance
(JOYFUL THING- Mixed Chorus). Will is upset, but Maggie returns, threatens to report them
to the police and exits with Will, who she vows to make into the finest bootmaker in
Lancashire. They take Maggies orders and Will is confused and wonders (WHAT MAKES IT
HAPPEN- M Solo).
- Hobson, furious because the marriage contract
Albert has drawn up calls for Hobson to pay £250 sterling per daughter as a dowry,
wont agree to any marriages. When the girls tell Maggie, she urges them to work with
her (USE YOUR NOGGIN- F Trio).
- Will enters and Maggie informs the girls and
her father that she is going to marry Will. Hobson, in a fury, hits him, but Will just
stares, turns and kisses Maggie again and again. Will realizes his rashness and faints
dead away. Maggie leans over him as the curtain falls.
- Act II opens in Mrs. Hepworths sitting
room. Maggie tells Mrs. Hepworth she and Will are going to be married and need a loan to
start a new life and business (ILL MAKE A MAN OF THE MAN- Sc to F Solo).
- Maggie rents a cellar in a very dirty
condition with the idea of opening a shoe business. She urges Will, who starts off slowly,
to believe in their abilities (WALKING HAPPY- M/F Duet to Chorus).
- In the cellar bedroom, which is clean and
orderly, Maggie makes Will work on his writing. He copies a phrase she has written (I
DONT THINK IM IN LOVE- Sc to M/F Duet). Their first customer enters for a new
shoelace and they are both very happy.
- At the Moonrakers, Hobson is in a drunken
state, attempting to forget his troubles (SUCH A SOCIABLE SORT- Mixed Chorus).
- On his wedding day, Will accuses Tubby of
being responsible for his marriage (IT MIGHT AS WELL BE HER- M Duet).
- Hobson arrives at the wedding where Maggie
forces him to accept Will as a son-in-law. Hobson offers Will his old job, much to
Maggies chagrin (YOURE RIGHT- M/F Duet). Will agrees to Hobsons proposal
if he will make him a partner.
- Maggie, realizing that Will is afraid of her,
packs her bags to leave, but Will orders her not to, and the two happily realize their
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
The show was not well received even
though Will was portrayed by an excellent English comedian.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- Script: Samuel French
- Selections: Shapiro, Bernstein
- Rights: Samuel French
WEST SIDE STORY
- Book: Arthur Laurents
- Music: Leonard Bernstein
- Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim
- (Based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
and an idea by Jerome Robbins)
- Winter Garden, September 26, 1957 (732 perf.)
- Director and Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
- Co-Choreographer: Peter Gennaro
- Musical Director: Max Goberman
- Orchestration: Leonard Bernstein, Sid Ramin and Irwin Kostal
- Riff- Mickey Calin- Baritone
- Bernardo- Ken LeRoy- Baritone
- Tony- Larry Kert- Tenor
- Maria- Carol Lawrence- Soprano
- Anita- Chita Rivera- Alto
- Chino- Jamie Sanchez- VTNE
- Doc- Art Smith- VTNE
- Anybodys- Lee Becker-Dancer- VTNE
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 10M/8F teens and 2M adults
- The scene opens on two rival New York street
gangs: the Jets whose leader is Riff and whose members are American, and the Sharks whose
leader is Bernardo and whose members are Puerto Rican. Because of the difference in
backgrounds, there is much hostility and prejudice, and wars over territories.
- One late afternoon Bernardo and the Sharks
corner A-rab, a Jet member, and proceed to beat on him until the rest of the Jets arrive.
A free-for-all breaks out and gets broken up by a big, goon-like cop, Krupke, and
plainclothesman, Schrank. They advise the two groups to leave each other alone.
- The Jets, determined to hold their turf, plan
on a rumble against the Sharks. In counting up their available members they decide to
enlist the help of Tony, a former member/founder who hasn't been with the gang for awhile.
Leader Riff assures them that once someone is a Jet they are always loyal to the group
(JET SONG- M Solo with M Chorus).
- When Riff finds Tony at the drugstore where
he works, he asks Tony to join him at the dance to fight the Sharks. Tony reluctantly
agrees, for Riff is like a brother, yet yearns for something different (SOMETHING'S
COMING- M Solo). Tony meets Bernardo's sister, Maria, at the dance and realizes she is
what he has been waiting for (MARIA- M Solo with Mixed Chorus Background). He goes to
Maria's home and climbs the fire escape to see her. The two express their feelings
(TONIGHT- Sc to M/F Duet).
- The Sharks and their girls are in the street
arguing about the virtues of Puerto Rico. When the boys leave to plan the War Council, the
girls comment on Puerto Rico; Rosalia, fantasizing about the island's beauty, while Anita,
Bernardo's girlfriend, and the other girls prefer the USA (AMERICA- F Chorus).
- The Jets are in the drugstore planning their
rumble strategy despite Doc's comments on the pointlessness of fighting. He calls them
hoodlums, which angers the boys, but Riff wisely counsels them to save their energy for
the Sharks (COOL- M Solo with M Chorus).
- Bernardo and the Sharks arrive at the
drugstore to settle the details of the rumble. They agree to meet the next night, under
the highway and prove which gang is best by a fist fight between each gang's best man.
- Tony secretly meets Maria in the dress shop
after she finishes work. Using dressmaker dummies to represent their families, they
dramatize what their lives should be like. The mood becomes serious as they enact their
make-believe wedding ceremony (ONE HAND, ONE HEART- Sc to M/F Duet).
- In various areas of the neighborhood, the
Jets, Sharks, Anita, Maria and Tony prepare for the evening (TONIGHT- Mixed Chorus).
- The rumble begins with Bernardo and Diesel,
the two best fighters, surrounded by the other gang members. They are interrupted by Tony
who, keeping his promise to Maria, tries to stop the fight. Bernardo, recognizing him as
the boy who danced with his sister, taunts Tony in an attempt to fight him. Riff seeing
that Tony will not fight back, strikes out at Bernardo and both Riff and Bernardo pull
knives. Tony draws Riff's attention away from the fight, which enables Bernardo to kill
him. Enraged, Tony grabs Riff's switchblade and kills Bernardo. He stands there stunned as
the gang members all begin fighting. The sound of police sirens drives everyone off but
Tony stands staring at the two bodies and cries Maria's name. Anybodys, a tomboy who
yearns to join the Jets, darts on and pulls him away as the cruiser lights comb the area.
- As Act II begins, Rosalia and Consuelo, two
Puerto Rican girls, are in Maria's bedroom, discussing what they will do after the Rumble
when Maria announces that there will be no rumble and that she feels wonderful for it is
her wedding night. The girls think she is crazy (I FEEL PRETTY- F Trio) and warn her that
one must get married before the wedding night. As Chino, her former Puerto Rican
boyfriend, enters the girls leave. Chino tells her there has been a fight and Maria
reveals she is worried about Tony. Chino tells her that Tony has killed Bernardo and slams
the door leading to the parlor. He stops before leaving and picks up Bernardo's gun.
- Tony enters through the bedroom window to
tell Maria he has killed her brother. She pleads with him not to leave her and the two, in
an imaginary dance sequence, visualize their utopian world. As an offstage voice sings
(SOMEWHERE- F Solo, M/F Duet) the walls of the apartment move off and the Sharks and Jets
enter with their girls. Everyone dances happily together. The lights suddenly become harsh
and the dream turns into the real nightmare with the re-enactment of the knife fight. At
the end of the number they are back in the bedroom holding one another and finishing the
- In an alley, the Jets, in hiding from Officer
Krupke, comment on the officer and his treatment of them (GEE, OFFICER KRUPKE- M Chorus).
Anybodys enters to tell them that Chino is out to get Tony and the gang spreads out to
warn and protect Tony.
- Anita enters Maria's room seeking comfort and
discovers Tony has been there. She tells her that Tony is no good but Maria forces Anita
to understand that her love for Tony is as great as Anita's for Bernardo (A BOY LIKE
THAT/I HAVE A LOVE- Sc to F Duet).
- Officer Schrank enters to question Maria, who
asks Anita to deliver a message to the drugstore. When Anita arrives at the drugstore, the
Jets, believing she is there to find Tony, push her around in a dramatically stylized
dance (THE TAUNTING- Dance) which is stopped by the arrival of Doc. Angry, Anita tells the
Jets to tell Tony that Chino has shot Maria and storms out of the drugstore.
- Doc goes into the cellar to give Tony money
for his escape and informs Tony that Maria is dead. Stunned he runs out into the streets
yelling for Chino to kill him. As he enters the street, he sees Maria and starts to her
but Chino shoots him. Tony dies in Maria's arms and Maria, enraged and saddened by Tony's
death, grabs the gun from Chino and threatens both Jets and Sharks with death. She
collapses in tears but recovers herself and stretches out her arms to both gangs who
gently carry Tony's body off.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- West Side Story won two 1958 Tony
Awards for Scenic Design and Choreography. It was year of stiff competition and most other
awards went to The Music Man.
- The show was lyricist Stephen Sondheim's
Broadway debut, and was a brilliantly dramatic treatment of the "Romeo and
Juliet" theme. The music and lyrics are familiar to modern audiences and enhance the
book's dramatic action.
- The production is extremely demanding, as it
requires "triple threat" performers capable of excellent dancing, singing and
acting. The dancing is a high point and amateur groups will need a lot of work on these
"action" oriented numbers to avoid the risk of being hurt. Do not attempt to
perform this musical without excellent dancers, a quality choreographer and a lot of
- The larger dance numbers require full stage
space to perform which usually means drops to set the location of the gym, the alley, the
highway and the street. It may be possible to combine the street sequences and possibly
even include the rumble in the street drop. Other scenes occur in the bedroom/parlor, the
bridal shop, the drugstore and the cellar. Some groups may find it technically feasible to
have the drugstore and cellar placed in the same location and have Tony enter the
drugstore from a separate entrance after the Jets leave. The important element in
designing the sets is to keep the stage action flowing from scene to scene.
- The company members, except Anybodys, Doc and
the policeman, usually have two costumes, one for the dance and one for everyday.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love," Alto/Soprano Duet,
excellent scene/song, dramatic, powerful, excellent for class study
- "Gee, Officer Krupke," Comic Male Chorus number, many
actable specifics, and solo sections, good for showcase or class study
- "I Feel Pretty," Female Trio, inter-reaction, reaction
- "One Hand, One Heart," Romantic Soprano/Tenor Duet,
excellent scene, transitional emphasis
- "Something's Coming," quality tenor number, exciting,
up-tempo, good for audition
- Instrumentation: 5 reeds, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, 2 horns, percussion, guitar, piano, 2
violins, cello, bass, piano/conductor
- Script: 10 Great Musicals, Theatre Arts, Dell
- Score: Schirmer, Chappell
- Record: Columbia
- Rights: MTI
- WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN?
- Book: Budd Schulberg and Stuart Schulberg
- Music and Lyrics: Erven Drake
- (Based on the novel by Budd Schulberg)
- 54th St. Theatre, February 27, 1964 (540 perf.)
- Director: Abe Burrows
- Choreographer: Matt Mattox
- Musical Director: Lehman Engel
- Orchestration: Don Walker
- Al Manheim- Robert Alda-
- Rita Rio- Graciela Daniele
- Laurette Harrington- Bernice Massi-
- Tracy Clark- Richard France-
- Sammy Glick- Steve Lawrence-
- Kit Sargent- Sally Ann Howes-
- Julian- George Coe-
- Sheik Orsini- Barry Newman-
- Chorus and Smaller Roles:
- The play starts with Al, the drama editor of
New York Record, reminiscing about his first meeting with Sammy Glick as a newspaper copy
boy. The scene shifts and the audience meets Sammy, a conniving lad. Al discovers Sammy
has used a mistake on Als part for his own financial gain and Sammy tells him his
philosophy (I GOT A NEW PAIR OF SHOES- Sc to M Duet to Chorus).
- Sammy proceeds to get Als column
shortened so he will have room for his own radio column, but claims he was only trying to
help. Al counters (YOU HELP ME- M Duet to Counterpoint Duet).
- Sammy quickly steals a young boys story
for a radio drama and wheels and deals to get it produced as a movie, with writing credit
going to himself. He moves to Hollywood to become a writer on the sound stage at World
Wide Pictures. On location, where the Queen of Shebas film is being shot, Sammy
tries desperately to be noticed. Kit Sargent, the writer, asks to talk to him, but he is
disappointed when he finds out she only wants him to join the Screen Writers Guild.
Sammy reads the contract as Kit realizes she has a tender spot for him because he is a
misfit (A TENDER SPOT- F Solo). He signs because he is convinced that he could be
President of the Guild someday.
- Sammy runs into Al, who is in Hollywood
adapting his play to a film. Al is nervous about writing a screenplay, but Kit and Sammy
convince him that it is very simple (LIGHTS! CAMERA! PLATITUDE!- 2M/F Trio).
- Sammy, alone on the sound stage, pretends
that he is the producer when Sidney and Fineman, the producer, enters and listens. Sammy
apologizes, but Fineman admits it was the sort of thing he did himself. Bert tells Sammy
its a tough town and one must be good to make it. Sammy says he belongs (MY
HOMETOWN- M Solo) and quickly creates a film story.
- Sammy becomes interested in Laurette
Harrington, a film investors daughter. Sheik, the director, warns him that she is
not good to mess with, but Sammy ignores him (I SEE SOMETHING- M/F Solo).
- At Kits apartment, she tries to explain
to Al why she is so attracted to Sammy. He is glad she told him, but hopes that at some
later date, she will notice him (MAYBE SOME OTHER TIME- Sc to M/F Duet). Sammy interrupts
to tell them that Fineman made him a producer and asks Kit to join him in Mexico (YOU CAN
TRUST ME- Sc to M Solo) describing the hotel of his choice (A ROOM WITHOUT WINDOWS- to M/F
- Laurette phones to tell Sammy she wants to
see him, which leaves Kit in an angry mood (KISS ME NO KISSES- Sc to M/F Duet).
- At the opening of Act II, Sammy, at
Graumans Chinese Theatre, tells the columnists and celebrities that he hasnt
changed (I FEEL HUMBLE- Mixed Chorus).
- Al is in New York, trying to write a play
about Sammy when Sammy arrives to convince him to write a screenplay with Kit. Al calls
Kit to make sure she wants him to come back. She does and sings about her new feelings
(SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR- F Solo).
- At a New York party, Laurette and Sammy
realize they have a lot in common (YOURE NO GOOD- Sc to M/F Duet).
- Sammy has connived to become Head of
Production by ensuring his mentor, Al, that Fineman will be fired. Laurette arrives and
tries to seduce Sammy in his office (FRIENDLIEST THING- F Solo), but he doesnt
believe in office sex. She is intrigued and decides she wants to marry him.
- The wedding party is in full swing (WEDDING
OF THE YEAR- Mixed Chorus), but the reception is interrupted with news that Sidney Fineman
shot himself. Sammy goes to tell Laurette and is shocked to find her partially dressed,
embracing a young French actor. She tells him that she plans to go on living her own life
the way she wants, and if he leaves her, she will make sure he doesnt last as head
of the studio. He backs down and agrees, but begs her to keep it discreet. Al and Kit,
finally rid of Sammy, return to New York. Sammy realizes that he is really alone and
defeated (SOME DAYS EVERYTHING GOES WRONG- M Solo), but he gains back his strength and
convinces himself that everything is really going right.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- The show had an enormous build-up due to the
popularity of Steve Lawrence, but when the star missed performances too often, the public
refused to gamble their money on his moods and the show closed.
- Sammys description of his
"Monsoon" film is worth a quick perusal for a possible audition monologue.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- Script: Random House
- Record/CD: Columbia Masterworks
- Book: George Abbott
- Music and Lyrics: Frank Loesser
- (Based on Charleys Aunt by
- St. James Theatre, October 11, 1948 (792 perf.)
- Director: George Abbott
- Choreographer: George Balanchine
- Musical Director: Max Goberman
- Orchestration: Ted Royal, Hans Spialek and Philip J. Lang
- Charley- Ray Bolger- Baritone
- Amy- Allyn Ann McLerie- Mezzo
- Kitty- Doretta Morrow- Soprano
- Jack- Byron Palmer- Tenor
- Sir Francis- Paul England- Baritone
- Dona Lucia- Jane Lawrence- Soprano
- Spettigue- Horace Cooper- VTNE
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 8M/8F
SUMMARY AND NOTES
- The show takes place in Oxford England, 1892.
Charley and Jack, two Oxford students, are entertaining two young ladies, Amy and Kitty,
who have come to visit them. The girls are properly upset to discover that Charleys
aunt hasnt arrived to chaperone, but the boys assure them she will be on the next
train. Jack suggests that Charley pose as his own Aunt in the costume he is to wear in the
drama club production. He is forced to agree in order to appease Kittys guardian,
Amys Uncle, Mr. Spettigue. Spettigue, an opportunist who has heard the Aunt is
extremely wealthy, considers marrying her for her money. Charlie, as Dona Lucia Alvadorez,
leads him on a merry chase.
- The real Dona Lucia, an extremely attractive,
stylish woman, arrives. She is greeted by Jacks father, Sir Francis, whom she
recognizes as the soldier she was infatuated with twenty years before. She decides to
disguise her true identity until she has talked to Charley, announces herself as Mrs.
Beverly-Smythe, and renews her acquaintance with Sir Francis.
- The play resolves when Charley, as Dona
Lucia, agrees to marry Spettigue if he gives his written consent that Kitty and Amy may
marry Jack and Charlie. Spettigue doesnt mind losing their money (which he controls
until they marry) since he is going to gain more wealth by marriage to Donna. Spettigue
announces his agreement to the marriages of his niece Kitty and ward Amy to the boys. A
humorous scene of Charley rushing back and forth to change from himself to Dona follows.
His disguise is unveiled, but the couples are still to be wed for they have the letter of
agreement. Charley meets his real aunt who declares her love for Sir Francis and the
musical ends on a happy note.
- A Tony was awarded to Ray Bolger who nightly
stopped the show with the charming "Once In Love with Amy," soft shoe solo where
he invited the audience to sing along.
- The show is an ideal one for school groups
with large choirs who want to give everyone a singing opportunity because the dance
requirements are limited and the chorus is expandable. There are several dance sections
but these may be trimmed in length and are set in the Victorian period, where style is
more important than tricky steps. The principals need excellent singing voices and Charley
must be a high energy comedian who dances.
- The costumes, although period ones, also
include some Spanish styled ones for a movement sequence involving Dona Lucia's
background. Charley's costume, traditionally representing Whistler's Mother needs to be
designed for quick changes. It is advised that extreme care be given to casting a Charley
with a sense of humor and a certain masculine charm. Without this the transvestite
sections may become uncomfortable.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Make a Miracle," Baritone/Soprano, up-tempo, duet between
Charley and Amy about the future inventions, Charley wants to talk about their future but
Amy is more enthralled with future technology. Unusual lyric about love, with definite
- "Once In Love With Amy," Baritone charm song, Charley
expresses his love for Amy by cavorting in soft shoe and song around the stage
- Instrumentation: 5 reeds, 2 trumpets, trombone, horn, 3 violins, viola, cello, bass,
- Script: French of London
- Score: Frank
- Record: Monmouth-Evergreen
- Rights: MTI
- Book: William Anthony McGuire
- Lyrics: Gus Kahn
- Music: Walter Donaldson
- (Based on The Nervous Wreck by Owen
- ORIGINAL PRODUCTION
- New Amsterdam Theatre, December 4, 1928 (379 perf.)
- Director: William Anthony McGuire
Choreographer: Seymour Felix and Tamara Geva
- Eddie Cantor, Ruth Etting, Ethel Shutta, Paul Gregory, Frances Upton, Tamara Geva,
Albert Hackett, George Olsen Orchestra, Buddy Ebsen
- REVIVAL PRODUCTION
- ANTA Theatre, February 14, 1979 (204 perf.)
- Director: Frank Corsaro
- Choreographer: Dan Siretta
- Musical Director: Lynn Crigler
- Orchestration: Russell Warner
- Sheriff Bob- Nicholas Wyman- Baritone
- Mary Custer- Bonnie Leaders- Alto
- Sally Morgan- Beth Austin- Mezzo
- Henry Williams- Charles Repole- Tenor
- Wanenis- Franc Luz- High Baritone
- Harriet Underwood- Catherine Cox- Mezzo
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 11M/5F, may be expanded.
- The scene opens at Mission Rest, Arizona and
the day is Sally Morgans wedding day. As the curtain rises immediately the audience
is told of the approaching wedding by the town (WHOOPEE TONIGHT- Mixed Chorus). After the
townsfolk disperse the main conflict is revealed. Sheriff Bob, the bridegroom, and Sally,
the prospective bride, meet. Sally breaks into tears, saying that it is the happiest day
of her whole life; thus one discovers that the bride is not quite up to this wedding. She,
unfortunately is in love with Wanenis, the eastern educated son of the American Indian,
- Next, we are introduced to Miss Custer, the
nurse of Henry Williams, and Henry, himself. It is clearly established that Miss Custer is
chasing after Henry for more than just the reason of his medicine. Henry hides behind
Sallys bridesmaids until she exits, then he states his opinion of matrimony
(MAKIN WHOOPEE- M Solo and F Chorus).
- Sally and Wanenis meet secretly and another
obstacle is presented. It seems that Sally, who is white, and Wanenis, an American Indian,
each worry about being accepted in the others world where racism is the norm. They are
found by Sheriff Bob and Sallys father, Judson, who force them to split up. This is
the last straw for Sally who then decides to escape by fooling Henry Williams into
thinking that it is Sheriff Bobs wish. When all discover what has happened, Sheriff
Bob saddles up a posse in order to commit a "hanging" (GO GET IM- M Solo
and Mixed Chorus).
- In the meantime it is evening in Black Top
Canyon where Sally and Henry discover that they are out of gas. Sally tells Henry that she
will never go back to marry Sheriff Bob and, since she can not marry Wanenis, perhaps she
should marry him. Henry refuses (UNTIL YOU GET SOMEBODY ELSE- M and F Duet).
- Soon, another automobile approaches Sally and
Henrys fliver. It is the Underwood family; Father Underwood, his sex-crazed
daughter, Harriet, and his meek son, Chester. When Underwood refuses to give Henry any of
his spare gasoline, Sally hands Henry an unloaded gun. A hilariously bungled "stick
em up" scene occurs in which Henry and Sally finally get their gas.
- The chase continues at the Bar M Ranch the
next morning Sally and Henry have been "kidnapped" by the foreman of the ranch,
Andy, and his muscular pal, Mort, while ordering breakfast. It seems that the cook escaped
the night before and Sally and Henry have been detained in order to take his place. Miss
Custer enters the ranch disguised as a cowboy where she discovers Henry. Again she
proposes to him (LOVE ME, OR LEAVE ME- F Solo). Henry does not have a chance to answer
when Miss Custer spies Sally and mistakenly thinks that Henry is in love with Sally. She
leaves after knocking Henrys jaw into a spin.
- Next, the Underwood family enters the Bar M
Ranch, which they own, but they dont recognize Henry since he has removed his
glasses. Sheriff Bob arrives and discovers Sally, but not Henry because he is hiding in
the oven. While Underwood and Sheriff Bob are conversing, Wanenis steals Sally from under
their noses. Sheriff Bob, for the moment, decides to investigate the gasoline theft
against the Underwoods and takes Chester Underwood as a deputy. Chester, who has found
Henrys fliver, the "get-away" car, is told to guard it.
- We discover that Wanenis and Sally are in a
canoe nearing the shore of the Indian reservation. Before they arrive, Wanenis again
proposes, asking her to forget their cultural differences (IM BRINGING A RED, RED
ROSE- M and F Duet). She cannot answer and, in confusion, runs away from him. Back at the
Bar M Ranch, Sally and Sheriff Bob meet and Sally lies, telling him that bandits kidnapped
her. During this scene Henry is behind Sheriff Bob, ready to hit him over the head. Sally
stops him subtly a number of times. After the Sheriff leaves, Sally and Henry are stopped
from escaping by Mort, who carries them both to Sheriff Bob. The Sheriff, who doesnt
recognize Henry, tries to prove that he isnt a cook. When Henry claims to be a
performer, he tries to disprove that scenario as well (MY BABY JUST CARES FOR ME- M Solo
and Mixed Chorus). As Henry stops singing, Chester, who has been hit over the head by
Henry in a previous scene while guarding the car, runs in and accuses Henry of being the
bandit. The townsfolk react angrily (GO GET IM- M Solo and Mixed Chorus).
- Back at the reservation, Wanenis brings in
Sally and Henry, whom he has kidnapped. Wanenis proposes again to Sally as she declares
her love for him (OUT OF THE DAWN- M and F Duet). Meanwhile, Underwood and Chester are
scouting around the reservation looking for Harriet Underwood, who had been chasing after
Henry, while Sheriff Bob, Andy and Mort look for Sally. Black Eagle and Henry meet and
become friends, inspiring Black Eagle to name him Chief-Sunk-In-the-Ditch. The ancient
Tapahoe ceremony begins in Henrys honor (THE TAPHOE TAP- Indian Dance).
- In the wilderness, the Indians and Wanenis
attempt to hide Sally from Sheriff Bob, who has found them. Sally is revealed accidentally
to the Sheriff and her father. Again, Sally disappears, although this time with her
father. Everyone leaves and Sheriff Bob is left alone to collect his thoughts (REACHING
FOR SOMEONE- M Solo).
- Still in the wilderness, Sheriff Bob is now
being followed by Harriet. She quickly declares her love for him and Sheriff Bob returns
the sentiment (YOU- F Solo and M Chorus).
- Back at the Bar M Ranch Sally finally
explains to Sheriff Bob and the others that there werent any bandits, only Henry and
herself, but they dont believe her. Chester attempts to prove that Henry is the
bandit through hypnosis but utterly fails, instead proving his innocence. Miss Custer and
Henry finally clear things up and tell all that they are getting married (LOVE ME OR LEAVE
ME [REPRISE]- F Solo) (YES, SIR, THATS MY BABY- M Solo and Mixed Chorus).
- Soon after, Wanenis and Sally are together
again, for good, while Sheriff Bob and Harriet make up the third couple and a happy ending
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- The show, set in Arizona in the later 1920s
has several sets that are usually: Mission Rest, 4 different "In One" scenes
that occur on roads or in the wilderness, the Ranch, and The Reservation. The interior of
the Ranch set consists of a kitchen with an oven large enough to hold Henry. There are
also two period automobiles, one a touring car, the other a sportier model; these may be
cutouts. The costumes are period ones and western outfits. The chorus members should have
two each for visual variety.
- The script is extremely funny and the role of Henry requires a superb
comic with impeccable timing. The roles are broadly written and comedic which makes it
excellent for summer stock fare or for organizations looking for something witty and
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Love Me, Or Leave Me," F Alto Solo, now a standard, good
for club, sung by Mary who is Henrys nurse and is hurt that he doesnt return
- "Makin Whoopee," High Baritone Solo To Mixed chorus,
clever lyrics that describe the different things that happen to men when they get married,
sung by Henry who hopes to remain single, strongly associated with Eddie Cantor who
originated the role
- "Yes, Sir, Thats My Baby," M Baritone Solo, sung by
Henry who realizes he loves his nurse, Mary and is ready for marriage, joined by the
- Instrumentation: 3 violins, viola, cello, bass, 4 reeds, trumpet, trombone, banjo,
- Script: NP
- Score: Shirmer
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
THE WHOS TOMMY
- Synopsis by Gene Lauze who worked on the
- Book: Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
- Music and Lyrics: Pete Townshend
- Additional Music and Lyrics: John Entwistle and Keith Moon
- Theatre, April 22, 1993 (# perf.)
- Director: Des McAnuff
- Choreographer: Wayne Cliento
- Musical Director:
- Mrs. Walker- Marcia Mitzman-
- Capt. Walker- Jonathan Dokuchitz-
- Uncle Ernie- Paul Kandel-
- Tommy (age 4)- Carly Jane Steinborn/Crysta Macalush-
- Tommy (Age 10)- Buddy Smith-
- Tommy- Michael Cerveris-
- Cousin Kevin- Anthony Barrile-
- Gypsy- Cheryl Freeman-
- Chorus and Smaller Numbers: 9M/7F
- The time is 1940. World War II is at its
height and the audience sees, as a prologue, the meeting, courtship and marriage of
Captain Walker and his wife. Capt. Walker then leaves to fight at the front and is
captured and interred in a POW camp (OVERATURE- Orchestra). Back in London, a pregnant
Mrs. Walker receives the bad news that her husband is presumed dead (CAPTAIN WALKER- 2M
- It is now 1941 and Mrs. Walker gives birth to
a son (ITS A BOY- F Chorus).
- Four years later, Capt. Walker is finally
released from his POW camp and returns home just as Mrs. Walker and her lover are
celebrating her birthday (TWENTY-ONE- M/F Duet). Four-year old Tommy watches in a mirror
as his father kills the young womans lover. Traumatized by the events he has just
witnessed, Tommy can do nothing but stare at his reflection in the mirror. The Walkers
realize that Tommy has seen everything and try to convince him that he hasnt seen or
heard anything (YOU DIDNT HEAR IT- M/F Duet). When the local authorities arrive to
investigate the shooting young Tommy is still staring into the mirror. The adult Tommy
appears in the mirror, only seen by the little boy (AMAZING JOURNEY- M Solo).
- Having been charged with the murder of the
lover, Capt. Walker is in court awaiting the decision of the Judge. Capt. Walker is found
innocent of the charges, but the familys joy is taken away when they realize that
young Tommy has been stricken deaf, dumb and blind by the traumatic events.
- It is now 1950 and ten-year old Tommy is
still haunted by the horrors of what he witnessed. His devastated parents take him to a
hospital to see if they can help him. He is given a battery of tests by the doctors there,
but it seems hopeless (SPARKS- Orchestral).
- The Walkers go to a family Christmas dinner,
where young Tommy seems enthralled by his Uncle Ernies playing of the French horn
(CHRISTMAS- Chorus). He is again joined by the presence of the older Tommy (SEE ME, FEEL
ME- M Solo).
- The Walkers leave Tommy at home with Uncle
Ernie as the baby sitter, but they are worried about what the inebriated Uncle will do
with the little boy (DO YOU THINK ITS ALRIGHT- M/F Duet). Once the parents have
left, the uncle wastes no time molesting the boy (FIDDLE ABOUT- M Solo). Tommy is next
left under the care of his cousin Kevin. Kevin is a young thug who taunts and abuses young
Tommy unmercifully (COUSIN KEVIN- M Solo). To make fun of his deaf, dumb and blind cousin,
Kevin brings him to a youth club and makes him play pinball. To Kevin and everyones
surprise, Young Tommy is a genius at the game (SENSATION- Mixed Chorus). Encouraged by
Tommys new accomplishments, the Walkers again have him tested by doctors, but to no
avail (SPARKS [REPRISE]- Orchestral).
- A discouraged Mr. Walker is approached by a
hawker who promises a cure for his son (EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND- 2M Duet). The hawker brings
the man and his son to a prostitute called the Gypsy. The Gypsy is offering sex and drugs
to cure his son (ACID QUEEN- F Solo). A horrified Mr. Walker grabs his son and leaves.
- The act ends with the now 17-year old Tommy
madly playing pinball in a local arcade to the eager delight of the other area teens
(PINBALL WIZARD- Mixed Chorus).
- Act II opens 2 years later. Tommy is the
champion pinball player and a hero to all of the local kids (UNDERTURE- Orchestral). Mr.
Walker tries once more to find a cure for his son (THERES A DOCTOR- M/F Duet).
Again, they conduct a battery of tests, but the doctors can do nothing for Tommy (GO TO
THE MIRROR/LISTENING TO YOU- 2M/2F Quartet).
- Tommy is stopped on the street by a group of
local thugs who pick him up and carry him home (TOMMY, CAN YOU HEAR ME?- M Chorus).
- Devastated and thinking that there is no hope
for their son, the parents consider institutionalization (I BELIEVE MY OWN EYES- M/F
Duet). Tommy still stares at his reflection in the mirror and, in a desperate attempt to
reach him, Mrs. Walker smashes the mirror (SMASH THE MIRROR- F Solo). Tommy is freed. The
smashing of the mirror has brought him into consciousness (IM FREE- M Solo). He
leaves home as the word of his miraculous cure hits the papers (MIRACLE CURE- M Chorus).
- It is now 1961 and word of his miraculous
cure and his pinball playing prowess have made Tommy famous. He is now a major attraction
at stadiums all over (SENSATION/IM FREE/PINBALL WIZARD [REPRISE]- Chorus). Everyone
is trying to cash in on Tommys success, including Uncle Ernie who opens up
Tommys Holiday Camp, complete with smashable mirrors, Tee shirts and all sorts of
other Tommy merchandise (TOMMYS HOLIDAY CAMP- M Solo).
- At a concert, a young girl named Sally
Simpson manages to climb up on the stage to touch Tommy. The girl is pushed aside and
beaten by Tommys guards (SALLY SIMPSON- F Solo with Chorus). The young girls
beating makes Tommy realize that he has gotten too caught up in being a celebrity. He
decides to stop everything and invites everyone back to his house (WELCOME- M Solo to
Chorus). Back at the house, Tommy is shocked to find out that Sally wants to be just like
him. He tells her that there is no reason to want to be him. She is enough just the way
she is (SALLY SIMPSONS QUESTION- M/F Duet). The crowd is maddened by the words of
their hero, turn on him and leave (WERE NOT GONNA TAKE IT- Mixed Chorus). Tommy
hears the voice of his ten-year old self and appears to be going back into his old
unconscious self (SEE ME, FEEL ME [REPRISE]- Juv Solo to M/Juv Duet). Instead, he opens
his arms to his family in acceptance and becomes whole again (LISTENING TO YOU [REPRISE]-
M Solo to Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Tommy was nominated for ten 1993 Tony
Awards including Musical, Book, Costumes, Featured Actor (Michael Cerveris) and Featured
Actress (Marcia Mitzman). It won the Tonys for Director, Score, Scenic Design, Lighting
Design, and Choreography. It was also nominated for 6 Drama Desk Awards including Musical,
Director, Orchestration, Choreography, Lighting and Set Design.
- Tommy was a smash hit when it opened.
The popularity of the WHOs original version of this rock opera coupled with the
brilliant staging of this new version made the show a huge hit with younger audiences.
These audiences had no other outlet on Broadway at the time, and as a result they were
very eager to accept Tommy and embrace it as their own. The show was loud and very
energetic. The staging relied heavily on the use of projections to set the scenes since
the pace was fast and didnt really allow for conventional staging. The result was a
sort of MTV goes to the theatre show. Scenes flows seamlessly from one to the next and
nothing lasted too long. The cast was young and energetic and worked very hard to keep the
pace of the show high.
- The story, however, was not everyones
cup of tea. While the theatrical community embraced the show as a hit, it was unlikely
that the standard, blue-haired Broadway theatre-going public was going to want to see a
show about a young boy who gets molested and abused and finds his "voice"
playing the pinball machine. Once the younger audiences had died out the show had a hard
time staying open.
- What the show did well was take a rambling
story, spread out over almost 30 years, and made it accessible and exciting. Des
McAnuffs clever staging was thrilling to see and full of visual surprises
(characters somersaulting in from the rafters, flame throwing pinball machines, etc.). The
show really led the way into a new generation of Broadway and allowed shows like Rent to
be accepted on Broadway. It helped create a new younger theatre-going public.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- Record/CD: RCA Victor
- THE WIZ
- Book: William F. Brown
- Music and Lyrics: Charlie Smalls
- The Majestic Theatre, January 5, 1975 (1,672 perf.)
- Director: Geoffrey Holder
- Choreographer: George Faison
- Musical Director and Vocal Arrangements: Charles H. Coleman
- Orchestration: Harold Wheeler
- Tinman- Tiger Haynes-
- Lion- Ted Ross-
- Scarecrow- Hinton Battle-
- Addaperle- Clarice Taylor-
- Dorothy- Stephanie Mills-
- Glinda- Dee Dee Bridgewater-
- The Wiz- Andre de Shields-
- Aunt Em- Tasha Thomas-
- Evillene- Mabel King-
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 9M/5F minimum
- The curtain opens on a small, ramshackle
farmhouse in Kansas where Dorothy, a bright, energetic young teenager, is being scolded by
her Aunt Em, a farm wife who is disappointed that Dorothy isn't ready to accept the adult
responsibilities necessary to life on a farm. Despite her strict manner, it is obvious
that Aunt Em cares very much for the girl (THE FEELING WE ONCE HAD- F Solo).
- A tornado, played by a colorful mass of
dancers (TORNADO BALLET-Dance) sweeps up Dorothy's house, and carries it to the strange,
mystical and magical land of Oz, where it kills the Wicked Witch of the East. The witch's
death causes quite a stir among the Munchkins and the Good Witch of the North, Addaperle,
an extremely zany comic character. When Dorothy asks the Munchkins and Addaperle how she
is to get back to Kansas they advise her to visit the great Oz (HE'S THE WIZARD- F Solo to
- A yellow brick road appears, played by four
men in yellow and orange squared costumes, but Dorothy is frightened of the journey she
must take (SOON AS I GET HOME- L to F Solo). Her fears are alleviated by a friendly
scarecrow perched on a pole in a cornfield whom she frees. He tells her about his dream to
have brains (I WAS BORN ON THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY- L to M Solo). Dorothy tells the
Scarecrow that the Wiz could probably help him and the two decide to join forces with the
"road" on their way to the Emerald City (EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD- M/F Duet to
- In a small patch of woods along the yellow
brick road, they find a rusted Tinman who begs for some oil (SLIDE SOME OIL TO ME- Sc to M
Solo) and tells the two he wants a heart to make his life complete. They ask him to join
them and the three set out. (EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD [REPRISE]- 2M/F Trio) Their journey is
interrupted by the Cowardly Lion who tries to convince them of his ferocity (I'M A MEAN
OLE LION- M Solo). He turns out to be under the psychiatric care of an owl and decides to
go to Oz in hopes of finding courage. (EASE ON DOWN THE ROAD [REPRISE]- 3M/F Quartet) When
the Lion shows his cowardice in a fight with the Kalidahs, a frightening witch like gang
(KALIDAH BATTLE- Dance), Dorothy comforts him (BE A LION- Sc to F Solo).
- When the four find themselves in a poppy
field, Dorothy remembers the warning that Addaperle gave her about the dangerous Poppies.
She warns everyone to leave the field but the Lion succumbs to the treacherous Poppies.
Luckily a paddy wagon containing four mice from the "Mice Squad" comes in and
rescues the four travelers from the sensual Poppies.
- After many trials and tribulations, the group
arrives in the futuristic Emerald City and meets its exotically and exquisitely dressed
inhabitants. All the citizens wear green glasses as part of their apparel (EMERALD CITY
- The four eventually meet the Wiz who makes a
fantastic entrance riding in on set piece that looks like a giant tongue. He strikes a
magnificent pose, which overwhelms everyone. The Wiz theatrically introduces himself to
the travelers who are thoroughly frightened by what they have just witnessed (SO YOU
WANTED TO SEE THE WIZARD- M Solo). The Wiz listens to their problems and though he appears
very harsh with everyone's requests, he is deeply moved by the Tinman's song (WHAT WOULD I
DO IF I COULD FEEL- L to M Solo). He agrees to grant their wishes if they kill Evillene,
the Wicked Witch of the West and the most powerful witch in Oz.
- Act II opens in Evillene's perfectly dreadful
castle where a large ugly throne is rolled on, covered with carcasses. The large,
grotesque Witch harshly instructs her slaves, the Winkies, not to bother her for she is in
a bad mood (DON'T NOBODY BRING ME NO BAD NEWS- F Solo). When an unfortunate messenger has
the bad luck to have to report on the presence of Dorothy and her friends the angry Witch
kills the messenger and summons the winged monkeys. The scene shifts to another part of
the stage where the monkeys do a wild dance, which includes the capture and eventual
kidnapping of Dorothy (FUNKY MONKEYS- Dance).
- At Evillene's castle, about a week later,
when Evillene starts victimizing the Lion, Dorothy hurls a bucket of water on the
unsuspecting Witch, who promptly shrieks in horror, begins to melt and finally is reduced
to a pile of smoldering cloth on the floor. The Winkies shout with joy at the death of
their despicable Witch (EVERYBODY REJOICE- Mixed Chorus).
- The four return to Emerald City where they
discover the Wiz is a fake. Dorothy and her friends angrily comment (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU
ARE?- F/3M Quartet). The Wiz reveals to Dorothy and the others that he really isn't a
Wizard but a plain old nobody from Omaha, Nebraska who's hot air balloon got swept up in a
big storm and landed in the middle of a ladies social in Oz. These women, having never
seen a hot air balloon before, expected him to do another miracle so he devised the green
glasses that everyone wears. The four friends are puzzled until he explains that the
miracle behind the glasses is what you allow yourself to see (IF YOU BELIEVE- Sc to M
- The Wiz reaches into his magic storage chest
and begins to hand out his miracles: a box of all bran sprinkles for the Scarecrow, which
he dubs "all brain"; a large, red satin heart for the Tinman; a whiskey bottle
marked O & Z, which he throws together in a chalice and has the lion drink for
courage; and a promise to take Dorothy back to Kansas in the balloon he arrived in.
- At a farewell launching where the citizens
are bidding their leader goodbye (Y'ALL GOT IT!- L to M Solo and Chorus), the balloon
accidentally ascends without Dorothy. Dorothy, in a fury, throws a temper tantrum which is
interrupted by a puff of smoke and a dazed Addaperle who tells the foursome that her
sister, Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, is on her way. She arrives in a large tent
with an escort of 4 Quadlings and she tells Dorothy to rest her body and her mind (A
RESTED BODY- F Solo). Glinda then tells Dorothy she can go home if she believes in herself
(IF YOU BELIEVE [REPRISE]- Sc to F Solo).
- Dorothy begins to sing of her home (HOME
[REPRISE]- F Solo) and is reminded by her friends that she can return to Oz by clicking
her silver shoes and thinking of them. During the song the members of the Oz fantasy
disappear leaving her alone on stage at the end of the song. Toto, her dog, appears and
she realizes that she's home.
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- The Wiz won seven 1975 Tony Awards for
Best Supporting Actor (Ted Ross), Supporting Actress (Dee Dee Bridgewater), Musical,
Direction, Score, Choreography and Costumes.
- An extremely innovative production with
marvelous dancing and theatrical staging. Audiences who most enjoyed it were the ones that
didn't compare it to the Judy Garland film, The Wizard of Oz, though the story line
is very similar in plot to the famous 1939 MGM film version of The Wiz. The show is
an interesting one to produce, for much of its success lies with a creative director and
choreographer. The company may be relatively small, with the chorus portraying a variety
of different parts, or large, with the chorus work not as involved. In the case of
community theatres with lots of people with limited dance training it would be best to
have a larger cast and several dance captains. This would enable the choreographer to
stage a number and have the dance captain polish the number while the choreographer went
on to stage another number with a different group of people.
- The costumes are many; each group of people
mentioned in the synopsis needs extremely different costumes, i.e. the Winkies and the
Citizens of Oz. It is a heavy costume show and, while much is creative and can be
inexpensively achieved, the fact remains that there are a lot of costumes. It may be
another reason for trying to have a large chorus so that everyone could be responsible for
sewing their own costume.
- The production is approximately 30 minutes
too long for younger children of kindergarten age, as they grow very restless in the
slower, less visually exciting moments. A director may want to consider minor editing if
there will be a lot of younger children in the audience.
- The show has quite a few props, but these are
usually oversized, not run of the mill stock props. It is suggested that the Props Master
be a fun loving, imaginative person in order to guarantee the consistent look the
production calls for.
- The notes in the published Samuel French
version are quite detailed and well worth following. The play is a challenge to any group
and can best be performed under the auspices of a creative director and a strong
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "No Bad News," comic character development, good study for
performers who have trouble bringing strong characters to life
- "Home," dramatic ballad that needs strong character
- "Ease On Down the Road," small chorus number, good for
revue or class situation, requires movement
- Instrumentation: 2 percussion, guitar, bass, drums, 4 reeds, horn, 3 trumpets, 2
trombones, cello, 2 violins, and piano
- Script: Samuel French
- Selections: Fox Fanfare Music, dist. by Columbia Pictures Publications
- Record: Atlantic
- Rights: Samuel French
- Book: Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov
- Music: Leonard Bernstein
- Lyrics: Betty Comden and Adolph Green
- (Based on the play My Sister Eileen by
Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov and the stories by Ruth McKenney)
- Winter Garden Theatre, February 25, 1953 (559 perf.)
- Director: George Abbott
- Choreographer: Donald Saddler
- Musical Director: Lehman Engel
- Orchestration: Donald Walker
- Ruth- Rosalind Russell- Alto
- Eileen- Edith Adams- Soprano
- Robert Baker- George Gaynes- Baritone
- Wreck- Jordan Bentley- Baritone
- Frank- Chris Alexander- VTI
- Chick- Dort Clark- VTI
- Appopolous- Henry Lasscoe- VTNE
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 12M/12F, all males must sing well and dance is helpful; a
small ensemble of policemen who sing tight harmony is included in the 12 males
- The setting is New York City in the 1930s. At
the play's opening, a guide is showing a group of tourists the sights of Greenwich Village
(CHRISTOPHER STREET- Mixed Chorus). In the course of this fast-paced number various
members of the community are introduced: Mr. Appopolous, a dynamic and explosive artist;
Lonigan, the cop whose beat is Christopher Street; Wreck, a football player; and his
girlfriend, Helen. At the end of this number, a scream is heard off-stage and Ruth
Sherwood and her sister Eileen enter, claiming that someone has stolen their typewriter.
Appoplolous, who has ended up with the typewriter in question, returns it. When the
sisters, newly arrived from Ohio, tell Appopolous that they need a place to stay, he
offers to let them see an apartment he owns that was just vacated.
- The scene shifts to an absolute horror of an
apartment, which sits below street level and contains two daybeds, a fake fireplace and
one barred window that looks out onto the street. The girls are forced to take the
apartment. When a man walks in the front door looking for Violet, the former tenant, and a
prostitute, the girls call for help. Wreck, a neighbor, enters and scares the man off.
- Later that night Ruth, an aspiring writer,
and Eileen, an aspiring actress, begin to regret their decision to rent the apartment
(OHIO- Sc to F Duet).
- A pantomime is seen showing the sisters'
struggles to make it in their respective fields; but wherever Ruth goes with her
manuscripts no one is interested and wherever Eileen goes for theatre jobs the people are
interested in her, but not as an actress. The girls are very discouraged. (CONQUERING THE
- A few weeks later, on the street, Eileen has
managed to accumulate quite a group of helpful men in waiting. The floor manager of the
supermarket who gives food samples, Speedy Valenti, owner of the Village Vortex, a local
nightclub, who might hire Eileen if he knew her a little better, and Frank, the manager of
Walgreen's drugstore who gives her free lunches. Ruth is amazed at Eileen's innocent
ability to attract men and comments on her own problems with the opposite sex (ONE HUNDRED
EASY WAYS- L to F Solo).
- At the "Manhatter" office of editor
Robert Baker, Ruth attempts to convince the skeptical Baker to read some of her stories.
He and two of his editors advise her to return to Ohio while commenting on the waste of
talented people in New York (WHAT A WASTE- M Trio). Baker finally reads three of Ruth's
stories, all containing sophisticated heroines in worldly situations. As Baker, on one
side of the stage, reads, Ruth, on another, acts out the vignettes with herself as the
heroines (RUTHS STORIES- Mime with 4M/1F).
- On his way to work, Frank meets Eileen on the
street and gives her a box of candy. She reminds him of their dinner date and imagines
herself in love (A LITTLE BIT IN LOVE- Sc to F Solo).
- Wreck and Helen, who live upstairs from Ruth
and Eileen, have convinced the girls to let Wreck live in their kitchen during Helen's
mother's visit. Wreck, in the garden of the apartment, brags to the delivery boys about
his college career as a football hero (PASS THE FOOTBALL- M Solo).
- Eileen has invited three men, including Bob
Baker from the "Manhatter," to dinner at the apartment. Everyone tries to ease
the tension created by not having anything to discuss (CONVERSATION PIECE- 2F/3M Quintet).
After Bob Baker tells Ruth she has talent, but she must stop writing about situations she
hasn't experienced, a stormy argument ensues and she leaves. Baker yearns for a long
lasting relationship with someone quiet and gentle (A QUIET GIRL- Sc to M Solo).
- Chick Clark, a newspaperman and admirer of
Eileen's, desires to be alone with her and sends Ruth to Brooklyn on a phony assignment.
At the Naval Yard, Ruth attempts to interview a group of Brazilian cadets, but they are
more interested in the Conga. Every time she asks their opinion they break into a wild
Conga and force her to join in (CONGA!- F Solo to M Chorus). The men Conga Ruth all the
way back to her apartment. The wild party that follows is raided by the police, who arrest
Eileen as part of a prostitution ring.
- Act II opens at the Christopher Street Police
Station where Eileen has become the darling of the force (MY DARLIN' EILEEN- M Trio). She
is visited by Ruth, who marches around with an electric "Village Vortex" sign
across her chest drumming up business (SWING!- F Solo with Mixed Chorus).
- Ruth takes Baker's advice and writes about
something she has experienced, namely the Brazilian Admirals and her sister's arrest.
Baker argues with his editor who refuses to publish it and gets fired. He tries to
convince Eileen it was a matter of principle but she tells him he's upset because he loves
Ruth (IT'S LOVE- Sc to M/F Duet). Eileen arrives back at the apartment, followed by Chick
Clark whose editor wants to offer Ruth a job, and Speedy Valenti, who offers Eileen a
singing job at his club.
- The scene shifts to the Village Vortex where
Ruth and Eileen perform a period duet, a la 1913 vaudeville (WRONG NOTE RAG- F Duet with
Mixed Chorus). Bob admits he loves Ruth (FINALE- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Wonderful Town won Tony Awards for
Best Musical, Book, Music, Sets, Choreographer, Musical Direction and Actress (Rosalind
- This wonderfully funny show isn't produced
often enough, possibly because it has long been forgotten. Both high schools and community
theatres would benefit greatly from a production of this hit musical. The music is
memorable, the characters enjoyable, the dialogue witty and the chorus emphasis is on
characterization and situation. Ruth should sing, dance and have good audience presence to
effectively perform the Conga number and "One Hundred Easy Ways." Eileen needs
an excellent voice that blends with Ruth's.
- The show was originally set in the 1930s but
some companies have updated it to the late 50s for costume reasons. It could probably be
set in the present, although the Village Vortex scenes wouldn't work as well and the
Greenwich Village "street types" of today might not create as amusing an
evening. The script is totally innocent and charming and the setting and time frame should
be kept in a similar era.
- The sets arent complicated, much of the
action takes place on the street, in the garden, and in the apartment, with additional
settings in the jail, Baker's office, the Navy Yard and the Village Vortex. It is possible
to utilize more scenes in front of the street drop and just add props for the garden,
Christopher Street and the Village Vortex exterior. For those with limited offstage and
fly space it is possible to have one drop of the street and a turntable revolve which
shows the other locations.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Conversation Piece," good for class study or Revue,
complicated timing, musically difficult
- "Ohio," Alto/Soprano, comic, tight harmony number, good for
class study with scene work
- "One Hundred Easy Ways," Alto, comic, character song, lists
specifics, good for audience contact
- "What a Waste," actable due to the specifics in varying
stories, nice harmony for male trio, all men have solo section
- Instrumentation: 6 violins, 4 woodwinds, 3 trumpets, 2 trombones, viola, cello, bass,
- Script: Great Musicals, Volume 2, Random
- Selections: Chappell
- Record/CD: Decca
- Rights: Tams-Witmark
- Book: Studs Terkel and Stephen Schwartz
- Music and Lyrics: Craig Cornelia, Mickie Grant, Mary Rodgers, Susan Birkenhead, Stephen
Schwartz and James Taylor
- Forty-Sixth Street Theatre, May 14, 1978 (25 perf.)
- Director: Stephen Schwartz
- Musical Staging: Oona White
- Musical Director: Stephen Reinhardt
- Orchestration: Kirk Nurock
- Cleaning Woman- Lynne Thigpen- Alto
- Lovin Al- David Langston Smyrl- Baritone
- Newsboy- Matthew McGrath- Boy Mezzo
- Teacher, Millworker- Bobo Lewis- Alto
- Waitress- Lenora Nemetz- Alto/Mezzo
- Joe- Arny Freeman- Baritone
- Fireman- Matt Landers- VTNE
- Housewife- Susan Bigelow- Mezzo
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 3F/4M minimum
SUMMARY AND NOTES
- It is impossible to capture the scope of this
musical in synopsized form simply because it deals with so many characters. The individual
monologues are absorbing, the music and lyrics impressive in the messages they convey and
yet the entire show lacks an overpowering emotional impact.
- It is a show about individuals who work with
excellent monologues worth studying and gripping songs worth singing. Working is an
easy show to rehearse because there are so few sequences with more than one character.
- The musical opens to a jazzy theme song,
complete with working sound effects. As the show unfolds, the various characters tell
about themselves: the garage man who takes great pride in all the cars he parks; the stone
mason who builds his walks to last; the frightened office of Vice President; the Newsboy;
the school teacher trying desperately to adapt to the new system; the phone operators; the
migrant workers whose lives are ones of severe hardship; the housewife who enjoys her job
and resents those who look down on her; the widowed millworker who barely ekes out a
living by endless production line labor; the retiree who still enjoys life; the waitress;
the truckers; the firefighter; and the cleaning woman who works so her children will have
a better chance in life.
- The show may be performed anywhere with props
to designate specific location. Lighting should be tight in order to keep the flow. The
company may vary in size, although the show has more impact with a smaller company because
the audience is impressed by the acting versatility of the performers.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Cleanin Women," Alto/Mezzo Solo, soul sound,
ambitious woman who wants her daughter to achieve, requires a powerful voice, usually
performed by a black woman
- "Its an Art," Mezzo Solo, waitress who has a
theatrical flair describes her love for her job, good character oriented song
- "Joe," Baritone/Tenor Duet, talk sung by a retiree who
reminisces and tells about his days, poignant and charming, strongly character oriented,
deceptively simplistic, good for class or a Revue about aging
- "Just a Housewife," Mezzo Solo sung by the housewife whose
full time job is taking care of her family, made to feel unimportant by television she
defends herself, strong subtext, dramatic, character oriented
- "Millwork," Mezzo Solo with Trio Back-up, a story about a
widowed Millworker who despises her job but accepts the necessity of feeding her family.
She reminisces about her past, transitions, many specifics and mood changes make this
excellent for class study
- "Nobody Tells Me How," Alto/Mezzo Solo, sung by the older
schoolteacher, dramatically powerful with some comic overtones in the monologue, excellent
for characterization development and transition from story to song
- Instrumentation: 2 keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, percussion
- Script: NP
- Selections: Valando
- Record: Columbia
- Rights: MTI
- Music: Michael Leonard
- Lyrics: Herbert Martin
- (Based on the novel by Marjorie Kennan Rawlings, adapted by Herbert E. Martin and Lore
- Theatre, December 10, 1965 (3 perf.)
- Director: Lloyd Richards
- Musical Director: Julien Stein
- Orchestration: Larry Wilcox
- Penny- David Wayne-
- Jody- Steve Sanders-
- Buck Forrester- Allan Louw-
- Ora- Dolores Wilson-
- Fodder-Wing- Peter Falzone-
- Ma Forrester- Fay Sappington-
- Chorus and Smaller Roles:
- The story is seen through the eyes of Jody, a
twelve-year old. His mother, Ora, is upset because a bear has just killed her favorite sow
and it will mean hardships this winter. Her husband, Penny, tries to cheer her (SPRING IS
A NEW BEGINNING- Sc to M/F Duet).
- Jody longs for a pet deer, something to care
for. He discovers deer tracks and observes many animals in the forest (THE FLUTTERNELL
SONG- M Solo).
- When Jody and his dad go to the neighbors for
trading, Jody finds his friend Fodder-Wing (BOY THOUGHTS- M Duet). Fodder-Wing tells Jody
he wants to fly (SOME DAY IM GONNA FLY- M Duet).
- Jody and his father get embroiled in a fight
and Jodys grandmother cleans them up (YOURE EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD I LOVE- F
Solo). When Jodys father gets bitten by a snake, Jody, terribly frightened, runs for
help (MY PA- M Solo).
- Jodys father survives and Jody claims
it was the does liver that pulled out the poison and saved him. He begs to go find
the now motherless fawn and raise it; surprisingly, his father agrees (WHAT A HAPPY DAY-
- At the opening of Act II, Jody is thinking of
Twink Weatherbys song and calls her out to sing it for the audience (IM ALL
SMILES- F Solo).
- Jody goes to Fodder-Wing for help in naming
the fawn. He learns his friend has died while saving the fawn, Flag. Jody thanks the
family and leaves (BOY THOUGHTS [REPRISE]- M Solo). Ora is angered by Jodys
attachment to the fawn, but Penny calms her by offering to take the family to town. Ora
wonders why Penny married her (WHY DID I CHOOSE YOU- F Solo). When Jodys
Grandmas house burns, she leaves for Boston, urging Jody to be brave (GROWING UP IS
LEARNING TO SAY GOODBYE- F Solo).
- Penny and Ora plant their crops (PLANTING
FEVER- M/F Duet).
- When Jodys fawn, grown to a yearling,
devours the familys crops, Jody is told to kill the deer. He begs not to, but Ora
shoots the deer, wounding it. Jody finishes the job. He runs away and nearly dies of
starvation, but Fodder-Wings parents save him. He returns home (SPRING IS A NEW
BEGINNING [FINALE]- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
The show is a dismal adaptation of a story
that should be read and pondered. The song "Why Did I Choose You" is a nice tune
as are some of the other musical numbers, but they are only usable as specialty-type
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
See the Notes on the Production.
- Script: Dramatic Publishing
- Selections: E.H. Morris, dist. by Hal Leonard Publishing Corp.
Rights: Dramatic Publishing
YOURE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN
- Book: John Gordon
- Music, Lyrics and Adaptation: Clark Gesner
- (Based on the comic strip "Peanuts"
by Charles M. Schulz)
- Theatre 80, March 7, 1967 (1,597 perf.)
- Director: Joseph Hardy
- Musical Supervisor, Arrangements and Additional Material: Joseph Raposo
- Charlie Brown- Gary Burghoff- Tenor
- Schroeder- Skip Hinnant- Baritone
- Lucy- Reva Rose- Alto
- Linus- Bob Balaban- Baritone
- Patty- Karen Johnson- Soprano
- Snoopy- Bill Hinnant- Tenor
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: None, see notes section
- The play is a series of vignettes in an
average day of Charlie Browns life. Charlie Brown is a rather simple soul who is
considered to be stupid, clumsy and destined for failure by his friends Patty, Linus,
Schroeder, Lucy and his dog Snoopy.
- The lights rise to full as the company sings
the title song which attempts to make Charlie feel good about himself (YOURE A GOOD
MAN, CHARLIE BROWN- Mixed Chorus).
- Charlie, left alone clutching his lunch bag,
soliloquizes on the contents of his lunch and the little red-headed girl he wants to speak
to. As he builds his courage, he realizes she is watching him and puts his lunch bag over
his head. Lucy and Patty enter discussing a dress and proceed to draw a design on
Charlies bag without noticing him. He stands, speaking through the bag, about his
dilemma. He finally removes the bag and sadly walks off as Beethovens
"Moonlight Sonata" is heard and the lights rise on Schroeder who is sitting at a
box which resembles a piano. He is absorbed in his playing and Lucy tries to get him to
manifest some interest in her (SCHROEDER- F Solo).
- Various characters comment on events in their
daily lives. Lucy greets Snoopy, but is unable to kiss him because she is repelled by the
thought of kissing a dog. Linus questions the meaning of happiness and Lucy asks a
disturbed Schroeder how he would feel about selling his piano to buy saucepans for their
future kitchen. Schroeder collapses as Snoopy imagines he is a fierce animal. Charlie
Brown tells Snoopy he will be back with his supper and Snoopy thinks about his winning
personality (SNOOPY- M Solo).
- Charlie Brown enters with his paper bag,
talking about introducing himself to the little red-headed girl. He realizes its
impossible and exits. Snoopy looks up to grimly face the fact he is a dog and cant
- Linus sits to watch TV while clutching his
blanket. He gradually overcomes his dependency and casually walks away only to return to
it (MY BLANKET AND ME- M Solo). Lucy enters, forces her brother to change channels and
tells him she is going to be a queen when she grows up. He attempts to tell her that queen
is an inherited title, but she angrily retorts its undemocratic and she will find a
loophole. Charlie enters with an invisible kite and struggles to get and keep it airborne
(KITE SONG- M Solo).
- Everyone is exchanging valentines and Charlie
is upset to discover Snoopy has received a ton of valentines while Charlie hasnt
even received one. In desperation, he seeks help from Lucy, who considers herself an
amateur psychiatrist (THE DOCTOR IS IN- Sc to M/F Duet). Feeling much better, Charlie
thanks Lucy for her friendship. She responds by charging him five cents for her advice.
Schroeder, Linus, Lucy and Charlie Brown enter with pencils and "notebooks" and
sit in various places around the stage as they prepare to write their homework (BOOK
REPORT- 3M/F Linear Quartet).
- The Act II lights rise on Snoopy atop his
doghouse, dressed as a World War I flying ace in search of the Red Baron (THE RED BARON- M
Solo). Patty enters and orders Snoopy to join her in a rabbit hunt. He goes through the
motions, but falls in front of her in feigned exhaustion. She congratulates him for his
spirited effort and exits.
- As the manager of the baseball team, Charlie
attempts to give the group the desire to win, despite Lucys disparaging remarks (THE
BASEBALL GAME- Sc to Mixed Chorus). Charlie Brown, the last man at bat, sees the little
red-headed girl and strikes out as the team sadly leaves.
- Schroeder tells Lucy, as a favor, that she
has a "crabby" personality. She is quite angry but decides to take a personality
rating poll. She corners Charlie Brown to ask his opinion. He is extremely uncomfortable
and attempts to evade her questions, but responds with nebulous answers in order to stave
off Lucys wrath. Linus ranks her at a 95% on crabbiness and she slugs him but has
regrets and begins to admit she is a terrible person. She is bemoaning her personality
when Linus tells her he loves her. She happily bursts into tears and the two exit.
- Schroeder leads everyone in choir practice
but an argument ensues and he is unable to keep order (GLEE CLUB REHEARSAL- Sc to Mixed
Chorus). Several vignettes follow. Lucy enters with Linus to undertake the job of teaching
him about life (LITTLE KNOWN FACTS- Sc to F Solo/2M needed for Staging), but she is
interrupted by Charlie Brown who is appalled at her lack of honesty.
- Snoopy imagines that Charlie Brown has
forgotten to feed him and dramatically soliloquizes. When his supper finally arrives, he
bursts into song (SUPPERTIME- L to M Solo).
- At the end of the day the group relaxes and
defines their own meaning of happiness (HAPPINESS- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- This is a good first show for a newly formed
theatre group as it is usually performed on a bare stage with set pieces in the shape of
large childrens blocks. These colorful blocks represent a piano, Snoopys
house, chairs and tables and may be moved as needed. There are very few props or extra
costume pieces. The cast is small, although some companies have enlarged the bigger
production numbers to include more performers.
- Because the show consists of many unrelated
vignettes, it is essential that lighting be as controlled as possible. Much of the flow of
the production comes from the ability of the audience to move their attention from one
segment to another. This can only be achieved by area lighting that allows performers to
enter and exit quickly without pulling unnecessary focus.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- It is best to avoid performing these songs at
an audition as they have tricky rhythms and are difficult for an audition accompanist to
- "The Baseball Game," Small Chorus, character oriented,
action and energy essential
- "The Doctor Is In," Alto/Baritone or Tenor Duet, good for
actors in beginning musical theatre class, not vocally demanding, interaction and
- "Little Known Facts," Alto, good for part of character
study for Lucy
- "Suppertime," Tenor, vaudeville styled, soft shoe, shows
movement ability and style
- Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, 5 reeds, horn, 2 trumpets, trombone,
percussion, piano, celeste, toy piano, melodica, guitar, combo score as heard on record is
- Script: Fawcett
- Score: Jeremy
- Record: MGM
- Rights Tams-Witmark
- ZOMBIE PROM
- Synopsis by UNH alum Mike Bucco who produced
the Walnut Hill Summer Theatre production
- Book and Lyrics: John Dempsey
- Music: Dana P. Rowe
- (Based on a story by John Dempsey and Hugh
ORIGINAL OFF-BROADWAY PRODUCTION
- Variety Arts Theatre, April 9, 1996 (# perf.)
- Director: Philip William McKinley
- Choreographer: Tony Stevens
- Musical Director: Darren R. Cohen
- Orchestration: Michael Gibson
- Miss Delilah Strict- Karen Murphy- comedic Alto/Mezzo
- Toffee- Jessica-Snow Wilson- Mezzo
- Candy- Rebecca Rich- Mezzo
- Coco- Cathy Trien- Alto/Mezzo
- Ginger- Natalie Toro- Mezzo/Soprano
- Jonny Warner- Richard Roland- Tenor (with a rock sound)
- Joey- Marc Lovci- Lower Baritone
- Josh- Jeff Skowron- Baritone
- Jake- Stephen Bienskie- Baritone
- Eddie Flagrante- Richard Muenz- Baritone
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: The original production utilized doubling in various sections
and was performed with a cast of ten. The Walnut Hill version used 23 with 1/3rd
males and 2/3rd females
- During the prologue, we find out that Zombie
Prom is a spoof on the 1950s sci-fi movies. The show takes place in Enrico Fermi High
School (named after the man who invented the atomic bomb). The musical opens with a
lengthy and humorous prologue where Miss Strict, the comic and demanding high school
principal and the students are introduced as they sing the joys of high school (ENRICO
FERMI HIGH- Plot interspersed with Scenes, Mixed Chorus).
- Suddenly, Miss Strict throws the Civil
Defense siren and the students fall under their desks for the drill test. Jonny (the James
Dean school rebel) and Toffee (the typical good girl) fall under the same desk and meet
for the first time. It is love at first sight as Johnny and Toffee, in true fifties style,
decide to go steady (AINT NO GOIN BACK- Sc to M/F Duet with M/F backup
- The light shifts and we see Miss Strict and
Toffees parents telling Toffee that Jonny is no good for her and she must end the
relationship. Toffee obediently tells Jonny that her parents wont let her see him
anymore, despite the fact that she still loves him. They argue and Jonny runs out the door
as Toffee begs him not to do anything rash. Through sound effects the audience becomes
aware that the towns nuclear power plant has exploded. The voice of Eddie Flagrante,
the reporter for Expose magazine, is heard reporting the news that Jonny has died by
hurling himself into the Francis Gary Powers nuclear power plant which made it explode in
a class three nuclear disaster.
- Three weeks later Toffee laments the tragic
tale of her last moments with Jonny to the girls, who become backup singers (JONNY
DONT GO- F Solo with F Trio). This marks the ending of the prologue background,
which sets the tone of the piece.
- At the school the students are getting
excited about the forthcoming Senior prom (GOOD AS IT GETS- Mixed Chorus). The kids try
and cheer Toffee so she will move on with her life by looking to the future instead of the
past (THE C WORD- Mixed Chorus). She ignores their advice and "acts" out. Miss
Strict appears on the scene and admonishes Toffee for her behavior (RULES, REGULATIONS AND
RESPECT- Sc to F Solo to Mixed Chorus). The song ends as the kids march off and Toffee
hears Jonnys voice from afar. She reacts as Miss Strict tells her to get on with her
life and exits. The kids reenter to cheer up Toffee as the lights change and Jonnys
voice gets stronger and stronger. (AINT NO GOIN BACK [REPRISE]- Sc to M/F Duet and
Mixed Chorus). The lights change as the music builds and a locker is spotted by a green
light. Toffee opens the locker to behold a phosphorescent green Jonny covered with seaweed
(BLAST FROM THE PAST- M Hard Rock Solo to Mixed Chorus). At the end of the song Toffee
rushes off in fear and Jonny runs after her.
- The scene shifts to the newsroom of Expose
magazine where the reporter Eddie Flagrante is sitting at his desk, bent over his
typewriter, singing of the joys of his job (THATS THE BEAT FOR ME- M solo). During
the song he answers a phone call from one of his informants and humorously responds in a
comic monologue a la famous characters in the fifties. The song continues as Josh, the
head of the student newspaper enters to tell Eddie that Jonny has returned from the dead.
The song ends with Josh, secretaries and copy boys joining in.
- Outside Enrico Fermi High, Jonny catches up
with Toffee to explain how he returned to her (THE VOICE IN THE OCEAN- M Solo to M/F
Duet). The set changes to the locker hallway (ITS ALIVE- M/F Solos and Mixed Chorus
with Rock Movement Dance). Miss Strict is appalled at the turn of events and tells Jonny
that he will not be allowed back at school and exits. The Kids, Jonny and Toffee wonder
what to do (WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE- Mixed Chorus). Johnny asks Toffee to go to the prom
but she sadly refuses because she cant disobey her parents.
- Eddie enters to try and get Jonnys
story when Miss Strict marches on in her gym clothes. The action freezes except for Eddie
and Miss Strict, who recognize each other from their pasts. She orders the kids off but
Jonny stays in the background. Eddie and Miss Strict sing about their past (CASE CLOSED-
M/F Duet). The song continues as Jonny pleads his case and Eddie speaks in Jonnys
defense but Strict is adamant (CASE CLOSED [CONTINUED]- 2M/F Trio). The case is closed!
- Act II begins in the school hallway where the
kids and Eddie try and get Jonny back in school (THEN CAME JONNY- Mixed Chorus). Eddie
plans to put Jonny on "Hard to Believe," a TV show. The Motorized Gasoline Guys
(the shows sponsors) and Ramona Merengue open the show with song (COME JOIN US- F
Solo and M Chorus). Eddie interviews Jonny who tells of his love for Toffee (HOW CAN I SAY
GOODBYE- M Solo to M Chorus).
- Toffee is in her bedroom surrounded by study
books with a small TV on the floor. She has just finished watching the interview (EASY TO
SAY- F Solo to F Chorus). In the midst of the song her girlfriends call to tell her that
the show was the most romantic thing they had ever seen on TV.
- The scene shifts to Miss Stricts office
where Eddie appears and they discuss their past love affair (AT THE DANCE- M/F Duet). They
continue their discussion (EXPOSÉ- M/F Duet) about their memories and how they broke each
others hearts. At the songs end they embrace.
- The gym is decorated for the "atomic
prom," and the students are in their prom gowns (ISNT IT?- Mixed Chorus). At
the end of the song Toffee enters in a gorgeous taffeta gown and Toffee and Jonny sing
(HOW DO YOU STAND ON DREAMS- M/F Duet). The music swells and they kiss (FORBIDDEN LOVE-
M/F Duet to Mixed Chorus). Miss Strict enters to see them kissing and she, Eddie and the
kids sing (THE LIDS BEEN BLOWN- M/F Duet and Mixed Chorus). She wants Jonny to leave
the prom. Eddie pushes Delilah Strict for the reason she despises Jonny so much
(DELILAHS CONFESSION- M/F Sc to Duet) and Eddie exposes Delilah who, in actuality,
is Jonnys real mother, something she is shocked to hear. The Zombie Jonny was the
baby of their love affair. Jonny calls her "mom," everything is resolved and we
go into the finale (ZOMBIE PROM- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Zombie Prom is an ideal musical for
groups who are looking for the spoof of Grease but want a show that isnt
overdone. The cast may be easily expanded as there are many chorus and dance numbers in
the fifties era style. The set can be anywhere from simple to extravagant without harming
the style of the piece; however the locations must shift quickly to keep the pace and
comedy going. Costumes are also simple as they are mainly everyday 50s style clothes and
prom dresses are easily obtained.
- The character of Miss Strict is a showcase
role for a mature, comedic actress. In the original production there are references to the
fact that Jonny has committed suicide. High School companies who are painfully aware of
the increasing number of teen suicides may want to consider portraying Jonny as a rash
young James Dean type who accidentally ran his car into the power plant. This change in
focus may allow more school groups to seriously consider this fun-packed, witty musical.
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Jonny Dont Go," F Solo with Girl Backup, good 50s
style song, showcase song, emphasis is on the period vocals and movement
- "Thats the Beat for Me," M Solo, good audition song
for City of Angels or another period piece, doesnt require a strong voice but
showcases spunk, acting, and movement
- "The Voice in the Ocean," M/F Duet, pop style song for
- Instrumentation: piano, synthesizer, electric/acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums
- Script: Samuel French
- Record/CD: First Night Records
- Rights: Samuel French
- Book: Joseph Stein
- Music: John Kander
- Lyrics: Fred Ebb
- (Adapted from Zorba the Greek by Nikos
- Imperial Theatre, NY, November 17, 1968 (305 perf.)
- Director: Harold Prince
- Choreographer: Ron Field
- Musical Director: Harold Hastings
- Orchestration: Don Walker
- Leader- Lorraine Serabian- Alto
- Nikos- John Cunningham- Tenor
- Zorba- Herschel Bernardi- Baritone
- Pavli- Richard Dmitri- VTI
- Widow- Carmen Alvarez- Mezzo
- Mme. Hortense- Maria Karnilova- Mezzo
- Mavrodani- Paul Michael- VTI
- Mimiko- Al De Sol- VTI
- Chorus and Smaller Roles: 9M/5F
- The story takes place in Piraeus, Greece and
on the Island of Crete in 1924.
- The play opens on a bare stage with the
entire company seated in two semi-circles, Bouzouki style. Each of the company members has
an instrument of some sort with which they accompany the other members of the chorus. As
the company decides to do a narration of the Zorba story (LIFE IS- F Solo to Mixed Chorus)
they begin to set the stage to represent a cafe in Piraeus. Nikos enters carrying a coat,
valise and a carton of books. He is uneasy for he is not the type of person who is usually
found in such a cafe.
- Zorba, a lusty man in his late sixties,
enters. He spies the stranger and strikes up a conversation. Zorbas manner of
interrogation into Nikos affairs is more an attempt at inflicting his own beliefs
than an honest attempt to listen to Nikos problems. Zorba explains his philosophy on
life to Nikos (THE FIRST TIME- M Solo).
- When Nikos tells Zorba that he is going to
take over a mine that he recently inherited, Zorba insists that he too go along because
"mining is his specialty." He gives the impression that everything is his
"specialty". Nikos agrees rather halfheartedly.
- The scene shifts to the exterior of a cafe in
Crete where the men are playing games, drinking and discussing the new owner of the mine.
The village is extremely poor, backward and superstitious. When Zorba and Nikos arrive,
they are urged to stay with certain villagers and agree to move in with an old man who
starts demanding extra payment for various services. However Mimiko, a young nineteen-year
old simpleton, entices them to the house of the "Frenchwoman." The chorus tells
them about Madame Hortense (THE TOP OF THE HILL- Mixed Chorus).
- Nikos and Zorba go to a shabby inn where they
are greeted by Mme. Hortense, a flirtatious, faded coquette in her fifties who still
dresses and acts in a youthful manner. An interested Zorba charms her as she relates her
experiences to him (NO BOOM BOOM- L to F Solo). While Zorba is carrying Mme Hortense to
her bedroom the chorus comments (VIVA LA DIFFERENCE- Mixed Chorus). Zorba romantically
calls her his virgin. She is pleased and confesses she has been a virgin many times, but
never married. Her deepest wish is to marry before she dies. Zorba answers,
"Perhaps," and begins to caress her.
- The men are gathered at the mine to sign in
for work. Mimiko enters only to be berated by Manolakas, the younger brother of Mavrodani.
Zorba stands up for the boy as an attractive widow enters with Mimikos lunch. The
widow is a woman in her late twenties with an air of mysterious tragedy about her. Most of
the men in the village are attracted to her, especially Pavli, Mavrodanis son.
Having no interest in any of them, she ignores them. Zorba urges Nikos to follow her, but
Nikos refuses. The chorus and Nikos comment on not rushing things (THE BUTTERFLY- Mixed
- The next day as Zorba leaves to buy items for
the mine, Hortense offers Zorba a farewell basket of fruit and worries that he will forget
her while he is away (GOODBYE, CANAVARO- Sc to M/F Duet). She tells him she would like a
ring when he returns.
- The scene opens with Nikos reading a letter
from Zorba, which flashes back to a cafe in Khania. The song is acted out by Zorba in
another part of the stage and tells of Zorbas failure to spend Nikos money on
anything but women and good times. He mentions nothing about Hortense (GRAND PAPA- M Solo
to Chorus), but Nikos tells her that Zorba is bringing her a present when he returns. She
excitedly tells him she knows it is a ring and that Zorba will marry her. Nikos is uneasy,
but she is ecstatic (ONLY LOVE- F Solo).
- The chorus approaches Nikos, leading him to
the widows house (BEND OF THE ROAD- Chorus). She opens the door and they embrace.
Pavli sees them embrace and runs off in agony.
- As Act II begins, a dance in the village
square is interrupted by a mourning song. The priest and townsfolk enter, carrying the
body of Pavli, who has drowned himself. The town blames the widow for driving him to
- Zorba returns to Hortenses garden and
lyingly says he has ordered the rings. When Hortense shows him wedding rings she already
has, he is forced to agree to the engagement. The chorus and Nikos solemnize the occasion
(YASSOU- Mixed Chorus) in a mock marriage ceremony.
- On the road, Nikos tries to assure the widow
that everything will be fine but she is unable to express her feelings (WHY CANT I
SPEAK?- M/F Duet). As he tries to draw her out, a young girl stands behind the widow,
expressing the widows innermost thoughts and they sing together.
- On the steps of the church, Mavrodani, in a
dramatic and captivating scene, decides to revenge his sons death by stabbing and
killing the widow.
- At the entrance to the mine, a priest is
chanting blessings. Nikos, still distraught over the death of the widow, cant
condone Zorbas compliance of letting Mavrodani live, but Zorba philosophizes that
revenge only brings more revenge. Zorba and Manolakas go down in the mine to try a sample
blast but a huge explosion occurs and the mine is declared useless. Its timbers are
rotting and it isnt operational. Mimiko enters to tell the men that Mme Hortense is
very ill and wants Zorba.
- They arrive at Hortenses home to
discover the chorus gathered around her like vultures (THE CROW- F Chorus) waiting for her
death so they can take her things.
- Zorba enters, pushing the women out, and
tells her he has come. She confesses to him of her past and her sixteenth birthday; the
action freezes as she walks downstage and sings as if she was a young girl (HAPPY
BIRTHDAY- F Solo). At the end of the song, she collapses on the bed and dies in
Zorbas arms. Zorba is overcome with grief and Nikos, fearing Zorba will go mad if he
doesnt vent his sorrow, begins a Greek Dance, which Zorba finally joins.
- The baggage is packed and Zorba and Nikos are
ready to leave. Nikos suggests that he might join Zorba, but Zorba knows he really
isnt able to do that for only he is able to risk all that he has (I AM FREE- M
Solo). The two men say goodbye and the play closes as it began with the Chorus singing
(LIFE IS [REPRISE]- Mixed Chorus).
NOTES ON THE PRODUCTION
- Zorba was nominated for eight 1969
Tony Awards, but won only the award for Set Design. The show was revived in 1983 and Lila
Kedrova received the Best Actress award.
- Written by Kander and Ebb, the show has some
excellent musical numbers that allow for solid characterizations. It is very simple to
stage for the premise is a group of people who gather to perform a re-telling of the Zorba
story. The stage is more interesting if there are levels but the production works quite
well on the stage floor. The actors may set their own props in full view of the audience,
which helps if there is a limited technical crew available.
- The actors need one costume throughout the
production, although Hortense should have at least two, as it is more fitting for her
- The script is exciting and interesting, but
greatly dependent on an excellent actor to play Zorba and a charming, comedic actress to
SONGS OF SPECIAL INTEREST
- "Life Is," Alto Solo, good choice for musical revue, or as
a solo nightclub performance
- "No Boom Boom," Comedic story song, character oriented,
should have a small male chorus but works quite well as a Mezzo solo in a classroom
- "I Am Free," Baritone, strong, robust, some movement
- "Goodbye, Canavaro," Mezzo/Baritone, nice scene to duet
character oriented, charm number, character study in class situation
- "Why Cant I Speak," Mezzo, effective female duet
where one character cant express emotions and other character does, pretty ballad,
effective number for showcase
- Instrumentation: 2 bouzouki/mandolin, 4 reeds, 4 trumpets, french horn, 2 trombones, 2
percussion, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass, guitar, accordion. electric
harpsichord/conductor (Piano may be substituted)
- Script: Random House, Samuel French
- Selections: Valando
- Record/CD: Capitol
- Rights: Samuel French