Photo: Paul Kolnik
Al Hirschfeld Theatre NY 2003, Kathleen Marshall dir.
Wonderful Town (1953)Duration: 120 minutes
Musical comedy in two acts
Book by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov; Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (E)
Major roles: 4 men, 2 women; minor roles: 15 men (with doubling), 3 women; chorus; dancers Reed I(=fl,Ebcl,Bbcl,asax).Reed II(=Bbcl,bcl,asax,barsax).Reed III(=ob,corA,Bbcl,tsax).Reed IV(picc,fl,Bbcl,tsax).Reed V(Bbcl,asax,bsax,bn)-0.4.3.0-traps:SD/BD/tom-t/timbales/hi-hat/susp.cym.perc(1):timp/pitched drums/tam-t/2wdbl/xyl/cowbell/glsp/alarm clock-pft(=cel(opt))-strings.
This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes as sole agent for concert (non-dramatic production and individual numbers worldwide); sole agent for staged productions outside USA & Canada, except for professional West End London productions.
Shubert Theater, New Haven, Connecticut
Donald Saddler, choreographer / George Abbott, director
Conductor: Lehman Engel
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Time and Place
1950s, New York City
Two small-town American girls, Ruth and Eileen, decide to move to the bohemian New York neighborhood of Greenwich Village to pursue their dreams. Ruth, an aspiring writer, is rather plain looking and has problems attracting men. Eileen, however, is a beautiful actress and dancer; men flock to her, clamoring for her attention.
They live in a tiny run-down apartment near a construction site, but the girls meet many interesting people in their neighborhood: their landlord, Appopolous; a former football player and neighbor, Wreck; his live-in fiancée, Helen; and Helen’s mother, Mrs. Wade, who has come for a visit and strongly dislikes Wreck. As the girls venture out into the world to seek their fortune, Eileen is welcomed on account of her looks and charm while Ruth encounters difficulties at every step. At a dinner party, three men, all invited by Eileen, meet each other and the girls, causing social mayhem. Ruth is able to convince one of the men, Bob Baker, an editor of a local magazine, to interview her and read some of her work. He thinks her writing is terrible, tells her so, and is obliged to leave. Another one of the male guests, Chick Clark – a newspaper man – manages to get Ruth an assignment interviewing Admirals on a Brazilian training ship at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Admirals end up following Ruth home on account of Eileen’s charm, and Eileen gets arrested for carrying on with them.
Bob Baker bails Eileen out of jail, and when she is free, she gets a job in a nightclub. Ruth, on the other hand, has to carry a sandwich board on her back in order to make ends meet. Chick Clark’s editor likes Ruth’s training ship story, and Bob winds up getting fired from his job for arguing with his boss over the merits of Ruth’s writing. Eileen manages to make Bob see that he is in love with Ruth, while Helen, Wreck, and Appopolous manage to pull off an elaborate hoax that convinces Mrs. Wade that Wreck is not such a bad guy after all.
Kim Criswell, Audra McDonald, Thomas Hampson, London Voices, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Simon Rattle
Items on Sale
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