A musical play in two acts with book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Richard Rodgers.
Opened at the Majestic Theatre, October 10, 1947 with John Battles (Joseph Taylor Jnr.), Annamary Dickey (Majorie Taylor), William Ching (Dr. Joseph Taylor), Roberta Jonny (Jennie Brinker), Lisa Kirk (Emily West and John Conte (Charlie Townsend).
This unique and intriguing musical portrays one man's life, from birth in 1905 until his thirty-fifth year. There are no stage sets in the conventional sense, and important use is made of the singing of the chorus, which sometimes acts as a "Greek Chorus", complementing and commentating on the action between the characters in the play, sometimes moving into the action as a conventional chorus and sometimes augmenting the ballet episodes of the score.
Act I opens with the birth of Joseph Taylor, Jr., first child of Marjorie and Joseph, the small-town doctor. Little Joey's first sensations and experiences - recognising voices, holding a rattle, taking a spoonful of medicine, crying for attention, standing and then walking (ONE FOOT, OTHER FOOT) - are all presented in a light-hearted montage of dialogue and song, in which his parents and grandmother alternate with the chorus. Then, "all of a sudden", Grandma is gone and Joey's first emotional trial is on him. He makes friends as a toddler with next-door Jenny, and then she becomes his first date, and the agony of whether he dare kiss her is another emotional hurdle to jump.
Exterior lamp, American College of Surgeons, E. Erie St.
Joe has graduated from high school and is off to college, determined to follow his father into the medical profession. On his last night before leaving for college, he overhears his parents' intimate conversation and realises - perhaps for the first time - both how much he means to them and how close they are to each other (A FELLOW NEEDS A GIRL).
At college, Joe experiences all the normal social trials - of homesickness, peer pressure, loneliness away from Jenny that turns to jealousy when she writes that her father, Ned Brinker, has taken her to Europe where she has met another boy, and then triumph when she returns and they find each other again (YOU ARE NEVER AWAY).
But her friends are now married and she is impatient at the idea of waiting years for a penniless doctor to establish himself. Her solution is to get her wealthy father to offer a position in his business to Joe. When Joe's mother finds this out she sees that Jenny is quite prepared to deprive Joe of his promising medical career in order to appease her own selfishness, and as a result she tells Jenny that she is not a suitable wife for her son. The strain of the situation causes Joe's mother to suddenly collapse and die from a heart attack. This tragedy removes the last major obstacle to Jenny and Joe getting married. Although both their families are strongly against the union, the ceremony goes ahead and we learn that Joe has scored a minor triumph by managing, in the face of opposition from Jenny and her relations, to hang on to his medical career.
Things have changed somewhat - the Depression has come, Jenny's father has lost his business and his fortune and is glad enough to live with his daughter and son-in-law, whom he now envies as a 'professional man who can earn a decent living'. Jenny and her friends envy the lifestyle of the people they see in the magazines (MONEY ISN'T EV'RYTHING). But Joe now has another conflict; he is offered a partnership in a wealthy Chicago practice, but it means moving and leaving his ageing father to manage the small-town practice alone. He succumbs to the temptation.
In Chicago, ambitious Jenny is in her element, hosting a cocktail party for rich and influential patients and hospital trustees, while Joe's lovelorn assistant Emily tries in vain to make him concentrate on his duties (THE GENTLEMAN IS A DOPE).
After a particularly ruthless ploy of 'hospital politics' by the Chief Physician Dr. Digby Denby, whose nephew Charlie is Joe's old philandering friend from medical school and has got him the job, Joe, Emily and Charlie comment on the rat-race ("ALLEGRO"). When Joe finds out that Jenny is cheating on him with Lansdale, the big-shot trustee, all seems lost and he hears the voices of his father and small-town friends calling him back (COME HOME). The ultimate conflict then confronts our hero: Lansdale offers him the post of Chief Physician at the new hospital. Joe's speech at the dedication ceremony is the turning point of his life, and he finds the courage to announce that he is not taking up the appointment, but returning home to be his father's assistant. Jenny is outraged, but Emily - and, to general amazement, Charlie - impulsively decide to join him.
- JOE (JOSEPH TAYLOR, Jr.)
A very typical human being, with all the usual frailties, but dogged and resolute in his career choice and then in finally making the difficult but right decision
- JOSEPH TAYLOR
His father; a small-town general practitioner, devoted to his calling, understanding and supportive in all his son does.
- MARJORIE TAYLOR
Joe's mother, quiet and determined. She does not flinch from fighting for her son's soul, even if it means war with the girl he loves.
- JENNY BRINKER
Although she loves Joe, she is not above manipulating his career for her own ends and finally her overbearing ambition for him blinds her to the fact that if she goes too far she is sure to lose him.
- NED BRINKER
Her father; a small-town businessman, whose concern for his business' dynasty is probably as strong as that for his daughter's financial security.
- DR. DIGBY DENBY
He probably started out with Joe's ideals, but sold out along the way. He cuts an unattractive figure.
Deriby's nephew and Joe's college chum, a happy-go-lucky girl-chaser and 'user' of his friend, nevertheless stays loyal and 'sees the light' when Joe does.
The faithful nurse who carries a torch for professional integrity as well as for Joe.
Mr. Ruthless, who expects always to get his own way - and generally does.
- MRS. LANSDALE
A silly hypochondriac, who becomes vindictive the moment her eyes are opened.
- Joseph Taylor, Jr. – Ensemble
- I Know It Can Happen Again – Grandma Taylor
- One Foot, Other Foot – Ensemble
- A Fellow Needs a Girl – Dr. Taylor and Marjorie Taylor
- Freshman Dance – Ensemble
- A Darn Nice Campus – Joe Taylor
- The Purple and the Brown – Ensemble
- So Far – Beulah
- You Are Never Away – Joe, Jenny Brinker and Ensemble
- What a Lovely Day for a Wedding – Ensemble
- It May Be a Good Idea for Joe – Charlie Townsend
- To Have and to Hold – Ensemble
- Wish Them Well – Ensemble
- Money Isn't Everything – Jenny and Other Wives
- Hazel Dances – Instrumental
- Yatata, Yatata, Yatata – Charlie and Ensemble
- The Gentleman Is a Dope – Emily
- Allegro – Charlie, Joe, Emily and Ensemble
- Come Home – Marjorie
- Finale: One Foot, Other Foot (Reprise) – Ensemble
Orchestration by Robert Russell Bennett
FLUTE db. PICCOLO
OBOE db. COR ANGLAIS