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Dr. Selavy's Magic Theatre

Music by Stanley Silverman, theatrically conceived by Richard Foreman, lyrics by Tom Hendry

Mercer-O'Casey Theater, Off-Broadway - Opened 23 November, 1972; Closed Mar. 25, 1973 (144 perfs)


The extraordinary and hilarious journey of a mixed-up young man through extravagantly exaggerated versions of life's crises and temptations - power, love, hedonism, wealth, mourning for lost innocence . . . and death. Guided through a bizarre fun house by the enigmatic Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Selavy - who is himself an illusion created by the trickster Marcel Duchamp - the young man is catapulted through fantastic situation after situation until he finally faces and accepts his true self.

Welcome to the extraordinary odyssey of a confused young man, led by wacky doctors through a labyrinth of wildly theatrical versions of major life crises and temptations - wealth, sensuality, power, romance, lost innocence, and death. Presided over by the enigmatic Dr. Selavy (or C'est La Vie, if you like), himself an illusion created by master trickster Marcel Duchamp, this outrageous journey leads our hero in an ironic dance through an eccentric fun house of extravagant awakenings to a climax of self-knowledge and acceptance. To the strains of an eminently hummable and upbeat score, this offbeat piece provides an adventurous departure from the traditional expectations of musical theatre.

Musical Numbers

  1. Jingle - Female Doctors
  2. I Live By My Wits - Ben
  3. Three Menu Songs - Drs. Mary, Bob and the Company
  4. Bankrupt Blues - Dr. Steve
  5. Future For Sale - Dr. Jessica
  6. Life On The Inside - I - Dr. Amy
  7. Strawberry - Blueberry - Drs. Denise and Steve
  8. The More You Get - Ben
  9. Money In The Bank - Dr. Jessica, Ben and Company
  10. Life On The Inside - II - Drs. Amy and Bob
  11. If You're Proposing - Dr. Selavy
  12. Swinging At The Stock Exchange - Company
  13. Doesn't It Bug You - Female Doctors
  14. Every New Beginning - Dr. Steve and Female Doctors
  15. Poor Boy - Drs. Amy, Bob and Ben
  16. Dearest Man - Drs. Mary and Jessica
  17. Where Have You Been Hiding Till Now - Dr. Denise and Company
  18. He Lived By His Wits - Drs. Steve, Bob and Selavy
  19. Fireman's Song - Ben and Female Doctors
  20. What Are You Proposing - Drs. Selavy and Bob
  21. Doctors In The Chase Scene - Drs. Jessica and Bob
  22. Requiem - Drs. Jessica, Denise and Company
  23. Let's Hear It For Daddy Moolah - Dr. Denise and Company
  24. Life On The Inside - III - Drs. Amy and Jessica


4 Women : 4 Men : 1 Boy

NB: The characters should be identified by the names of the actors in each role.


Scenes & settings

A Musical performed without intermission. The action takes place in a hospital.


drums, piano (db. electric organ, glockenspiel), electric guitar with. banjo, acoustic guitar), opt. classical guitar (db. electric guitar), cello, electric bass