THE EDUCATION OF H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N
A Musical in 2 Acts, 13 Scenes. Book by Benjamin Bernard Lavin. Based on the collected stories (of the same name) by Leo Rosten. Music and lyrics by Paul Nassau and Oscar Brand. Production directed by George Abbott. Settings by William and Jean Eckart. Costumes by Winn Morton. Lighting by Martin Aronstein. Musical direction and vocal arrangements by Julian Stein. Orchestrations by Larry Wilcox. Dance music arranged by Lee Holdridge. Dances and musical numbers staged by Jaime Rogers. Associate producer, David W. Sampliner. Produced by Andre Goulston/Jack Farren and Stephen Mellow.
Alvin Theatre, New York - Opened 4th April, 1968 : closed 27th April, 1968 (28 perfs)
Hyman Kaplan is an immigrant and a pupil at a New York night class in English. He is extremely diligent and enthusiastic, but completely incapable of learning: the teacher, Mr Parkhill, is eventually driven to conclude that, although Mr Kaplan admits that English has rules - "good rules, sensible rules" - he is quite unable to admit that the rules apply to him.
Mr Kaplan is extroverted and highly assertive, particularly when his moral sense has been outraged by some perceived injustice in class or in American history, and he frequently gets into noisy disagreements with other members of the class. He usually signs his name in coloured crayon with stars between the letters.
Mr Kaplan was born in Kiev, has lived in America for fifteen years, and claims (on Columbus Day) that his birthday is 12th October. From his pronunciation of English (the characters' various idioms are a major source of the stories' humour), it appears that Mr Kaplan's native language is Yiddish.
- The teacher Mr Parkhill - a staid, kind-hearted, mild-mannered teacher with a tendency to think of his pupils in terms of classical literature. He is rigorously fair-minded, often to his own detriment when faced with Mr Kaplan's very individual brand of logic. He is also a lonely and rather tragic character: when the class present him with a new briefcase with the initials "M.P." on it as a birthday present, he is at first puzzled since his first name does not begin with M; then realizes that the letters stand for "Mr Parkhill" and that he cannot remember the last time anyone addressed him by his first name.
Other members of the class
- Mr Reuben Plonsky is better than Mr Kaplan at grasping the rules of English, but who somehow end up on the losing side of the arguments that erupt between them.
- Mr Norman Bloom - likewise
- Miss Rose Mitnick, a quiet, shy young woman whose grasp of English is almost perfect, but who generally withers before the force of Mr Kaplan's rhetorical passion.
- Mrs Sadie Moskowitz, characterised by Mr Parkhill as "the Niobe of the beginners' grade", a large, lugubrious middle-aged lady who is baffled by the English language and spends much of the time asleep, waking only to punctuate a particularly intimidating fact with a despairing exclamation of "Oy!"
- Miss Olga Tarnova, an emotional young Russian woman.
- Mr Sam Pinsky, a loyal ally of Mr Kaplan.
- Miss Carmen Caravello, an Italian woman prone to loud disagreement with Mr Kaplan.
CAST (in order of appearance):
- Jimmy: Stephen Bolster.
- Pushcart Vendor: Dick Ensslen.
- Old Clothes Man: Cyril Murkin.
- Kathy McKenna: Donna McKechnie.
- Sam Pinsky: Nathaniel Frey.
- Reuben Plonsky: David Gold.
- Giovanni Pastora: Dick Latessa.
- Mrs. Moskowitz: Honey Sanders.
- Sarah Moskowitz: Susan Camber.
- Mr. Parkhill: Gary Krwaford.
- Fanny Gidwitz: Maggie Task.
- Rose Mitnick: Barbara Minkus.
- Hyman Kaplan: Tom Bosley.
- Eileen Higby: Dorothy Emmerson.
- Marie Vitale: Beryl Towbin.
- Mrs. Mitnick: Mimi Sloan.
- Officer Callahan: Wally Engelhardt.
- Yissel Fishbein: Hal Linden.
- Guard: David Ellin.
- Judge Mahon: Rufus Smith.
- Dancers: Pamlea Barlow, Mickie Bier, Susan Camber, Joanne DiVito, Andrea Duda, Lee Lund, Kuniko Narai, Eileen Woliner, Takeshi Hamagaki, Yanco Inone, Pat Matera, Barry Preston, George Ramos, Steven Ross.
- Singers: Alice Cannon, Martha Danielle, Trudy Wallace, Edward Becker, David Ellin, Jack Fletcher.
- Strange New World - Mr Parkhill
- OOOO-EEEE - Hyman Kaplan, Rose Mitnick, Mr Parkhill, Students
- A Dedicated Teacher (Teachers on Parade) - Eileen Higby, Marie Vitale, Mr Parkhill
- Lieben Dich - Hyman Kaplan
- Loving You - Rose Mitnick
- The Day I Met Your Father - Mrs Mitnick
- Anything Is Possible - Hyman Kaplan, Students, Dancers, Singers
- Spring in the City - Kathy McKenna, Giovanni Pastora, Reuben Plonsky, Sam Pinsky, Mrs Moskowitz, Fanny Gidwitz, Dancers, Singers
- Old Fashioned Husband - Yissel Fishbein
- Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) - Hyman Kaplan
- I Never Felt Better in My Life - Hyman Kaplan, Dancers, Singers
- When Will I Learn - Rose Mitnick
- All American - Sam Pinsky, Students
Scenes and Settings
The action takes place in New York City, the Lower East Side, from 1919-1920.
- Scene 1: A Street on the Lower East Side.
- Scene 2: Mr. Parkhill's Classroom.
- Scene 3: leachers' Room.
- Scene 4: Mr. Parkhill's Classroom.
- Scene 5: Rose Mitnick's Apartment.
- Scene 6: A Street.
- Scene 7: Mr. Parkhill's Classroom.
- Scene 8: A Street.
- Scene 1: Kaplan's Flat.
- Scene 2: Mr. Parkhill's Classroom.
- Scene 3: Ellis Island Deportation Room.
- Scene 4: Judge Mahon's Chambers.
- Scene 5: Hyman Kaplan's Shop.
- Scene 6: Street in front of the School.
- Scene 7: A U.S. Courtroom.