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The Goodbye Girl

Playbill Cover

A musical in 2 acts, 21 scenes: Book by Neil Simon (based on his screenplay for the film of the same name); Music by Marvin Hamlisch; Lyrics by David Zippel

Opened Marquis Theatre 4 March, 1993 (188 perfs)


This musical turns the film comedy into an adventure about love and commitment. Single mother Paula has to share her absent boyfriend's New York apartment with Elliot, a struggling actor. They fall in love, which alarms her 12-year old daughter, Lucy, who is cared that Elliot, like all of Paula's boyfriends, will dump her mother - causing yet another example of "The Goodbye Girl" syndrome. Of course, in the end, everything turns out happily.



Pauls McFadden, a single mother, and her 12-year old daughter, Lucy, had reason to be excited today. Tony, an actor that Paula had been dating for the last few months, had promised her that today was the day they would all move to California. Though Paula had been dumped many times in the past, this time she knew that with Tony everything was going to be all right.

Her euphoria, however, is short-lived, for Paula spots a note that he has written, "Dear Paula … this isn't an easy letter to write. This morning my agent called. I got a picture. It's six months shooting in Spain … I wish I has something to leave you and the kid, but I'm dead broke … Goodbye, honey."

With no income to rely on Paula reluctantly decides to go back to dancing, a career she gave up long ago. Returning to dance class, she comes to the horrible realisation that she's "A Beat Behind."

As Paula limps home from class she runs into Mrs. Crosby, the manager of her building, who asks Paula if she's leaving tonight or in the morning. Paula realises that she has forgotten to tell her that they are not going to California. Mrs Crosby then add insult to Paula's dance class injuries and tells her that Tony has sublet the apartment to his friend, Elliot Garfield. That evening Elliot ( who has come to New York to star in an Off-Off-Broadway production of Richard III) shows up to take up residence.

What is the answer? The only solution is to share the apartment, Elliot suggests. Paula is forced to accept. She reasons that she will be looking for a job during the day, and Elliot will be performing at night, therefore, with any luck, they probably will never see each other. Paula explains the rules of the apartment, but Elliot will have none of them.

Elliot goes into his bedroom while Paula and Lucy go into theirs. They all evaluate the realities of thier predicament.

The next day Paula asks Lucy whether she were bothered about her and Tony; about living with him and not being amrried. Lucy responds sympathetically. "Just like if it happened to me when I grow up you'll understand." "The hell I would" Paula retorts.

Elliot offers to pay all the living expenses until Paula finds a job. She misunderstands his motives however. She has lost faith in every man so when confronted with a decent one she can't even recognise it.

The director of Richard III has decided to go wildly out on a limb. "Glenda Jackson played Hamlet. Judith Anderson played Hamlet. To me that's superficial. Let's go one step deeper." Elliot, I want you to play Richard as a man, playing a woman. playing a man." When Elliot invites Paula and Lucy to opening night, Lucy asks, "Don't you get the girl in the end?" Elliot answers, ''I am the girl in the end!"

The opening night is a total disaster, but Paula can't help admiring Elliot's dedication to his work. And in so doing she begins to realise that she's falling for another actor


The had news is -the opening night reviews are in. The New York Times writes : "In Elliot Garfield's His and Her performance, one wishes the hump were in his throat." The Daily News states: this Richard III makes La Cage aux Folles seem like the John Wayne Story". And according to another critic, "playing Richard as a man, playing a woman, playing a man emerged as Bugs Bunny, playing Miss Piggy, playing a French poodle." The show closes after one performance. The good news is, Elliot and Paula are actually beginning to like one another. Cover to the Original Broadway Cast Recording

Meanwhile, Paula has obtained a job dancing on a television nutrition show with her two friends Jenna and Donna. They will represent all the wrong foods (sweets, fats and fries). But beware, they're sooo tempting.Mrs. Crosby and Lucy are watching Paula on TV - Mrs. Crosby pokes fun at what they have seen.

Elliot and Paula realise that they are beginning to like each other more and more. Elliot gushes, "I love dating girls who live in my apartment. I get home so early!" He invites Paula to meet him on the roof for a romantic dinner for two. Dressed in a white dinner jacket (à la Bogart), Elliot has created an electric moon, Christmas light stars, and of course, a sumptuous dinner - pizza When Paula arrives, he turns on his cassette player. "What now, a Gershwin tune?" She wonders. "No", he replies, "a Garfield melody. I love improvisation." Suddenly there is a bolt of lightning and a crack of thunder. "Now we'll have to have our pizza in the kitchen." Elliot says. But Paula has an altogether different room in mind.

The next morning, Lucy, aware of what has taken place. is scared. She knows that this has happened before with other actors and she cannot help but be worried that the Goodbye Girl Syndrome is about to resurface. And Paula can't and won't hurt Lucy again. Elliot asks: "What would it take to show you that I am serious, major league, world's heavyweight champion contenders?" Get Lucy to say it's all right," Paula replies. Elliot takes Lucy for a rowboat ride on Central Park Lake.

Paula has been promoted to the position of choreographer for a PBS show. She's in the middle of putting the dancers through their paces when Elliot calls and tells her of the good news. Lucy said yes.

Paula returns home elated, knowing that she has found a man that his been true to his word But has he? Lucy tells her that Elliot's in the bedroom packing. When Paula sees him, he's flushed with excitement and explains that he's been offered a job in a movie. "It's a love story. An adventure love story. A mystery comedy adventure love story." Elliot has jumped the gun, Without conferring with Paula he his decided that they be married in British Columbia and that she and Lucy spend the next six weeks with him on location.
But Paula can't go. Lucy is in the middle of her school year and Paula has her own commitments. But she reassures Elliot that she'll wait. For the first time in my life, a man is leaving me and I'm not scared.
Elliot storms out of the apartment. "Don't tell me you blew it Lucy asks. ''I don't know." Paula answers. That's up to him." Lucy responds. "I hate it when we leave it up to the guy." But, Paula realises that this isn't any ordinary guy.

On the way to the airport Elliot decides to see Paula at her apartment. When he gets there, he thinks better of it and decides to telephone her from the corner. From her second storey fire escape, and using her portable phone, it becomes obvious that these two are very much in love They both admit that they can weather a six week separation, Elliot climbs the fire escape to join Paula and Lucy. As he embraces them and kisses Paula, the curtain falls.


(in order of appearance) 9 men, 9 women, small chorus

Scenes and Musical Numbers


Scene 1: Paula's Apartment
"This Is as Good as It Gets" - Paula and Lucy
"No More" Paula

Scene 2: A Dance Studio
"A Beat Behind" - Paula, Billy and Ensemble

Scene 3: In Front of Paula's Building
"This Is as Good as It Gets" (Reprise) - Lucy, Melanie and Cynthia

Scene 4: Paula's Apartment
"My Rules"/"Elliot Garfield Grant" - Elliot and Paula
"Good News, Bad News" - Elliot, Paula and Lucy

Scene 5: Paula's Apartment
"Good News, Bad News" (Reprise) - Mrs. Crosby

Scene 6: An Off Off-Broadway Theatre

Scene 7: Central Park
"Footsteps" - Paula and Lucy

Scene 8: Paula's Apartment
"How Can I Win?" - Paula

Scene 9: An Off Off-Broadway Theatre
"Richard Interred" - Elliot, Paula, Lucy, Mark, Mrs. Crosby, Donna and Ensemble


Scene 1: Paula's Apartment
"How Can I Win?" (Reprise) - Paula

Scene 2: Paula's Apartment
"Good News, Bad News" (Reprise) Elliot

Scene 3: The Ricky Simpson Show
"Too Good to Be Bad" - Paula, Donna and Jenna

Scene 4: Paula's Apartment
"2 Good 2 B Bad" - Mrs. Crosby

Scene 5: Paula's Apartment
"Who Would've Thought?" - Paula, Elliot, Lucy, Melanie and Cynthia

Scene 6: The Rooftop of Paula's Building
"Paula (An Improvised Love Song)" - Elliot and Paula

Scene 7: Paula's Apartment

Scene 8: A Schoolyard
"Who Would've Thought?" (Reprise) - Lucy, Melanie and Cynthia

Scene 9: The Lake in Central Park
"I Can Play This Part" - Elliot

Scene 10: A TV Studio
"Jump for Joy" - Paula and Ensemble

Scene 11: Paula's Apartment
"What a Guy - Paula

Scene 12: In Front of Paula's Building
Finale - Paula, Elliot and Lucy



Original Broadway Cast - Columbia CK 53761