Lucky In the Rain
Conceived and written by Sherman Yellen: Music by Jimmy McHugh; Lyrics by Harold Adamson, Dorothy Fields. Additional Music/lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael, Walter Donaldson, Al Dubin, Ted Koehler, Jan Savitt and Johnny Watson
Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, Connecticut - 9 July, 1997 (Season)
An elderly man steps out in front of a street scene in Paris. He announces that it is 1927, and that this picturesque city is the city in which he spent his youth. This man introduces us to a younger version of himself, Henderson Booth. Booth is just arriving in Paris, "Where everybody is young, broke, half-drunk, an artist, a genius, a phoney, all of the above and always in love." Booth bumps into an attractive young woman, Jane Wiley. She is American and sees Booth as a person much like herself when she first arrived in Paris. She decides to help out the young reporter, and takes him to the newspaper for which she works, The Defender.
Jane introduces Booth to Mike Malone, the cynical Managing Editor of The Defender . Mike is ready to dismiss Booth, but Booth impresses Mike with his tenacity. Booth is hired, though Jane is a bit miffed when Mike gives him part of her beat. Jane introduces Booth to the colourful staff: Zach Monroe, photographer and Jane's ex-lover; Robert Leary, sports columnist and compulsive gambler; Regine (Reggie) Duvalier, fashion reporter and Robert's lover-though she's married to a man named Maurice. As Robert tries flirtatiously to weasel some money out of Regine and Booth tried flirtatiously to compliment Jane, both men sing about the women in their lives.
Elder Booth tells us that after a month, his younger self is junior editor and in charge of the book review section. Booth's contentment is interrupted when Mike storms out of his office bemoaning there's no one to cover the Lindbergh landing. Jane excitedly offers, but Mike gives the story to Booth, with Zach as photographer. Zach's jealousy of Booth's friendship with Jane makes him give Booth wrong directions so he won't get the story. Jane finds out about this deceit and gives Booth a story she wrote on Lindbergh. Relieved, he files the story. Suddenly two boisterous women burst into the office--Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Gertrude demands he write a review for her new book, but Booth says he doesn't understand it. She sees his confusion and senses he's having girl trouble as well. She and Alice offer him some cheery advice.
Mike explodes into the room exclaiming that the owner of the paper, General Maclean, and his mother, Momma Maclean, are on their way. They enter and the General goes around to various staff members commenting on their stories. The General asks who wrote the thrilling Lindbergh story and if there will be a follow-up feature. Mike introduces him to Henderson Booth. With the staff's assistance, Mike follows up' by telling the General all about Lindbergh's spiritual and heroic journey.
Momma Maclean, a kleptomaniac, wants to go shopping to pick up (steal) some souvenirs. Jane and Booth are volunteered by Mike to take her, and she is excited and delighted. Later, the General becomes fascinated with a beautiful jazz singer, Josephine Baker. He joins in during her number, eventually stripping down to his underpants in the process! As the night wears on, Momma falls asleep in a pram she stole and Jane and Booth finally have some quiet moments together by the Seine.
Elder Booth once again brings us up-to-date. Booth and Jane have become more than friends. Regine announces her husband, Maurice, has asked for a divorce because another woman is carrying his baby. Robert thinks this is an outrage and demands that she stay married. Jane sees Regine crying and finds out that it's Regine who is pregnant and Maurice is fictional. She thought being married made her more appealing to Robert. Now she had hoped he would support her fake' divorce and ask her to marry him because he loved her.
Mike again bursts in telling Jane he is sending her on assignment to London for a month. Booth and Jane agree to stay faithful by writing every day and talking on the phone now and then. They will count the days until they are together again. Elder Booth admits, "I only made it to seven."
Because Booth and Zach are in love with Jane, they both write to her. Booth's reverie is interrupted by Isadora Duncan wrapping a scarf around his throat, accusing Booth of writing inaccurate information about her in the paper. Although she hates his story, she loves his writing and asks him to help her with her autobiography. Booth is delighted and as they exit together, Elder Booth reappears and informs us Isadora "was a postgraduate course in life and love."
Alone in Isadora's hotel room, Booth's resistance falters. With some champagne and a few suggestive words, he succumbs rather easily. Elder Booth muses that he thought it would all be over by the time Jane returned, but "the days passed so quickly, I forgot all about tomorrow in today."
Jane returns and soon finds out about Booth's affair with Isadora. Heartbroken, she commiserates with Regine about love and how nothing seems to go right. Zach convinces Jane that they should try again, while on the Riviera, Booth and Isadora continue their affair.
Elder Booth begins Act Two describing that extravagant summer he spent on the Riviera. It is there that Isadora takes Booth out to meet the high society folk and teaches him that one must constantly flatter them.
Elder Booth tells us Jane has sent Zach away and now suffers alone in anguish thinking of Booth. Elder Jane interrupts Elder Booth's story in order to set the record straight. In her recounting, Booth keeps calling from France, begging her forgiveness. She tells Booth that Zach is with her and stunned, Booth hangs up. Jane then realises being with Zach is a mistake and asks him to leave, but not before he pleads his case. Booth realises his foolishness and though he's had a wonderful time with Isadora, knows he must go back to Paris to work and to Jane. Isadora understands and sadly bids him goodbye.
As soon as he returns, Booth is offered Mike's job as Managing Editor. Mike is leaving for a job in Berlin. It seems the General loved Booth's pieces on the Riviera and felt he was the perfect choice to take over, despite the fact that Mike had promised the job to Jane. Booth wants to prove to Jane and to himself that he can succeed and turn The Defender into a respectable paper. The staff works hard-except for Zach and within a few weeks the circulation doubles. Feeling frustrated and dejected, Zach turns his attention to Regine and tries to convince her that he is perfect for her.
The great success of the paper prompts a rival paper to buy it in order to crush the competition. This means the staff will lose their jobs, but they do not want to stop writing or working. Jane then realises that they are free to publish their own paper in their own way, and they begin work on The Paris Pretender. Booth even enlists Gertrude Stein to help. She is thrilled and flattered by everyone's attention and the staff gathers to bolster her ego.
The Paris Pretender becomes the rage of the intelligentsia. Robert sees that Regine is preparing to leave and finally confesses his lies to her. He professes his love for her but reminds her he's a broke gambler. She is not totally convinced, but also confesses her lies to Robert. She just wanted Robert to love her. At last, he asks her to marry him and she accepts.
The General enters threatening to close down The Pretender and blacklist the staff with all other newspapers. Zach seems to be on the General's side until he shows the General a scandalous photo of himself with Josephine Baker. The General lets the paper continue and pays an additional $1,000 for costs. The money is still not enough to keep the paper running, so everyone, except Zach, agrees to give the money to Robert and Regine as a wedding gift. As they prepare to publish the last edition, Booth tries again to win back Jane's affections. A teletype interrupts with news of Isadora's death in a car accident. Booth believes "Isadora would like to be mourned with champagne" and asks Jane to save him a seat at the wedding, near her.
Everyone gathers and celebrates the wedding. Robert seems unusually anxious and we find out he has bet all the gift money on a horse named "Wedding Day" - another long shot - and the race is during the wedding. Luckily, the horse wins and Robert and Regine have enough money for themselves as well as to share with the staff. On a whim, Jane asks Booth is he would give up his new job in New York to follow her to Berlin. Surprisingly to her, he answers YES! As rain begins to fall, he proposes marriage and she happily accepts.
As Elder Jane and Elder Booth watch the scene fade, a Young American enters speaking in broken French. They point him to a hotel and Elder Booth tells him, "I stayed there when I first came to Paris. Bon Chance!"
- Alice B. Toklas - Gertrude's diminutive companion. Must tap. Loves Gertrude and horses.
- Elder Henderson Booth A charming, romantic man in later life, nursing his youthful illusions. Doubles as the tyrannical General Maclean.
- Elder Jane Wiley Sophisticated, opinionated and stylish older woman. (Doubles as Momma Maclean)
- General Maclean - Publisher of Paris Edition of Defender. A rogue who spouts purity and patriotism and seeks pleasure in Paris. (Doubles as Elder Henderson Booth)
- Gertrude Stein - Hefty and formidable writer of the American avant garde in Paris.
- Henderson Booth - His youthful self. Energetic, ambitious reporter who has just arrived in Paris.
- Isadora Duncan Legendary modern dancer and seductress.
- Jane Wiley - Attractive, disillusioned young American reporter for the Paris Edition of the Denver Defender.
- Josephine Baker - Glamorous black entertainer and the rage of Paris in the Jazz Age.
- Mike Malone - Managing Editor of Paris Edition of the Denver Defender. Cynical and bemused.
- Momma Maclean - Elderly mother of the General. Champion kleptomaniac with generous impulses and a gentle heart. (Doubles as Elder Jane Wiley)
- Regine Duvalier (Reggie) - Worldly French fashion reporter on The Defender.
- Robert Leary - Former boy genius gone to seed in Paris. Compulsive gambler. Sports reporter on Defender. Long-time lover of Reggie.
- Zach Monroe - Dashing newspaper photographer. A self-absorbed womanizer and a helluva dancer.
Ensemble - Play various parts such as tourists, waiters in the cafe, nightclub patrons, office workers at The Defender.
- I'm Shooting High
- Exactly Like You
- On the Sunny Side of the Street
- Comin' In on a Wing and a Prayer
- It's a Wonderful World
- Doin' the New Low Down
- A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening
- I Walked In
- Where Are You?
- Love Me as Though There Were No Tomorrow
- When Love Goes Wrong Nothing Goes Right
- Here Comes Heaven Again
- You I Must Have That Man
- I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night
- Don't Blame Me
- South American Way
- You're a Sweetheart
- I Can't Give You Anything But Love
- The Music Stopped
- It's A Most Unusual Day
- I Got Lucky In the Rain
- Drums Bells, Chimes, Cowbell, Triangle, Tympani, Vibraphone, Wind Chimes, Wood Block, Xylophone
- Reed 1 Alto Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute, Soprano Sax
- Reed 2 Bass Clarinet, Bass Saxophone, Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone