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The Me Nobody Knows

A musical entertainment in 2 acts : Music Gary William Friedman : Lyrics Will Holt : Book Robert H. Livingston, Herb Schapiro, Stephen M. Joseph

Spoken text written by children (7 - 18) attendiung NYC public schools - Edited by Stephen M. Joseph

Orpheum Theatre, Off-Broadway - Opened 18th May, 1970: Closed 15th November, 1970. Transferred Helen Hayes Theatre, Broadway 18th December, 1970, Closed 28 August, 1971, Transferred Longacre Theatre Opened 15th September, 1971- Closed 28th November, 1971 (total 689 perfs)

1970 Obie Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical.


The adaptation was inspired by the writings of nearly 200 New York City students, aged 7 to 18. Stephen M. Joseph, a teacher, edited the collection, which was subtitled "Children's Voices From the Ghetto". Mr. Joseph wrote that the children had written about their feelings and their neighbourhoods. According to Mr. Joseph, they wrote "for keeps" and "like it is." At odds with a squalid setting and a cynical, materialistic view of the world, themes of hope and renewal emerged. To guarantee uplift, samples from the students' work were interwoven with a score that combined rock music, classical fugues, early rap and jazz.

Critics were overwhelmingly impressed by the vitality, passion, honesty and powers of observation shown by the young writers, as they painted a moving, but sometimes ugly, picture of inner city life.


Musical Numbers

  1. Dream Babies (lyrics by Herb Shapiro) - Melba
  2. Light Sings (lyrics by Herb Shapiro) - William and Company
  3. This World (lyrics by Herb Shapiro) - Company
  4. Numbers - Company
  5. What Happens to Life - Lillian and Lloyd
  6. Take Hold the Crutch - Nell and Company
  7. Flying Milk and Runaway Plates - Benjamin and Company
  8. I Love What the Girls Have - Donald
  9. How I Feel - Catherine and Carlos
  10. If I Had A Million Dollars - Company
  11. Fugue for Four Girls(these are children's poems, presented exactly as they were written) - Lillie Mae, Catherine, Lillian and Nell
  12. Rejoice - Clorox
  13. Sounds - Nell and Catherine
  14. The Tree - Carlos
  15. Robert, Alvin, Wendell and Jo Jo - Rhoda, Lillian, Lillie Mae and William
  16. Jail-Life Walk - Donald, Lloyd, Clorox and Carlos
  17. Something Beautiful - Rhoda
  18. Black - Benjamin, Clorox, Lillie Mae, Lloyd, Melba, Nell, Rhoda and William
  19. The Horse - Lloyd
  20. Let Me Come in - Company
  21. War Babies - Lloyd

Scenes and Settings

The action takes place at the present time in New York City's ghetto