a musical in two acts by John O'Hara, based on his own short stories. Lyrics by Lorenz Hart. Music by Richard Rodgers.
Produced at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York, 25th December 1940 (374 perfs) with Gene Kelly (Joey), Vivienne Segal (Vera) and Leila Ernst (Linda). Produced at the Broadhurst Theatre, 3rd January 1952 in a revised version with Harold Lang, Miss Segal and Patricia Northrop. Produced at the Circle in the Square, 27th June 1976 with Christopher Chadman, Joan Copeland and Boni Enten.
Produced at the Princes Theatre, London, 31st March 1954 with Lang, Carol Bruce and Sally Bazely. Produced at the Albery Theatre, 25th September 1980 with Denis Lawson, Sian Phillips and Danielle Carson.
A film version was produced by Columbia Pictures in 1957 with Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth (singing dubbed by Jo Ann Greer) and Kim Novak (singing dubbed by Trudy Ewen).
In a cheap night-club, Joey auditions for the job of M.C. and gets it by his self-confidence and cockiness with the owner Mike. Later, outside a pet shop, Joey chats up Linda. He tells her his "life-story" - a pack of lies about lost fortunes and playing polo. She falls for this and they realise their mutual attraction. A month later, in the club, Mrs "Chicago Society" - Vera, an experienced woman of about 35, saunters in with friends and soon eyes Joey up and down. Linda is there with a boyfriend and Joey is somewhat curt to her. Vera makes it clear to Joey that he attracts her, but when he gets too fresh, she and her friends flamboyantly walk out. Mike is furious and gives Joey till the end of the week to get her back. Joey then calls Vera and insults her for costing him his job; this is done in a state of some panic, but it evidently works.
A couple of nights later, Vera unexpectedly turns up at the club, drawn by Joey's charm, thus saving him his job. They go off together to her apartment. A few days later, in a tailor's shop, Vera smothers Joey (whom she is obviously now keeping) with new clothes: evidently she has fallen for him. But Linda, who works there, comes in, much to Joey's surprise and Vera's jealousy. She puts on a tough act with poor Linda, pretending to be Joey's second wife. Joey hears this from the tearful girl, but admits 'What do I care for a dame?' The act ends with a ballet, which is Joey's fantasy of what the night-club of his own that Vera has promised him will be like.
At Chez Joey's, Victor prepares the floor-show as Melba Snyder, a fast-talking reporter, interviews Joey about his new club. Egged on by Joey's fantasising, she contrives to make his history more interesting in order to get a good column. And she has plenty to tell about her own interview scoops. Ludlow Lowell breezes in, claiming to be a top agent, and with the help of the dancer Gladys (an old accomplice), cajoles Joey into signing a contract with him, which robs Joey of his independence. Later, these two plot a neat triple blackmail - on Vera, by revealing her affair with Joey to her husband; on her husband, to 'protect' his business from scandal; and of course on Joey, for obvious reasons! They try to enlist Linda, as the 'woman scorned', but she refuses. Gladys doesn't think it's going to be easy, but Ludlow is ready to do it the hard way.
At Joey and Vera's love-nest, Linda tells her about the plot: Vera senses scandal, graciously 'returns' Joey to Linda and phones the Commissioner of Police. She tells Joey of the plot before Ludlow and Gladys arrive but they are thwarted by the Commissioner, who bundles them off. Vera realises that the affair is over, tells Joey and closes the Chez Joey bank account. As she leaves, the rent-collector arrives, but Joey still sweet-talks his way out of trouble. Linda and Joey then part, again outside the pet shop where they met. As she exits left, another girl crosses the stage and exits right - and she is the one that our incorrigible Pal Joey follows as the curtain falls.
- JOEY EVANS - Young, ambitious singer; he may be naive about the real world,
a dreamer and a fantasist, but he is also a bit of a con-man and
lady-killer too. Out of his depth with Vera, but with occasional
flashes of sensitive feelings for Linda, his smooth charm is too
manipulative for his own good.
- MIKE SPEARS - A stoutish man in his early forties, a regular club-manager
type who tends to panic about empty houses.
- GLADYS - A bored but knowing dancer, with little in life to excite
her. An old and scheming friend of Lowell's.
- LINDA - A girl who is both sensible and headstrong, innocent and
vulnerable. She has a soft spot for Joey from the first moment.
- VERA - A flamboyant, 'arty', social butterfly with a lot of her
husband's money. A world-weary thirty-something flirt who is bored
with marriage and prefers dating younger men. Her love for Joey
is less for his future as a night-club star than for his present
as a lover and as such is skin-deep only: she drops him once her
affair looks like being made public.
- MELBA SNYDER - Press reporter, quick on the uptake and fast-talking. Anything-for-a-good-story
- VICTOR - Floor-show director. A hard man when things need to be organised.
- LUDLOW LOWELL - A ruthless crooked 'artist's representative', he will do
anything to get a piece of someone else's money - including blackmail.
- COMMISSIONER O'BRIEN - Commissioner of Police and an old friend of Vera's.
- ERNEST - The tailor who loves his work.
- CHORUS GIRLS - Regular dancing girls, who like to have a good time with whomever - Joey Evans included!
- Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
- Chicago (A Great Big Town)
- Den of Iniquity
- Do It the Hard Way
- The Flower Garden Of My Heart
- Happy Hunting Horn
- I Could Write A Book
- Love Is My Best Friend
- Pal Joey (What Do I Care For A Dame?)
- Plant You Now, Dig You Later
- Take Him
- That Terrific Rainbow
- What Is A Man?
- You Mustn't Kick It Round
Reed 1: Clarinet, Flute, Alto Sax
Reed 2: Alto Sax, Oboe, Cor Ang.
Reed 3: Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet,
Reed 4: Tenor Say, Clarinet, Flute, Piccolo
Reed 5: Tenor Say, Clarinet, Bassoon
Horn, 3 Trumpets, Trombone
Percussion, Piano, Strings
CD CBS CK-4364M
CD CAPITOL C21K-91269 (film)