A musical comedy in 2 acts, a prologue and 16 Scenes: Music by Albert Hague: Lyrics by Dorothy Fields: Book by Herbert & Dorothy Fields, Sydney Sheldon and David Shaw.
46th Street Theatre, Broadway - 5 February, 1959 (455 perfs)
Essie Whimple sculptures figures for the Simpson Sisters' Wax Museum, run by her aunts, Maude and Sarah. They are preparing to unveil a new sketch in horror, the yet-unsolved strangulation of beautiful actress Ruth LaRue. The murder has captured the interest of the press and all of London. The event is being attended by Inspector White of Scotland Yard, producer of Ruth's show, Howard Cavanaugh, and the show's comedian, George Poppett. Another cast member, strongman Tom Baxter, breaks in after the unveiling to request the exhibit be destroyed. Tom is the man of Essie's recurring visions, and she is dumbfounded.
He is repulsed by her crudeness, but she manages to gain some ground by agreeing to remove the exhibit. Later, to make sure Tom's exit from her life is not permanent, Essie fakes an attempt on her life and tells Tom she believes it to be the same person who killed Ruth. Tom and George offer their protection and get Howard to put her in his show so they can keep a close eye on her. Tom's close friend, Sir Charles Willingham, drops by the theatre, and the audience immediately recognises his unmistakable red hair and beard as those of Ruth's murderer as witnessed in the prologue.
Sir Charles was engaged to Ruth and wants to question Essie to find out whether or not she had a good a look at her alleged attacker. Tom stalls Sir Charles because he is anxious for his first date with Essie.
The evening is a complete delight, but Essie now has to keep her part of the bargain by sculpting the head of Ruth's killer. She confesses the deception to her aunts and George. They help try to conjure up a vision of the murderer. During the proceedings, the image of Sir Charles appears. Essie can now prepare the likeness for Tom. However, the next evening Sir Charles is in the front box, Essie sees him and renders the show a shambles. When Tom asks why, she names Sir Charles as the guilty party. Tom is furious and gets Essie to admit her charade and vision of Sir Charles. Their romance is washed up.
After the show Sir Charles corners Essie and tries to take her to his apartment for a chat. However, on the way she takes up with some tarts and eventually lands in jail. Her aunts and George visit her. George has a plan to force Sir Charles's hand. Essie manages to escape to put the plan into effect. The move almost costs her life because the real killer is George made up to look like Sir Charles. However, Tom arrives in time to save both Essie and their love.
Scenes and Settings
Prologue, 2 acts, 16 scenes, 5 full stage sets, 1 partial stage set, 3 scene drops.
Prologue: A Theatre Dressing Room.
Scene 1: Outside the Simpson Sisters' Waxworks.
Scene 2: The Interior of the Waxworks.
Scene 3: Essie's Workshop.
Scene 4: A Street.
Scene 5: Stage of the Odeon Theatre.
Scene 6: Corridor, Backstage.
Scene 7: Tom's Apartment.
Scene 8: Outside the Museum.
Scene 9: Backstage of the Odeon Theatre.
Scene 10: Stage of the Odeon Theatre.
Scene 1: Tom's Apartment.
Scene 2: A Street.
Scene 3: The Green Dragon Pub.
Scene 4: The Jail Cell.
Scene 5: Corridor, Backstage.
Scene 6: The Museum.
- The Simpson Sisters - Singers, Dancers
- The Right Finger of My Left Hand - Essie Wimple
- Just For Once - Essie Wimple, Tom Baxter, George Poppett
- (I Feel) Merely Marvelous - Essie Wimple
- The Uncle Sam Rag - George Poppett, Singers, Dancers
- Erbie Fitch's Twitch - Essie Wimple
- Behave Yourself - Essie Wimple, Maude Simpson, Sarah Simpson, Tom Baxter
- Look Who's in Love - Essie Wimple, Tom Baxter
- My Girl Is Just Enough Woman for Me - Tom Baxter, Passers-by
- Essie's Vision - Essie Wimple, Her Dream People
- Two Faces in the Dark - Essie Wimple, Tenor, Singers, Dancers
- I'm Back in Circulation - Tom Baxter
- We Loves Ya, Jimey - Essie Wimple, May, Shirley de Burgh, Ensemble
- Pick-Pocket Tango - Essie Wimple, Inez (the Blonde)
- Look Who's in Love (reprise) - Tom Baxter
- I'll Try - Essie Wimple, Tom Baxter
- (The Chase)/Finale - Essie Wimple, Tom Baxter, Company
Violin A-B-C, viola, cello, bass, flute (pic, clar, alto sax), clar (alto sax), clar (oboe, Eng. horn, tenor sax), clar (flute, tenor sax), bari sax (bass clar, bassoon), trumpet I-II, III, trombone I, II, horn, guitar, harp, percussion, piano/conductor.
16 parts, 7 principals.
- Essie, excellent dancer who sings.
- Tom, actor with good voice, minor dancing.
- George, character song-and-dance man.
- Maude and Sarah Simpson, character women who sing.
- Inspector White, character man, straight role.
- Jailer, featured dancer.
Separate singing and dancing ensembles. Several good dancers required. Strong choral work. Total cast, 35-45.
Modern, parade (ragtime), soft shoe, modern ballet, "Pickpocket Tango"' (bordering on an apache).
Lighting and Special Effects
Mysterious, dramatic lighting required for several effects. Makeup for the killer is critical.