Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim: Book by Julius J. Epstein
Second Stage Theatre, New York February 17, 2000 (45 perfs)
Original London production: Bridewell, 17th December, 1997 – 24th January, 1998
Jermyn Street Theatre, London - February 13th – March 14th
Transfer: Arts Theatre, London , March 25th – April 11th
Saturday Night takes place almost entirely on not one, but three consecutive Saturday nights in the spring of 1929. As the first Saturday night begins, a group of male friends in their early twenties is sitting on the front porch of their friend Gene Gorman's house in Brooklyn. It's a Saturday night and they commiserate about not having dates. Gene enters from upstairs, dressed in tails and ready to gatecrash the Junior League Cotillion at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, the place across the river that in his eyes is loaded with class.
Gene, a runner on Wall Street, asks his pals for $100 each to buy a hot stock - Montana Chem. Corp. - and promises them that they'll all be rich within a week. Gene's cousin Eugene stops by; he's leaving town for Florida and asks Gene to look after his fancy car, a Pierce-Arrow, while he's gone. Soon after, a married couple, Hank and Celeste, arrive with their friend Mildred; everyone is introduced and the guys argue over what the couplings will be as they head to the movies.
Gene arrives at The Plaza where the band singer is singing. As luck would have it, he meets Helen, a girl who is also gatecrashing the party by pretending to be a Southern aristocrat. The two pair up while Helen remarks how "swelegant" the cotillion is. After spending some time together, Gene offers Helen a ride home in his "limousine," the borrowed Pierce-Arrow. Meanwhile, in a cinema in Brooklyn, Gene's friends are arguing over the evening's expenses while Mildred and Celeste comment on how life is better.
Later that night everyone gathers again back on the front porch in Brooklyn. An unknown woman calls on the phone for Gene and asks if she can come over. With this mystery woman on her way over, Gene's friends wonder how experienced he is in the art of seduction.
The mystery woman soon shows up at the front porch - it's Helen, without her Southern accent. It seems that Gene's driver's license was stuck to the back of the photo he gave her of himself on a yacht in the Mediterranean. Helen, it turns out, is from Brooklyn, too - and the photo of the yacht is actually Gene on a fishing boat in Sheepshead Bay. The two don't care about each other's "real" identities or backgrounds and are just happy to spend time in each other's company as the first Saturday night ends.
The next afternoon Gene takes Helen to see an apartment for rent on Sutton Place. Of course he can't afford it, but he leases it anyway, convinced that by the next Saturday he'll have made a killing on the Montana Chem. Corp. tip. During the next week, Gene's stock scheme with Montana Chem. Corp starts collapsing. He's in need of cash and on the next Saturday night, he rashly sells his absent cousin's car. (He's able to do so only because his proper first name is Eugene, just like his cousin's.) Helen hates what he's done but admits to him that she loves him.
The couple announce their engagement to Gene's friends, all of whom, with the exception of Bobby, happily anticipate their wedding. As the group is celebrating, Gene's cousin Eugene unexpectedly returns from Florida. He can't seem to find his car; when Gene lies and tells his cousin that it was stolen, Eugene calls the police. One wonderful day, indeed!
Act II begins on the third Saturday night, back on the front porch in Brooklyn. The old gang is together, wondering yet again what to do on a Saturday night. Gene, however, has a lot to do on this particular Saturday night - he's busy being hounded by police detectives.
Unluckily for Gene's cousin, the other "Eugene Gorman," he's mistaken for the "Gene Gorman" who went off with his friends' money, is involved with a shady stock deal, and sold his cousin's car. The police detectives take him down to the station. Later that evening Gene and Helen go to Dakota Doran's nightclub for a night on the town together. They try to sit back and enjoy the music but the pressure of what's going on makes that impossible and all they do is argue. Gene tries to shoot himself with the gun Helen is carrying, not knowing that it's only a water pistol. But Gene doesn't feel happy or relieved, only afraid that he's become a laughing stock. He runs off, threatening to commit suicide.
Back at the police station Gene's friends have gathered together and pooled their savings to help get Eugene out of jail. When Helen tells them what Gene has threatened to do, his friends enlist help from the police, who are just a little bit confused about there being two Eugene Gormans. Soon Gene arrives, ready to turn himself in. By coincidence, the real estate broker for the Sutton Place apartment arrives, too! It seems that the prior tenants desperately want to keep the apartment, so Gene's deposit money will be returned to him. Gene's friends negotiate a deal with the broker for his inconvenience - Gene will be paid double the amount he put down, which would give him enough to buy his cousin's car back. But Gene discovers that the real estate agent's arrival was not just a wild coincidence: Helen had arranged for him to be there and had settled the money matter earlier. This was all a test for Gene - all he needed to do was to show up at the jail and try to do the decent thing on his own - which he had done. Now more grown up - and even more in love with Helen - Gene decides to leave Wall Street and take a job at Helen's father's chicken plucking business. Helen admits that she's perfectly happy with her life in Brooklyn with Gene - after all.
Gene prepares to replace his cousin in jail, but the police refuse to dampen his joy; they let him go until Monday morning, when he will be able to pay the money back. And as this Saturday night ends, everyone looks forward to a wonderful-day beginning for everyone.
- Overture - Orchestra
- Saturday Night - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
- Class - Gene, Hank, Celeste, Bobby, Artie, Ted, Dino
- Delighted I'm Sure - Celeste, Mildred, Hank, Bobby, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
- Love's a Bond - Vocalist
- Isn't It? - Helen
- In the Movies - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino, Hank, Celeste, Mildred
- Exhibit A - Bobby
- A Moment With You - Vocalist, Gene, Helen
- Saturday Night (reprise) - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
- Gracious Living Fantasy - Gene & The Gang
- Montana Chem - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino, Hank, Celeste
- So Many People - Helen, Gene
- One Wonderful Day - Celeste, Hank, Bobby, Mildred, Florence, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
- Entr'acte - The Orchestra
- Saturday Night (reprise) - Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
- I Remember That - Hank, Celeste
- Love's a Bond Blues - Dakota Doran
- All for You - Helen
- That Kind of a Neighborhood - Hank, Celeste, Mildred, Florence, Bobby, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino
- What More Do I Need? - Gene, Helen, Hank, Celeste, Mildred, Florence, Bobby, Ted, Artie, Ray, Dino, Clune, Lieutenant
- One Wonderful Day (reprise) - The Company
Original Broadway Cast Recording: Nonesuch 79609-2