Take Me Along
A Musical in Two Acts, 13 Scenes. Book by Joseph Stein and Robert Russell. Based on the play "Ah, Wilderness!" by Eugene O'Neill. Music and lyrics by Bob Merrill. Produced by David Merrick. Opened 22 October 1959 at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre and closed 17 December 1960 after 448 performances.
Take Me Along takes place in Centerville, Connecticut, in 1906
and its story begins with a triumph in journalism.
Nat Miller, publisher of the Centerville Globe, has won a new fire engine for the town and its citizens celebrate its purchase by cheering him. Somewhat overcome by the honour, Nat wonders if he is truly as great as the people claim. His wife Essie, his sister Lily and the rest of his family insist, over his objections that he is.
But while Nat is basking in praise, his middle son Richard is getting into serious trouble. Plighting a passionate-but-pure troth to Muriel Macomber Richard reads her passages from classics which her starchy father overhears and finds extremely erotic. He drives Richard from his home, confines Muriel for a month, and announces his intention to withdraw a sorely needed advertisement from Nat's newspaper.
At that moment all is gay at the town trolley station, for the
word has spread that Sid Davis is arriving from Waterbury. While
Sid is being welcomed by his old cronies his sister Essie is coaching
Lily on how to trap Sid into marriage and reform him at the same
time. But the patient Lily doubts that she can ever change him.
Sid comes home, but before he gets a chance to say sweet things to Lily, Muriel Macomber's father storms into the house and demands that Richard be properly punished. Nat, the proud father, refuses to believe his son is bad, and throws Macomber out of the house, ad and all. Macomber, he decides, is growing old and Nat is the only one of the old crowd to keep his youth.
Sid proposes to Lily - his first such offer while sober. Though she accepts she makes it clear that he must stay sober, particularly at the Fourth of July picnic. She describes how happy their married life will be if he promises to behave.
Nat and Sid set off for the picnic where revelry and high jinks
are the order of the day. Although the whole town is enjoying the
celebration, Richard is despondent, for he receives a note in which
Muriel rejects him and breaks their engagement. Richard is invited
by an older friend, Wint, to visit a dive that night.
Richard goes in to dinner, where the family is awaiting the return of Nat and Sid. Nat comes in merely tipsy, but Sid is uproarious — too drunk to keep his date with the disillusioned Lily. Sid goes upstairs to sleep it off, and Richard, convinced that all love is faithless, is now ready to embark on a life of sin.
The second act opens at the Pleasant Beach House where Richard is carousing. He drinks too much, barely avoids the clutches of a harlot, and falls into a nightmarish sleep compounded of all the things that perplex him. At home, while the family is anxiously awaiting his return, a sober Sid tries to make up to Lily. Again he promises to behave, but Lily can no longer believe in him. Richard comes home frightfully drunk and when he has had time to sober up it is a serious but still whimsical Sid who undertakes to tell him a few things about drinking.
Richard learns that Muriel was forced to write the letter breaking their engagement, still loves him, and wants to meet him secretly. They are reunited on a beach and Richard is happy enough even to accept four years at Yale.
Sid realises that he is unworthy of Lily. Nonetheless, she agrees to give him one more chance provided he makes good on his promise to return to his newspaper job in Waterbury. Sid starts for the trolley, determined to make good this time and win Lily. When he is about to depart he sees Lily, her bags packed, ready to go with him after all. The whole town cheers as they embrace and set out on their new life.
CAST (in order of appearance)
Lady Entertainers, Bartender, Belle, The Drunk, Bar Patrons, Salesman, Townswomen, Townsmen
- The Parade (Marvellous Fire Machine) - Nat Miller, Townspeople
- Oh, Please - Nat Miller, Essie Miller, Lily, Family
- I Would Die - Muriel Macomber, Richard Miller
- Sid, Ol' Kid - Sid, Townspeople
- Staying Young - Nat Miller
- I Get Embarassed - Sid, Lily
- We're Home - Lily
- Take Me Along - Sid, Nat Miller
- For Sweet Charity (Volunteer Firemen Picnic) - Sid, Nat Miller, Lady Entertainers, Townsmen
- Pleasant Beach House (Wint's Song) - Wint
- That's How It Starts - Richard Miller
- The Beardsley Ballet - Richard Miller, Muriel Macomber, Beardsley Dwarf, Salome, Ensemble
- Oh, Please (reprise) - Nat Miller, Essie Miller
- Promise Me a Rose (A Slight Detail) - Lily, Sid
- Staying Young (reprise) - Nat Miller
- Little Green. Snake - Sid
- Nine O'Clock - Richard Miller
- But Yours - Sid, Lily
- Take Me Along (reprise) -
Lily, Sid, Townspeople
Scenes and Settings
- Scene I: The Miller Home in Centerville, Connecticut, 1910. Early the morning of July 4th.
- Scene 2: The Macomber Home. The same morning.
- Scene 3: The Car Barn. Later that morning.
- Scene 4: The Miller Home. A little later.
- Scene 5: A Street.
- Scene 6: The Picnic Grounds. That afternoon.
- Scene 7: The Miller Home. That evening.
- Scene 1: Bar Room of the Pleasant Beach House. The same night.
- Scene 2: The Miller Home. Later that night.
- Scene 3: Richard's Bedroom. Afternoon of the following day.
- Scene 4: The Beach. That evening.
- Scene 5: The Miller Home. A little later.
- Scene 6: The Car Barn. Later that evening.
Original Broadway Cast starring Walter Pidgeon, Jackie Gleason, Eileen Hurlie - RCA LOC-1050