Woman of the Year
Music by John Kander: Lyrics by Fred Ebb: Book by Peter Stone.
Based on the film Woman Of the Year
Palace Theatre, Broadway - March 29, 1981 (770 perfs)
Tess Harding, nationally recognised TV news personality, is about to be named Woman of the Year. To Tess, however, it seems a somewhat dubious honour. As she waits in the wings to receive her award, she recalls a flippant editorial she wrote on the newspaper cartoon strips. The article really hit home and got to all the cartoonists who frequent the Ink Pot. It inspired Sam Craig to publish a caricature of her in his newspaper strip cartoon, Katz. Tess is annoyed by the dose of her own medicine but changes her
tune when the handsome Sam shows up at her office. She invites him to dinner, but has great difficulty working a follow-up date into her impossible schedule. Eventually he manages to get her down to the Ink Pot, where she amazes Sam and the other cartoonists by her knowledge of comic art. Romance is in full bloom, and she invites Sam to move in with her. Marriage soon follows, but still there is so little time together. Sam's feelings are mirrored in his comic strip.
One day Tess takes exception to a Katz strip in which Katz says Marriage is a breeze; it's the living together that's so damned hard. It becomes the focal point of an argument that ends with Sam announcing that he is moving out. Now it's time for her to go on stage to accept her award - Woman of the Year, - the woman who has just lost the man she cares most about!
Some weeks later her heavy work schedule has slowed down somewhat. She has had time to analyse her role as busy media personality compared to the traditional role of wife and companion. She goes to the Ink Pot and talks with Sam. She also seeks advice from a Russian ballet dancer, whom she helped to defect, before he returns behind the Iron Curtain to be with his girlfriend. She then travels to the Rocky Mountain home of her first husband, in an attempt to determine what made his second marriage a success. Flying back to New York, she announces to the world that she is resigning her show to devote herself full time to Sam.
Having been tipped off about her announcement, Sam meets her at the studio to tell her that he wants to try again, but that he wants her to keep her career. He just didn't want a relationship in which she was making all the decisions. They resolve to work things out and give it another go.
16 parts, 3 principals, 3 supporting, 5 featured male cartoonists.
Tess Harding, actress who sings well and dances.
Sam Craig, actor who sings.
Gerald, actor, minor singing.
Helga, character woman who sings.
Alexi Petrikov, ballet dancer who sings.
Jan, deadpan comedian who sings.
Chip, very up newsman with lots of perfect teeth.
Ten supporting cartoonists who sing and dance (5 double in chorus).
Sing/ dance chorus of 8 men, 8 women. Total cast 32-45.
SCENES AND SETS:
2 acts, 14 scenes, 6 major full sets, plus movie screen-size rear projection screen. All sets were designed for wagons (Tess' apartment splits into 2 wagons). Four fly units: Ink Pot wall, transparent show drape, ballet studio, and beams for Colorado house.
Scene 1: Backstage at a Hotel Ballroom
Scene 2: A TV Studio and Sam's Studio Scene 3: Tess' Office
Scene 4: Sam's Studio Scene 5: The Ink Pot
Scene 6: Tess' Apartment
Scene 7: Around New York
Scene 8: Tess' Apartment
Scene 9: Tess' Apartment and a Hotel Ballroom
Scene 1: The Ink Pot
Scene 2: A Ballet Rehearsal Room
Scene 3: Sam's Studio
Scene 4: Larry's House
Scene 5: The TV Studio
PERIOD AND COSTUMES:
The present. Suits, dresses, evening gowns and formal wear, slacks, sweaters, ballet tights and rehearsal clothes, night-gown, trench coat, maid's uniform, sport clothes.
Choreographed movement, featured male ballet number. Not a heavy dance show.
LIGHTING AND SPECIAL EFFECTS:
Tight lighting, ground rows, follow spot, title in neon; original also had special lighting framing the proscenium arch that looked like TV screens. Light-bulb arches, rear projected animated cartoons of Katz and Tessy Kat are integrated into story line.
NOTES: The short animated sequences would be easy to play around; however, including them would prompt great word of mouth. The major use of Katz is in the number "So What Else Is New?" Sam is singing to and reacting with his comic character. A large puppet could be used here if film is impractical. Following are reference drawings of Katz and Tessy Kat.
Original Cast Recording - Arista AL-8303
*CD - Bay Cities BCD-3008
*CD - Razor & Tie RE 2146
* no longer in catalogue