Cover to original cast recording


Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim; Book by John Weidman

Produced and premiered by The Goodman Theatre, Chicago, June 2003:
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C. 21 October 2003.

Directed by Harold Prince; Choreographed by Michael Arnold


Bounce follows the adventures of brothers Addison and Wilson Mizner, taking to heart the advice of their papa, Lansing Mizner, a man who never missed an opportunity, and Mama Mizner, who bankrolled their first chance to get rich quick. It's the story of American men and women willing to take risks to grab their piece of the dream, of women like Nellie, a Gold Rush dance hall girl, who marries well again and again. It's a story of resilience and invention, of America's ability to 'bounce.'"

Plot of Road Show (Formerly titled “Bounce”)

After the 1933 death of Addison Mizner, people who knew him, including his estranged lover Hollis Bessemer, comment on his life and the way he squandered his talents ("Waste"). Addison's younger brother Wilson appears and speaks to Addison, who angrily claims that Wilson was the cause of all his failures. The time shifts to Papa Mizner's death in California at the beginning of the twentieth century. On his deathbed, Papa charges his sons with the task of using their gifts to shape America ("It's in Your Hands Now"), telling them that there's a "road" to follow. Mama Mizner reveals the family's wealth has been eaten away by Papa's long illness and advises the boys to seek gold in Alaska; Addison is reluctant but goes along with Wilson anyway ("Gold!").

In the Klondike, the brothers share a sleeping bag and reminisce about their childhood ("Brotherly Love"). Wilson leaves to get supplies while Addison works the claim. Wilson is lured into a game of poker. Addison is shocked to discover his brother gambling. Wilson explains his newfound love of taking risks regardless of what's at stake ("The Game"). Wilson stakes their gold claim in a poker game and wins the saloon in which the game is taking place. (This episode is fictitious.) A shade of Papa Mizner appears and tells Addison that this was not what he had in mind for his sons.

Addison leaves in disgust with his share of Wilson's winnings and travels around the world searching for business opportunities and a sense of purpose ("Addison's Trip"). All his ventures fail due to bad luck. He is left with nothing but souvenirs that inspire him to take up architecture (so he can design a house in which to show them off). Wilson's businesses in Alaska also have failed, so he comes south to seek his brother's help. Wilson seduces and marries Addison's first client, a rich widow, and fritters away her money on various flashy endeavours, including fixed boxing matches and horse races ("That Was A Year").

Although Wilson's various partners lose money, they remain fond of him because of the verve and energy with which he lives. Even Mama Mizner, who is being looked after by Addison and never receives any visits from Wilson, enjoys reading about Wilson's exploits, saying that she can live through him ("Isn't He Something!"). Only Addison remains uncharmed by Wilson, and when Wilson finally comes back, his resources exhausted, he finds that Mama has died in his absence. Addison angrily throws Wilson out of the house.

Learning of rising property interests in Florida ("Land Boom!"), Addison decides to travel to Palm Beach to take advantage of the many rich people settling there who need houses built. (In reality, Mizner went there for his health.) On the train he meets the fictitious Hollis Bessemer, with whom he is smitten instantly. Hollis is the son of a wealthy industrialist, cut off by his father for refusing to enter the family business. His real passion is art, and although he is not talented, he dreams of creating an artist colony in Palm Beach with the help of his aunt, who is staying there in a hotel ("Talent").

Addison shows Hollis's aunt a plan for a house he proposes to build for her. Impressed, she agrees and offers to sponsor Hollis's artist colony. However, Hollis and Addison, now lovers, are too busy designing resort homes for the rich ("You") and enjoying each other's company ("The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened") to follow up on Hollis's original plan. Wilson arrives at Hollis's and Addison's house, destitute and sick ("The Game [Reprise]"). Addison reluctantly takes him in, and when Wilson has recovered, he begins to work on Hollis, persuading him to be a patron to his newest scheme: to build a brand-new city in Boca Raton with Wilson as promoter and Addison as chief architect ("Addison's City").

Wilson's con man instincts resurface. He promotes the Boca Raton real estate scheme with increasingly extravagant and eventually fraudulent claims, creating a price bubble ("Boca Raton"). Addison goes along, until it is Hollis who finally puts a stop to the real-estate scheme. He asks Addison to choose between Wilson and him. Addison, brought to a state of desperation, drives Hollis away by claiming he never loved him. Addison also orders Wilson out of his life ("Get Out"), but Wilson insists Addison loves him too much ("Go"). Addison agrees, but still wants him to go.

Wilson leaves for good, but not quite, for in the finale (as in the first scene) all the characters leave the stage except for Wilson and Addison. At this point, Wilson realizes that he, too, has died. The brothers bicker half-heartedly, their differences no longer mattering enough to keep them apart. Confronted by their father, they shrug off his criticisms and the brothers set out together on the road to eternity—or, as Wilson calls it, "the greatest opportunity of all". "Sooner or later", he says, "we're bound to get it right."

Musical Numbers:

  1. Overture - Orchestra
  2. Bounce - Wilson & Addison
  3. Opportunity - Papa, Wilson, Addison
  4. Gold - Wilson, Prospector, Mama, Denizens
  5. Gold - Part 2 - Poker Players, Wilson
  6. What's Your Rush? - Nellie, Wilson
  7. The Game - Wilson, Addison
  8. Next To You - Addison, Wilson, Mama
  9. Addison's Trip - Addison, Businessman, Englishman, Guatemalens, Plantation Owner
  10. The Best Thing That Ever Has Happened - Nellie, Wilson
  11. I Love This Town - Addison, Wilson, Nellie, Kethchel, Callahan, Reports and Photographers, Chorines, Policemen, Gamblers, Jockey
  12. Isn't He Somthing? - Mama
  13. Bounce - Addison
  14. The Game - Addison, Nellie, Wilson, Real Estate Promoter
  15. Talent - Hollis, Addison
  16. You - Addison, Mrs. Stotesbury, Aristocrats, Matrons, Hollis, Mr. Geist, Mrs. Geist, Mr Trumbaur, Mrs. Trumbaur, Mrs Dupont, Mr & Mrs Wanamaker
  17. Addison's City - Hollis, Wilson, Nellie
  18. Boca Raton - Bathing Beauties, Yacht Club Boys, Wilson & Chorus
  19. Boca Raton Aftermath - Nellie
  20. Get Out Of My Life - Wilson, Addison
  21. Bounce - Wilson, Addison


    Original Cast Recording - Nonesuch 79830-2