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By Hex

Music and lyrics by Howard Blankman, book by John Rengier, based on an idea suggested by Richard Gehman, with additional lyrics by Richard Gehman and John Rengier.

Tempo Playhouse Theatre Off-Broadway - June 18, 1956 (40 perfs)


The story is set in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and deals with the Amish folk. Jonas, a young Amish farmer, rebels against the restrictions of his people; he wants to wear red suspenders and buy a tractor: in a word, he wants to "go modern." The Bishop warns him that he will be shunned if he does this; none of his people will be allowed to speak to him or recognise him in any way.

Nancy, the Bishop's eldest daughter, is sad; she feels life has passed her by, and in a moment of unhappiness, she allows a non-Amish man to kiss her. The Bishop sees this, and warns Nancy that she too could be shunned. When Jonas buys his tractor, the Bishop shuns him, and Jonas, in a moment of uncontrollable rage, denounces the Bishop for favouritism in failing to denounce Nancy when she, too, failed to keep one of the strict Amish rules. The Bishop, in a scene of great emotional impact, is forced to shun both Jonas and Nancy.

Lydia, Nancy's youngest sister, is engaged to Eli, but under Amish law they can't get married until Nancy marries. And since Nancy is shunned, no Amish man may speak to her. So the logical solution is to bring Nancy and Jonas together. Lydia finds an old "hex" book that she thinks will help her do this, and while Eli isn't very hopeful, he's willing to help. When Jonas tries to run his tractor he has an accident and ends up in jail, where Nancy comes to see him. They realise their love for each other, and Jonas realises he can't change overnight; that at heart he's wholly Amish. Jonas and Nancy are once again accepted, and two weddings are in the offing.


9 men, 5 women, extras optional.


Musical Numbers:

An Amish Man
Ferhuddled and Ferhexed
I Can Learn
I Have Lived
I Know My Love
It Takes Time
Market Day
Only A Man
Something New
Trouble With Me
What Is Love?
Wonderful Bad, Wonderful Good