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A Musical in 2 Acts, 13 Scenes. Book by Benjamin Bernard Lavin. Based on the collected stories (of the same name) by Leo Rosten. Music and lyrics by Paul Nassau and Oscar Brand. Production directed by George Abbott. Settings by William and Jean Eckart. Costumes by Winn Morton. Lighting by Martin Aronstein. Musical direction and vocal arrangements by Julian Stein. Orchestrations by Larry Wilcox. Dance music arranged by Lee Holdridge. Dances and musical numbers staged by Jaime Rogers. Associate producer, David W. Sampliner. Produced by Andre Goulston/Jack Farren and Stephen Mellow.

Alvin Theatre, New York - Opened 4th April, 1968 : closed 27th April, 1968 (28 perfs)


Hyman Kaplan is an immigrant and a pupil at a New York night class in English. He is extremely diligent and enthusiastic, but completely incapable of learning: the teacher, Mr Parkhill, is eventually driven to conclude that, although Mr Kaplan admits that English has rules - "good rules, sensible rules" - he is quite unable to admit that the rules apply to him.

Mr Kaplan is extroverted and highly assertive, particularly when his moral sense has been outraged by some perceived injustice in class or in American history, and he frequently gets into noisy disagreements with other members of the class. He usually signs his name in coloured crayon with stars between the letters.

Mr Kaplan was born in Kiev, has lived in America for fifteen years, and claims (on Columbus Day) that his birthday is 12th October. From his pronunciation of English (the characters' various idioms are a major source of the stories' humour), it appears that Mr Kaplan's native language is Yiddish.


Other members of the class

Original Cast

CAST (in order of appearance):

Musical Numbers

  1. Strange New World - Mr Parkhill
  2. OOOO-EEEE - Hyman Kaplan, Rose Mitnick, Mr Parkhill, Students
  3. A Dedicated Teacher (Teachers on Parade) - Eileen Higby, Marie Vitale, Mr Parkhill
  4. Lieben Dich - Hyman Kaplan
  5. Loving You - Rose Mitnick
  6. The Day I Met Your Father - Mrs Mitnick
  7. Anything Is Possible - Hyman Kaplan, Students, Dancers, Singers
  8. Spring in the City - Kathy McKenna, Giovanni Pastora, Reuben Plonsky, Sam Pinsky, Mrs Moskowitz, Fanny Gidwitz, Dancers, Singers
  9. Old Fashioned Husband - Yissel Fishbein
  10. Julius Caesar (Shakespeare) - Hyman Kaplan
  11. I Never Felt Better in My Life - Hyman Kaplan, Dancers, Singers
  12. When Will I Learn - Rose Mitnick
  13. All American - Sam Pinsky, Students

Scenes and Settings

The action takes place in New York City, the Lower East Side, from 1919-1920.

Act I

Act 2