Good News! (1993)


This delightful adaptation of the 1927 Broadway smash features a revised book and several added numbers. The jazzy score by Henderson, DeSylva & Brown includes “The Varsity Drag,” “The Best Things In Life Are Free,” “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “You’re the Cream in My Coffee,” and “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries.” Set during the Roaring Twenties, GOOD NEWS! sends up undergrad life at fictional Tait College, where football star Tom Marlowe falls for studious tutor Connie Lane, vivacious flapper Babe O’Day pursues third-string player Bobby Randall, and Professor Charlotte Kenyon rekindles an old flame with Coach Bill Johnson.

Music samples provided courtesy of Jay Records,
Stephen Ballentine Music Publishing Co. and Warner/Chappell Music. Inc.

Photo courtesy of Music Theatre Wichita

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • ACT 1

    Tait College is still caught up in the social scene of the Roaring Twenties, and star football player Tom Marlowe is expected to lead the football team to victory (“Good News”). Of course, since Tom is the star football player, the sorority girls think “He’s a Ladies’ Man.”  Tom is currently romancing Patricia Bingham, the daughter of one of the college’s wealthiest benefactors. The football team spends most of its time practicing for the big game on Saturday against rival Colton College (“The Football Drill”). Meanwhile, Bobby Randall, a substitute on the football team, is pleasantly shocked when Babe O’Day, a stylish flapper, pursues him. Babe has broken up with Beef Saunders, her old boyfriend, and is looking for a new man (“Button Up Your Overcoat”).

    Tom neglects his studies and fails his astronomy final, which he had to pass to play in the big game on Saturday. Charlotte Kenyon, his astronomy professor, agrees to give Tom one more chance to pass the exam. Professor Kenyon tells Connie Lane, a studious girl, about her lost college romance with a football player (who is now the Tait football coach), and Connie wishes she could fall in love (“Together/My Lucky Star”). Football Coach Johnson, meanwhile, tells team trainer Pooch that he and Professor Kenyon dated and broke up in college (“Together”). They ask Patricia if she can help Tom study, but since she has to choose new drapes for the sorority house she recommends Connie instead. Couples walk after dark “On the Campus”, and Connie and Tom meet at the library to study. Tom and Connie are initially uncomfortable working together, but soon they find they have a lot in common and similar philosophies of life (“The Best Things In Life Are Free”). Coach Johnson pretends to be in love with Professor Kenyon, hoping she will not grade Tom’s second exam as hard (“You’re The Cream in my Coffee”). She thinks he’s singing earnestly at first, but soon realizes he’s trying to manipulate her and leaves angrily.

    The next morning, Tom takes his make-up exam as the students nervously wait to find out if he can play in the big game or not. Babe insists that they can’t let school depress them and teaches everyone the latest dance, “The Varsity Drag”. Tom passes the test and tells Connie that he couldn’t have passed it without her help, declaring that with her, he’s “Lucky In Love”. Babe tells Bobbie she’s in love with him, and even though Bobby’s scared of Beef (who still considers Babe his girl), he agrees that they might be “Lucky In Love” too. Patricia interrupts Connie and Tom and tells Tom that her father is going to double his donation to the athletic department if Tait wins the big game and Tom marries Pat. Connie is shocked, and Tom is dumbstruck as the students joyously sing another chorus of “Lucky in Love”.

    ACT 2

    It’s Saturday, which means “Today’s the Day” of the big game against Colton. Pat and the sorority girls are terribly excited about the game, but are briefly saddened when they realize this is the last football game they will ever attend as students (“The Girl of the Pi Beta Phi”)! Bobby stops by the sorority open house (after all, they might have sandwiches) and commits to Babe (“Never Swat a Fly”), but only if they win the game. The students head to the Big Game singing “The Tait Song” as Pat tries to pressure Tom into marrying her. Tom feels that Tait’s whole athletic program is at stake, and tells Connie he can’t stay with her. Connie resigns herself to “Just Imagine” Tom is still there with her.

    The game begins, and Tom is so upset about Connie that by halftime, Tait is far behind Colton. Pooch urges the team to “Keep Your Sunny Side Up”, while Professor Kenyon tries to persuade Babe and Connie to pursue Bobby and Tom (“Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries”). Tait wins the big game, and the happy couples, Tom and Connie, Bobby and Babe, and Coach Johnson and Professor Kenyon, all end up together (“Finale”).

    Book by:
    Words and music by:
    Adapted by:
    Directed for Broadway by:
    Produced for Broadway by HARRY RIGBY

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    is presented by arrangement with
    560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022

  • Full Instrumentation

    1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed II: Flute, Clarinet & Alto Saxophone
    1 Reed III: Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Baritone Saxophone

    1 Trumpet I & II (both double Flugelhorn)
    1 Trumpet III (doubles Flugelhorn)
    1 Trombone I (tenor)
    1 Trombone II (bass)

    1 Guitar & Banjo
    1 Piano & Celeste

    2 Percussion I & II:
    I (trap set)
    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum
    Tom Tomes
    Wind Whistle
    Police Whistle
    Wood Block
    Suspended Cymbals: Top, Sock (Hi-Hat), Ride, Splash & Thin (or Chinese)
    II (mallets)
    Marimba (optional)
    Sock Cymbal (Hi-Hat)
    Mark Tree
    Police Whistle
    Wind Machine
    Bell Plate
    Slide Whistle
    Field Drum
    Wood Block
    Cowbell (optional)
    Car Horn

    1 Solo Violin
    1 Solo Cello
    1 Bass (doubling Tuba)

    Piano-Conductor’s Score (2 vol) sent with rehearsal material.

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score (Two Volume Set)
    1       Prompt Book for Director
    19     Prompt Books for Cast
    1       Original Cast CD
    30     Chorus-Vocal Parts

  • Tom Marlow:
    The star fullback at Tait College, a small northeastern campus. Tom is a handsome, intelligent young man, whose expertise on the football field and whose personal charisma have made him the most popular man on campus. Voice range is high baritone, and he should also be a fine, athletic mover. His songs include “The Best Things In Life Are Free” and “Lucky In Love” (both duets with Connie), the “Good News!” number, and the athletically-choreographed football drill.

    Connie Lane:
    An intensely studious young woman with no interest in football. Connie is a lovely coed who has energy and humor, but who is intent on her studies and not at all interested in campus frivolity and fads. Her singing voice is a strong alto-soprano mix, and she should move well. Her songs include “The Best Things In Life Are Free,” “Lucky In Love” (both duets with Tom) and “My Lucky Star.”

    Coach Bill Johnson:
    A good-humored, likable football coach, who was a football star at Tait College a few years ago before returning to coach the team. Not quite as trim as he was earlier, he is nevertheless an attractive, approachable guy, determined to finally see a Tait team beat their traditional rival, Colton. His songs include “Together” and “You’re The Cream In My Coffee” (both duets with Kenyon).

    Professor Charlotte Kenyon:
    An attractive professional woman, who has returned to her alma mater as the new professor of astronomy. Her looks haven’t changed at all since her student days at Tait. She has a forthright, charming personality, but she is not easily swayed from the strong opinions she holds. Her singing voice is rich alto, and she should be a good mover. Her songs include “Together” and “You’re The Cream In My Coffee” (both duets with Johnson) and “Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries” (a trio with Connie and Babe).

    Babe O’Day:
    A vivacious flapper, easily in control of any situation she encounters. She should be an adept comedienne, with lots of personality in her voice and body movements. She leads “The Varsity Drag” and has two duets with Bobby, “Button Up Your Overcoat” and “Never Swat A Fly,” as well as the trio “Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries” with Connie and Kenyon.

    Bobby Randall:
    A likable wimp, the perennial third-string substitute on the football team, desperate to be a “big man on campus.” A fresh-faced comic song-and-dance man, he pairs up with Babe for “The Varsity Drag,” “Button Up Your Overcoat” and “Never Swat A Fly.”

    Pooch Kearney:
    The trainer for the Tait football team. He is a comic character man, hysterically superstitious, with a jolly demeanor and a strong high baritone/tenor voice to lead “Keep Your Sunny Side Up” as a locker room rallying cry.

    Beef Saunders:
    A hulking brute on the football team, with an I.Q. that is significantly lower than his body temperature. The actor playing this role should be both menacing and funny, with passable movement skills. He need not be a singer.

    Patricia (“Pat”) Bingham:
    A beautiful, wealthy coed who has always had everything she has ever wanted, including campus hero Tom Marlowe. Hilariously self-centered, she should be charming enough to justify Tom’s initial attraction to her, but sufficiently snobbish so that Tom eventually sees through her. This comic actress leads “The Girl of the Pi Beta Phi,” so some singing skills are needed.

    Millie and Flo:
    Two comic coeds, likable sidekicks to Pat. They are featured vocalists in “He’s a Ladies’ Man.” They can be cast as physical or vocal contrasts (e.g., short and tall, or slim and rounded, or high squeaky voice and low alto voice), or they could be cast as twins.

    The ultimate freshman, eager to be a part of any important event on campus. He can be eccentric looking and should convey the demeanor of someone who’s been raised in wealth, but is now going to try to experience life among “regular” young people. Singing and dancing skills are helpful along with the required sense of underdog comedy.

    Ticket Taker:
    Comic character man. No singing or dancing skills required.

    Two Policeman: No singing or dancing required. Can double as students.

    Ensemble should be large enough to populate a complete football team, of believable athletic collegiates. All will need to move well, but some strong singing voices will also be needed. If some are excellent dancers, those skills can enhance the “Football Drill” and “The Varsity Drag.”

    This should be a vivacious assortment of 1920s collegiate flappers, all good singers and dancers. There are specific characterizations for several of the girls, and there is much opportunity for individuals to have special moments.

    If desired, there are several opportunities to use adults as additional professors and parents visiting the campus. If, on the other hand, the production is mounted primarily around young people, only four roles (Coach Johnson, Professor Kenyon, Pooch and Ticket Taker) require a sense of maturity.

    If desired, there is a terrific opportunity to showcase local football players or to feature local cheerleading squads. The football players could be used as “ringers” who don’t really do the big choreographed numbers, but who show up for the locker room; or depict the rival team, used in cross-over scenes or used in the final moments of the game on the field. The cheerleading squads would be an impressive addition to the scenes in the play depicting pre-game activities.

    Additional publicity for the show can be gained by the inclusion of a local television sportscaster or weather personality as the Stadium announcer (either seen onstage in follow spot, or simply heard on taped announcements, which requires less time commitment from the celebrity). If the production desires to cast “stars” in any of the roles, there is the opportunity to cast a former sports luminary as the Coach, a former film star as the Professor, young soap opera actors as Tom and Connie or well-known comics as Pooch, Babe or Bobby.

  • This version of the 1927 musical was created for Music Theatre of Wichita in 1993. It was mounted there again in 2003.

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