On The Town


ON THE TOWN, the energetic wartime musical about three sailors on a 24-hour leave in New York City, features thrilling music by Leonard Bernstein with playful lyrics and book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The show’s celebrated score includes a number of musical theatre standards, including “Come Up to My Place,” “I Can Cook, Too,” “Some Other Time” and “New York, New York.”

Music samples courtesy of Jay Records and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Rehearsal Materials
  • Cast List
  • Brief History
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    On a New York City dock in June of 1944, four longshoremen mourn the start of a new workday (“I Feel Like I’m Not Out of Bed Yet”). The 6 AM whistle blows, and three sailors – Ozzie, Chip and Gabey – excitedly emerge, ready for 24 hours of shore leave. Chip, relying on his father’s outdated guidebook, plans to see as much of the city as possible. Ozzie is only interested in women, and romantic Gabey hopes to meet that one special girl (“New York, New York”).

    On the subway, the sailors spot a poster of Ivy Smith, this month’s “Miss Turnstiles.” Gabey, infatuated, grabs it and takes it with him. An old lady angrily tells him that she will have him arrested for vandalism, and the three sailors split up: Gabey heads for Carnegie Hall, where Ivy takes singing lessons; Ozzie heads toward the Museum of Modern Art, where she studies painting; and Chip tries to find her through the subway’s marketing department. The old lady finds a policeman, and the two chase after the sailors.

    Chip winds up in a cab driven by strong-willed Hildy, who urges him to skip the tourist traps and join her in her apartment (“Come Up to My Place”). At the museum, Ozzie meets a budding anthropologist, Claire de Loone, who is amazed at his resemblance to a prehistoric man. Ozzie mistakes her scientific inquiry for romantic interest (“Carried Away”). They accidentally knock over a dinosaur, and Waldo Figment, the professor who built the dinosaur, chases them, joining up with Hildy’s boss, the cop, and the old lady.

    Meanwhile, Gabey mopes around the city. Without love, New York is nothing but a “Lonely Town.”

    At Carnegie Hall, Ivy Smith studies voice with Madame Dilly, a drunk who clearly has no knowledge of vocal training. Not quite as glamorous as her Miss Turnstiles profile, Ivy is actually a struggling artist who works as a “cooch dancer” in Coney Island. Gabey arrives and asks Ivy to have dinner with him at Nedick’s. To his surprise, she accepts. When Gabey leaves, Madame Dilly advises Ivy to break the date, saying, “Sex and art don’t mix” (“Carnegie Hall Pavane”).

    Ozzie accompanies Claire back to her apartment, where he meets Claire’s fiancé, Pitkin W. Bridgework. They try desperately to explain what they are doing together, but Pitkin doesn’t seem to mind (“I Understand”). Pitkin leaves to attend a meeting, reminding Claire that they are to meet at Diamond Eddie’s to celebrate their engagement. Left alone, Ozzie and Claire take advantage of their time (“Carried Away” Reprise).

    In Hildy’s apartment, Hildy and Chip are interrupted by Hildy’s roommate Lucy, who stayed home from work with a cold. After convincing Lucy to go to an air-conditioned movie, Hildy seduces Chip, bragging about her many talents (“I Can Cook Too”).

    Gabey, enthralled by his meeting with Ivy, feels “Lucky to Be Me.” On her way to meet Gabey, Ivy runs into Madame Dilly, who insists that Ivy go to work. When Madame Dilly threatens to smear Ivy’s reputation, Ivy is forced to stand Gabey up.

    Chip and Ozzie arrive at Nedick’s with Hildy and Claire both dressed as Ivy Smith. Gabey isn’t fooled, and tells them the story of how he met the real Ivy. Just then, Madame Dilly arrives with a message: Ivy will not be coming because she instead elected to go to a fancy party. Gabey is alone and dejected, but Hildy suggests a replacement date: Lucy. The five friends celebrate New York’s pulsating nightlife (“Finale Act I: Times Square Ballet”).

    Act II

    At Diamond Eddie’s, the dancers perform a number (“So Long Baby”). Gabey is still hung up on Miss Turnstiles, and Lucy hasn’t arrived yet. The nightclub’s singer, Diana Dream, only worsens Gabey’s mood by performing a very sad song (“I Wish I Was Dead”). Lucy calls, having accidentally gone to the Diamond Eddie’s in Yonkers. The group decides to go to the Congacabana at the suggestion of Claire, but on their way out, they run into Pitkin. Ozzie and Claire try to explain the situation, but as before, Pitkin is unconcerned (“I Understand” Reprise). The gang leaves for the Congacabana while Pitkin stays behind to pay the check.

    At the Congacabana, Dolores Dolores sings the same sad song in Spanish. Hildy interrupts her, saying she’d been asked to sing (“Ya Got Me”). Pitkin arrives (“I Understand” Reprise), but the gang heads out. Claire tells Pitkin to pay the check and wait for Lucy before meeting them at the next club, The Slam Bang.

    At the Slam Bang Club, a drunken Madame Dilly reveals that Ivy is in Coney Island. Gabey runs off to find her. Chip and Ozzie, afraid that he won’t be able to get back to the ship on time, rush after him. On their way out, they come across Lucy and Pitkin. Claire once again leaves him to go with Ozzie. Pitkin recalls all the times in his life that he “understood” and realizes he’s been played the fool by everyone, including Claire (“Pitkin’s Song: I Understand”). Pitkin bonds with Lucy and the two of them join the chase along with the little old lady, the police officers, Figment, and Hildy’s boss.

    Riding the subway, Gabey dreams about Coney Island and Ivy (“Subway Ride/The Great Lover Displays Himself/The Imaginary Coney Island”). The other four, who just missed Gabey, ride in a different subway car. They wonder what will happen after the men return to their ship (“Some Other Time”).

    In Coney Island, Ivy, along with several other girls, dances in a show called Rajah Bimmy’s Harem Scarem (“The Real Coney Island”). Gabey sees Ivy and accidentally tears her outfit. Ivy is arrested for indecent exposure just as the chasers arrive and demand the others be arrested. Claire begs Pitkin to help out, but he instead refers the three sailors to the naval authorities. The girls ask Pitkin whether he’s ever “committed an indiscretion,” which he staunchly refutes. But he loses credibility when he suddenly sneezes exactly as Lucy had.

    As the clock chimes six, the three sailors dejectedly prepare to board the ship. Suddenly, the girls come running to them, explaining that Pitkin understood. They three couples bid each other a fond farewell. Just as the men board the ship, three new sailors emerge, eager to have their own adventures in New York City (“New York, New York” Reprise/”Finale Act II”).

    Music by Leonard Bernstein
    Book and Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
    Based on an Idea by Jerome Robbins

    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 Orchestration

    3 Violin (three stands minimum)
    1 Viola (one stand minimum)
    1 Cello (one stand minimum)
    1 Bass

    1 Flute (doubles on Piccolo)
    1 Oboe (doubles on English Horn)
    1 Clarinet I (doubles on E-flat Clarinet)
    1 Clarinet II (doubles on Alto Saxophone)
    1 Clarinet III (doubles on Bass Clarinet)

    1 Horn I
    1 Horn II
    1 Trumpet I
    1 Trumpet II
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I (tenor)
    1 Trombone II (tenor)
    1 Trombone III (bass, doubling Tuba)

    2 Percussion I & II (1 or 2 players)

    Snare Drum
    Bass Drum
    Suspended Cymbal
    Wood Blocks
    Slide Whistle

    1 Piano (and Celeste)

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

    Optional additional materials are available (see list under Rehearsal Materials).

  • 1       Piano Conductor’s Score
    1       Prompt Book for Director
    30     Prompt Books for Cast
    30     Chorus-Vocal Parts

    Optional Addtional Materials

    1       Full Score (Partitur) in 2 volumes is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration. [SAMPLE]

    Cast of Characters
    Hildy Esterhazy
    Claire de Loone
    Ivy Smith
    Madame Maude P. Dilly
    Judge Pitkin W. Bridgeworth

    Lucy Schmeeler
    Flossie’s Girl Friend
    Subway Bill Poster
    Little Old Lady
    Mr. S. Uperman
    Waldo Figment
    Master of Ceremonies

    First Workman [Act I, Scene 1]
    Miss Turnstiles’ Announcer [Act I, Scene 4]
    Diana Dream [Act II, Scene 1A]
    Dolores Dolores [Act II, Scene 1B]
    Rajah Bimmy [Act II, Scene 5]

    Navy Yard Workmen (Quartet) [Act I, Scene 1]
    New York City Girls [Act I, Scene 3]
    Passersby (a busy New York City Street) [Act I, Scene 7]
    Singing Teachers [Act I, Scene 8]
    Times Square Passersby [Act I, Scene 11]
    Diamond Eddie’s Girls [Act II, Scene 1A]
    Three New Sailors [Act II, Scene 6]

    Act I, Scene 1 Second Workman
    Third Workman
    A Sailor

    Act I, Scene 4 non-speaking: Miss Turnstiles contestants, Reporter,
    Photographer, Photographer’s Assistant, Dress Designer,
    Dress Designer’s Assistant, Male Admirers (6), First Policeman

    Act I, Scene 5 A Man
    Another Man
    non-speaking: Girl, Second Policeman

    Act I, Scene 6 non-speaking: A small group of Museum Visitors, Prehistoric
    Men (3), Bird Girls (3)

    Act I, Scene 7 non-speaking: A Man, Two Girls, High School Girls, Sailors

    Act I, Scene 8 Actor
    First Musician
    Second Musician
    Ballet Girl
    Ballet Boy
    First Girl Dancer
    Second Girl Dancer
    non-speaking: “Lakme” Soprano (offstage), “Valkyrie”
    Soprano, Little Man, Boy Dancer

    Act I, Scene 11 A Man
    A Girl
    Nedick’s Attendant

    Act II, Scene 1A First Waiter
    Second Waiter
    A Girl
    First Dancing Girl [Dolls]
    non-speaking: Nightclub Patrons and Waiters

    Act II, Scene 1B Girl [Shawls]
    non-speaking: Couples (2), A Girl

    Act II, Scene 3 non-speaking: “The Great Lover” (dancer)

    Act II, Scene 4 Subway Conductor

    Act II, Scene 5 Policeman
    non-speaking: Dancing Girls (3) at Rajah Bimmy’s

    Act II, Scene 6 non-speaking: Street Sweeper

  • ON THE TOWN played for 462 performances on Broadway at the Adelphi, Forty-Fourth Street, and Martin Beck Theatres starring Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Nancy Walker. It was revived on Broadway in 1971 at the Imperial Theatre, and again in 1998 at the George Gershwin Theatre with Lea DeLaria as Hildy.

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

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    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Solomon Schechter High School WILLISTON PARK, NY 03/15/2018 03/18/2018
    Belmont University NASHVILLE, TN 03/16/2018 03/25/2018
    Woodside High School WOODSIDE, CA 03/16/2018 03/24/2018
    Central Regional High School BAYVILLE, NJ 03/22/2018 03/25/2018
    Herricks High School NEW HYDE PARK, NY 03/23/2018 03/24/2018
    Dawson Boyd High School DAWSON, MN 04/06/2018 04/08/2018
    Station Camp High School GALLATIN, TN 04/06/2018 04/08/2018
    American Heritage School PLANTATION, FL 04/11/2018 04/14/2018
    Central Academy of Technology & Arts MONROE, NC 04/13/2018 04/22/2018
    Oklahoma City University OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 04/20/2018 04/22/2018
    Bravo Academy for the Perf Arts TORONTO, ON 04/20/2018 04/29/2018
    St. Barnabas High School BRONX, NY 04/27/2018 04/29/2018
    Wheeling Park High School WHEELING, WV 05/04/2018 05/06/2018
    Molloy College ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NY 05/12/2018 05/13/2018
    Creative Ministries Perf Arts Center OAKDALE, NY 06/02/2018 06/23/2018
    Olney Theatre Center OLNEY, MD 06/20/2018 07/22/2018
    Midland Community Theatre MIDLAND, TX 07/13/2018 07/22/2018
    Community Circle Theatre GRAND RAPIDS, MI 09/06/2018 09/22/2018