Play the Songs
WONDERFUL TOWN is sunny, spirited and bursting with good humor. Leonard Bernstein’s score is happily melodic in the ballads, and brilliantly illustrates this story about two sisters who have just moved from Ohio to New York City. Memorable are the ballads A Quiet Girl, 100 Ways to Lose a Man and It’s Love, as well as the nostalgic lament Ohio. The dance numbers grow naturally out of the story.
*Music samples provided courtesy of Jay Records.
- Rehearsal Materials
- Brief History
WONDERFUL TOWN is about the adventures and misadventures of two sisters who move from their comfortable hometown in Ohio to Greenwich Village, a bohemian area in New York City -Christopher Street to fulfill their dreams. Ruth is an aspiring writer, average in appearance and can’t keep a man’s attention – no matter what. Eileen, a fledgling actress, is Ruth’s opposite. She is a beautiful dancer, who – without even trying – has men falling at her feet.
The girls end up with a one month lease on a tiny, basement studio apartment near a subway construction site. What it lacks in charm and privacy, the room makes up for in location. They are homesick - Ohio. The neighborhood is full of interesting people like Appopolous, their landlord and an artist, Wreck (a former football player) and his live-in fiancée Helen, Mrs. Wade (Helen’s mother who comes for a visit), Violet (a lady of the night and the previous tenant of the apartment the girls are renting) and a precinct of friendly police officers.
Ruth and Eileen venture into the city to make their dreams come true, and have very different experiences. Ruth is ignored and Eileen is greeted. Eileen has a hard time breaking into show business, but falls A Little Bit in Love. Somehow she ends up inviting three men to the same dinner party. Social disaster results when the men: Frank Lippencott, the sweet manager of a Walgreens drugstore, Chick Clark a sharp newspaper man and Bob Baker a lonely editor of ‘The Manhatter’ meet. Frank leaves with a wine-stained suit, Bob is too honest with Ruth about her writing so is forced to leave -A Quiet Girl, and Chick plays a prank on Ruth so he can be alone with Eileen. Ruth’s One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man gives good examples of how she unconsciously scares away men. At least she convinced Bob to interview her and read her work, but his response is What a Waste. Thanks to Chick, Ruth ends up at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to interview Admirals on a Brazilian training ship. The sisters act like good neighbors and let Wreck sleep in their kitchen while Helen’s mom visits. From the moment they meet, Wreck makes a terrible impression on Mrs. Wade. He looks like a ‘good-for-nothing,’ and still recites his past glories -Pass That Football. At the end of the first act, Eileen is in jail for carrying on with the Brazilian Admirals that followed Ruth back home from the Navy Yard-Conga.
Bob bails Eileen out of jail, and she actually gets a legitimate audition in Speedy Valenti’s nightclub -Wrong Note Rag. She will always have plenty of male companionship. Ruth gets a job carrying a sandwich board on her back to make money. Chick’s editor unexpectedly likes her story on the Brazilian training ship, so her career has promise. Bob actually loses his job at ‘The Manhatter’ over a fight with his editor about the merits of Ruth’s training ship story. Eileen helps Bob see that he is in love with Ruth. In an elaborate scam involving Appopolous, Helen and Wreck convince Mrs. Wade to like Wreck. Everyone joins in to sing It’s Love.
Book by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov
(Based upon the Play “My Sister Eileen” by Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov and the stories by Ruth McKenney)
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
Sketches for “What A Waste” by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
2 Violin I (4 players)
2 Violin II (3 players)
1 Viola (2 players)
1 Cello (2 players)
1 Reed I: Flute, Bb Clarinet, Eb Clarinet (or Flute) & Alto Saxophone
1 Reed II: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone & Baritone Saxophone
1 Reed III: Oboe, Engligh Horn (or Clarinet), Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
1 Reed IV: Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
1 Reed V: Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Bass Saxophone (or Baritone Saxophone) & Bassoon
1 Trumpet I & II
1 Trumpet III & IV
2 Trombone I & II (both Tenor Trombone)
1 Trombone III (Bass Trombone)
1 Percussion I & II:
I. Traps, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Tom-toms, Timbales, Hi-hat, Suspended Cymbal).
II. Tam Tam, Triangle, 2 Woodblocks, Xylophone, Alarm Clock, Cowbell, Glockenspiel
Piano-Conductor’s Score (sent with rehearsal material)
1 Piano Conductor’s Score
1 Prompt Book
20 Prompt Books for Dialogue Parts
7 Chorus-Vocal Parts for Principal Characters
25 Chorus-Vocal Parts for Non-Principal Characters
WONDERFUL TOWN originally played for 559 performances on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre starring Rosalind Russell as Ruth and Edith Adams as Eileen. It was revived on Broadway in 2003 at the Al Hirshfeld Theatre, where it played for 497 performances starring Donna Murphy and Jennifer Westfeldt as Ruth and Eileen.
5 Tony Awards for Musical, Conductor and Music Director, Scenic Designer, Choreographer and Actress
The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical
The Outer Critics Circle Award for Musical
The Theatre World Award (Edith Adams)
The Tony Award for Best Choreography
2 Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Actress and Choreography
The Theatre World Award (Jennifer Westfeldt)
Find upcoming performances near you.
Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance Bailiwick Chicago CHICAGO, IL 02/24/2015 02/28/2015 Rockford Christian School ROCKFORD, IL 03/06/2015 03/07/2015 Heritage Repertory Theatre Guild CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA 04/16/2015 04/25/2015 Porchlight Music Theatre CHICAGO, IL 04/15/2016 05/22/2016