I Had a Ball
A Musical Comedy in 2 Acts. Book by Jerome Chodorov. Music and lyrics by Jack Lawrence and Stan Freeman.
Martin Beck Theatre, New York - 15 December 1964 (199 perf).
The curtain rises to reveal part of the Coney Island Boardwalk. At an open window a sign reads "Garside, The great Psychologist". Garside speaks directly to the audience and introduces us to the story. Families with children come marching in singing a joyous anthem and are greeted by the Coney Island characters.
Stan, the Shpieler, just released from a short prison sentence has made his way back to Coney and finds his old friend Garside. Garside gets Stan on his couch and tries to convince him that romance is in his future. At first Stan laughs but then admits that he has been longing for romance.
Meanwhile, Miss "Under-the-Boardwalk" Addie, a curvaceous beauty who has also returned to Coney, brags and shows off to the fellas. The Alley-Gang tease Addie about her sexual peccadilloes.
Garside decides to use his talents to bring Stand together with Jeannie, the ferris-wheel operator. Jeannie claims to have no interest in men and feigns a satisfaction in being alone. In his salon, Garside is playing around with a crystal ball which he has named "Sam." To his amazement, he begins to see the future in the ball and pleads with his adopted guru for help. At the same time Ma Maloney, the local busybody, has decided that it is time to refashion dowdy-looking Jeannie into a glamour girl.
Garside begins to advise Stan, Jeannie and Addie about their love lives. Stan is convinced by the Gang that he has a happy future and is roused to hallelujah and belief. Garside, however, has bungled his predictions and watches as two couples mismatch - Jeannie winds up with the loan-shark, Brooksie, while soft-hearted Stan ends up with piranha Addie.
Ma and the Alley Gang are bemoaning the lousy summer weather and the lack of business at Coney. Their biggest complaint is the lower class customers they are attracting. Stand and Brooksie have become successful entrepreneurs and join in a game of one-upsmanship. Jeannie, however, is optimistically trying to make the best of her bad marriage to Brooksie. At a big party in her honour, she takes centre stage. The festivities are broken up when Brooksie burst in, pulls Jeannie aside and tells her that he is out of money. The ferris-wheel has been sold to cover big losses and even now he tries to get her remaining cash. Sadly, disillusioned, Jeannie is again alone. Things are no better for Stan, who has caught his "tzotskella" Addie playing around with other men. He realises he is doomed to endure the slings and arrows of "the fickle finger of fate."
Garside seizes this opportunity to correct his mismatches and brings Addie and Brooksie together. A chase scene in the Tunnel of Love ends as Jeannie and Stan discover that they are meant to be soul mates. With two new couples wrapped in each other's arms, Garside congratulates himself and "Sam" on their success!
(in order of appearance):
Stan the Shpieler
The Alley Gang (4): Gimlet: Joe the Muzzler: Ma Maloney: George Osaka: Morocco: Morocco.
Chorus of Children, Singers, and Dancers:
Scenes and settings:
Act 1: In and around Coney Island on the Fourth of July. The time is the present.
Act 2: Sixty days later.
- Coney Island, U.S.A. - Joe the Muzzler, Ma Maloney, George, Gimlet, Children, Ensemble
- The Other Half of Me - Stan
- Red-Blooded American Boy - Brooks, Gimlet, Joe the Muzzler, Ma Maloney, George
- I Got Everything I Want - Jeannie
- Freud - Garside
- Think Beautiful Ma Maloney, Jeannie, Joe the Muzzler, George, Gimlet, Ensemble
- Addie's at It Again - Addie, Joe the Muzzler, George, Gimlet
- Faith - Stan, Gimlet, Joe the Muzzler, Ma Maloney, George, Children, Ensemble
- Can It Be Possible? - Stan, Jeannie, Brooks, Addie, Garside
- The Neighborhood Song - Gimlet, Joe the Muzzler, Ma Maloney, George, Ensemble
- The Affluent Society - Stan, Brooks
- Boys, Boys, Boys - Addie, Lifeguards
- Fickle Finger of Fate - Stan
- I Had a Ball - Jeannie, Gimlet, Joe the Muzzler, Ma Maloney, George, Morocco, Ensemble
- Almost - Jeannie
- You Deserve Me - Garside, Brooks, Addie
- You Deserve Me (reprise) - Garside
- Tunnel of Love Chase - Garside, Stan, Jeannie, Millhauser, Ensemble