powered by FreeFind


Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller

Book Cover

A musical in two acts. Music by Randy Courts, Book by Mark St. Germain, Lyrics by Randy Courts and Mark St. Germain
Based on the story by Stephen Vincent Benét

Lamb's Theatre, Off-Broadway, Opened October 21, 1993, closed 12 December, 1993 (54 perfs)


Johnny is alone in the world when the Foolkiller, a Grim Napa type character, "collects" his father Mr. Pye. Although the townspeople try to find someone to took after him, Johnny ends up running away, fleeing Martinsville and the Foolkiller but not before he promises to write to his childhood sweetheart, Suzy. Johnny moves from career to career - from doctor to artist to preacher - before joining the army. Johnny continues to encounter the Foolkiller during his travels, and while fighting in World War II, the Foolkiller almost claims him. Instead, however, he leaves Johnny with a riddle, "How can a man be a human being and not a fool?" If Johnny can solve it, the Foolkiller will let him live forever.

Johnny rises from his sick bed and hurries back to Martinsville just in time to prevent Suzy from marrying Wilbur Wilberforce, an old rival for Suzy's affections. Instead, Johnny and Suzy marry, and Wilbur is out of the picture.

Life with Suzy is wonderful and they are raising a family, but Johnny puzzles over the Foolkiller's riddle. He is unable to come up with an answer, and, as time passes, must see the deaths of his oldest son and Suzy. Eventually in his old age Johnny becomes friends with Wilbur, who inadvertently provides him with a clue to the riddle Johnny has so long been trying to solve. When the Foolkiller comes for him, Johnny has the answer but it provides him with little comfort, and Johnny lets the Foolkiller take him, so that he can be reunited with his beloved Suzy.


7 men, 3 women (flexible)


piano/vocal score available

Musical Numbers

  1. Another Day
  2. Goodbye Johnny
  3. Shower of Sparks
  4. Occupations
  5. Handle With Care
  6. The End of the Road
  7. Challenge To Love
  8. The Barbershop
  9. Married With Children
  10. The Land Where There Is No Death
  11. Time Passes
  12. Never Felt Better In My Life
  13. Epilogue (The Answer)
  14. Finale

Scenes and settings

The action takes place in Martinsville, USA and various locations, 1928-95.