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Legs Diamond

Cover to Original Broadway Cast Album

A Musical in 2 Acts, 21 Scenes. Book by Harvey Fierstein, Charles Suppon. Based on the Warner Brothers film "The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond" (screenplay by Joseph Landon). Music and lyrics by Peter Allen.

Opened 26 December 1988 at the Mark Hellinger Theatre, New York and closed 19 February 1989 (64 perfs)


The Almost Totally Fictitious Musical History of Legs Diamond


High above the stage standing in front of a huge, glittering electric sign that glorifies his name, Jack "Legs" Diamond tells us his story. After having done time in a Pennsylvania prison for a small-time hood named Arnold Rothstein, Jack arrives in New York and looks up his former on and off-stage dancing partner, Flo, at her nightspot, the Hotsy Totsy Club and Grill. He goes to the club, but before he has a chance to surprise her, Flo is onstage entertaining her elite clientele. Seizing the opportunity to display his talents, Jack interrupts her floor show with one of his own. After his number a none-too-pleased Flo takes Jack into the back room and gives him two things: advice and money. He ignores the first and pockets the second. What he really wants is a spot in the show. Flo tells him "on the level" that the club isn't hers. It's Arnold Rothstein's. No longer a small-time hood, Rothstein is big time in New York. Jack figures that the least Rothstein can do is give him a spot in the show.

Outside Rothstein's office, his henchmen Bones and Moran let Jack know that A.R. (what his intimates call him) isn't interested in doing Jack any favours. A.R. himself appears and lets Jack know that he considers the favour returned by not having had Jack killed. However, Kiki Roberts, A.R.'s doll-of-the-moment, escapes the watchful eye of her constant bodyguard Augie to give Jack a pass to see her act at A.R.'s Club Tropicabana.
At the club, Kiki reveals much of her here-to-fore hidden "potential'." After the show, she and Jack explore their "mutual interests:" He wants a spot in the show and she wants him to dress the part. He'd love to, but at the moment he's low on cash. The solution is simple: Since Kiki knows where A.R. has charge accounts, they'll go shopping and charge everything to him. Alone, Jack wonders if he's right to use people to get ahead. He quickly concludes that in this world you have to take the things you're not given.

At the Horsy Totsy a few weeks later Flo has the girls show A.R. a special Christmas number. Augie bursts in and gives A.R. an accounting of what "The Shopper" has taken from him. Police Lieutenant Devane, a crooked cop on A. R.'s payroll, presents him with an early Christmas present - "The Shopper" a.k.a. Jack accompanied by Kiki. A.R. is about to have Jack killed when Flo enters with enough money to cover "The Shopper's" damages. Jack is grateful, very grateful to her for coming to his rescue. Flo doesn't fall for Jack's "gratitude." Instead she tells him he can work off the loan by dancing in her taxi line. One night, watching Jack dance with any number of women, A.R. nicknames him "Legs" - and the name sticks. Later, when Jack is changing into his street clothes, he and Kiki hatch a plan to get ahead in the world and at the same time get back at A. R.

Seeing that Diamond has cut into his operations, A.R. decides to eliminate him. Moran wants to do the honours but A.R. hires outside help "The Boys from Bay Ridge"! At the New Year's Eve party A.R. is throwing in his honour, Jack celebrates what has been the best year of his life. As the clock strikes midnight "The Boys from Bay Ridge" take aim, but before they can shoot, Bones appears with a gun and shoots Legs dead. As his lifeless body falls into the crowd, a newspaper headline heralding "Last Legs?" appears and the curtain falls.


One by one, the mourners at Jack's funeral pass by his open coffin. When it's Moran's turn, he says he never liked him and he isn't going to miss him. Shocked, Jack sits up and asks Moran if that's any way to talk about the nearly departed. How did he survive? It was all in the cut of the cards. Not pleased by Legs' survival, A.R. declares war on him. The war culminates in Jack being "murdered" once again by Bones. But, soon after, Flo sees him paying Bones off for the second fake "hit'." She asks Jack to go away with her, but he declines; after all, he's on a lucky streak. Flo tells him word on the street has it that A.R. himself is set to "hit" Kiki that night at the Tropicabana for her part in Jack's schemes. Jack thanks her for the tip. That night in an effort to prevent A.R. from murdering Kiki, Jack sneaks away from onstage at the Hotsy Totsy and arrives backstage at the Tropicabana, where he accidentally kills A.R. in a scuffle. All of this happens while Kiki is appearing onstage. Jack slips back to the Hotsy Totsy just in time for a big finish. How does he do it?

Naturally, Jack is the number one suspect in A.R's murder. Lieutenant Devane rounds up the three people that are most likely to supply his much needed alibi - Flo, Kiki and, to the surprise of everyone, Madge, another entertainer at the club. Locked in the Hotsy Totsy's ladies' room, they commiserate with one another. In the back room of the club, Devane is unable to get any of the women to say they weren't with Legs at the time of the shooting. When Jack and Kiki reveal that they are married, Devane acknowledges that he can't legally get any testimony from her. To celebrate his freedom, Legs and Kiki invite Flo to join them. Reeling from the shock of Jack's marriage, Flo stays behind and sings the blues. Everything is just swell as Jack absorbs A.R's empire into his own until two FBI men show up at his door and it's over.

On the eve of his trial, Jack arranges all the evidence against him to be in one place and leaving all of the people around him blameless. He offers Kiki a boat ticket to Cuba, but she confesses that that's not what she wants to do. Returning his wedding ring with no hard feelings, she leaves. Alone now in what was once the flourishing Hotsy Totsy Club, Legs reflects on where his life went wrong.

Guided by Jack's voice, Devane and the Federal authorities find the evidence they need to convict him. Out of nowhere, Moran appears wielding a gun. He beckons Jack to show himself, and when he does, high overhead atop a spinning mirror-ball, Moran shoots him dead.
The end? Not at all!
Jack appears, paying off Moran for yet another fake "hit. " Alone, Jack wonders if there is more to life than what he's had. Just as he thinks of that older woman who always seemed to be there for him - Flo appears. Together they leave to catch the boat to Cuba as the curtain falls.

Bill Rosenfield

CAST - (in order of appearance):

Scenes and Settings:

The action takes place in and around New York during the 1920's.

Act 1

Scene 1: Pennsylvania State Prison, 1921.
Scene 2: Pennsylvania Station, New York City.
Scene 3: The Hotsy Totsy Club and Grill.
Scene 4: The Backroom of The Hotsy Totsy Club.
Scene 5: Hotsy Totsy Club Alley.
Scene 6: The Stage of The Tropicana.
Scene 7: Times Square.
Scene 8: The Backroom of the Hotsy Totsy Club.
Scene 9: Flo's Office.
Scene 10: The Hotsy Totsy Club and Grill.
Scene 11: Taxi Dancers' Dressing Room.
Scene 12: Around New York.
Scene 13: The Hotsy Totsy Club and Grill.

Act 2

Scene 1: A Funeral Parlour.
Scene 2: The Streets of New York.
Scene 3: The Hotsy Totsy Stage and The Tropicana Stage.
Scene 4: The Ladies' Powder Room of The Hotsy Totsy Club.
Scene 5: The Backroom of The Hotsy Totsy Club.
Scene 6: The Hotsy Totsy Stage.
Scene 7: The Diamond Building.
Scene 8: The Hotsy Totsy Club and Grill.

Musical Numbers:

  1. Prelude/When I Get My Name in Lights - Orchestra, Jack, Ensemble
  2. Speakeasy - Madge, Ensemble
  3. Applause - Flo, The Hotsy Totsy Girls
  4. Knockers - Jack, The Hotsy Totsy Girls
  5. I Was Made for Champagne - Kiki, The Tropicabana Dancers
  6. Tropican Rhumba - Jack, Kiki
  7. Sure Thing Baby - Jack
  8. Speakeasy Christmas - The Hotsy Totsy Girls
  9. Charge It to A. R. - Augie, Bones, Moran, A. R., A.R.'s Gang
  10. Only an Older Woman - Jack, Flo
  11. Taxi Dancers' Tango - Jack, Ensemble
  12. Only Steal from Thieves - Jack, Kiki
  13. When I Get My Name in Lights (reprise) - Jack, Company
  14. Cut of the Cards - Jack, Company
  15. Gangland Chase - Orchestra
  16. Now You See Me, Now You Don't - Jack, Kiki, Ensemble
  17. The Man Nobody Could Love - Kiki, Flo, Madge
  18. The Music Went Out of My Life - Flo
  19. Say It Isn't So - Jack, Company
  20. Say It Isn't So (reprise) - Ensemble
  21. All I Wanted Was the Dream - Jack
  22. Finale - Jack, Flo, Company


Original Broadway Cast - RCA Victor 7983-2-RC