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Cover to York Theatre Company Cast Recording

Music and Lyrics by Hunter Foster and David Kirshenbaum. Based on the novel and screenplay by Herman Roucher.

Variety Arts Theatre, Off-Broadway - Opened 18 December, 2001. Closed 27 January, 2002 (47 perfs)


It's the summer of 1942...America is on the brink of full-scale war; men line up by the thousands to join the army; and on a tiny island off the coast of Maine, three fifteen-year-old boys begin a summer they will never forget. Hermie, Oscy and Benjie are used to coming up and spending the summer together, but somehow this year seems different. Girls have replaced baseball and comic books, and it is a beautiful young war bride who has won the heart of Hermie. Left alone by her husband as he goes off to fight in World War II, Hermie befriends Dorothy, and they form a bond that differs greatly from the one he shares with his two buddies. After meeting three young girls on the beach, Hermie and his friends finds themselves on a few adolescent misadventures, including a date to the movies (mistakenly grabbing a girl's elbow instead of her breast), a trip to the grocery store to buy condoms (where Hermie is tortured by the druggist after several painful attempts at trying to say the word "rubber") and a beach party (which begins with a jitterbug and ends with Hermie missing his date's lips and kissing her forehead). However, it is with Dorothy that Hermie feels most comfortable, and after she invites him over for a friendly night out at her house, Hermie discovers a devastating telegram. And in that one night, Hermie learns an important lesson about life, love and the scope of human compassion.



by Gabriel Barre

A woman stood on the porch of a beach house, looking out to sea. It was the summer of 1942. Six months earlier the Japanese attacked, and America was at war. For a young boy of 15 named Hermie, though, the summer started out as a carefree getaway on a small island off the coast of Maine where his family had gone to vacation. Who knew then that it would be the summer he would change from a boy to a man? These are the thoughts that, as Summer of '42 begins, race through the mind of Herman as he stands on a dune many years later, overlooking the same beaches he played on as that 15-year old.

He is now an adult who has returned to reflect on the past that seems so distant yet in other ways feels like only yesterday. As Herman listens to the surf roll in, he recalls the laughter of three teenage girls, Aggie, Miriam and Gloria, as they run along the beach; the voice of Mr. Sanders, the local storekeeper; the soldier Pete; and above all, Dorothy, the lovely young woman who captured his heart that summer, changing him forever. He still feels the pang of excitement as he conjures up the start of a few weeks of fun with his best friends, Oscy and Benjie.

Herman is transformed into Hermie and we find ourselves in that long-ago summer. Oscy, Benjie and Hermie are plotting their adventures when, from afar, they notice Dorothy on the porch of her house. Never have these young boys seen anyone so alluring. Benjie peers through his binoculars to get a better look and sees Dorothy's husband, Pete, a muscular "Army guy." Pete and Dorothy embrace and warmly kiss. As his friends leer and make crude jokes, Hermie watches and wonders, transported.

Walter Winchell materialises at a microphone, reporting on the war to his radio audience, as Aggie, Miriam and Gloria, who function throughout the show as an Andrews Sisters-style Greek chorus, playfully remind soldier boys what they'll be leaving behind when they go off to fight. Dorothy and Pete arrive at the island's ferry landing. He's being shipped out, and as Hermie and his pals look on from a distance, a tearful Dorothy and her husband exchange loving good-byes. Pete leaves for the mainland and as Dorothy waves farewell, Oscy and Benjie dare Hermie, who can't stop staring at the older woman, to approach her. He boldly edges toward her, heart pounding, about to say something to her, when his friends mischievously call out to him. Dorothy turns in Hermie's direction, and, embarrassed, he runs off, to the amusement of Oscy and Benjie.

Hermie's next encounter with Dorothy occurs outside Mr. Sanders' store. The boy is reading a comic book while keeping watch, hoping Dorothy will come by. His prayers are answered as she appears and enters the store. Finishing her shopping with Mr. Sanders, she leaves the store weighed down by heavy bags of groceries. She struggles with the bags, finally dropping them. Hermie seizes the opportunity, offers his assistance and helps her home with the groceries while chiding himself over his artless efforts to make charming conversation.

Oscy and Benjie see him with Dorothy and try to get his attention but he ignores them. Hermie and Dorothy arrive with the groceries at her beach house. She thanks him for helping her, invites him in and serves him coffee, which he has never had before and pretends to like even though he almost gags drinking it. They discover that they share similar tastes in music and old movies. Hermie leaves and is confronted by Oscy and Benjie, who are eager to know what happened. Alone, Hermie
reflects on meeting Dorothy, only to realise to his dismay that he still doesn't know her name.

Walter Winchell delivers another dispatch, reporting again on the war but also on the blistering temperatures on the home front, and the three-girl chorus offers its own take on the weather. Hermie, Oscy and Benjie meet up outside the island's movie theatre. They see the three girls and Oscy makes a move, saying he and his pals would like to take them to the movie and will "spring for refreshments". Miriam and Aggie accept the invitation, pairing up with Oscy and Hermie respectively. But Benjie runs off, petrified, and Gloria also leaves. Just then Dorothy emerges from the theatre, greets Hermie and asks if he would come by her place tomorrow to help her move some heavy boxes into storage. Oscy can't believe how chummy Hermie has become with the beautiful war bride. Oscy and Hermie join their dates in the theatre, where they spend more time trying to get to second base than they do
watching the film. Oscy makes progress with Miriam but Hermie clumsily strikes out with Aggie. Afterwards the two couples make a date for a cookout on the beach.

The next morning Hermie arrives at Dorothy's house. She starts to take him into the bedroom, which he misinterprets, before realising she simply wants him to put several large boxes into the attic. Hermie is awed more than ever by her beauty. As he struggles with the boxes, he has a fantasy in which Aggie, Miriam and Gloria are all dressed as Dorothy look-alikes. The fantasy ends with Hermie trembling, and Dorothy offers him a glass of water. She talks lovingly of Pete, and Hermie dejectedly leaves. In a duet ending Act One, Hermie is wistful about Dorothy while she prays for Pete's safe return from the war in the Pacific.

Act Two begins with Oscy prepping Hermie and Benjie for the upcoming cookout with Aggie, Miriam and Gloria by sharing with his buddies a 12-step plan for sexual conquest, based on a "medical textbook" he inherited from his older brother. The girls appear as the chorus and hint that they may be anticipating an amorous evening as well. By way of further preparation, Oscy accompanies Hermie to Mr. Sanders' store to buy condoms. Hermie is reluctant, then mortified, but after several false starts he succeeds in scoring the requisite goods from the intimidating Mr. Sanders.

As the cookout begins, the teenagers dance, then move off as couples and engage in varying degrees of intimacy. Hermie and Aggie warm to each other over marshmallows only to be interrupted by Benjie, who is now hitting it off with Gloria and wants to borrow a quarter so he can take her on a carousel ride. They are also repeatedly interrupted by Oscy, who is getting hot and heavy with Miriam and feels obliged to give Hermie a play-by-play account. Hermie kisses Aggie, but it's a half-hearted and unsatisfying effort, and she runs off, leaving him alone to moon over Dorothy. Hermie whiles the night away on the beach, ending up at daybreak at Dorothy's house, where he finds her on the porch writing a letter to Pete. They talk, opening up to each other about their insecurities. Dorothy takes the sight of the rising sun as a hopeful sign of renewal and good things ahead. Hermie wrangles an invitation to visit her that night and is finally emboldened enough to ask her name.

Walter Winchell reports on the fierce fighting now raging in the Pacific as the three girls, in chorus, pay homage to the nation's brave fighting men. In early evening Hermie, dressed in his best clothes, starts off toward Dorothy's house when Oscy intercepts him and makes fun of Hermie's obvious infatuation with her. He makes a crude reference to Dorothy, angering Hermie, who tells off Oscy. The newly assertive Hermie obviously has grown up this summer and he's about to grow up even more.
Arriving at Dorothy's house, Hermie finds the door open, enters and sees an empty glass, a liquor bottle and a telegram. He picks up the telegram and reads the terrible news that Dorothy's husband has been killed in battle. Dorothy enters, face streaked with tears, as she gently takes the telegram from Hermie and puts on a record of the '40s pop tune she and Pete sang to each other before they parted...their favourite song. While it plays, Hermie quietly approaches her and asks her to dance. Hermie tries to comfort Dorothy as they awkwardly move in each other's arms to the music. As the song ends, Dorothy breaks down, crying uncontrollably, stopping only when Hermie holds her tighter. They kiss, and a devastated Dorothy is moved by his tenderness. Slowly, they undress each other and she leads him to the bedroom.

The next morning Hermie exits the house as Dorothy is on the front porch, gazing out to sea. It is the last time he will ever see her. Hermie runs into Oscy and they sit, staring out at the ocean, still friends. Oscy reports that Miriam dumped him and that Benjie required six stitches in his nose, which he cut while trying to catch a seagull with Gloria. Oscy wants to know how Hermie's evening with Dorothy went, but Hermie is silent. Oscy says he and his family are packing up to leave the island and offers his parting words of wisdom: "You know, sometimes life is just a big pain in the ass."

Hermie returns to Dorothy's house and finds that she has already departed fo the mainland to deal with Pete's death, leaving a note on the door. The note assures Hermie that she will always remember him and that she prays he is never visited by senseless tragedy. It is signed "Always, Dorothy." As Hermie studies the note, the voices and faces of the summer come rushing back, and he is transformed again into the older Herman. One by one, the characters who peopled the man's long-remembered summer each salute him and exit. Finally Dorothy appears, standing on the porch of her beach house as she was first seen. She looks first to Herman, and then to the younger Hermie, who magically reappears on stage. The lights fade on the three figures: Dorothy, the silhouette of Herman, and the boy Herman once was.


5 men, 4 women.

Musical Mumbers

  1. Prelude
  2. The Summer You'll Always Remember
  3. The Terrible Trio
  4. Here and Now
  5. Will That Ever Happen To Me?
  6. Winchell report #1
  7. You're Gonna Miss Me
  8. Little Did I Dream
  9. Mr. Sanders #1
  10. The walk
  11. Dorothy's house
  12. Like They Used To
  13. I Think I Like Her
  14. The Heat / winchell report #2 / Here and Now (reprise)
  1. Before the Movies
  2. The Movies
  3. After the movies
  4. Winchell report #3
  5. Benjie and gloria
  6. The boxes
  7. Man Around The House
  8. Someone to Dance with Me
  9. Entr'acte
  10. Unfinished Business
  11. Make You Mine
  12. Mr. Sanders #2 / Here and Now (Reprise)
  13. The Drugstore
  14. The Jitterbug
  1. The Marshmallow Roast
  2. The Campfire
  3. Hermie And Dorothy
  4. Promise of the Morning
  5. Oh Gee, I Love My G.I. / Winchell Report #4
  6. Oscy and Hermie
  7. Dorothy's House
  8. The Dance
  9. Finale
  10. Bows
  11. Exit Music
  12. Our Story So Far
  13. Losing Track of Time


Piano/Vocal, Keyboard 2, Percussion, Bass, Cello, Reed.

Libretto: ISBN: 0-8222-1878-X