Shows D

DOWNRIVER Music and Lyrics by John Braden, book by Jeff Tambournino: Based on the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain Presented Off-Broadway - 10 January, 1975 SYNOPSIS: An adventurous kid and a runaway slave ply the Mississippi in this musical recreation of Mark Twain's greatest work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The show misses none of the fun in Twain's book while illuminating its central theme of freedom and responsibility. Through hurtling steamboats, con men and boyish pranks, Huck and Jim pursue their own precious American dreams while a score of unforgettable characters reel through the story of early 19th Century America. STORY: Act I Scene 1 The curtain rises on Huck Finn in a small clearing on Jackson’s Island. He sings of his new- found freedom. Now, he won’t have to live by anyone else’s rules; he’ll just go wherever the river takes him. Elsewhere, the spotlight comes up on Tom Sawyer, Huck’s best friend, who brings us up to date: Huck had been missing for a while, kidnapped by his very own drunken father, looking to get his share of some money Huck had found. But, then Huck’s father found him murdered! Tom is sure Huck’s father 'done him in', but then there’s news that Miss Watson’s slave, Jim, has gone missing. Now, everyone believes Jim is responsible. He’s been spotted on Jackson’s Island, and the crowd is ready to search for Jim and collect the $300 reward for his capture. Scene 2 Huck discovers Jim on the island. Jim is sure that Huck must be a ghost, as the whole town believes him dead. Huck confides that he just made it look robbers had killed him so as to escape from his father for good. Jim confides that he, too, has run off, because he feared Miss Watson was about to sell him. He aims to return for his wife and family when the time is right. Huck and Jim agree to join forces; Jim is willing to share his raft. The two discuss "signs" of good luck and bad. A hairy chest, Jim insists, is a sign you’ll be rich. But, he already feels rich because he owns his own self. The two vow to help each other until they’re both rich. As it begins to rain, Huck spies the townspeople coming in search of Jim. They quickly jump aboard the raft and begin their journey downriver. Scene 3 Huck and Jim are peacefully loading their raft after having camped out further downriver. Above them, there is an angry mob chasing two men. They are oblivious to this activity until the younger of the two men suddenly intrudes and inquires whether there might be room on the raft for one more. Jim is inclined to help, which Huck thinks is crazy. In an instant, the second man jumps aboard the raft as well. They accuse Jim of being a runaway and intimate that there will be trouble ahead for Huck and Jim unless they make room for the two strangers. When the foursome stop at the next campsite, we learn that the two men are The King and The Duke, two swindlers run out of the last town when their respective schemes were uncovered by the townsfolk. Huck wants to be rid of their travelling companions as soon as possible, but Jim argues that it will be safer to bide their time, as the men could be dangerous. At first, the two con men are at odds with each other, but they soon decide to team up for their next scheme —The Royal Nonesuch Theatrical Company presents "The King’s Cameleopard." Huck and Jim assist by selling tickets to the "show." The Duke introduces the show. He promises the appearance of the cameleopard, a "creature for another age". Huck and the King, disguised as the animal, appear and dance. The crowd bellows for more, but the show