Shows D

DESTRY RIDES AGAIN Music and Lyrics by Harold Rome: Book by Leonard Gershe: Based on the story by Max Brand Original production directed and choreographed by Michael Kidd. Produced for the Broadway stage by David Merrick Imperial Theatre, Broadway 23 April, 1959 (472 perfs) London Donmar Warehouse, 30 September, 1982 (40 perfs) SYNOPSIS Hollywood's classic western has been filmed three times before the decision was made to turn the durable sagebrush saga into a Broadway musical. A whoopin', shootin', hollerin' firecracker of a show, the action centres around a violence-hating sheriff, Thomas Jefferson Destry, Jnr. and a peppery saloon entertainer known as Frenchy. Contrary to the movie industry's morals code that never permitted a happy ending for a woman of easy virtue, Frenchy is not killed protecting Destry but ends up in his arms. The show's choreographic highlight is the crackling, whip-cracking dance performed by the outlaws. THE STORY: Act 1 The opening song (“Bottleneck”) shows the roughness and violence of the town Bottleneck. Then, at the Last Chance Saloon, Frenchy and her girls perform for the male patrons of The Last Chance (“Ladies”). After the song, Clagget stomps into the bar with Sheriff Keogh. Clagget accuses Frenchy and Kent of stealing his ranch in a crooked poker game last night. Kent strides out calmly, greeting the sheriff. Kent states that he won and Clagget lost. Sheriff Keogh asks for them to go into his office. Kent, Gyp and Bugs Watson, and the sheriff go into Kent’s office. Clagget angrily storms out of the saloon while Rockwell and Frenchy reveal that she did steal one of his aces. But in the middle of their laughter, a gunshot is heard and the laughing grinds to a halt. Kent and his gang come out, explaining that Gyp Watson’s pistol had accidentally gone off. Slade tells Kent that shooting Keogh was a mistake and they were moving too fast. One of Kent’s gang hands Slade the sheriff badge and Kent tells Slade that it was up to him to appoint a new sheriff. Slade makes an announcement to the patrons of the saloon that Sheriff Keogh has left town on urgent business and Washington Dimsdale would be taking his place. Wash tells the town that he’ll bring law and order to the town with the help of Tom Destry (“Hoop De Dingle”). Tom Destry arrives in Bottleneck with a parasol and a canary cage. The townsmen don’t think very highly of him and tease him, especially Kent’s gang. Destry sees it as hospitality and tells the townspeople how shocked he is by their welcome (“Tomorrow Morning”). Destry meets Kent and Kent asks Destry for his gun. Destry reveals he doesn’t own a gun. Wash is surprised that Destry doesn’t have a gun. Destry meets Frenchy and Destry quickly angers her and a fight ensues in which Destry and Frenchy are pulled apart by Wash and Kent. Wash and Destry run out to a street and there, Wash confronts him about not owning a gun. Wash explains that the town had planned a big welcome party for him, but he didn’t think Destry could face anyone now. Destry tells Wash that they won’t need guns to bring law and order to Bottleneck. He tells Wash that guns will only bring death (“Ballad of the Gun”). Wash then swears Destry in as deputy and they head for the party. Meanwhile, Kent’s gang are seen harassing two girls. They steal a banner they were carrying and see that there was to be a social in honor of Destry’s arrival and they weren’t invited. The gang then hurries off to tell Kent and Frenchy.