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FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON Musical, Based on the book by Daniel Keyes. Book and lyrics by David Rogers. Music by Charles Strouse. Opened Helen Hayes Theatre September 14, 1980 (17 perfs) Queen's Theatre, London - 14th June, 1979 (29 perfs) Produced in America as "Charlie and Algernon" STORY Alice Kinnian, a teacher of retarded adults, has heard of a new medical technique to reverse retardation which she hopes might help her pupil, Charlie Gordon. She brings the young man to Beekman Clinic to meet the men in charge of the experiment, Dr. Strauss and Dr. Nemur. ("His Name Is Charlie Gordon") Alice tells the Doctors about Charlie; he is 32 with an IQ of 68, but he can read and write at a third grade level and supports himself as a delivery boy for a bakery. He is also extremely anxious to learn. The Doctors explain their newly developed operation-injection technique. "How many people have had the operation?" Alice asks. They tell her that, so far, it has only been performed on mice, but one of the mice, whom they call Algernon, has had his intelligence increased three fold, and it's still growing." The Doctors think the operation may increase the patient's mental capacity, perhaps to the point of genius, and very rapidly. "And if it fails?" Alice asks. "It could produce no effect at all or his intelligence might improve only temporary. Or," they admit, "it might cause further retardation." They urge Alice to take the risk and give Charlie Gordon a chance for a normal life. Nervously, Alice agrees. The Doctors interview Charlie who is tense and unsure in the unfamiliar surroundings. Trying to reassure him, the Doctors ask him to look upon them as friends. ("I Got a Friend") Charlie is given a Rorschach test and runs a maze in a race against Algernon, the mouse, which he loses. Impressed by his desire to get smart the Doctors decide to operate. "I'm gonna get smart," Charlie proudly tells Miss Kinnian, then asks, "When?" ("Some Bright Morning") After the operation, the Doctors continue their treatment, they ask Charlie to write Progress Reports and give him a "teaching machine." "Before you sleep," they tell him, "the machine will teach your conscious mind. While you sleep it will stir up memories in your subconscious mind." "Holy smoke," Charlie says naively, "if 1 gotta get smart for two minds, I'll never get smart!" As he sleeps the machine brings to his mind his boss from the bakery, warm, motherly Mrs. Donner and his two teasing co-workers, Gina and Frank. ("Our Boy Charlie") Waking, Charlie tells the Doctors he knows how to run the mixing machine Realizing he could never do this before, the doctors begin to hope for success. They test him against Algernon in the maze again and this time, Charlie wins. ("Hey, Look at Me!") Charlie's intelligence increases rapidly. Alice is brought to the Clinic to help with his education and begins by teaching him English literature. ("Reading") As Charlie's intelligence grows so does a romantic feeling for Alice. Haltingly, shyly, he asks her to go out with him. Alice, afraid of any emotional attachment at all, refuses him brusquely and when he leaves in confusion, she reasserts her own attitude toward life. ("No Surprises"). Charlie tells the Doctors about a nightmare he has had. In the dream, he returns to the bakery but it is like some strange dance hall. His boss, Mrs. Dormer, is there but she seems to be a cigarette girl. Frank and Gina dance but Gina is Miss Kinnian, too. Finally, Charlie becomes enmeshed in a glaringly lit maze, struggling to free himself as a seductive woman threatens him sexually. ("Midnight Riding") Mrs. Donner visits Charlie at the Clinic. Although he is happy to see her, he becomes upset when she tells him not to return to the bakery. "You've changed," she says. "The others . . . they wouldn't know what to make of you. And me? It's not 1 don't love you. It's ... you ain't the Charlie I love." When she leaves, Charlie, feeling