LITTLE TRAMP Book, music and lyrics by David Pomeranz (Book co-written by Steven David Horwich) Eugene O’Neill Theater Festival, Waterford, Connecticu - 1995 SYNOPSIS Little Tramp is a musical telling of Charlie Chaplin's life story chronicling his dramatic rise, fall and ultimate triumph. The musical opens in 1971 at the Academy Awards Ceremony in LA where an 82 year old Chaplin is about to receive a special lifetime achievement award. This is a bitter-sweet affair, filled with mixed emotions because of his being barred from re-entry in the State 20 years previously. Little Tramp plays in many ways like a Chaplin movie, showing the little man overcoming enormous odds in a very funny, touching and powerful way. From the depths of poverty, through his determination and talent, he becomes one of the best known and loved human beings on the face of the earth. The musical covers his humorous confrontations with the early "established" way of making silent pictures, his creation of the "Little Tramp" character, his unfortunate marriages and trumped-up press scandals, the FBI branding him a Communist (which he was not) and his eventual exile from the United States. In the moving finale Charlie is once again reconciled with the public and, perhaps for the first time, himself. STORY At the 1971 Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, an 82 year-old Charlie Chaplin is about to receive a special Life Achievement award. 20 years earlier, Charlie had been barred from re-entry into the United States on the grounds that he was a Communist. Charlie looks back at his life. His mother, a failed music hall performer, trying to make ends meet to support little Charlie and his older brother Sydney, reminds her sons that they have something more than mere material possessions. Not able to support her children, Hanna Chaplin is taken to the workhouse. The boys try selling their old clothing on the streets but there are no takers. Hungry and heartbroken, Sydney tries to cheer things up while the Charlie of 1971 rejoins them. When Sydney joined the Navy, Charlie is left to fend for himself. Determined to help his mother, Charlie joined a dance troupe called "The Eight Lancashire Lads", but his mother's condition worsens and she is placed in an insane asylum. Dodging truant officers, Charlie sees a sign, "Blackmore's Theatrical Agency" and barges into the agent's office. ltNow grown up and a consummate English Stage comedian, Charlie is discovered by filmmaker Mack Sennett and signed to a contract at Keystone Studios in California. Sennett's style of "pie in the face" comedy is different from Chaplin's slower, more deliberate style, and when Charlie tries to assert his ideas, Sennett gives him some strong advice. Charlie is relentless. Sennett finally throws up his hands in frustration and gives Charlie a chance. Charlie becomes an overnight sensation. Film distributors, fans and theater owners can't get enough of him. Charlie opens his own picture studio and he becomes one of the most beloved public figures. One evening, he is visited by a local chapter of Chaplin Fan Club. By this time, Sydney returns as Charlie's personal manager. Getting ready for a swank Hollywood party, Sydney reminisces how far they've come. Back to 1971, Charlie's wife, Oona is instructed by the show's assistant director on how Charlie should play to the camera. Furthermore, a government official then warns her that Charlie should avoid making any political comments. Oona is incensed.