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THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY A Musical in 2 Acts Book by Joe Manchester. Lyrics by Earl Shuman. Music by Leon Carr. Based on the story by James Thurber Opened 26 October 1964 - Players Theatre (Off-Broadway) - 96 perfs The action takes place at the present time in Waterbury, Conn. in the everyday and secret life of Walter Mitty. SYNOPSIS The short story deals with a vague and mild-mannered man who drives into Waterbury, Connecticut, with his wife for their regular weekly shopping and his wife's visit to the beauty parlour. During this time he has five heroic daydream episodes. The first is as a pilot of a U.S. Navy flying boat in a storm, then he is a magnificent surgeon performing a one-of-a-kind surgery, then as a cool assassin testifying in a courtroom, and then as a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot volunteering for a daring, secret suicide mission to bomb an ammunition dump. As the story ends, Mitty imagines himself facing a firing squad, "inscrutable to the last." Each of the fantasies is inspired by some detail of Mitty's mundane surroundings: • The powering up of the "Navy hydroplane" in the opening scene is followed by Mrs. Mitty's complaint that Mitty is "driving too fast", which suggests that his driving was what led to the daydream. • Mitty's turn as a brilliant surgeon immediately follows his taking off and putting on his gloves (as a surgeon dons surgical gloves) and driving past a hospital. • The courtroom drama cliché "Perhaps this will refresh your memory", which begins the third fantasy, follows Mitty's attempt to remember what (besides overshoes) his wife told him to buy; and also a newspaper vendor using news of a trial to sell his papers. (Thurber once used the same line to caption a cartoon in which a prosecutor shows the defendant a kangaroo.) • Mitty's fourth daydream comes as he waits for his wife and picks up an old copy of Liberty, reading "Can Germany Conquer the World Through the Air?", and visions himself fighting Germany while volunteering to pilot a plane normally piloted by two people. • The closing firing-squad scene comes when Mitty is standing against a wall, smoking. STORY Today, we are told that most men lead lives of quiet desperation, that the hero of our time is a man bedevilled and frustrated by petty annoyances and demands, a man who can only dream of heroic deeds. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a new musical based on one of James Thurber’s most enchanting stories, is about just such a wistful little man. Although Thurber’s story takes place in Connecticut, Mitty is a universal character in whom we all recognize something of ourselves. He has become a legend. Mitty, escaping in daydreams from the straitjacket of reality, finds that life’s only triumphs come in “The Secret Life” (Prologue). Act I To the rapid-fire shouted orders of his wife to hurry, Walter Mitty, just turning forty, prepares to face another day. As he shaves, he imagines himself before a firing squad, elegantly scorning the traditional blindfold and last cigarette (“The Walter Mitty March”). Recalled to a real, more formidable “squad,” comprising his angry mother-in-law (Susan Lehman) and nagging wife, Agnes, he meets a firing line of accusations: a missing sock, a spotted tie, too much smoking, causing his mother-in-law’s dentures to freeze solid in a glass of water he absentmindedly left overnight on the windowsill. His only compensation is his adoring daughter, Peninnah. If only he could flee all the bickering and go