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A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN Musical in 2 acts, 21 Scenes; Music by Arthur Schwartz, Lyrics by Dorothy Fields; Book by Bett Smith & George Abbott Alvin Theatre, Broadway - April 19, 1951 (267 perfs) SYNOPSIS The action takes place in Brooklyn around the turn of the century. ACT I It's a Saturday night in Brooklyn at the turn of the century. The denizens of a small neighbourhood under the Brooklyn Bridge rejoice at not having to work again until Monday. The handsome young singing waiter Johnny Nolan learns that he has been hired for a one-week gig, and he and his friends celebrate by retrieving their prized possessions from the local pawnshop. Johnny goes to meet his girlfriend Hildy, but he's captivated by Hildy's best friend, Katie Rommely. It is a few weeks later, and we are in the living room of Cissy, the sister with whom Katie lives. Cissy is with her latest "common-law" husband, whom she insists on calling Harry, after the first one, who left her to return to his wife. Katie appears and admits to Cissy that her relationship with Johnny, who has a reputation for drinking and not working steadily, has grown serious. Johnny, now in the waiters' union and hired for a six-month position, proposes to Katie and tells his cronies he intends to become a different man. Johnny and Katie decide to get married in a week, in spite of Cissy's warnings that Johnny may not be able to reform so easily. At Max's furniture store, Katie and Johnny are shopping for a bed. Johnny has wasted the money allocated for the bed on a night of carousing, so Katie must pay for it with the money she had put aside for her wedding dress. But Katie is too happy to care. The scene shifts to the modest flat of Johnny and Katie, who have been married for a year; they have a monthold baby girl named Francie. Johnny, drinking again, has been laid off, and Katie has been forced to become janitor of their building. Cissy arrives. Her current Harry won't let her adopt a child, so Cissy has decided to pretend she's pregnant; when the baby she has arranged to take in is born, Cissy will claim it's her own. Months later, Cissy is "about to give birth" and tells her friends that love and babies are what life is all about. A few hours later, and with Johnny and Katie as accomplices, Cissy presents Harry with what he thinks is their very own boy. On the rooftop of the Nolans' tenement, the neighbours join in singing a popular song of the day. Johnny returns after an unexplained absence of two nights, and Katie tells Johnny that she's decided to leave him. Johnny asks for one more chance and promises her things will be different. ACT II Twelve years have passed, and Francie is now thirteen. On a mild Hallowe'en Eve, the neighbours take up the song of an old-clothes-man, while Cissy prepares for a reunion with her first Harry, now a widower. Johnny has been dropped by his union because of his chronic drinking. Meanwhile, Francie, to whom Johnny is always a "shining prince," is taking her first difficult steps into adolescence, and Johnny comforts her. Cissy is gravely disappointed when she sees her first Harry again. To make matters worse, her current Harry walks in on the reunion and promptly walks out on Cissy. Johnny, reduced to playing piano at a local brothel, wins a second-hand piano for Francie in the house raffle. But when the proprietor won't let him have it; a fight ensues, and he is thrown out into the street, where he is tormented by local urchins and his own delirium. Francie tells her mother she's thinking of quitting school and taking a job to help the family. Johnny insists Francie stay in school so as not to wind up a failure like