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Sympathy Jones

The New Secret Agent Musical

Music/lyrics/concept by Masi Asare  & book by Brooke PierceSympathyJones


This is the story of a young woman who dreams of being a star...a star spy, that is. Sympathy Jones is a spunky receptionist at a New York City intelligence agency who studies Indonesian martial arts in her spare time and is constantly angling for a promotion, to the amusement of the manly spies who inhabit her 1960s world. When a top-secret file is accidentally left on her desk she seizes the opportunity to embark on an adventure of her own, and in the process discovers that daring to save the world against impossible odds is not nearly as glamorous as she thought it would be.  Even the best spies need some help from their friends along the way.


One mysterious evening circa 1964, Richard Oscill, CEO of Oscillex Luxury Watches, holds a press conference at his Manhattan boutique. As he proudly unveils the Delta-29—a watch that grants eternal youth to its wearer—a gunshot rings out. The crowd screams. Tick Tock, an agent from the Secret Coalition for Revenge, Assassination, Terrorism, Counterintelligence, and Heists (S.C.R.A.T.C.H.), has broken into the Oscillex lab to steal sensitive scientific research and attempted to nab the precious watch as well. Ace spy Nick Steele chases after him but is injured in the scuffle and Tick Tock slips into the shadows.

The next morning at The Agency, receptionist Sympathy Jones peppers Agency director Mr. Pinkerton with questions about her request for a promotion, to no effect. Frustrated, she laments being trapped behind a desk when she'd rather be in the field going after the bad guys. Meanwhile, with Nick incapacitated, Pinkerton must put novice agent Henry Greene in charge of the S.C.R.A.T.C.H. case. But Henry has only just accepted his mission when, following a botched attempt at flirting with Sympathy, he accidentally leaves the case file on her desk. It’s a golden opportunity she can’t refuse.

Soon afterward, Oscill is at work in his lab when two masked men break in and spirit him away. In a nearby alley, his ex-wife Katherine "Kitty" Hawk, the secret leader of S.C.R.A.T.C.H., instructs her evil agents on how to be as effectively evil as possible. She also reveals to Oscill, a helpless prisoner, that she plans to use the Delta-29 "time-stopping" technology to create a powerful weapon. When Kitty and Tick Tock rendezvous later that night at the Tempo Club, Sympathy—now pursuing the case on her own—discovers valuable information about Kitty’s scheme. However, it isn’t long before Sympathy’s secret investigation collides with Henry’s official one. He threatens to report her, and she tries to convince him that they should work together. Just when they’re at an impasse, Henry receives word from HQ that Kitty has demonstrated her time-freeze bomb on Washington and is attempting to blackmail the President. Considering the severity of the situation, Henry and Sympathy agree to team up, and they head to Kitty's secret hideout together.

The duo break into Kitty’s lair and navigate a series of devious traps and dangerous obstacles as they race to the main chamber, where Tick Tock is preparing to launch another bomb. Sympathy and Henry attempt to ambush Kitty and Tick Tock, but are caught and left to die an elaborate death. Sympathy escapes, barely making it out of the compound alive. But when she radios for help, Pinkerton orders her to stay put until more agents arrive. Sympathy contemplates her situation and decides she has no choice but to venture back in and help Henry before it’s too late.

Exhausted but determined, Sympathy sneaks back into the compound and frees Henry, and together they burst into the main chamber. As Henry works frantically to de-activate the bomb, Kitty and Sympathy face off. An all-out fight ensues, as the seconds, and the bomb, keep on ticking…


Act I

  1. Time Will Tell - (Ann)
  2. Every Day / Super Secret Agent - (Sympathy, Ensemble)
  3. Get Your Gun - (Nick, Pinkerton, Henry)
  4. Don’t Cross Kitty - (Kitty, Tick Tock, Ensemble)
  5. Technical Disguise - (Caprice, Sympathy)
  6. You Don’t Have A Clue - (Sympathy, Henry)
  7. Before It’s Too Late - (Company)

Act II

  1. If I Didn’t Have You - (Kitty, Tick Tock)
  2. Think Fast - (Sympathy, Henry, Ensemble)
  3. A Story - (Sympathy)
  4. Finale: Sympathy Jones, Super Secret Agent - (Company)

Cast of Characters*

ENSEMBLE (Minimum 1 man, 2 women. With doubling, possible with actors playing the above characters plus 1 additional woman): PR PERSON, PRESS, AGENCY STAFF, ROCKET SELLER, TEMPO CLUBGOERS, DELIVERY PERSON, PRESIDENT and ADVI¬SORS, SWORDSMAN and S.C.R.A.T.C.H. AGENTS / GUARDS.

* It is possible to cast with 5 men and 5 women. A breakdown of the charac¬ters in each scene is included as an appendix to the script.

Time: The 1960s.
Place: New York City, and a remote part of Long Island.

Casting Note

Roles are open to all ethnicities. The show is set in the 1960s to the extent that it evokes the aesthetic and style of that time period, but the story does not refer to any specific political or cultural events that would indicate the characters have to be of a certain race or background.

Dance Requirement

Standard musical staging/some dance. Production numbers that es-pecially feature dance/movement are: “Time Will Tell” (I.2), “Don’t Cross Kitty” (I.6), “Question Mark Stomp”(I.9), “Think Fast” (II.3), and “Finale” (II.9). In addition, there are several fight sequences (see below).

Stage Fighting

As Sympathy Jones is inspired by the spy genre, there are a number of “action” sequences in the show, especially in Act II. As Sympathy Jones is also a comedy, there is no need to worry too much about making these sequences seem ultra-realistic. There should be an el¬ement of fun to most of the fighting, which chiefly involves people kicking and punching each other, with a couple of gun and sword showdowns thrown in for good measure. We suggest using colorful toy guns, and don’t sweat the sword fighting, as it doesn’t need to be very sophisticated. Sympathy is a student of the branch of the martial art known as Pencak Silat, so we recommend having your actress learn at least a couple simple moves (you can find video dem¬onstrations online) to add a touch of authenticity. Please also note that there is musical underscoring to the fight scenes, to add to the tension, so you will want to consider the musical accompaniment early on during the process of rehearsing these scenes.

School Productions

A couple of substitutions are possible to tone down the few racy mo-ments/innuendos in the show. In “Question Mark Stomp,” the lyrics “You can show me yours / I might show you mine” could be replaced with “We could have some fun / later down the line.” In Act I, Scene 11, Pinkerton’s line “I know you’re a little out of touch these days, Nick, but there is a world outside of your bedroom” could use the substitute ending “.there is a world outside the Tempo Club.” And the brandy bit at the top of Act I, Scene 4 can be easily cut if needed.

Scenic World

Spy stories are known for moving quickly through exotic locales. Bringing a largely cinematic genre to the stage calls for a certain in-ventiveness and also presents unique opportunities for theatricality. We offer the following notes to help in conceptualizing the scenic elements of Sympathy Jones.

Scenic World: Act I

The overarching world of Act I is early 1960s New York City—the streets, a nightclub, the offices of an intelligence agency, and a pent-house apartment. Although Sympathy Jones is most certainly a com-edy, there should be a sense of danger and mystery in the show.

In Act I, there are gunshots, chases, and shady people slipping in and out of the shadows. The various locations within this larger world can be evoked with a few well-chosen set pieces: