The Show Must Go On was my second musical. It was first performed in the 2001 Aloha Performing Arts Company's Original Play Festival. If your theater company may be interested in producing a performance, please let me know!

The Concept Album Cast Recording of The Show Must Go On is now available for purchase and download on CD Baby and iTunes! Also available for purchase are the libretto and vocal selections! Register with my Facebook Fanpage if you would like to receive automatic updates!

Composer/Lyricist's Note

This play is based on various accidents and mistakes that have happened in my experience in the theater, with a few extra little goodies thrown in. For example, the woman playing Madame Dubonnet in a local production of Sandy Wilson's The Boyfriend slipped on a bowl of dog food before the show opened, confining her to a wheel chair for the run of the show.

Probably the most significant accident included in this play, however, is the scene in which an "understudy" playing the character of Stu stabs an actor playing High Jack the Pirate. The teen theater in my hometown was putting on a production of Larry Blamire's play Robbin Hood. In this particular production, I was the official male understudy for all of the men in the play. Not only did this mean memorizing fifteen parts, but it also required remembering two very different full-cast fight scenes for each character along with a couple of dances. Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me.

On the second night of the run, the director called me about a half-hour before call, telling me that the Sheriff of Nottingham was sick and that I needed to get there right away. It went pretty well right up until the fourth scene. In this scene, I was supposed to stab an inn-keeper in the stomach with a real knife for a prop. He had special padding that he was supposed to wear to take the knife. There was a slight miscommunication. I went on with the real knife and Jerry (the inn-keeper), believing that I wasn't going to use the real knife hadn't worn his protective padding, left the stage with a hole in his stomach. He was taken to the E.R., got five stitches, and came back for curtain call. I still get shudders whenever someone mentions "stage combat."

Even what was supposed to be the premiere production of The Show Must Go On at my high school ran into trouble. Ironically, due to production complications, the show didn't go on.

To Future and Present Casts and Crews: Due to the nature of the show, improvisation is not only strongly recommended, but almost essential. Many of the gags that are in the current draft are actually things that either went wrong during performances (such as the electricity going out in the last number forcing the actors to perform the finale a capella) or lines that actors improvised (such as Thom Proctor's brilliant line "You better not have touched her knippel mister!" that he came up with while recording the Concept Album. To fully appreciate the brilliance of that line, look up the word "knippel" in a Yiddish dictionary). I am positive that with each performance, there will be new mistakes or improvised lines that are just too brilliant to leave out of the script. So please, have fun with the show, feel free to improvise and, above all, turn your mistakes into something funny. This is one of the few shows where the audience will never know for sure whether or not you meant to come out on stage in your underwear.

To Past, Present and Future Audiences: Enjoy the show and keep in mind that in the theater, you can never truly be sure of what you're seeing and what you think you're seeing.

Plot Summary
Act I:

An actor runs on stage - interrupting the Overture - and informs the audience that the actor playing Stu, the star of the show, has slipped on a bowl of dog food and will not be able to perform. However, the understudy is close at hand and is ready to perform. After all, The Show Must Go On.

The scene comes up on Absidy square. A Statue stands at the center of the square with various animals on top of its hat. Elemenope steps out onto her balcony and the townsmen gather below to gape at her as she sings dim-wittedly about how she loves to Smile. Stu, a peasant, watches her from below. Abie, a peasant girl, approaches him and flirtatiously asks what's on his mind. As he tells her how much he loves Elemenope, she tells him how much she loves him. But, he is only Watching Her [Elemenope].

As Abie runs off, crushed, Stu's best friend, Cure, approaches Stu and asks what's on his mind. Stu tells him. Cure is troubled, for he is secretly engaged to Elemenope and can't figure out how to break the news to Stu. He decides that if he tries to set Stu and Elemenope up, it's bound to fail and Stu will move on leaving Elemenope to Cure. He tries to convince Stu that There is a Way for him to get together with Elemenope. High Jack the pirate walks into the square disguised as the nobleman, Sir Bruswayne. He is searching for women to add to his collection of concubines. He is struck by Elemenope's beauty and overhears Stu and Cure discussing her. He confronts them and offers to pose as a suitor for Elemenope. When her parents - who refuse to marry her off to anyone that is not of noble rank - agree to the wedding, he will kidnap Elemenope and then Stu and Elemenope can run off together. Delighted, Stu and Cure agree to the plan.

High Jack approaches Elemenope's parents, Sediefge and Xyze, and introduces himself as Sir Bruswayne. At first, Sediefge is reluctant, but High Jack dangles pretty jewels - Sediefge's one weekness - in Sediefge's face. Sediefge sings of how he loves his Worldly Objects With Optical Attraction. Sediefge is bought over.

Abie, Cure and View - High Jack's henchman - ask Stu why he's so obsessed with Elemenope. He tells them "There's Only One Fish in the Sea for Me." Abie expresses her distrust of "Sir Bruswayne" to Stu, but he dismisses her concern. Cure, who has realized High Jack's true identity, approaches High Jack and, offering a diamond necklace, suggests a business proposal.

That night, Hich Jack and View kidnap Elemenope as the town's people sleep on the streets. Abie tries to stop them, but ends up being kidnapped herself. The next morning, the town awakens to Xyze's scream as she discovers that Elemenope has been kidnapped. After Sediefge offers areward of any price to the man who returns Elemenope to him, Cure suggests to Stu that they find High Jack's camp and rescue Elemenope. Then Stu can claim his priceless reward: Elemenope's hand in marriage. Overjoyed, Stu exclaims "I'll Go To The End of the World For Her!" Tuthrie, a retired pirate, laughs at their foolishness and points out that they know nothing of sea travel. However, he used to sail with High jack, and he will bring Stu and Cure to High Jack's camp - for the right price. Stu asks why Tuthrie retired as a pirate, and Tuthrie confides that he did it for the ladies, because That is How You Win The Girls.

At High Jack's camp, the pirates are entertaining themselves with their collection of dancer girls, chanting "Dance for Us!" High Jack makes Abie and Elemenope dance for them as well, but as usual all Elemenope can talk about is how she loves to Smile (Reprise). Stu, Cure and Tuthrie raid the camp - disguised as dancer girls - and a fight ensues. The understudy playing Stu accidentally really stabs the actor playing High Jack. High Jack tells him not to worry about him, for The Show Must Go On (Act I Finale) and the curtain closes on Act I.

Act II:

The actor playing Cure informs the audience that the actor playing High Jack is just fine and will be back from the E.R. in time for curtain call. The show goes on.

With High Jack [the character] dead - the actor is replaced by a dummy - the pirates split up chaotically. Stu and Elemenope have a sweet little moment as Abie sighs " There He Is." Tuthrie rushes on and announces that they can escape on High Jack's ship which has been abandoned. Before he leaves, he takes some pirate booty - and dancer girl booty - with him.

The company returns happily to Absidy and is greeted warmly by the town and Elemenope's parents who all cryout " Happy Day!" When Sediefge asks what Stu wants for a reward, Stu nervously requests Elemenope's hand in marriage. As Sediefge turns bright red, Stu dangles some of High Jack's stolen booty (the jewels, not the girls) in his face. As he is hypnotized by his Worldly Objects With Optical Attraction (Reprise I), Xyze steps forward and expresses her disgust with her "jewel-infatuated" husband. Sediefge consents and Elemenope accepts Stu's proposal - much to the surprise of Cure.

As the town pours into Sediefge's house to celebrate, Elemenope asks Cure if they should tell everyone about their secret engagement efore or after she marries Stu. Cure decides before would be best. He tells her it wasn't supposed to be this complicated. High Jack wasn't supposed to lose - Cure had paid him to win. With Stu dead - or at least badly injured - it would just be Cure and Elemenope. Abie overhears this conversation and is left on her own to decide how to tell Stu. She proclaims "I'll Go To The End of the World For Him!"

Throughout the Wedding Plans, Cure and Abie try to tell Stu the truth, but he is too wrapped up in the wedding to listen to them. On the day of the wedding, the townspeople are all excited because There's a Wedding Today. Meanwhile the main characters are running around with their various dilemmas. As the drunken priest begins the ceremony, Cure announces that he objects to the wedding. Before he can explain, High Jack and View crash the ceremony. High Jack is outraged at the injustices he has been subjected to and proclaims "I Want a Damn Song!" Cure knocks High Jack out - robbing him of his climactic note - and View drags a loopy High Jack off the stage. Cure then proceeds to tell the story of his secret engagement to Elemenope. He further admits that he had been born into a wealthy family, but resenting his parents' neglect of him, had run away from home and chose the simpler life. Sediefge begins to protest, but is swayed by the size of Cure's engagement ring. Cursing how he loves his Wordly Objects With Optical Attraction (Reprise II), Sediefge cancels the wedding.

Stu is left alone to ask himself "How Can I Go On?" The town Statue suddenly comes to life and tells him, "Keep Your Head Up High." As Stu questions his sanity, Abie approaches and tells him "I'll Be There For You." She also tells him that no matter what goes wrong in life, The Show Must Go On (Finale).

Performance History

The Show Must Go On premiered on Monday, August 13th 2001 at the Aloha Theater as the opening performance for the Kona Association for the Performing Arts' (now Aloha Performing Arts Company) Seventh Annual Original Play Festival. It was directed by BRUCE MONACO and piano accompaniment was provided by BERNALDO EVANGELISTA. Choral directors were ARLENE ARAKI and ARDETH WEED. The dances were choreographed by NANI MOREMAN. The cast was as follows:

Cure - Felix Cabrera
Elemenope - Leah Simon-Westreich
Sediefge - L. Bernard Marsh
Xyze - Rebecca Marsh
Stu - Mike Daniel
Abie - Shanna Simon-Westreich
High Jack - Blake McMillen
View - Roxanne Fox
Tuthrie - Dick Hersberger
The Statue - Robin Hurlbutt
The Mysterious Off-Stage Voice - Robert Curtis
The Drunken Priest - Rob Rhine
Chorus - Arlene Araki, Amy Jaeger, Gergory Mason, Analia Montany, Nani Moreman, Anna Northrop, Shannon Northrop, Terrence O'Brien, Toriana Rohan, Kevin Ruel, Ardeth Weed
Dancer Girls - Analia Montany, Nani Moreman, Shannon Northrop, Amy Jaeger
Cast of Characters
Cure: Friend of stu. Works to get Stu and Elemenope together. Secretly engaged to Elemenope.
Elemenope: Daughter of Sediefge. Excessively happy in all situations.
Sediefge (See-dee-ef-geh): Father of Elemenope. Town nobleman. Very protective of only child, Elemenope, unless tempted by "Worldly objects with optical attraction" (a.k.a. "jewels").
Xyze (Zi-zee): Wife of Sediefge.
Stu: A Peasant. In love with Elemenope.
Abie (ay-bee): A peasant girl. In love with Stu.
High Jack (a.k.a. Sir Bruswayne [Broo-swain]: A pirate who kidnaps Elemenope and Abie.
View: High Jack's first mate.
Tuthrie (Tooth-ree): A retired pirate.
The Statue: A statue of the town's founder, William Nineten. The statue reacts to the action in the play, but is never seen moving by the characters until the last scene.*
The Mysterious Off-stage Voice: 'Nuff said.
The Peasants/Three Dancer Girls/A Drunken Priest/Three Policemen
*A Note on the Statue: Stage directions for the Statue are intentionally vague, for there are a few ways that this character can be played. The author's original vision was an actor who would stand completely still throughout the play up until the moment when he speaks to Stu. However, in the original OPF production, the Statue reacted to what was going on on-stage and acted as a sort of "Greek solo." Either technique is equally effective and funny.
Musical Numbers
Act I:
The Show Must Go On - Cure, COMPANY
Smile - Elemenope
Watching Her - Stu, Abie
There is a Way - Cure, Stu
Worldly Objects With Optical Attraction - Sediefge
There's Only One Fish in the Sea For Me - Stu, Cure, Abie, View
I'll Go To The End of the World For Her - Stu
That is How You Win The Girls - (Tuthrie, Men)
Dance for Us! - Pirates
Smile (Reprise) - Abie, Elemenope
The Show Must Go On (Act I Finale) - COMPANY
Act II:
There He Is - Abie
Happy Day - Peasants, Sediefge, Xyze, Abie
Wordly Objects With Optical Attraction (Reprise II) - Sediefge, Xyze
I'll Go To The End of The World For Him - Abie
Wedding Plans - Elemenope, Sediefge, Xyze, Abie, Cure, Stu
There's a Wedding Today - COMPANY
Worldly Objects With Optical Attraction (Reprise II) - Sediefge
How Can I Go On? - Stu
Keep Your Head Up high - Statue
I'll Be There For You - Abie, Stu
The Show Must Go On (Act II Finale) - COMPANY

Reed 1: Piccolo, Flute, G Alto Flute, Bb Clarinet
Reed 2: Oboe, F English Horn
Reed 3: Flute, Bb & A Clarinet, Eb Alto Saxophone
Reed 4: Bb & A Clarinet, Bb Bass Clarinet, Bb Tenor Saxophone
Reed 5: Bassoon

1 F French Horn
3 Bb Trumpets
1 Tenor Trombone
1 Bass Trombone

Mallets: Bells, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Chimes, Steel Drums (Alto Pans), Timpani (3 Drums), Slide Whistle, Tambourine

Drum Set/Misc.: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Hi-Hat, Suspended Cymbals, Toms (Hi, Lo, Floor), Bell Tree, Suspended Triangle, Tambourine, Vibra Slap, Shaker, Bongos, Ratchet, Wind Machine

1 Guitar (Acoustic and Electric)

1 Harp

Keyboards: Piano, Celesta, Organ, Synthesizer

6 Violins
2 Violas
2 Celli
1 Bass (Double and Electric)

Also Check Out:
Dark Lord: The Musical
Sleepy Hollow
Return to Musical Theater
Return to Homepage

All Material on This Website is © 2001-2014 by Michael Daniel
All Rights Reserved

Michael Daniel on Facebook
Michael Daniel on Twitter
Michael Daniel on IMDB