Jimmy – Original Broadway Cast 1969
It is New York City. The Roaring ’20s. A time of boom and bust. Stock-market euphoria. Prohibition and speakeasies. The tempo of living is quick and questionable. The pursuit of pleasure tenacious. The city is ablaze with peccable illusions. Swathed in dilemma. Polka-dotted with double-talk. Custom-tailored politicos dip deep into the moola. Hoodwink unabashed. It is a world stuffed with chickenhearts and chicanery, overtures and undertones, split-level ballot boxes. There are short–comings and shorter memories. The big parade races down the Big Apple. And leading the no–nsense search for lavish living is an incandescent personality, His Honor James J. Walker, Mayor. This is “Jimmy.” Ex-songwriter. Ex-state senator. Extravagant. A monument to grandiloquent style. He runs a permissive administration, a town into the ground, a talent into a disaster. He is flamboyant. Faithful to his carnival credo, he is the headliner of the whirlwind Walker Years. But he was cheered and cherished by New Yorkers. The feelings were clearly stated by Gene Fowler in his biography Beau James: Th Life and Times of Jimmy Walker, from which this musical play was adapted. Gene’s affectionate words read: “The memory of him is green. The love for him is warm. He is a legend now, and when you ride in the taxicabs on the streets in New York, if you ask who best typified the heart of the greatest city in the Western world, you are bound to hear the name Jimmy Walker. And the smile that goes with the utterance of that name makes you feel warm and fine and for–giving all day long.”* ACT I It is 1932. The S.S. Conte Grande heads down the Hudson to Europe. A lone figure stares across the rail, lovingly drinking in the Manhattan skyline. This is Jimmy Walker, voluntary dropout from the mayoralty. He enjoyed his career of kicking up his heels. Then stumbled on his conscience. Now he is self-exiled (Will You Think of Me Tomorrow?). Turn back to 1925. Jimmy is a full-time playboy and sometime politician. A state senator with a seat in Albany and an apartment in New York with lots of women to go along with it. He is about to make his own contact with a constituent when Governor AI Smith and Tammany Boss Jim Hines arrive. The Party is in trouble. They seek a nominee for New York Mayor. Walker, like it or no, is the selectee. He has doubts. It will upset his social activities. An up–standing mayor should be with his wife, and he and his wife, Allie, have been separated for years. But Allie arrives to forgive and promises cooperation if he will run. He says he will (The Little Woman). There is a get-together at Tammany Hall. The Party is behind Jimmy. So are the clubhouse boys and girls, dreaming of their cut (The Darlin’ of New York). At Texas Guinan’s a young woman auditions for a spot in the chorus line. This is Betty Compton. She has just arrived from out of town and needs the job (Oh, Gee!). Betty is hired. That evening Jimmy, Allie and the camp followers arrive at Guinan’s. The speakeasy swings. That’s what Jimmy likes about it. The mayoral candidate is recognized and the party tempo accelerates (The Walker Walk). Jimmy and Betty meet on the dance floor while she performs in the line. There is a raid. A Federal raid. Jimmy and Betty cut out– – he to save his reputation, she to save herself from jail. Betty leads Jimmy to her apartment where he must calm an ulcer attack and she must calm his amorous attack. The small-town girl isn’t ready for that kind of thing (That Old Familiar Ring). Election Day comes and it’s a landslide for Jimmy. The party workers, the political leaders and the clubhouse crowd celebrate (The Walker Walk). Now that Jimmy is mayor, he and Allie try to dissolve the separa–tion. He moves back home for the first time in years. He thinks he may even enjoy home life again and tries to cement the relationship with Allie. They try. Heaven knows they try. But it’s a fiasco. Allie freezes and Jimmy leaves her again, permanently (I Only Wanna Laugh). Jimmy is installed as mayor. It’s his first day in office and he learns the facts of political life. The backroom boys and the big-time contributors want jobs and payoffs. Jimmy doesn’t like the picture, but threats of blackmail and character assassination change his attitude. Jim Hines points out the wisdom of playing along. But Jimmy’s conscience bothers him. He appoints a Republican reporter as his executive assistant, hoping it will help. Meanwhile, Jimmy has half the town searching for Betty Compton. She is finally found working as a waitress in an uptown tea shop. When she shows up at his City Hall headquarters, she tells him she resents the reputation she’s gotten without reason: The world thinks she’s his. He offers her the role, but she turns him down. Betty still doesn’t like temporary arrangements and walks out. Jimmy isn’t sure he can evaluate his first day in office with enthusiasm (What’s Out There for Me?). But Betty is in love. So is Jimmy. She rushes back to his office, willing now to be his any way he wants her. She “can’t fight City Hall.” ACT II The years have rushed by. It is 1929. Jimmy and Betty are still a pair, though Allie refuses to give him a divorce. The city knows the story but it’s still satto voce. Jimmy and Betty have tried to be discreet. Betty is starring in a show and lives on Riverside Drive. Jimmy meets a host of his constituents on the Drive. They’re happy to see him in their neighborhood – in any neighborhood (Riverside Drive). Jimmy is showering in Betty’s apartment when her mother unex–pectedly arrives. She sees Jimmy in the buff. Then, surprisingly, she approves of Betty’s relationship. Mother tells daughter there’s more love right there than she found in a lifetime with her husband. After her mother leaves, Betty and Jimmy turn to the constant subject: marriage, and how long can she go on without it. But when Jimmy learns the “crash” has wiped him out, Betty offers him her savings. She’s that much in love (The Squabble Song). Election Day again. Jimmy and Allie show up together for appear–ance’s sake. It’s the first time they’ve been together in months. He asks for a divorce once more, but is turned down by Allie. But the voters turn up for him, and Jimmy wins the mayoral race again. That night there is a victory celebration at the Central Park Casino. All the important people are there: AI Smith, Jim Hines, Church leaders, tycoons, et al. Jimmy is late, as usual (Will You Think of Me Tomorrow?). When he does arrive, he comes with Betty, rather than with Mrs. Walker. Though the whole town has talked for years, the shock is too much. Everybody walks out leaving Jimmy and Betty alone in the Casino (One in a Million). The power structure around town deserts Jimmy. His Central Park Casino escapade has turned them all off. The rats are coming out of the woodwork and hands are caught in the tills. The governor, upset by the aroma of the city administration, orders an investigation. The Seabury Committee digs into the goings-on. The political cronies turn tail. Links to underworld characters are revealed, crooked cops are exposed and Judge Crater disappears. Jimmy is on his own. The backroom boys back out on the run (It’s a Nice Place to Visit). Betty is subpoenaed. Jim Hines feels that if she is called as a witness the entire Party will fall. Hines gives her two tickets to Havana and tells her to get out of town, without Jimmy. Betty resists. Allie arrives to convince her that it’s the only way to save Jimmy. Betty is surprised that Allie cares enough to be concerned (The Charmin’ Son-of-a-Bitch). But Betty is convinced. Jimmy shows up and tries to change her mind, but Betty won’t buy it. She sends Jimmy away. It’s marriage or out, she says (Jimmy). After Jimmy leaves, Betty tries to commit suicide, but can’t. When platonic friend Eddie Dowling finds her, she thinks of another way out and asks him to marry her. He is persuaded. Off they go to Havana with the tickets gifted by Jim Hines. When Jimmy rushes back to the dressing room to make a final appeal, it’s empty. Betty is gone. Betty and Eddie marry. The investigation continues. Jimmy fights his own case. And wins. There’s a victory celebration at Washington Square and a parade (Our Jimmy). At City Hall Jimmy is told that Betty’s marriage lasted only twenty-one days. He takes the news quietly. The events have overwhelmed him. Now Allie tells him she will finally give him a divorce, since this time he didn’t ask for it. The past has caught up with Jimmy’s spirit. He’s tired of the turmoil, the backrooms, the political battles. Most of all, he’s tired of the job and the loneliness. He goes to Yankee Stadium where he makes a farewell speech and resigns from office. It’s been fun, but he’s had it (Life Is a OneWay Street). The S.S. Conte Grande is moving slowly down the Hudson on it’s way to Europe. A lone figure stares across the rail, lovingly drinking in the Manhattan skyline. This is Jimmy Walker. Self-exile. Alone. But he isn’t that much alone. As the ship moves down river another figure appears. It’s Betty Compton, divorced and devoted and going along for the ride (Will You Think of Me Tomorrow?). – Mort Goode * Copyright 1949 by Gene Fowler. Reprinted by permission of The Viking Press, Inc.
CAST Jimmy Walker – Frank Gorshin Bonnie – Cindi Bulak Jim Hines – Jack Collins Al Smith – William Griffis Allie Walker – Julie Wilson Francis Xavier Aloysius O’Toole – Edward Becker Lawrence Horatio Fink – Stanley Simmonds Antonio Viscelli – Paul Forrest Stanislaus Kazimir Wojciezkowski – Henry Lawrence Mrs. Al Smith – Peggy Hewett Miss Manhattan – Sally Neal Miss Bronx – Andrea Duda Miss Brooklyn – Carol Conte Miss Richmond – Nancy Dalton Miss Queens – Cindi Bulak Stage Manager – Gary Gendell Betty Compton – Anita Gillette Texas Guinan – Dorothy Claire Edward Duryea Dowling – Larry Douglas Warrington Brock – Clifford Fearl Charley Hand – Evan Thompson Moe – Del Horstmann Izzy – Carl Nicholas Policeman – Herb Fields Photographers – Andy G. Bew, Tony Stevens Secretary – Barbara Andres Reporter Frank Newell Tailor – Carl Nicholas Politicians – Del Horstmann, Ben Laney, Joe McGrath Girl in fur coat – Carol Conte Policeman – Ben Laney Passerby – Sandi McCreadle Mrs. Compton – Sibyl Bowan Band Vocalist – Joseph McGrath Process Server – John D. Anthony Recorded impersonations – Dwight Weist Singing Ensemble: Barbara Andres, Gini Eastwood, Barbara Gregory, Peggy Hewett, Mary Louise, Sandi McCreadle, Claire Theiss, Roberta Vatske; John D. Anthony, Edward Becker, Austin Colyer, Herb Fields, Paul Forrest, Del Horstmann, Ben Laney, Henry Lawrence, Joe McGrath, Carl Nicholas. Music & Lyrics: Bill & Patti Jacob Based on the novel Beau James by Gene Fowler and the screenplay by Jack Rose and Melville Shavelson Book: Melville Shavelson Publisher: TRO-Dartmouth/Riverside Drive (ASCAP) Musical Direction and Vocal Arrangements: Milton Rosenstock Musical Arrangements: Jack Andrews Dance Arrangements: John Berkman Musical Numbers Staged by Peter Gennaro Directed by Joseph Recorded November 2, 1969, at RCA Studio “C” in New York City Recording Engineer: Ernest Oelrich Produced for records by Andy Wiswell Original album: LSO-1162, released December, 1969