City of Angels

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A smart and stylish film noir musical, Tony Award winner CITY OF ANGELS captures the gritty sights and sounds of Hollywood’s classic detective movies, all set to a brilliant, bluesy jazz score. In the late 1940s, Stine, a bookish writer of detective stories, struggles to adapt his crime novel into a workable screenplay. As Stine tries to maintain some integrity in the backstabbing world of Hollywood, his protagonist, a hardboiled private eye named Stone, fights for survival in a city full of criminals and opportunists.

In a brilliant design choice, the stories are told on a split stage: Stine’s world is in full color, while Stone’s appears in black and white. With wit, humor, and a fantastic Cy Coleman score, CITY OF ANGELS captures the snappy dialogue of a Raymond Chandler novel and the glitzy showmanship of classic Hollywood; the result is a crowd-pleasing musical unlike any other.

Music samples provided courtesy of First Night Records and Notable Music

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    Stone, a tough Los Angeles private eye, lies on a hospital gurney with a bullet in his shoulder and a lot on his mind. He flashes back to a week earlier, when his loyal Girl Friday secretary, Oolie, ushered in a rich, beautiful woman named Alaura. Alaura claims she wants Stone to find her missing stepdaughter, Mallory Kingsley, a beautiful “bad” girl. Against his better judgment, he takes the case.

    A man at a typewriter appears onstage, and Stone and Alaura suddenly back up, “rewind,” and play the scene with a few changes. The man at the typewriter is Stine, author of the popular detective novel City of Angels, which he is adapting into a screenplay at the behest of Hollywood producer/director Buddy Fidler. Stine’s wife Gabby has misgivings and wishes that he would stick to novels, but for now, Stine is enjoying the ride.

    We begin to see the interplay between “reality” and fiction as Gabby (in the real world) and Oolie (in the story-within-the-story) lament how their men won’t listen to them (“What You Don’t Know About Women”).

    Stone, alone in his dreary bungalow, is listening to the radio: Jimmy Powers and the Angel City 4 are singing “You Gotta Look Out For Yourself.” Two thugs break down his door, beat him up, and knock him out. Cut to Buddy Fidler reading this scene in the screenplay: we see that his secretary, Donna, is the model for Oolie, and that Buddy can’t help meddling with everything (“The Buddy System”).

    Stone is rudely awakened by Lieutenant Munoz, who was Stone’s partner on the force but now bears him a major grudge. Once, Stone loved a low-rent lounge singer named Bobbi, whom Stine based on Gabby (“With Every Breath I Take”). But Bobbi wanted stardom more than marriage, and when Stone caught her with a Hollywood producer (based on Buddy) tempers flared, a gun went off, and the producer was killed. Munoz has never forgiven Stone for “getting away with murder.”

    Stone, angry after the beating, confronts Alaura at her mansion and meets several more unsavory characters, including her lustful stepson, her polio-stricken elderly husband, and his quack doctor. Greed and malice hover like smog, but Alaura’s charms and bankroll keep Stone on the case (“The Tennis Song”). He fruitlessly pursues the missing Mallory in a scene that recalls a film montage (“Ev’rybody’s Gotta Be Somewhere”), only to find her waiting naked in his bed (“Lost And Found”). Stone somehow manages to resist temptation — which is more than can be said for his creator. After Gabby returns to New York, Stine takes comfort in Donna’s bed.

    A photographer breaks into Stone’s bungalow and snaps a picture of him with Mallory. She runs off with his gun, which is subsequently used to murder the quack doctor. Stone is framed for the killing; Munoz gleefully arrests him (“All You Have To Do Is Wait”).

    Stine is having a lousy time of it too. Buddy is butchering his script, his conscience is nagging him about his infidelity, and Stone, his own creation, is disgusted with him. The curtain falls with each of them arguing, to a swinging big-band accompaniment, “You’re Nothing Without Me.”

    Act II

    In a recording studio, Jimmy Powers and the Angel City 4 are singing “Stay With Me,” which then becomes a record playing in a bedroom that looks like Alaura’s, but actually belongs to Carla Haywood, Buddy’s wife, who will play Alaura in the movie.

    Stone languishes in jail, attended only by Oolie, who like her alter ego, Donna, is feeling used by men (“You Can Always Count On Me”). Stone is mysteriously bailed out, but the two hoods catch up with him and nearly blow him up before he neatly turns the tables.

    Stine has troubles of his own. Lonely at a Hollywood party of Buddy’s sycophants, including a Hollywood composer (“Alaura’s Theme”), Stine phones home only to find that Gabby has discovered that he cheated on her. He flies to New York with an elaborately prepared excuse, but she’s not buying it (“It Needs Work”).

    Stone, fighting to clear his name, is led to a brothel (“LA Blues”) where he is stunned to find Bobbi. We learn it was she who shot the producer; Stone has been covering for her all this time. Together, they face the wreckage of their love (“With Every Breath I Take”).

    In Hollywood, Stine is approached by a young starlet, Avril, who will be playing Mallory. She begs him to reconsider killing off Mallory near the end. He says he’ll think about it.

    Oolie, meanwhile, has discovered that Alaura is a fortune hunter who has already murdered one rich husband and is planning to do away with this one, once she had eliminated his son, daughter, and doctor. She tried to get her stepson, Peter, to kill the doctor and Mallory, but he couldn’t bring himself to kill. Stone confronts her at the mansion; they grapple for her gun; shots ring out. Alaura falls dead, Stone is gravely wounded, and we’re back where we started.

    But where does that leave Stine? Gabby has rejected him and his lover, Donna, has been rewriting his script. Stine faces the collapse of his real and fictive worlds, and as his emotions take over, his wit turns bitter (“Funny”). When Stine arrives on the movie set to find that Buddy’s name appears above his on the screenplay, and that the shallow crooner Jimmy Powers will play Stone, Stine boils over. With the “real” Stone, his conscience, finally leading him to make the right choice, he rages at Buddy, gets himself fired, and is about to get beat up by two security guards when Stone somehow appears at Stine’s typewriter and writes him the fighting skills of a superhero, then tacks on a “Hollywood ending” in which Gabby returns, forgiving all. Together they celebrate (“I’m Nothing Without You”) as the curtain falls.

  • CITY OF ANGELS
    Book by Larry Gelbart
    Music by Cy Coleman
    Lyrics by David Zippel
    Originally produced on Broadway by
    Nick Vanoff, Roger Berlind, Jujamcyn Theaters,
    Suntory International Corp. and The Shubert Organization

    The size of the billing given to the Authors shall be the same and shall in no event be less than fifty percent (50%) of the type size used for the title of the play, and the size of the billing given to the Producer shall in no event be less than twenty five percent (25%) of the type size used for the title of the play. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominently than the billing to the Authors, except for the title of the play and star(s) of the play billed above the title. The billing for the Authors shall appear immediately following the title of the play. In programs the billing for the Authors and Producer shall appear on the title page thereof.

    The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

    CITY OF ANGELS
    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company
    www.tamswitmark.com

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to https://tamswitmark.com/ on all websites on which you promote the play.

     

  • Full Orchestration

    2 Violin I (optional)
    1 Violin II (optional)
    1 Viola (optional)
    1 Cello (optional)
    1 Bass – acoustic and electric

    1 Reed I – Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Sax
    1 Reed II – Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Sax
    1 Reed III – Clarinet & Tenor Sax
    1 Reed IV – Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Baritone Sax

    2 Trumpets I & II (both double on Flugelhorn)
    1 Trumpets III (doubles on Flugelhorn)
    1 Trombone I (tenor)
    1 Trombone II (bass)

    1 Drums (trap set):

    Bass Drum
    Snare Drum (brushes/sticks/mallets)
    Tom Toms (4)
    Mark Tree
    Triangles (2 sizes)
    Gong
    Wood Block
    Cymbals:
    Suspended
    Ride
    Sizzle/Crash
    Hi-Hat (Sock)

    1 Percussion (mallet instruments):

    Gran Cassa
    Timpani (2 pedal drums)
    Conga Drums
    Glockenspiel (hard & soft mallets)
    Tubular Chimes
    Vibraphone
    Xylophone
    Marimba
    Castanets
    Maracas
    Tube Shaker
    Suspended Cymbal (w/mallets)
    Tam Tam
    Triangle(s)
    Mark Tree
    Glass Wind Chimes
    Wooden Wind Chimes
    Cow Bell
    Sandpaper Blocks
    Temple Blocks (w/clave)
    Typewriter (or Hotel) Bell

    1 Keyboard I – Piano
    1 Keyboard II – Synthesizer
    1 Guitar – acoustic and electric (optional)

    Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

  • Hollywood Cast … Movie Cast

    *Stine, a writer of fiction … (Himself)

    (Himself) … *Stone, Stine’s creation, Private Eye

    *Gabby, Stine’s wife … *Bobbi, Stone’s ex-wife

    *Donna, Buddy’s secretary … *Oolie, Stone’s secretary

    *Buddy Fidler, movie director/producer … Irwin S. Irving, a movie mogul

    Carla Haywood, Buddy’s wife … *Alaura Kingsley, a femme fatale

    Werner Kriegler, an actor … Luther Kingsley, Alaura’s husband

    Gerald Pierce, an actor … Peter Kingsley, Alaura’s stepson

    Avril Raines, a starlet … *Mallory Kingsely, Alaura’s Stepdaughter

    Pancho Vargas, an actor … *Lieutenant Munoz, a police detective

    Gene, an assistant director … *Officer Pasco, a policeman/Hospital orderly

    Stand-in, a studio employee … Margaret, a maid at the Kingsleys’

    Gilbert, a barber … Dr. Mandril, a religious leader

    Jimmy Powers, a movie crooner … Jimmy Powers, a movie crooner

    Studio Cop, a studio employee … Big Six, a thug

    Studio Cop, a studio employee … Sonny, a smaller thug

    Del Dacosta, a songwriter … *Mahoney, a reporter/Hospital orderly

    Cinematographer (Jack), a studio employee …*Harlan Yamato, county coroner

    Shoeshine, a studio employee … Commissioner Gaines, police commissioner

    Hairdresser, a studio employee/Anna a masseuse … Margie, a brothel keeper

    *Angel City Four, vocal quartet … *Angel City Four, vocal quartet

    Small speaking roles from chorus:

    Act I, Scene 7 (Movie)
    Radio Announcer’s Voice (OS)

    Act I, Scene 10 (Movie)
    Man’s Voice (OS), Cocktail Lounge M.C.

    Act II, Scene 1 (Hollywood)
    Recording Studio Engineer

    Act II, Scene 3 (Movie)
    Guard, L.A. County Jail

    Act II, Scenes 14 & 15 (Movie)
    Girl, a hooker
    Bootsie, a hooker

    Act II, Scene 19 (Hollywood)
    Nephew, to Buddy, studio employee
    Studio Prop Man
    Studio Sound Man
    Studio Clapperboy

    Non-speaking roles from chorus:

    Act I, Scene 10 (Movie)
    SMALL CROWD, patrons in the Cocktail Lounge

    Act 1, Scene 12 (Hollywood)
    Man, on the phone in a booth

    Act I, Scene 14 (Movie)
    Butler, Kingsley household staff

    Act I, Scene 18 (Movie)
    Man, photographer w/ flash camera

    Act II, Scene 1 (Hollywood)
    Crowd of Guests, at Buddy’s brunch
    Piano Player, guest at Buddy’s brunch

    Act II, Scene 19 (Hollywood)
    Movie, Cast & Crew – Full Company
    Bill, a lighting technician

    Chorus (SATB), Full Company

  • CITY OF ANGELS played for 879 performances on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre starring Gregg Edelman, James Naughton and Randy Graff.

    Awards (1990)

    6 Tony Awards for Musical, Book, Score, Set Design, Actor and Featured Actress.
    9 Drama Desk Awards for Musical, Book, Score, Lyrics, Set Design, Orchestration, Actor, Featured Actor and Featured Actress.
    3 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Broadway Musical; Director; and Set, Costume and Lighting Design.
    The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.

  • Act I

    1. Prologue: “City of Angels Theme” – Angel City Four
    1a. Stone on Gurney: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    2. Stone’s Office: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    3. Alaura’s Theme No. 1 – Orchestra
    4. “Double Talk (Stone)” – Stone
    4a. “Double Talk (Alaura & Stone)” – Alaura & Stone
    4b. Alaura’s Exit: Alaura’s Theme – Orchestra
    4c. “Double Talk (Buddy)” – Buddy
    4d. “Double Talk (Stine)” – Stine
    4e. Garden of Allah: Alaura’s Theme – Orchestra
    5. “What You Don’t Know About Women” – Gabby & Oolie
    6. “Stay With Me (Pre-Recorded)” – J. Powers & Angel City Four
    7. “You Gotta Look Out For Yourself (Pre-recorded)” – Angel City Four
    7a. “You Gotta Look Out For Yourself” – J. Powers & Angel City Four
    7b. Look Out, Stone: You Gotta Look Out For Yourself – Orchestra
    8. “The Buddy System” – Buddy
    8a. After Buddy: The Buddy System – Orchestra
    8b. Flashback To Breath: SFX – Orchestra
    9. “With Every Breath I Take” – Bobbi
    9a. After-With Ev’ry Breath – Orchestra
    9b. Sucker’s Wobble: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    9c. Donna A Baiser: What You Don’t Know About Women – Orchestra
    10. Pay Phone: L.A. Blues &7 The Buddy System – Orchestra
    10a. Alaura’s Rubdown: Alaura’s Theme – Orchestra
    10b. Multiple Doors: Alaura’s Theme – Orchestra
    11. “The Tennis Song” – Alaura & Stone
    12. “Everybody’s Gotta Be Somewhere” – Stone & Angel City Four
    13. “Lost and Found” – Mallory
    13a. Lost and Found: Furniture – Orchestra
    14. Flash Pictures: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    15. Stone Surrenders: SFX – Orchestra
    15a. Underscore: With Ev’ry Breath – Orchestra
    16. Buddy’s Massage: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    17. Morgue No. 2: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    18. “All You Have To Do Is Wait” – Munoz with Male Trio (Pasco, Mahoney, & Yamato)
    19. “You’re Nothing Without Me” – Stone & Stine

    Act II

    20. Entr’acte: City of Angels Theme & “Stay With Me” – J. Powers & Angel City Four
    21. “Stay With Me No. 2” – J. Powers & Angel City Four
    22. “Stay With Me No. 3 (Pre-recorded)” – J. Powers & Angel City Four
    22a. Jail Cell No. 1: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    23. “You Can Always Count On Me” – Oolie/Donna
    24. Nondescript Noodle: You Can Always Count On Me – Piano Solo Underscore
    24a. “Double Talk (Brunch)” – Buddy & Chorus
    24b. More Nondescript: All You Have To Do Is Wait – Piano Solo Underscore
    24c. What You Don’t Know About Women – Piano Solo Underscore
    24d. Jail Cell No. 2: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    24e. Lost and Found – Piano Solo Underscore
    24f. The Tennis Song – Piano Solo Underscore
    24g. All Tied Up: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    24h. Stone’s Amazing Escape: City of Angels Theme – Orchestra
    24j. Stay With Me (Party) – Piano Solo Underscore
    24k. You Gotta Look Out For Yourself – Piano Solo Underscore
    24l. Del Experiments: “Alaura’s Theme” – Chorus
    25. “This Is Alaura’s Theme” – Chorus
    25a. The Kiss: “Alaura’s Theme” – Chorus
    25b. Shoot First: Double Talk – Orchestra
    25c. New York City: It Needs Work – Orchestra
    26. “It Needs Work” – Gabby
    27. To Margie’s Place/Red Room: L.A. Blues – Orchestra
    28. Duet: “With Ev’ry Breath I Take” – Stone & Bobbi
    29. Oolie’s Last Telephone Call: Alaura’s Theme – Orchestra
    30. Alaura’s Heartbeat: Alaura’s Theme – Orchestra
    31. Three Gun Shots/Two Clients: Alaura’s Theme – Orchestra
    32. “Funny” – Stine
    32a. Stone’s Entrance – Orchestra
    33. Fight With The Cops: You’re Nothing Without Me – Orchestra
    34. “I’m Nothing Without You” – Stine, Stone, Gabby, & Full Company
    35. Bows: I’m Nothing Without You – Orchestra
    36. Exit Music: Double Talk – Orchestra

  • Find upcoming performances near you.

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    Organization City, State First Performance Last Performance
    Ridgewood High School Ridgewood, NJ 03/21/2019 03/24/2019
    St. Paul Jewish Community Center Saint Paul, MN 03/21/2019 03/24/2019
    Larchmont Charter School at LaFayette Park Place Los Angeles, CA 03/26/2019 03/28/2019
    Dulaney High School Linthicum Heights, MD 03/28/2019 03/30/2019
    Fairfield Warde High School Fairfield, CT 05/03/2019 05/05/2019
    Arts at Angeloria's Southington, CT 05/31/2019 06/09/2019
    11th Hour Theatre Company Philadelphia, PA 06/07/2019 06/08/2019
    Flyleaf Theater Company Acton, MA 06/21/2019 06/30/2019
    Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts Toronto, ON 08/01/2019 08/11/2019
    SEM Company 08/06/2019 10/20/2019