It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman®


Up, up and away! Superman and his comic book cohorts fly into action… from Metropolis to your theatre!

Campy, dynamic, and larger than life, IT’S A BIRD… IT’S A PLANE… IT’S SUPERMAN® captures the sights and sounds of 1960s New York City as Superman battles a vengeful scientist determined to destroy the world’s symbol of good. Meanwhile, Daily Planet writer Lois Lane struggles to make sense of her rocky romance with the superhero, and Lois’ ambitious coworker Max vows to make a name for himself by unveiling the Man of Steel’s secret identity.

Music samples provided courtesy of Masterworks Broadway and Strada Music Co.

  • Synopsis
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • It seems like a typical day in Metropolis: some bank robbers attempt to knock over the local vault, Superman flies out of the sky and captures them, and the citizens feel wonderfully safe. But there are darker plots brewing.

    After Superman tells the audience about his credo (I’ll never stop doing good), he changes into his disguise, that of mild-mannered Shipping News reporter Clark Kent. At the Daily Planet, the newspaper where he works, Clark once again is rebuffed by the beautiful girl reporter Lois Lane who has eyes only for Superman. Unfortunately, Lois is the victim of unrequited love.

    On this particular day, there arrives a visitor in great perturbation. He is Dr. Abner Sedgwick, renowned nuclear genius from M.I.T. and he tells Lois that he must get Superman immediately to halt an atomic reactor which has gone out of control.

    Superman (who overheard the problem with his super-hearing) arrives at M.I.T. and enters the radioactive chamber and soon sets it aright. Sedgwick confesses to the audience that he is a miserable ten-time Nobel Prize loser and has attempted to destroy Superman as his revenge on the world. Back at the Daily Planet, gossip columnist Max Mencken has concocted a plan to reveal the identity of Superman to the world, thus making himself the town’s real hero. He has gathered together the six most likely Superman suspects and planted a ticking bomb in the office. Fortunately, Clark Kent wanders into the room and is able to stop the danger without revealing himself.

    In the meantime, Sedgwick demolishes the City Hall, and the public, led by Max, turns against Superman. The Man of Steel is crushed by this fickle behavior, and all the more so when Lois stops by to give him a friendly brush-off. The only thing left for him is to try to enjoy being Clark Kent. Sedgwick constructs a mammoth computer called Braniac 7 to aid him in uncovering Superman’s secret identity, but the machine comes up with the wrong answer: Max Mencken. After Max and Sedgwick meet, the error is discovered, and the two decide to join up in villainy. Max tricks his secretary into inviting Clark to a party, having guessed that Clark is the real Superman, and when the party turns out to be a trap at an abandoned warehouse, all seems lost. Lois has been kidnapped and held hostage, so there is nothing Clark can do but admit everything and listen to Sedgwick. There follows the complete and total psychoanalysis of Superman, in which the evil doctor completely brainwashes our hero by questioning his values. Superman is crushed and beaten.

    Finally Superman comes to his senses. He does so in a spectacular fight which ends in the death of Sedgwick (fried on a hot wire) and the final humiliation for Max. Max tries to tell people that Clark is Superman, but no one will believe a word of it. And for Lois comes, at last, a confession of a sort of super-love from the Man of Steel himself.

    Music by Charles Strouse
    Lyrics by Lee Adams
    Book by David Newman and Robert Benton
    (Based Upon the Comic Strip “SUPERMAN”)
    Broadway Production Produced by Harold Prince
    in association with Ruth Mitchell
    Directed for the Broadway Stage by Harold Prince

    Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits 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:

    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • Full Orchestration:

    1 Reed I: Piccolo, Flute & Clarinet
    1 Reed II: Flute & Clarinet
    1 Reed III: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet (or Tenor Sax.) & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Tenor Saxophone
    1 Reed V: Clarinet, Bassoon (or Baritone Sax.) & Baritone Saxophone

    2 Trumpet I & II
    1 Trumpet III
    1 Trombone I
    1 Trombone II
    1 Bass Trombone III & Tuba
    2 Percussion I & II:

    Timpani(2 drums)
    Snare Drum
    Bass Drum
    Tom Toms
    Conga Drum
    Bongo Drums
    Temple Blocks
    Cymbals (large & small suspended)
    Wood Block
    Hi-hat Cymbals
    Finger Cymbals
    Chinese Crash Cymbals
    Hand Cymbals
    Tam Tams (large & small)
    Bell Tree
    Elephant Bells

    Organ-Celeste (Organ-conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material)
    1 Bass

    Optional, Additional Parts

    Viola I & II

  • Rehearsal Materials

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

  • Principals

    Superman/Clark Kent – Kryptonian/Daily Planet Writer
    Lois Lane – Daily Planet Reporter
    Jim Morgan – Scientist
    Dr. Abner Sedgwick – Physicist
    Max Mencken – Daily Planet Columnist
    Sydney – Daily Planet Secretary
    Perry White – Daily Planet Editor
    The Flying Lings (Father and 5 Sons) – Chinese Acrobats
    Kenneth Banghart – Daily Planet Film Narrator


    Citizens of Metropolis, M.I.T. Students, City Hall Guide, Policemen, Crooks, Suspects, Bank Guard, Tourists, Photographers and Planet Employees

    The original Broadway production had a cast of 34, including chorus. Some doubling was employed in minor parts.

  • “IT’S A BIRD… IT’S A PLANE… IT’S SUPERMAN®” played for 129 performances on Broadway at the Alvin Theatre starring Jack Cassidy, Patricia Marand, Linda Lavin, Michael O’Sullivan and Don Chastain.

  • ACT I

    1. Overture – Orchestra
    2. Robbery – Orchestra
    3. “Doing Good” – Superman
    4. “We Need Him” – Lois, Max, Clark, & Chorus
    5. Planet change – Orchestra
    6. “Superman” – Lois
    7. Planet Change – Orchestra
    7a. Flying Music – Orchestra
    8. “We Don’t Matter At All” – Lois & Jim
    9. “Revenge” – Sedgwick
    10. Daily Planet – Orchestra
    11. “Woman For The Man” – Max
    12. “You’ve Got Possibilities” – Sydney
    13. Cue Music – Orchestra
    14. “What I’ve Always Wanted” – Lois
    15. “Revenge”: Reprise – Sedgwick
    16. Planet change – Orchestra
    17. “Ling Dance” – The Lings
    18. Daily Planet – Orchestra
    19. Flying Music – Orchestra
    20. Change Music – Orchestra
    21. Finale Act One: “It’s Super Nice” —Chorus

    ACT II

    22. Entr’acte – Orchestra
    23. “So Long, Big Guy” – Max
    24. Change Music – Orchestra
    25. “Strongest Man” – Superman
    26. Strongest Change – Orchestra
    27. “Ooh, Do You Love You” – Sydney
    28. Tag: Ooh, Do You Love You – Sydney
    29. “You’ve Got What I Need” – Sedgwick & Max
    30. “Meanwhile” – All principals & Chorus
    31. Weirdo Music – Organ Solo
    32. Change Music – Orchestra
    33. “I’m Not Finished Yet” – Lois
    34. “Pow! Bam! Zonk!” – Superman & Lings
    35. Flying Music – Orchestra
    36. Finale Ultimo – Orchestra
    37. Bows – Chorus
    38. Exit Music – Orchestra

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