MainStreet Musicals

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Main Street Musicals

 

MainStreet Evaluations

The Spirit of River City (1112F)

| script | score | snap shot | cast description | synopsis |

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SnapShot

  • TITLE OF WORK: The Spirit of River City
  • SELECT ONE: Original
  • MUSICAL STYLE: Broadway,
  • NATURE: Comedy,
  • INTENDED AUDIENCE: General
  • STRUCTURE: Spoken dialogue with occasional songs
  • APPROXIMATE DURATION (Hrs/Min): 2/10
  • DESIRED INSTRUMENTATION: keyboard, drums, bass, trumpet, flute, banjo, oboe
  • BRIEFLY STATE THE THEME or MESSAGE: It's never too late to have second chances.
  • NUMBER OF SETS: 1

Cast Description

THE PLAYERS  (IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE)

TEN ANGEL CLERKS, dressed in white

TEN NEW HEAVENLY ARRIVALS, dressed in black

ELDER MEREDITH, Meredith Willson, an 82-year-old in heaven

MEREDITH WILLSON, 16-year-old son of John and Rosalie Willson

HAROLD KEIDLE, one of Meredith’s friends

INKY WIGGLESWORTH, another of Meredith’s friends

CHARLIE HAVERDEGRAIN, a lisping, red-haired, heavy-set friend of Meredith’s

MARIAN MCGUIRE, cheerleader in her teens

PEGGY WILSON, a cheerleader

CHEERLEADER, in her teens

SQUIZ HAZELTON, old man who sits on a bench

SCATTERGOOD BAINES, another old benchsitter

CLARENCE WEATHERBEE, another old benchsitter

HOMER RODEHEAVER, another old benchsitter 

ROSALIE WILLSON, Meredith’s mother, in her early 40’s

JOHN WILLSON, Meredith Willson’s father, in his early 40’s

DIXIE WILLSON, Meredith’s 14-year-old sister

ZI LING, 16-year old Chinese girl who works in a laundry

GAO PEI, laundry owner

REVEREND RINSENHAUSER, 50-ish pastor.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG, as a young man

PHONE TENDER,music union hall clerk 

JIM SCHLICT, clarinet player

GIUSEPPE, trombone player 

SPANKY, mummer banjo player 

LASZLO,accordion player 

MACTAVISH, trumpet player

HOXIE, 16-year old black banjo player

JULIO, 16-year old Mexican banjo player

RUNNING FEATHER,  stone-faced 16-year-old Shoshone banjo player.

JOHN PHILIP SOUSA, age 74 

CABLE CAR PASSENGERS

MASON CITY TOWNSPEOPLE

FARMER, as in American Gothic

FARMER’s DAUGHTER, as in American Gothic.

[MANY ROLES ARE DOUBLED]
Vocal categories and ranges come after auditioning at which point we change the key of any songs to adapt to the best singers’ ranges.

Chorus Requirements: The script clearly indicates which songs involve entire
choruses. The size of the chorus will be determined by budget. Many of the chorus songs are in 3 or 4 part harmony, so that will dictate the minimum number of people in a given production number.

Synopsis

On June 15, 1984, Meredith Willson, finds himself in a bureaucratic heaven, populated by clerks dressed in white, wearing white eyeshades, hustling new arrivals through their processing. . In the Remorse Department, he shares his deep regrets over his poor relationship with his father. They whisk him back to 1928, to Mason City to invisibly persuade his 16-year old self  to fix things up.  Meredith’s father, John Willson had never acknowledged Meredith’s musical achievements, even on his death bed. Young Meredith is more focused on getting his songs on the radio.

John has lost his silver tongue and relives his playing next to John Philip Sousa in the World War I Victory Parade. To bolster membership in his dwindling Mason City High School band,  he pesters Meredith to take up the trombone. Meredith takes up the banjo, incurring the ire of his father. Mere hears on the radio that his idol, Sousa, is in San Francisco.  He runs away from home.

In San Francisco, Meredith falls in love with a laundry worker, Zi Ling, an indentured servant. He forms a banjo band with three runaways. He finds Sousa, who helps him with a march he’s been writing.  Sousa informs him he was not in the Victory Parade, and Meredith realizes his father has been lying.

Back in Mason City, with Zi Ling and the banjo band, Meredith  confronts his father about Sousa. John’s newfound eloquence, Meredith’s new march and fast thinking enable the Mason City Mohawks to win a battle of the bands, and most importantly, for Meredith to reconcile with his father. Through his interactions with his younger self, Elder Meredith learns you always have more choices in life than you thought.

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