Ragtime: Abridged


                                  RAGTIME ABRIDGED
                                         OR
                                  LES AMERICANBLES
                                                          By Gil Varod






            SCENE: THE NEIL SIMON THEATER...


                                   ...where they've stolen one catwalk
                                   from every single Broadway theater so
                                   they can keep claiming that this
                                   production is "stripped down".


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            In 1994, Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb directed company
            accountants to falsify Livent's records to boost its earnings
            to the tune of half a billion dollars.
            And it seemed, for some time thereafter, Ahrens and Flaherty
            would be relegated to off-Broadway musicals or, worse,
            "Seussical".


                                   WASPS 
            La, la la la la!


                                   RON BOHMER
            Father was well off.  Very well off, for a man who was best
            known for replacing the lead in "Scarlet Pimpernel" and being
            the secondary bad guy in "Woman in White".  Yep, Lloyd
            Webber's had a new musical on Broadway recently.  I forgot
            too!


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            The land of "Jekyll and Hyde" fanatics was Mother's Domain. 
            She took pleasure in not having to sing Frank Wildhorn crap
            anymore, and often told herself how fortunate she was to
            finally be in a musical that allowed for simple things, like
            "having your character perform plot-related actions".


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
            Mother's... Younger Brother...
            was a man...
            in search of...
            a way to not deliver...
            his lines in a...
            really weird off-kilter rhythm...
            like he was...
            Spring Awakening's John Gallagher Jr...
            or...
            yeah.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            In Harlem, Men and Women of color forgot their troubles and
            excused the fact that Coalhouse Walker, Act Two's main
            driving force, didn't appear in the plot at all for the first
            half hour.


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            One young woman was freaked out that she had to fill Audra
            McDonald's shadow!  Her name was Sarah.... no!  Audra's name
            wasn't Sarah!  Audra's name was Audra!  I mean IS Audra! 
            Audra McDonald's not dead!  Oh shoot I've already killed it
            haven't I?!?


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            In Latvia, a man dreamed of a new world known as The American
            Musical, a place where his daughter was the one girl from
            "13" lucky enough to not be in Bye Bye Birdie, and where
            famous people were pointlessly trotted out for vague name
            recognition.


                                   BOOKER T. WASHINGTON,   
                                   HARRY HOUDINI, J.P. MORGAN,
                                   HENRY FORD, EMMA GOLDMAN,
                                   ADMIRAL ROBERT E. PEARY,
                                   MATTHEW HENSON, EVELYN
                                   NESBIT, STANFORD WHITE,
                                   HARRY K. THAW, HOUDINI'S
                                   MOM, AND THE CAT IN THE HAT
                          (singing)
            WE'LL POP UP HERE AND THERE
            AND YOU'LL NEVER KNOW WHERE
            WHO OR WHAT WE MIGHT BE!


                                   STANDFORD WHITE,         
                                   HARRY K. THAW             
                                   AND HOUDINI'S MOM
            Oh wait... no, not us.  We've been cut.  I guess we were
            gratuitous.


                                   ALBERT EINSTEIN
                          (sympathizing)
            Heck, that's never stopped any of the other American History
            characters in this show.


                                   HENRY FORD
            I'm not cut from this show because I'm the tip-top!  All men
            are created equal, but the cream rises to the top!


                                   J.P. MORGAN
            Henry, did you just have two lines in a row that end in
            "top"?


                                   HENRY FORD
            Terrence McNally couldn't have *possibly* written such a
            strange mistake, such prose wouldn't rise to the top!


                                   J.P. MORGAN
            Please stop that.


                                   HENRY FORD
            Sure, I'll prioritize your request to the tippy top!


                                   J.P. MORGAN
            Grr.


                                   Suddenly everyone hops onto a SOUL
                                   TRAIN and gets ready to do a do-si-doe! 
                                   Then they follow each other around the
                                   stage in straight lines and 90 degree
                                   angles.


                                   They are divided into the 3 TYPES OF
                                   PEOPLE that existed back in early 1900s
                                   America.  White People:


                                   WASPS
            We are rich!


                                   African Americans Who Live in Harlem:


                                   BLACK PEOPLE
            We are poor!


                                   And People In The Cast Of 
                                   "Fiddler On the Roof":


                                   FIDDLER CAST
                          (stomping ground while shaking
                           their arms in the
                           stereotypical air)
            Every day is a bottle dance!


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            You know what sucks about Ahrens and Flaherty opening
            numbers?  It's five minutes--


                                   RON BOHMER
            Twelve to sixteen.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            It's twelve to sixteen minutes in, and you know the rest of
            the show won't ever be better than that.


                                   RON BOHMER
            When Ahrens and Flaherty get to the point where their songs
            are "Sondheimed"--e.g. mined for endless revues--I'd like my
            name thrown in for directing "OPENING NUMBERS ONLY: THE BEST
            OF AHRENS AND FLAHERTY."


                                   AHRENS AND FLAHERTY
            Sure, let's do it in the basement of Lincoln Center.  They're
            basically our bitch now.






            SCENE: FATHER IS LEAVING TO GO DISCOVER THE NORTH POLE.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            You're seriously ditching us for a whole year?


                                   RON BOHMER
            Oh, Mother.  Nothing changes in a year, WINK WINK, NUDGE
            NUDGE, SAY NO MORE.
            But: I'll miss you so while I'm off exploring the North Pole.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            So then don't go.


                                   RON BOHMER
            Ha ha ha ha.
            Anyway, goodbye wife.  I'll think of you when I'm having sex
            with an Eskimo in the book.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Eww.


                                   Ron departs without saying I LOVE YOU,
                                   in case you weren't sure yet whether
                                   he's a TERRIBLE HUSBAND.


                                   ADMIRAL ROBERT E. PEARY
            Ron, this is my First Black Officer, Mr. Matthew Henson.


                                   MATTHEW HENSON
                          (putting out his hand to shake)
            Nice to meet you--


                                   RON BOHMER
            Oh, sorry, can't.  
                          (points to self)
            Very Racist.


                                   Everyone sings a long throaty ballad.


                                   Don't forget to park and/or bark!


                                   RON BOHMER
            Hey, what's that Robert Petkoff-looking character out there? 
            It's hard to see because I'm so impossibly far upstage.


                                   MATTHEW HENSON
            That's the man who marries and fornicates with your wife
            after you die.


                                   RON BOHMER
                          (pointing to self)
            See this?  STILL RACIST.






            SCENE: BOBBY STEGGERT GOES TO VISIT EVELYN NESBIT.


                                   Evelyn Nesbit swings back and forth
                                   using a JUSTICE SCALE as her swing.  


                                   +1 for Cleverness.


                                   -2 for Not Understanding When A
                                   Character Could Be Cut Out Without
                                   Missing Anything Important.


                                   EVELYN NESBIT
            Evelyn Nesbit was the most popular woman in America.  If she
            wore her hair in painfully unrealistic looking curls,
            everybody wore their hair in painfully unrealistic looking
            curls.  
            If she dressed like a pirate in Act Two for no particular
            reason, everyone dressed like a pirate in Act Two for no
            particular reason.  
            If she was the lead in Rock of Ages before being bumped by
            both Amy Spanger and Kerry Butler--at separate times!--
            then EVERYONE WAS THE LEAD IN ROCK OF AGES BEFORE BEING
            BUMPED BY BOTH AMY SPANGER AND KERRY BUTLER AT SEPARATE
            TIMES! 
            WHEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGH!


                                   Crappy vaudeville commences in the
                                   background.  Ah, American History!


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
            Mother's Younger Brother was tired of speaking in the third
            person.
                          (to Evelyn)
            I'm going to change the world for you!


                                   EVELYN NESBIT
            You've apparently mistaken us for Jodi Foster and John
            Hinckley Jr., but no matter, I'll give you a kiss.


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
            That'll do for now, so long as Emma Goldman still massages
            you sexually while I hide in the closet watching and playing
            with myself, my discharge inevitably landing on you in the
            end.


                                   EVELYN NESBIT
            WHAT. ARE. YOU. TALKING. ABOUT.


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
                          (hands her a copy of E.L.
                           Doctorow's "Ragtime")


                                   EVELYN NESBIT
                          (skims through early chapters)
            Holy shit.
                          (to audience)
            And that right there should end the argument "this doesn't
            stick close enough to the book".  
            For all dramatic works.  
            Forever.






            SCENE: NEW ROCHELLE.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Let's see, here I am, all alone.  My husband just left for
            the North Pole just a mere hour ago and--


                                   LITTLE BLACK BABY      
                                   BURIED IN HER GARDEN
                          (being found)
            Wah.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Ha!  Figures.


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            Why is that little black baby in our garden, Mother?
            Are black people in New Rochelle just too poor to know the
            difference between a garden and a dumpster?


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            I'm starting to think Father leaving may have been a good
            thing.






            SCENE: A PLACE WHERE GIANT GATES DON'T CRASH DOWN ANYMORE.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            I've decided to start out making money by selling drawings on
            the streets rather than attempting a real job.


                                   The cast of Fiddler on the Roof walks
                                   back and forth on the stage endlessly
                                   in what still passes for "Choreography"
                                   in your Playbill.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            Hmm.  I wonder why I'm not making money?  


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            Probably because even a "stripped down" version still has 40
            people.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            You... you didn't understand my question at all.


                                   He tries even harder at Artist-ing, but
                                   instead he accidentally summons J.P.
                                   Morgan.


                                   J.P. MORGAN
            Hi everyone.  Remember me?  From History?


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            What are you doing here?


                                   J.P. MORGAN
            The Cast of Fiddler promised they'd let me crush them while I
            stand on a platform.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            No, we don't really do that anymore.  In any production. 
            Ever.


                                   J.P. MORGAN
            But there're an awful lot of platforms.  Can't just one move
            up and down?


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            You apparently don't understand the concept of "stripped
            down".


                                   DIRECTOR MARCIA      
                                   MILGROM DODGE
            Yes, only *I* get to be the arbitrator for what is "stripped
            down" or not.


                                   J.P. MORGAN
            Well now I'm confused as to what I'm doing here!


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            WHY IS EVERYTHING SO HARD!


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            When you feel dejected, just think of me.  I used to be an
            immigrant!


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            You said that twice already.  What kind of idol are you
            supposed to be?


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            Don't idolize me!  Shit, I lie to people for a living.






            SCENE: EMMA GOLDMAN GIVES SOME SPEECH.


                                   EMMA GOLDMAN
            Remember me, from History?  I just came back from Boston,
            where an immigrant is being overworked!
                          (pause)
            In Boston.  In a factory.
                          (pause)
            With his daughter!


                                   AUDIENCE
            ...


                                   EMMA GOLDMAN
            It's Robert Petkoff.  He's in Boston now.  Gee I don't know
            how (COUGH COUGH) you could have possibly missed that line in
            passing. 
            Well, at least he's doing "working in a factory" movements to
            try and help clarif--
            OH NO WAIT, they're in Philadelphia now.  Man this guy knows
            his Amtrak.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
                          (huffing/puffing)
            There was a lot of chaos or something and I had no idea what
            sort of plot was being rushed down my throat,
            and the next thing I knew I was on a train showing my child a
            Flipbook?  Which I call a "MovieBook".


                                   GIRL FROM "13"
            Sure.  You came up with the word "Movie".  Right.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            GOD SO HELP ME I WILL TELL YOU THE TRUTH ABOUT HOW YOUR
            MOTHER WAS LEFT BEHIND IN LATVIA FOR WHORING HERSELF OUT.
                          (pauses)
            Er, I mean, if you can't stomach that "made up the word 
            MOVIE" revelation, Act 2 is going to be pretty hard to swallow.


                                   Robert Petkoff delivers the most
                                   cloying song in the show, but in a way 
                                   that somehow does not make you want to 
                                   scoop out your own eardrums with a 
                                   grapefruit spoon!


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            See everybody in an hour!
                          (goes to Angus McIndoe's for a
                           leisurely dinner)






            SCENE: HARLEM.


                                   Let's meet more main characters!  It's
                                   never too late in RAGTIME to meet even
                                   *more* main characters!


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            I'm black, and this is a musical.  Which of course means my
            life will constantly alternate between melodramatic and
            violent.
            Oh, I figured out where Sarah Browneyes is, and I'm going do
            my damnest to make sure she takes me back.


                                   BLACK PEOPLE 
            Yaaay!  Er... we mean, what stereotypical things do black
            people shout out?  In musicals?


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
                          (miming piano)
            Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Nothing-Is-Happenin'
            Plotwise-Rag!  Now let's all dance like how black people
            dance!  In musicals!


                                   Quentin joins in dancing with various
                                   other women that aren't Sarah
                                   Browneyes.


                                   BLACK WOMEN
            Boy I wonder just how he "loved her not too wisely".


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            And to make up for everything, I'm sure she'll love me more
            if I am driving a new car!  Chicks dig cars, right?  Even in
            like 190X right?


                                   Enter Henry Ford.


                                   HENRY FORD
            Hello everybody, you may notice that I'm not nearly as racist
            today as you'd expect me to be from the source material. 
            That's because back in `98 the Ford Corporation invested a
            excessive sum of money into this musical that, Jesus, we
            could *really* use today.  But the investment came with a
            little-known stipulation that we could always replace this
            portion of the musical with a more *updated* interruption if
            we pleased.  
            So I'd like to present you the 2010 Ford Taurus:
   The 2010 Ford Taurus
            A beaut, ain't she?  Now not so long ago, we took the world
            by surprise when we built cars that took people to places
            they'd never been, like the Model T that Coalhouse here is
            going to use to surprise his lady friend.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
                          (singing)
            Hell, I'll take--


                                   HENRY FORD
            Well today, we're surprising the world again.  With cars like
            the 2010 Ford Fusion, our 41 MPG Hybrid:
            The 2010 Ford Fusion
            Folks, this is our time to show everyone what one Ford can do
            when we all work together to improve, innovate, and inspire. 
            These are cars made with integrity, imagination, and WITH 
            A QUALITY THAT IS NOW EQUAL TO TOYOTA!  Ford.  Drive one.
                          (walking offstage, to wings)
            Jesus, Alan, imagine if we were also using that damn Toyota
            line for our commercials.
                          (pause)
            What?  You're shitting me.  Why, if I find the kike or nigg--






            SCENE: SARAH BROWNEYES SINGS A TORTURED-BLACK-WOMAN-AS
            WRITTEN-BY-WHITE-PEOPLE LONG THROATY BALLAD...


                                   ... and keeps from sounding
                                   like she's bawling the entire song! 
                                   Good for her!


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
                          (singing)
            ONLY DARKNESS AND PAIN
            THE ANGER AND PAIN
            THE BLOOD AND THE PAIN
            THE MUD AND THE PAIN
            THE FLOODIN' OF PAIN
            THE SADNESS AND PAIN
            THE MADNESS AND PAIN
            THE GLADNESS AND PAIN
            THERE'S OH SO MUCH PAIN
            THE PAIN AND THE PAIN...


                                   Something something heartstrings...
                                   You get the idea.






            SCENE: QUENTIN COMES TO VISIT SARAH.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Is there a woman named Sarah that lives here?


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Sure, come inside.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            This wooden skeleton of a piano is badly in need of a tuning.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            It's the piano setpiece you own.  It's the literal same
            setpiece you played fifteen minutes ago--


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
                          (mimes playing piano)


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Holy crap you're damn good at miming the Piano when the Piano
            is literally a Wooden Frame.  Think you could teach Sahr
            Ngaujah over at "Fela!" a lesson or two about how to mime
            Saxaphone playing so he doesn't look so ridiculous?


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            I don't have time for that.  I must speak to Sarah.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Sarah will not see you now.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            What if I came back every week?


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Nope.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            What if I played the piano and sang a Best of Ragtime medley?


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Nope.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            What if I sang the long throaty words,
                          (sung)
            SARAH COME DOWN TO ME!


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
                          (running down like 7 flights of
                           stairs)
            YEAH THAT'S ALL YOU NEEDED TO DO WAS ASK!


                                   BLACK PEOPLE, WHITE PEOPLE,
                                   JEWS, OH MY!
            Let's suddenly be a Greek Chorus for the only time all play!


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            I'm trying to get
                          (inhale)
                          (exhale)
            there, why are there so many
                          (inhale)
                          (exhale)
            stairs?  It's New Rochelle, not The Duomo.


                                   RON BOHMER
                          (entering)
            Hi honey, I'm home, and I brought back from Alaska a long
            throaty ballad.  Also, I'm limp for life now.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            How'd you get that?


                                   RON BOHMER
            Physical manifestation of my failure as a husband.






            SCENE: THE SECOND LONG SLOW THROATY BALLAD IN A ROW?


                                   Quentin and Sarah drive/walk up in the
                                   sweetest looking Flintstones car you've
                                   ever seen.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Sarah, look at our baby.  Your folks will take to him like
            cats to cream.  Wow, that felt weird to say.


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            I CAN'T CONCENTRATE! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW IF I'M HOLDING
            MY OWN TO AUDRA MCDONALD!  Will I at least be good enough to
            play her part if they ever make a Private Practice Stage
            Musical?


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Shhh... it's going to be okay, Sarah Browneyes.  
            Or should I say, Sarah Browneyes, my wife!


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            Oh, Quentin!


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Our son will make his way on the WHEELS OF A DREAM.  Just
            like this car.  This Ford Model T car.  Which also has
            WHEELS.  See, Sarah?  It's a "parallel".  


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            Just because I'm not Audra McDonald doesn't mean I'm
            developmentally challenged.


                                   IRISH ASSHOLE
                          (finally, a BAD GUY!)
            Hey Quentin, I made a doody all over your car.


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            Well that shouldn't be a problem, your doody would fall right
            through the empty frame--


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            THAT'S IT!  Until I have solved the #1 priority that 
            IS MY CAR, I can't marry you Sarah.


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            How men will be men!






            SCENE: SARAH GOES TO TELL A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE ABOUT HER
            DARKNESS AND PAIN, THE ANGER AND PAIN, THE BLOOD AND THE
            PAIN...


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            Presidential candidate!  I need advice!  My baby-daddy won't
            take responsibility for anything he does in life.


                                   PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
            How come?


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            His logic goes: if he can't find justice for the damage of
            his new car, he doesn't want to be married.  
            You know until I just said that out loud I never realized
            how terrible it sounds.  Just shoot me now!


                                   PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
            Have it your way.


                                   He DOES.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
            oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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            ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
            NOW I AM ANGRY AND REVENGE-HUNGRY!  Watch me go from being
            NICE GUY to being GUY WHO SCARES THE FUCK OUT OF YOU!


                                        AN OVER THE TOP LONG THROATY
                                        (GOSPEL) BALLAD, COMPLETE WITH
                                        SHRILL HIGH-NOTE NUTZINESS,   
                                        AND WE'RE IN...






            SCENE: ACT 2.


                                   Entr'acte plays, and white people in
                                   audience clap to prove once again that
                                   they have no rhythm.


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            Hey look, it's Houdini doing magic!  Remember?  From History?


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            Sorry kid, not anymore.  In any production of this show
            again.  Ever.


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            But... Warn... the Duke..


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            Yeah I get it, it's World War I, why is that relevant?


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            But... what about "something terrible is going to happen"? 
            What about "people are going to die"?


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            We know, we know, you have that thing people have
            sometimes... what's it called... Lazy Foreshadowing?


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            E.S.P.


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            Same difference.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
                          (to Ron Bohmer)
            Father, your son feels depressed about how Houdini basically
            walks around like a moron doing nothing the whole show.  
            If you were a better father and knew your son at all, you'd
            know how to handle him.


                                   RON BOHMER
            Oh yeah?
                          (hands little boy a baseball
                           glove)
            Little boy, do you like Charm Songs?


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            Do I!


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Oh, husband, maybe I've been too hard on you!  You're not so
            awf--


                                   RON BOHMER
            Oh, they don't let ni***rs play baseball yet do they?


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Scratch that.






            SCENE: COALHOUSE IS KILLING TONS OF PEOPLE.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            My car got ruined, which prompted my fiancee to ask the
            president for help, which led her to get gunned down by
            security guards!  This ridiculous sequence of melodramatic
            events has made me ANGRY and REVENGE-HUNGRY!


                                   He goes on a shooting rampage.


                                   RON BOHMER 
            I must save my family!  If only there were a safe haven.


                                   EVELYN NESBIT
            Atlantic City is a safe haven.


                                   RON BOHMER
            Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
            Wait, the New Jersey one?  Why?


                                   EVELYN NESBIT
            Because you should enjoy it now before it becomes plagued
            with poverty, crime, and disease.


                                   RON BOHMER
            Oh right that hasn't happened yet.






            SCENE: ATLANTIC CITY.


                                   Everyone sings about Atlantic City for
                                   a full five minutes and thirty four
                                   seconds.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF WITH LESS
                                   FACIAL HAIR
            CUT!  
            Seriously, CUT the song.  That's even worse than "Gliding".
                          (smiles to audience)
            Hey remember me!  From the first act?  I'm suddenly famous
            and rich now!  I can afford a Mach 3 Razor!
                          (shaving happily)
            When you put a battery in this one it buzzes!


                                   HARRY HOUDINI
            Did anybody want to hear me ramble on about my Mom dying
            again as a replacement for Me Not Doing Magic?  No?  Oh.
                          (pouts)


                                   Enter a marching band dressed in the
                                   worst color of red you can come up
                                   with.


                                   RON BOHMER 
            They're playing Ragtime music.  Why, that conveniently
            reminds me that I should go to New York to help deal with a
            neglected plotline.


                                   He does, because things there are BAD.


                                   They're so bad, in fact, that it causes
                                   Atlantic City to get crappy 
                                   stormcloudsy weather, which ruins
                                   *everybody's* vacation.


                                   Thanks a lot, Quentin.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF WITH LESS
                                   FACIAL HAIR
            You know, anyone can get lucky in America!
            That is, if you have the improbable ability to invent
            FLIPBOOKS, MOVIES, and FILM PROJECTORS back in the early
            1900s, and the fortune to have that VERY INTERESTING SEGMENT
            OF YOUR LIFE skipped over entirely so you don't have to worry
            about plausibility.
            Then, you can be like ME, owner of my own film company which
            I named "EXCESSIVE EXPOSITION SONG, INC."
            How the life of an immigrant always ends so rosy!!!!!


                                   Evelyn Nesbit and Harry Houdini wander
                                   around aimlessly a little more, while a
                                   band mimes playing instruments, and NO
                                   PLOT HAPPENS.


                                   GIRL FROM "13"
            Father, this movie you're making looks terrible. 
                          (indicating Christiane Noll)
            Does this mean that we'll be poor unless you find a way to
            marry that shiksa?


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF WITH LESS
                                   FACIAL HAIR
            SO HELP YOU GOD I WILL SEND YOU BACK TO A JASON ROBERT BROWN
            MUSICAL.
                          (coughs)
            I mean, "I will buy you wind and ocean for the rest of your
            life".  Ha ha.  Children.  Now go along, run around with the
            weird white fey kid.


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
                          (facing audience)
            Look at how our children play in the sand!


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF WITH LESS
                                   FACIAL HAIR
            That's very nuanced of you but, um, that's not the ocean. 
            The ocean is behind us.  We had this same problem with the
            last produc--


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            TOWARD THE FUTURE!  FROM THE... uh... PAST!


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF WITH LESS
                                   FACIAL HAIR
            Can I open my heart to you, with a hope that maybe your
            husband will one day die on a submarine that I definitely
            didn't have a hand in the torpedo-ing of?


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            Sure.  For some reason I'm suddenly into you.  Of course,
            when your husband's an asshole, every option looks better
            than the one you're in.
            Do I get to speak-sing the beginning verse of an open-throat
            ballad yet?


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF WITH LESS
                                   FACIAL HAIR 
            I was thinking we could just see more of what happens to
            Quentin.  Frankly that's the only part I really care about
            right now.


                                        FINALLY:






            SCENE: QUENTIN IS THREATENING TO BLOW UP A LIBRARY.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Hello audience. I think maybe you've forgotten what's
            motivating my ANGER, and my HUNGER FOR REVENGE.


                                   AUDIENCE
            Um.  They killed your woman.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
                          (plugging fingers in ears)
            Lalalalalalala.
            Hey Sarah, why don't you come out here and we can act out a
            little flashback, in case they forgot.


                                   SARAH BROWNEYES
            Tee-hee, only if we DON'T change the lighting to "flashback
            mode", so people are as confused as possible!


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
                          (entering)
            QUENTIN.  I'm here to help you, because by wandering
            aimlessly in and out of scenes that could've happened without
            me, I've grown as a person.  Which means I can help you
            explode things!


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            You sure have grown as a person!  Why, your speaking isn't
            John Gallagher Jr. like at all!


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
            See?  I had a reason for talking weird.  I was giving my
            character DEPTH.


                                   RON BOHMER
                          (entering)
            And I'm sure there would have been absolutely NO other way
            for you to portray that than by fooling us into thinking you
            came straight from community theater!


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
                          (to Ron Bohmer)
            YOU ARE A DESPICABLE MAN AND YOU MAKE ME SICK.


                                   RON BOHMER
            Would a despicable man bring by the Al Sharpton of his time?
            Ooh, that didn't come out right at all.


                                   Enter Booker T. Washington on Atkins.


                                   THE THINNEST BOOKER T.
                                   WASHINGTON YOU'VE EVER SEEN
            I am here because I think I can talk some sense int--


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Wow Mr. Washington, you've slimmed up!  How did you do that?


                                   THE THINNEST BOOKER T.
                                   WASHINGTON YOU'VE EVER SEEN
            A healthy diet of open beams and tiers.  But I'm not fully
            fat-free, I still let myself bulk up on a good dozen costumes
            per chorusmember!


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Again, I think you've maybe misunderstood my question.


                                   THE THINNEST BOOKER T.
                                   WASHINGTON YOU'VE EVER SEEN
            Quentin you have to give this all up.  Don't you realize that
            your son isn't being taken care of by your woman anymore?


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Son?  OH RIGHT I HAVE A SON SHIT.


                                   THE THINNEST BOOKER T.
                                   WASHINGTON YOU'VE EVER SEEN
            It's my job to convince you to sing a final open-throated
            teary song about universal truths, then to go outside and let
            yourself get shot at many times.  For your son's sake.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            You're right.


                                   He steps outside.


                                   QUENTIN EARL DARRINGTON
            Hey wait a minute how is this supposed to help my
                          (dies)





            SCENE: EPILOGUE.


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            The era of Ragtime had run out.
            What?  What the Fuck does that mean?


                                   BOBBY STEGGERT
            Mother's Younger Brother went down South to join a Mexican
            revolution, which was chronicled in RAGTIME TWO: RAG HARDER.


                                   EMMA GOLDMAN
            The signs of the coming Tony Awards were everywhere, and the
            2010 award for Best Revival of a Musical was awarded to
            Bye Bye Birdie.
            Ha!  Oh man, could you even imagine?


                                   THE THINNEST BOOKER T.
                                   WASHINGTON YOU'VE EVER SEEN
            When the Ragtime revival closed, the guy playing Booker T.
            Washington got another job at...
                          (quickly)
            ...The Lion King!  OH GOD I SAID IT!
                          (runs away in fear)


                                   RON BOHMER
            Father died, so they wouldn't have to divorce or cheat on
            each other or anything immoral.  Isn't that great?


                                   CHRISTIANE NOLL
            The Ford Theater, Ragtime's original home, continued to host
            countless flops.  After Spiderman The Musical opened in 2013
            for a week of previews before the building mysteriously
            caught fire and burned down for inconclusive reasons, copious
            amounts of insurance money was used to replace it with two
            sensible-sized theaters, THE LYRIC and THE APOLLO.


                                   ROBERT PETKOFF
            One day, the immigrant filmmaker was sitting on the porch
            with his Shiksa Wife, watching his Hallmark Branded Melting
            Pot Children play together and he created The Little Rascals. 
            No!  Don't go look that up in Wikipedia to make sure that's
            right!  Wikipedia is always wrong.


                                   LITTLE BOY WHOSE NAME IS NOT
                                   "EDGAR" IN THE BOOK
            AMERICA.  Where people of Color and Paleness can join
            together to see a Great American Musical together. 
            And walk out after the Curtain Call, hand in hand, to see the
            LIGHT OF AMERICAN DREAMS.  
            Lights that come together to spell out AMERICAN DREAM WORDS,
            words like "Gypsy", and "Les Mis", and "La Cage", and "Parade".
            And probably "The Producers", and "Hairspray", and "Legally
            Blonde", and "The Color Purple".


                                   ECONOMY-WHIPPED PRODUCERS
            That's right bitches.  The "How Soon Is Too Soon To Revive A
            Show" limit has been lifted!  FOREVER!
            Now where'd I put my checkbook.


                                        BLACKOUT.

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