The Story (Spoilers)

 

Act I

On a gangplank in New York City in 1933, glamorous passengers eagerly board the S.S. American, a luxury liner bound for England. Reporters aggressively photograph the passengers: Wall street executive Elisha J. Whitney; English gentleman Sir Evelyn Oakleigh; his fiancée, debutante Hope Harcourt; Hope’s overbearing mother, Mrs. Wadsworth Harcourt; Bishop Henry Dobson; two Chinese missionaries; and American evangelist-turned-nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, along with her four chorines, or “Angels.”

Whitney’s personal assistant, Billy Crocker, arrives to drop off his boss’s updated passport, and Whitney promptly fires him. Reno, who has known and adored Billy for years, invites him to sail with her as her new emcee (“You’re The Top”). Billy bumps into Hope and is stunned. Apparently, they shared a romantic evening months earlier, and Billy has been searching for Hope ever since. Billy immediately decides, with Reno’s help, to pursue Hope by stowing away on the ship. Gangster Moonface Martin, dressed as a preacher, enters with his girlfriend, Bonnie. They hop onboard just as Bishop Dobson is mistakenly arrested, and the ship sets sail (“Bon Voyage”). Billy, who inadvertently helped Moon board, takes the ticket and passport of Moon’s accomplice, Snake Eyes.

While Sir Evelyn is overcome by seasickness, Billy and Hope rekindle their romance (“It’s DeLovely”). The authorities think Billy is the real Snake Eyes, so Moon and Bonnie help disguise Billy in a sailor’s uniform (“Heaven Hop”). Reno joins the escapade by agreeing to distract Sir Evelyn. Reno, Billy, and Moon celebrate their partnership (“Friendship”). Reno flirts with Evelyn so Moon can catch them in a compromising position, and she realizes she actually likes the Englishman (“I Get A Kick Out Of You”).

Billy manages to evade detection by donning a series of ridiculous disguises. When he’s finally found out, he’s considered a celebrity, and the captain invites him for a drink. Hope is disappointed in Billy for being “a clown,” but Reno assures him things will work out (“Anything Goes”).

Act II

The passengers and crew honor Billy as “Public Enemy Number One,” and Bonnie leads a celebration (“Let’s Step Out”). Sir Evelyn and Reno get better acquainted (“Let’s Misbehave”) and Hope gets progressively more disgusted with Billy’s lie. Reno and Moon, still posing as a minister, perform a service to reform “Snake Eyes.” At the service, Evelyn confesses to a youthful tryst with a Chinese girl named Plum Blossom, Billy admits his deceit, and Reno leads a revival (“Blow, Gabriel, Blow”).

Billy and Moon are thrown in the brig. In jail, Billy can’t stop thinking about Hope (“All Through The Night”) so Moon attempts to cheer him up (“Be Like The Bluebird”). The two Chinese missionaries are also jailed for gambling. Hope visits Billy and they reaffirm their love (“All Through The Night” Reprise).

 

We are doing the 1962 Off-Broadway version of the show.  Unfortunately only the 1988 Revival script is available online.  There are differences in the show, but reading the newer script can give you an idea of the characters.

 

Read THAT version of the script HERE.

 

 

 

 

Character List

Below is our cast of characters.  While age ranges are listed, please be aware that all have some wiggle room so that we have the strongest possible cast.  We look forward to seeing you at auditions! J

Reno Sweeney – mid 30’s – early 40’s; Strong and savvy, Reno commands the stage.  She is an evangelist turned nightclub singer and an old friend of Billy’s.  Think Patti LuPone or Sutton Foster-ISH.  Vocal range: F3 to E5

Billy Crocker – 20’s; A “devil-may-care” kind of guy, Billy is a Wall Street broker that is charismatic and handsome, yet brash, and he is in love with Hope.  Think young Hugh Jackman-ISH.  Vocal range: Bb3 to F4

Moonface Martin – 30’s; A tentative criminal who is almost cartoon-like, Moonface is a gun-toting (in a violin case) criminal who is Public Enemy Number 13.  Think Alec Baldwin-ISH.  Vocal range: A3 to E4

Hope Harcourt – young 20’s; A typical ingenue, Hope is a debutante that looks like she walked off the front cover of Vogue and is the object of Billy’s affection.  Think Melissa Benoit-ISH.  Vocal range: Bb4 to F5

Bonnie – 20’s – 30’s; Almost Betty Boop-like, Bonnie is a stereo-typical gangster’s moll.  Think young Kristin Chenoweth-ISH.  Vocal range: C#4 to Eb5

Sir Evelyn Oakleigh – 30’s; Full of himself, Sir Evelyn is a stereo-typical British gentleman who could be straight out of a comedic version of Downton Abbey.  Think Martin Freeman-ISH.  Vocal range: C#3 to G4

Mrs. Harcourt – 40+; A grand dame, Mrs. Harcourt is Hope’s haughty and overbearing mother.  Think Christine Baranski-ISH.  Vocal range: D4 to E5

Mr. Elisha Whitney – 40+; A stereo-typical American businessman, Mr. Whitney is Billy’s boss.  Think Tommy Lee Jones-ISH. Vocal range: D3 to G3

Bishop – older; The Bishop is only in Scene 1, however this actor will join the ensemble for the remainder of the show.  Think Bishop-ISH.

Captain – 20’s – 40’s; A more animated version of his Titanic counterpart, the Captain will also be part of the ensemble.  Think Cartoon-ISH.

Purser – 20’s – 40’s; A more animated version of his Titanic counterpart, the Purser will also be part of the ensemble.  Think Cartoon-ISH.

Steward – 20’s – 40’s; A more animated version of his Titanic counterpart, the Steward will also be part of the ensemble.  Think Cartoon-ISH.

Two Chinese (Ching/Ling) – Chinese “converts” and reformed gamblers who accompany the Bishop aboard the ship.  These short fellows could be played by mature youth.  Think Cartoon-ISH.

Four Angels (Purity, Chastity, Charity, and Virtue) – late teens – early 20’s; These lovely young ladies are Reno’s backup singers and should appear old enough to be traveling without a parent.  Think tap shoe-wearing Guys & Dolls Hotbox Girl-ISH.

Reporter/Photographer – 20’s – 30’s; These roles can be played by either gender and are only seen in Scene 1.  Both actors will join the ensemble for the remainder of the show.  Think Cartoon-ISH.

Ensemble – 20+; 4 additional men and 4 additional women who are passengers aboard the SS American.