Directors' Choice Award Winner
music by Roger Anderson, lyrics by Lee Goldsmith, libretto by Richard Seff
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3 BUSINESSMEN - ensemble roles)
A STREET VENDOR - ensemble role)
OFFICER FOY – a Policeman (ensemble role)
RICHARD HUNTER – “Ragged Dick,” age 16-18. Brash and confident with much charm. Must be exceptional singer-actor.
MICKEY MCGUIRE – Age 15-19. A street kid, tough. Clever, selfish, a wise-guy.
HENRY FOSWELL – Age 15-17. Hunter’s friend and opposite. Bookish and intelligent, but with no street smarts.
GIDEON CHAPIN – 40s. Uptight and mean-spirited clerk in charge at Snobden’s store. Conniving and unpleasant. A comic villain.
ALLEN CARLISLE – early 40s. Handsome, likable. A diamond in the rough; very wealthy now, was once poor.
HERBERT HIGGINS – 20s-30s. Ambitious but weak underling to Chapin. Slightly hysterical at times. Actor should be up to low comedy.
SILAS SNOBDEN – 50s-60s. Proprietor of Snobden, Inc. a haberdashery. Precise and demanding, but fair and not unkind. Could be plump, bald or both. Needs good character singing voice.
LUKE GERRISH – Late 30s, early 40s. Amoral, cynical, cunning and dangerous. Attractive to women and knows it. Baritone.
TWO CRONIES – male acquaintances of Luke Gerrish, ensemble roles
STACIA-JANE HAUSER – Late 20s-early 30s. Attractive, but not necessarily beautiful. Working class background. Intelligent though not well educated. Soprano or chest.
MARY McHUGH – 50s. Irish landlady. Addled, disheveled, ditzy. We like her. Sings in a beery way. Ensemble role.
FINOLA MAY MOONEY – Late 40s or 50s. Hearty, good-natured, shrewd. And very Irish.
ROB CARLISLE – Age 8, Carlisle’s son. Bright and self confident, not a brat.
MRS. O’MALLEY, MRS. CASSIDY, MRS. O’LEARY – Neighborhood women, friends of Mrs. Mooney. Ensemble roles.
MRS. HALLIWELL – Stylish woman of 40, oozes charm, is a bit of a snob. Ensemble role.
MALE ENSEMBLE – Man #1, Man #2, Man #3, Man #4
FEMALE ENSEMBLE – Woman #1, Woman #2, Woman #3, Woman #4
New York City, Spring of 1876, America’s centennial year. On Wall Street, several businessmen are complaining about the sad state of the city (Wall Street Lament).
Richard Hunter – “Ragged Dick” – a hard-working bootblack, asleep in a box, is awakened by a friendly policeman. Soon after, joined by a first-time bootblack, Henry Foswell, Dick presents his sales pitch (Shine).
After being insulted by a customer, Dick encounters Allen Carlisle, a handsome and well-dressed banker, who tells Dick that he himself was once a bootblack. Lost in admiration, Dick vows that he too will one day climb higher (Look at Him).
Seeing a suit like Carlisle’s in the window of Silas Snobden, Inc. – a haberdashery – Dick enters to ask about buying it one piece at a time, starting with the handkerchief. Impressed by Dick’s knowledge of the streets, Snobden persuades Dick to give up book blacking to work in his shop. This enrages the chief clerk, Chapin, who had hoped his lazy nephew, Benson, would get the job. Snobden, Chapin and his assistant, Higgins, instruct Dick in his new duties and all sing the praises of being Snobden employees. (Silas Snoben, Inc.).
Later that morning, on his delivery route, Dick encounters Luke Gerrish – newly released from prison – who had once been married to Dick’s now deceased mother. Gerrish mocks Dick for believing that honesty and hard work will help him get ahead (Cock and Bull).
On a street where she shares a shabby room with Gerrish, Stacia Jane Hauser, a young and pretty seamstress, wonders when he will finally declare his love for her (Maybe Today).
Meanwhile, Dick and Foswell are sharing a well-earned meal in a nearby tavern. Dick brags to a trio of young stockbrokers about his wealth and expertise. They eagerly shower him with prospectuses (Put Your Money In).
Before parting the restaurant, the bookish Foswell agrees to tutor Dick on his English and grammar while Dick offers to help improve Foswell’s “street smarts” (Partners).
After work, Dick sees a ‘Room for Rent’ sign outside Mrs. Mooney’s boarding house and listens to her extravagant praise of her establishment (The Room). Now Dick has a job, a room of his own, and a future.
Several weeks later, accompanied by Foswell, Dick is on his way to Mr. Carlisle’s bank to open an account. They join Snobden and a group of passersby who are gazing at the newest retail phenomenon, Woolworth’s Five-and-Ten. (Keeping Up With The Times).
In Stacia’s room, Gerrish reminds her of their romantic past and convinces her that their future is bright. He has plans.
Back at the store, Chapin and Higgins are plotting Dick’s downfall (A Hardworking Boy).
Soon it is America’s centennial celebration at Union Square. Carlisle has offered Dick a second job as companion to his young son Rob whom Dick is chaperoning at the festivities. In the crowd and confusion of the celebration, Dick does not spot the lurking Gerrish. Dick and Rob become separated and suddenly Gerrish snatches the frightened little boy as the sky lights up with fireworks, the music soars and the crowd continues to celebrate (Look How Far We’ve Come). A horrified Dick finds Rob’s cap on the ground.
Everyone is the neighborhood has fanned out to find the missing Rob (Find That Boy).
Two days later, as part of the plot to discredit Dick, Higgins has stayed all night in Snobden’s store. The plan - to unlock the door and then he and Chaplin can claim that they found it that way in the morning. Since only Dick, other than Mr. Snobden himself, has a key, he will stand accused of forgetting to lock the door the night before. Dick is fired and Snobden announces that Benson will be given the job. In addition, Dick’s banker friend, Carlisle has accused him of being largely responsible for Rob’s kidnapping. Dick finds himself back on the street, a lowly bootblack once again.
Later, back in Stacia’s room, where Rob is being held, Gerrish tries to convince a frightened Stacia how grand things will soon be after Rob has been ransomed (From Now On).
Gerrish leaves to deliver the ransom note and, left alone with the sleeping Rob, Stacia imagines how lovely it would be to be a different girl with a different life (Someone).
The landlady, Mrs. McHugh, having been told that Rob is Stacia’s visiting nephew, comes to remove his lunch tray and absent-mindedly pockets Rob’s handkerchief that Dick had given him during the celebration.
Back on Wall Street plying his bootblack trade, Dick is taunted by Gerrish who tells him that to survive Dick will have to be more like him. Left alone, Dick vows that will never happen (Yes!).
On the front stoop of Mrs. Mooney’s boarding house, Mooney and some of her neighbors, including Mrs. McHugh, are enjoying their nightly treat of beer (A Handful O’ Hops). As Dick and Foswell enter, Mrs. McHugh is wiping her forehead with Dick’s handkerchief. Upon discovering that it belongs to the “nephew” of one of her tenants, Dick rushes off.
Meanwhile alone in her room with Rob, Stacia has decided to return Rob to his father. Upon returning, Gerrish discovers Stacia’s intent and knocks her down. Dick rushes in and tells Gerrish that the police are coming. A frightened Gerrish fires his pistol at Dick and Dick falls to the floor. Foswell and a policeman appear and capture Gerrish before he can fire again. Suddenly, to everyone’s amazement, Dick rises to his feet unhurt. He and Rob tell the policeman that Stacia had no part of the kidnapping plot. Dick explains that the bullet was deflected by the batch of Wall Street prospectuses which he pulls from his inside jacket pocket.
Several days later everyone is making their way to Carlisle’s lavish home for a party (North of 14th Street). Everyone, that is, except for Chapin and Higgins whose scheme to ruin Dick was discovered.
At the party, Carlisle pairs off with Stacia, and Snobden with Mrs. Mooney. In the drawing room, Snobden tells Dick that he wants to promote him to Chapin’s job as store manager with Foswell as his assistant. A joyful Dick ponders his future (reprise of Yes!)
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