City of Angels

CITY OF ANGELS is two shows in one. It is the interweaving of two plots, one dealing with the writing of a screenplay in the legendary Hollywood of the 1940’s; the other, the enactment of that screenplay. This double feature quality leads to many other unique production values, the most notable being the fact that CITY OF ANGELS is perhaps the only “color coded” show any theatre audience is likely to see. The movie scenes appear in shades of black and white, and the real life scenes are in technicolor. The show boasts two musical scores. One provides the cast with numbers to help reveal certain emotions or to celebrate particular moments in the way that only music can. The “other” score was written to emulate pure movie soundtrack music, 1940’s vintage. It is entirely appropriate, then, that the final curtain comes down on two happy endings.


CITY OF ANGELS is the rarest of musical comedies; one that is not only loaded with music and written in the contemporary jazz idiom, but also filled with sidesplitting comedy. Set in the glamorous, seductive Hollywood of the 40’s, the world of film studios and flimsy negligees, the show chronicles the misadventures of Stine, a young novelist, attempting a screenplay for movie producer/director, Buddy Fidler.

While Fidler professes to be a fan of Stine’s work: “I’ve read a synopsis of every book you’ve ever written,” he assures the author, his gargantuan ego forces Stine to make endless compromises in the script he’s writing. The script is an adaptation of one of Stine’s novels which features his Raymond Chandleresque hero, a private investigator named Stone.

Every movie scene that Stine writes is acted out onstage by a group of characters whose costumes are limited to various shades of black and white. The same is true of the sets in which they appear and the props that they use. With music scored in the genre, we are, in fact, treated to a live version of a 1940’s private eye film. It is a tale of decadence and homicide with a liberal sprinkling of femmes fatale.

The story begins when Stone’s Girl Friday ushers a striking socialite, Alaura Kingsley, into Stone’s office. The alluring Alaura (“Only the floor kept her legs from going on forever,” Stone informs us) is there to hire Stone to track down the mysterious disappearance of her step- daughter, Mallory Kingsley. Mallory is a beautiful, “bad” young woman, who will later turn up in her birthday suit in Stone’s own bed. Stone’s deadpan reaction on seeing her there? “For a missing girl, there was not a whole lot missing.”

But it’s not all fun and games for the private eye. In the course of the “movie,” Stone receives a brutal beating from two vicious hoodlums hired to get him off the Kingsley case, and is also framed for a murder that could land him in the gas chamber.

All of this goes on in the black and white “reel” life of CITY OF ANGELS. At the same time, in the “real” life scenes, all played out in glorious technicolor, Stine has his hands full as well. He must fight off the increasingly demanding Buddy Fidler, and is left to do this alone after his wife Gabby returns to New York because she disapproves of Stine’s tactics. To make matters worse, Stine is then confronted by his alter ego, Stone, who is totally disgusted by Stine’s willingness to sacrifice his principles. Finally stepping over the line that separates fantasy from reality, Stone challenges his creator, Stine. The confrontation results in the rousing duet-You’re Nothing Without Me, which closes the first act.

In “reel” life the second act finds Stone more and more ensnared by the treacherous web spun by Alaura. In “real” life Stine has to negotiate his way through the creative landmine laid down by Buddy Fidler, while somehow earning back his wife’s respect, the fictional Stone’s acceptance as well as his own self respect.

After singing the ironic, soul searching –Funny, Stine appears on the studio sound stage for the first day of the filming of his script. It is here that, with the surprise appearance of Stone at his side to encourage him, and visible, of course, only to Stine, that the author finds the gumption to stand up to Buddy and reclaim his self respect.

Acquitting himself nobly, Stine is reunited with and once more in the good graces of his wife and with his alter ego, Stone. Together, with the entire company joining in, they perform a robust musical reprise of You’re Nothing Without Me, a switch in the lyrics turning it into the far more positive I’m Nothing Without You. The result is that best of all Hollywood conventions; a happy ending.

Book by Larry Gelbart
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by David Zippel
Originally produced on Broadway by
Nick Vanoff, Roger Berlind, Jujamcyn Theaters,
Suntory International Corp. and The Shubert Organization

The size of the billing given to the Authors shall be the same and shall in no event be less than fifty percent (50%) of the type size used for the title of the play, and the size of the billing given to the Producer shall in no event be less than twenty five percent (25%) of the type size used for the title of the play. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominently than the billing to the Authors, except for the title of the play and star(s) of the play billed above the title. The billing for the Authors shall appear immediately following the title of the play. In programs the billing for the Authors and Producer 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
MusicScope & Stage Musicals Ltd. of New York

Full Orchestration

2 Violin I (optional)
1 Violin II (optional)
1 Viola (optional)
1 Cello (optional)
1 Bass – acoustic and electric

1 Reed I – Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Sax
1 Reed II – Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet & Alto Sax
1 Reed III – Clarinet & Tenor Sax
1 Reed VI – Clarinet, Bass Clarinet & Baritone Sax

1 Trumpets I & II (both double on Flugelhorn)
1 Trumpets III (doubles on Flugelhorn)
1 Trombone I (tenor)
1 Trombone II (bass)

1 Drums (trap set):

Bass Drum
Snare Drum (brushes/sticks/mallets)
Tom Toms (4)
Mark Tree
Triangles (2 sizes)
Wood Block
Hi-Hat (Sock)

1 Percussion (mallet instruments):

Gran Cassa
Timpani (2 pedal drums)
Conga Drums
Glockenspiel (hard & soft mallets)
Tubular Chimes
Tube Shaker
Suspended Cymbal (w/mallets)
Tam Tam
Mark Tree
Glass Wind Chimes
Wooden Wind Chimes
Cow Bell
Sandpaper Blocks
Temple Blocks (w/clave)
Typewriter (or Hotel) Bell

1 Keyboard I – Piano
1 Keyboard II – Synthesizer
1 Guitar – acoustic and electric (optional)

Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material.

Hollywood Cast (doubling roles) Movie Cast

*Stine, a writer of fiction… (himself)

(himself)… *Stone, Stine’s creation, Private Eye

*Gabby, Stine’s wife… *Bobbi, Stone’s ex-wife

*Donna, Buddy’s secretary… *Oolie, Stone’s secretary

*Buddy Fidler, movie director/producer…
Irwin S. Irving, a movie mogul

Carla Haywood, Buddy’s wife….
*Alaura Kingsley, a femme fatale

Werner Kriegler, an actor…
Luther Kingsley, Alaura’s husband

Gerald Pierce, an actor…. Peter Kingsley, Alaura’s stepson

Avril Raines, a starlet…
*Mallory Kingsely, Alaura’s Stepdaughter

Pancho Vargas, an actor…
*Lieutenant Munoz, a police detective

Gene, an assistant director…
*Officer Pasco, a policeman/ORDERLY
L.A. County Hospital employee

Stand-in, a studio employee… MARGARET, a maid at the Kingsleys

Gilbert, a barber… Dr. Mandril, a religious leader

Jimmy Powers, a movie crooner… Jimmy Powers, a movie crooner

Studio Cop, a studio employee… BIG SIX, a thug

Studio Cop, a studio employee… SONNY, a smaller thug

Del Dacosta, a songwriter…
*Mahoney, a reporter/ORDERLY, L.A. Country Hospital employee

Cinematographer (Jack), a studio employee…
*Harlan Yamato, county coroner

*Singing Roles (15)____________________________________________________

Shoeshine, a studio employee…
Commissioner Gaines, police commissioner

Hairdresser, a studio employee/Anna a masseuse…
Margie, a brothel keeper

*Angel City Four, vocal quartet…
*Angel City Four, vocal quartet

Small speaking roles from chorus:

Act I, Scene 7 (Movie)
Radio Announcer’s Voice (OS)

Act I, Scene 10 (Movie)
Man’s Voice (OS), Cocktail Lounge M.C.

Act II, Scene 1 (Hollywood)
Recording Studio Engineer

Act II, Scene 3 (Movie)
Guard, L.A. County Jail

Act II, Scenes 14 & 15 (Movie)
Girl, a hooker
Bootsie, a hooker

Act II, Scene 19 (Hollywood)
Nephew, to Buddy, studio employee
Studio Prop Man
Studio Sound Man
Studio Clapperboy

Non-speaking roles from chorus:

Act I, Scene 10 (Movie)
SMALL CROWD, patrons in the Cocktail Lounge

Act 1, Scene 12 (Hollywood)
Man, on the phone in a booth

Act I, Scene 14 (Movie)
Butler, Kingsley household staff

Act I, Scene 18 (Movie)
Man, photographer w/flash camera

Act II, Scene 1 (Hollywood)
Crowd of Guests, at Buddy’s brunch
Piano Player, guest at Buddy’s brunch

Act II, Scene 19 (Hollywood)
Movie, Cast & Crew – Full Company
Bill, a lighting technician

Chorus (SATB), Full Company

CITY OF ANGELS played for 879 performances on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre starring Gregg Edelman, James Naughton and Randy Graff.

Awards (1990)

6 Tony Awards for Musical, Book, Score, Set Design, Actor and Featured Actress.
9 Drama Desk Awards for Musical, Book, Score, Lyrics, Set Design, Orchestration, Actor, Featured Actor and Featured Actress.
3 Outer Critics Circle Awards for Broadway Musical; Director; and Set, Costume and Lighting Design.
The New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.