A new museical
Book and Lyrics by Dennis Drogseth
Music by Michael Bitterman
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THE DEMIGOD OF E. 78TH ST.: Original Studio Cast
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The Demigod of East 78th Street is a musical based loosely on Ed Knoblock‚s
The Faun -- in which an earth deity (demigod) from
Greek myth appears to reorder the straight-laced morality of Victorian England. However in The
Demigod, Victorian mentality is replaced by Upper Eastside mercantilism, and the Demigod, far from being anything close to a
stereotypic Greek God is short, pudgy and prone to allergies. Here he is trying to get New Yorkers ˆ
not just to loosen up, but to find the authentic human spark within them.
The tone, look and feel of the show should combine nostalgia for the
50‚s, good-hearted comedies, with a touch of early 20th
Century British sophistication (a mix of „I Love Lucy and Noel Coward) ˆ even as the story
itself unfolds in a contemporary, New York setting. It is a drawing room comedy, with a single, jewel-box -like set, above which
visuals that suggest more antic, mythical dimensions are projected from time to time.
The show opens with an aging Cyril Bright ˆ trying to teach a class
in art history about (HOW TO SEPERATE THE REAL
FROM THE FAKE.) As he sings, the overwhelming events in his past exhaust him, and he falls asleep on the
podium. As dream and memory take over, Faunus (the Demigod) appears to a beleaguered and possibly suicidal Tom Stonebury
(ISN'T THERE A BETTER WAY TO DIE?). Tasked with reporting on „human progress every hundred years, Faunus tries to
revive Tom (WHERE I COME FROM) with a more natural enthusiasm for life. But Tom, who has squandered an opportunity to
build an investment career by playing the horses ˆ faces other problems. His
would-be fiancée, Vivian Chesimar, is rich, spoiled (IT'S ALL THE SAME TO ME) and secretly in love with the painter, Cyril
Bright (now about 20 years younger).
In return for help repaying his debts, Tom agrees to let Faunus assume the role of an Italian fashion designer. But Faunus preaches
a fashion of nudity (THE PASSION OF THE FLESH) that perplexes his assembled Upper Eastside hosts. Alex, a female lawyer
devoted to lost causes and an old friend of Tom, satirizes his obsession with Vivian (UPPER EAST SIDE LOVER). Tom‚s
situation becomes precarious once again when Lance Morris, a cynical Harvard Law grad who has drifted towards the
Underworld, suddenly appears to threaten Tom on defaulted debts (KILL 'EM WITH THE FINE PRINT).
But the unlikely Demigod proves to be virtually heroic, levitating two hit men over Park Avenue and dropping them into the East
River ˆ much to the astonished admiration of Tom‚s friends (I REMEMBERED HIM BEFORE).
Act II begins with Tom accepting his indecisiveness and immaturity (THOMAS),
while Lance Morris blames his criminality on
body chemistry (THEY SAY IT'S BIOCHEMICAL), and Alex worries about her too-consuming career (ALEX WOMAN). Under
the pretense of trying to get Alex more in touch with her „natural roots, Faunus takes her into Central Park, which causes Tom to
wake up to his real affection for Alex (OUT IN CENTRAL PARK). After Vivian finally decides to run off with Cyril, Vivian‚s
mother, Martha, laments a life in which she bartered passion for money (FAT AND WRINKLED.) Faunus tries to persuade Alex
to join him in his pastoral eternity (Where I Come From) but
Tom holds Alex back as Faunus disappears. Alex and Tom sing skeptically about Faunus‚s divine pretensions (THERE'S NO
GOD IN US) and are both are finally able to express their real love of each other (IT'S TIME) ˆ when
suddenly, the Demigod‚s unshakable presence is once again revealed through a sneeze.
THE DEMIGOD OF EAST 78TH STREET is Copyrighted 2003 by Dennis Drogseth & Michael Bitterman
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