Lyrics published on The Complete Lyrics of Lorenz Hart
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"An American Jazz Opera" inspired by Gilbert Seldes
Music by Richard Rodgers and libretto by Lorenz Hart.
Introduced by Edward Hogan, Betty Starbuck, Romney Brent, June Cochrane, Willard Tobias, Lee Strasbers Starr Jones, Felix Jacoves, Frances Hyde, and ensemble.
[Counters right and left. Door with stairs leading up to it center. Materials, such as silk goods, on counters. There may also be, in the back of the counters, rack from which this material is supposed to be kept. Great commotion as the curtain rises, with customers running about shouting and tormenting the floorwalker and salesladies ] MRS. KATZ: [trying. to get girl's eye ] . Hurry, miss, I'm tired of waiting 2ND CUSTOMER: Aggravating! Aggravating! 3RD CUSTOMER: Oh, such service isn't decent! ALL GIRLS: Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! LITTLE GIRL: I want something just like Mama's MOTHER: What's the latest in pajamas? STELLA: Here's a style that's very recent. GIRLS: Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! STELLA: It will wear, you needn't worry. ALL CUSTOMERS: Hurry! Hurry' . Hurry' . Hurry! 4TH CUSTOMER: I've been standing here for ages! STELLA: Holy gee! We earn our wages. MRS. KATZ: Miss, I'm gonna get you fired! GIRLS: Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! 2nd CUSTOMER: All this waiting makes me nervous. MOTHER & LITTLE GIRL: Miss, is this the way to serve us? 4TH CUSTOMER: Can't you see I'm getting tired? GIRLS: Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! MRS. KATZ: You have heard me mention I want some attention; Is your comprehension clear? Why should I be slighted? STELLA: Ma'am, don't get excited! MRS. KATZ: You should be indicted, dear! STELLA: Serve this lady , Lizzie, Can't you see l'm busy? All right! Gee, I'm dizzy Now! Some old dames are fussy! MRS. KATZ: Oh, you little hussy! STELLA: G'wan, you darn old mussy Cow! MRS. KATZ: You're a liar! STELLA: You're another! [They fight furiously. Mrs. Katz slaps Stella, but the excitement is suddenly brought to a close by the bell striking five] FOUR CUSTOMERS:There's the bell! [They start to go ] FOUR OTHER CUSTOMERS:There's the bell! ALL GIRLS: It's closing time! ALL: It's closing time! ALL CUSTOMERS: We'll be late for supper. [Exeunt customers ] [The girls file out to get their hats, and during the following scene return with the boys from the shipping department, who help the girls cover up the various counters for the night. Mary is at her counter and Stella goes to her] STELLA: Tired, kid? MARY: No, Stella dear. STELLA: Listen, Mary , got a date ? MARY: Not yet. STELLA: Not yet! But you' re gonna make one. I bet! MARY: You get so tired- tired of working Once in a while. You feel like nothing-nothing but shirking Once in a while. STELLA: And when you think of Torn, the shipping clerk, It' s very hard for you to do your work. MARY: [showing book ] Take a look In this book. I took it home last night Though it wasn't right . . . And you and I and all the things we do . . . We aren't really-really alive, dear. [Shows book again] It Seems that two lovers like Tommy and me, They live in a castle arising from the sea. STELLA: Don't they work? What a break! MARY: They're rich and they're handsome And he brings her the moon. STELLA: Heaven' s sakef What a breakf MARY: [carried away by the story ] Millions of moonbeams are dancing In the bright yellow gleam of her hair; His eyes with starlight are glancing- He is stalwart and slender and f air! . They've lived in the palace forever and a day. She pledged .with a chalice forever to obey! . STELLA : [interrupting ] Here comes Tom! What a break! [Tom enters, smiles at Stella, who winks to him and exits. He crosses happily to Mary ] TOM: Hello, Mary, got a date? MARY: Why, yes. TOM: [crestfallen ] Why, yes? Well, that gives me a stand-up, I guess. MARY: Tom, I have my date with you! TOM: [Joyfully] With me! MARY: With you! Call for me when the meeting is through. [They snatch a hurrled kiss as the boys and girls stand around chatting. Stella raps for attention ] STELLA: Listen, folks, for just a minute! Don't go home-there' s a meeting. Our employer, Mr. Jeremiah Price, Will give you several words of good advice. ALL: Hurray! Hurray! . Hurray! . Hurray! He's gonna give something away! [Mr. Price, expensively and elegantly clad, enters in his most benevolent and pompous manner. He nods patronizingly to all ] PRICE: Good evening, little busy bees. ALL: Good evening, Mr. Price! STELLA: We surely think it very nice For you to give us your attention. PRICE: Oh, not at all, it is my duty To spread the light of joy and beauty- To give you all my inspiration, Thus everyone will love his occupation. [He comes down center] Although the modern rage is A cry for higher wages, I pay you less to keep you from temptation! I've built you a chapel for sweet meditation, I've built you a rest room for your recreation, I've built you a ball field for health conservation, So you can all work through the summer vacation. . . . Tell me, do you love your work? ALL: [circling about him ] Mr. Price, it's very nice! PRICE: I'm conferring a favor on you! [Price takes a scroll from one of the salesboys and reads from it ] You all love your work- Such love is divine: Instead of eight hours You will now work nine. ALL: Mr. Price, that's very nice! The days of hard labor have gone out of date. Since love is the watchword there's no room for hate. PRICE: I love my employees more Than mere words can tell. If I am successful, you share my success: I give you my smiles and my daily address! Now , nothing else could please more- Than our big store yell. Give the yell with happiness and love. [Two of the salespeople-a boy and a girl-have jumped from the side to take his order as soon as he has given it. They lead the cheer-the boy on the left, the girl on the right ] ALL: Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Service! Service! Strong hearts and willing hands! Go get! Go get! Action! Action! Pep! Pep! That always lands! Co-op! Co-op! Cooperation too! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Price's! Price's! They all look up to you. [Both cheerleaders fall exhausted ] PRICE: More high than royalty I deem true loyalty And with some prizes I'll reward the faithful. So I'll select a few of you, my dears, To whom I'll give some little souvenirs. ALL: Hurray! . Hurray! . Hurray! . Hurray! . He' s gonna give something away! . PRICE: Miss Smith, your work has always stood the test- A book of poems by Mr. . . . Edgar Guest! [She takes it ] Step forward, Miss Mary Brown. Because you never flirt you Have earned a prize for virtue. Because you're modest as a girl can be, A copy of my memoirs autographed by . . . me! Mr. Thomas Jones! [Thomas Jones comes forward] A model of morality Unto the whole locality. He who denies it spreads a libel. You've won a copy of the Bible! Tom Jones and Mary Brown, You're two of the nicest young people in town. [They step back ] To close the meeting as the skies grow dim, Let's greet the twilight with our loving hymn. ALL: Onward! Onward! Follow your duty! Onward! Onward! Joyfully bold! In the loyal army of beauty Smile away and do as you're told! Follow! Follow duty delightful! Follow! Follow labor today' Pack each minute so tight full, right full! Smile gaily as you pray! AMEN! PRICE: Good night! ALL: [extending their hands to shake hands with Mr. Price ] Good night! [ All start to exit, and Price starts for opposite side ] PRICE: [Looks at watch ] I'll be late for supper! [Exit Price ] [Mary has remained behind her counter. Tom has watched the others leave. He crosses to Mary 's counter, runs behind, and kisses her] MARY: Oh, no, Tom! TOM: Oh, yes, Mary , I can't help it! I've been waiting for this moment; I've forgotten what your "no" meant. MARY: If someone sees us! TOM: I'm not sure that would displease us. When we are married . . . MARY: Married on what? On your eighteen a week? TOM: I'll get a raise. MARY: Possibly not. When you do you can speak. TOM: I'll count the days. I'm going to kiss you! MARY: You really shouldn't! TOM: All right, I shouldn't. [He kisses her. Mary doesn't resist a great deal ] MARY: [her mood changing] I don't want to work the rest of my life. All the bustle and the worry: Hurry! . Hurry! Hurry! . Hurry! . I don't want to have to answer "Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm! Yes'm!" [She picks up book ] TOM: She's not as lovely-lovely as you are. No one could be! I can't do a thing all day- I'm thinking of you. I just eat my heart away- I'm thinking of you. And I don't want to wait, I love you so! Tomorrow is too late, I love you so! MARY: Oh, dearest, hold me in your arms tonight! Just tonight! I'm sure it must be right! TOM:[Starts to take her in him arms] I'll keep you here! MARY: Forever, dear! TOM: I'll be working ev'ry day With joy in my heart MARY: And forever I'll obey The boy in my heart! Now you're mine, dear. You're divine, dear! Ah! [They kiss passionately ] To think you really held me near to you! I've told my heart, my hope, my fear to you. How does my boldness, dear, appear to you? TOM: My kisses should have made that clear to you, my dear! MARY. [looking al watch ] It's so late! [She starts lo go ] TOM: Please, let' s wait! MARY: I'll be late for supper! [Tom helps her on with coat, goes to door, and tries to open it. He finds it locked ] TOM: It's locked! We're locked in! . . . Locked tight! MARY: Good night! TOM: Good night! MARY: Try it again! I must go home! The folks will worry! Open it. Hurry! TOM : [ Tries again, unsuccessfully ] It can't be done. The janitor's the one Who did it, the son-of-a-gun! [Comes back to her as she takes off her coat ] I'm sorry, dear. We must stay here. MARY: What would the boss say If he found us this way? TOM: We'll tell him some excuse or other! MARY: What will I say to Mother? - TOM: Tell her you love me! Rub those little tears away, They grieve me, my dear- I don't care what people say, Believe me, my dear. MARY: And I don't fear the end When I'm with you, As long as I can spend My time with you. TOM: There comes a lovely moment of beauty Once in a while. In such a moment love is a duty Once in a while. [The chimes of a nearby church are heard ] MARY: There's the bell. TOM: There' s the bell! MARY : The steeple bell. TOM: The steeple bell! . . . We'll be late for breakfast. [They embrace as the curtain falls ]