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The Gig - Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy

The Gig

Douglas Cohen

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Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy

8m, 3f

ISBN: 9780573627538

Based on the movie by Pulitzer Prize Winner Frank D. Gilroy.

A used car salesman, a dentist, a real estate agent, a financial advisor, a deli owner and a music teacher get together once a week to play jazz. When one answers an ad and gets a two week gig in the Catskills, they shed their ordinary lives and begin an adventure that reveals truths about friendship, the joy of music and the importance of dreams.

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Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Media | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition
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: Stage Manager

Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.


Full Length Musical

Dramatic Comedy

Adventure, Adaptations (Stage & Screen)

120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 1980s, 1970s

Settings Of Play - The entire action of THE GIG takes place during August 1975 in New York City and the Catskills. This theatricality can also influence the physical production. Workshops and showcases have utilized the men’s chairs/stools as seats in the van and bunks in their cabin, as well as playing a part in their 9 to 5 worlds. The more the audience is asked to use their imagination, the better.


Audience Participation/Interactive, Local Celebrity Cameo, Play w/ Music

Unit Set/Multiple Settings, Bare Stage/Simple Set


Alcohol, Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)


College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Senior Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Outdoor, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

WINNER - The inaugural Noel Coward Prize and Richard Rodgers Award 
WINNER - 2015 Mainstreet Award
WINNER - 2014, 5 New York Musical Theare Festival Awards for Excellence
Douglas J. Cohen is the recepient of the Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting

A used car salesman, a dentist, a real estate agent, a financial advisor, a deli owner and a music teacher get together once a week to play jazz. It is the highlight of their lives. When one answers an ad and gets a two week gig in the Catskills, they shed their ordinary lives and begin an adventure that reveals truths about friendship, the joy of music and the importance of dreams. The gig is not what they expected and each returns from the Catskills changed by the experience. This winner of the 1994 Richard Rogers Grant was inaugurated at the Manhattan Theatre Club's New Musicals in Concert at City Center and was developed at the O'Neill Music Theatre Conference and the Goodspeed at Chester.


"I love a good musical and especially the rare ones that not only entertain me but make me feel something. 'THE GIG' is one of those rare musicals." - Sheldon Harnick (Two-time TONY and Pulitzer Prize Winner)

"A WINNING MUSICAL...steeped in the tradition of old-time, goodtime musical comedy!" - The New York Times

"A funny and touching new musical." - The Boston Globe

"A rich look at 'regular guys'...Excellent. Four stars." - Sacramento Bee

"A great show!" - National Public Radio

"Instantly engrossing...Cohen, as in No Way to Treat a Lady, is a keen and clever composer/lyricist, with an offbeat sense and a penchant for sly surprises." - Playbill.com, On the Record

"Crackling with energy that is a wonderfully rewarding mix of cleverly bright banter and genuine human feeling is the score for The Gig. This smartly crafted show has a mission and serves it superbly: it looks with a clear but sympathetic eye at the lives and dreams of some men approaching or past middle age. That can be felt in the characterizations that are just-right and down-to-earth and not hammy or precious or sentimentalized in performance or writing by the gifted composer-lyricist Douglas J. Cohen. It's the ultimate compliment and coup that this recording—and I suspect, the show, which has seen productions already and the CD should inspire more—works perfectly as an ensemble piece where no one man of the six—or the professional jazz musician they meet outshines the other or the material. Likewise, the songs are the model of character-driven writing with their specificity to situation and relationships and personality revelation like the peeling of an onion. This is a musical for grown-ups with little flash and lots of feeling, but also laced liberally with humor and sarcasm, mirroring real-life friendships where people bristle and blend and blubber and bond. The late Michael Gibson's orchestrations, featuring terrific jazz players (like Bud Burridge on trumpet) that more than help to capture the very accessible jazz elements of the score, are spot on. The buoyant and snappy jazz and snappy patter are a perfect counterpoint to the more intense feelings brought up (without being a spoiler, mortality is an issue here) and so ... The Gig is indeed bittersweet. But that's better than 'sweet.'" - Rob Lester, Talkin' Broadway

Originally developed at the O'Neill Music Theatre Conference, The Gig received further development at the Manhattan Theatre Club after receiving the Richard Rodgers Award.  A showcase at Goodspeed-at-Chester followed before culminating with the world premiere production at Sacramento Music Circus, where it received unanimous raves. 



8m, 3f


Ensemble cast, Reduced casting (Doubling Possible), Local Celebrity Cameo, Parts for Senior Actors


Abe Mitgang, a character man can be played by a character woman. The actors need not play instruments; they mime performances.


No Chorus

MARTY – 35-55 years old; Gregarious self-appointed leader of the band and the one who gets the idea to book the group at a Catskill resort. A used car salesman who puts his hot air to good use playing trombone. Although he has a rocky relationship with his son and his second wife, he is extremely loyal to his friends. Baritone.
JACK – 35-55 years old; Works on Wall Street and plays piano in the band. Very uptight, educated, afraid of being open with his wife regarding his musical passion. Follows in his father’s footsteps and is unfulfilled. Baritone.
GIL – 35-55 years old; Once a pro trumpet player but married into wealth and works for his father-in-law’s real estate firm. Ladies man who lacks the inner fire to stick with music on a serious level. High baritone.
AARON – 35-55 years old; Teaches clarinet for a living but fancies himself a pro, although his talent is limited. In contrast to Gil, he’d kill for a chance at the big time and has tremendous passion for music. Second Tenor.
ARTHUR - 35-55 years old; A dentist who lives with his ailing mother and has a non-existent social life…until Paradise Manor. Modest, naïve, and charming. He plays drums. First or Second Tenor.
*GEORGIE – 35-55 years old; Owner of a deli/convenience store and the bass player. Forthright, down-to-earth, a realist. For reasons later disclosed, he’s unable to go to the Catskills. High Baritone.
MARSHALL – 35-55 years old; Georgie’s replacement on the gig. A black bass player who is a pro, and played with the greatest jazz musicians ever. He is well-read, worldly, and a recluse: he’s not happy being among amateurs. Bass-Baritone.
ABE – Early 50s-mid 60s; Abe Mitgang is the owner and proprietor of Paradise Manor, as well as being a frustrated stand-up comedian. Basically a decent guy…until his back is up against the wall. Baritone. Can be played by a Character Actress to expand female roles.
MISS RICKI VALENTINE – Ricki is a fading songstress who is hoping to make a big comeback at Paradise Manor. Although she appears to be attractive and personable from afar, a closer examination reveals she’s hard and insecure. Mezzo with good belt.
*VINCE AMATI – Ricki’s shady manager and boyfriend. He should be physically threatening. Doesn’t sing.
LUCY - Waitresses at Paradise Manor. Not nearly as seasoned in the game of love as she is at waiting tables. Younger than Donna (28-35) and less aggressive. Mezzo-soprano.
DONNA – Waitresses at Paradise Manor. Not nearly as seasoned in the game of love as she is at waiting tables. Mezzo.

*Can double if necessary
Rental Materials




Classic Broadway, Jazz



12 Piano/Conductor Scores

Song Samples

Farewell Mere Existence, Hello Jazz!

Time Out

Benny Goodman


Me and Mr. "G"

Biff Bam Bang!

Douglas Cohen

Douglas Cohen

Douglas Cohen received the 2010 Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting and won two Richard Rodgers Awards for writing book, music, and lyrics for Now Way to Treat a Lady (produced twice off-Broadway resulting in productions worldwide; published by Samuel French) and The Gig (Manhattan Theatre Club Stage II, Goodspeed, York Theatre Company concert, Sacramento Music Circus; also published by ... view full profile

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