No Way to Treat a Lady

by  Douglas Cohen

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  2m, 2f

"TERRIFIC! HILARIOUS! DYNAMIC! An unabashedly histrionic romp with plenty of laughs, a fair share of romance and a welcome abundance of drollery. -The Los Angeles Times

"Catchy tunes and snappy lyrics...Mr. Cohen's score is a reassuring fusion, a mastery of traditional musical comedy style adorning and informing an offbeat story.  A beguiling musical!" - The New York Times

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    2m, 2f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Adventure, Adaptations (Stage & Screen), Mystery/Thriller, Romantic Comedy
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Note on Digital Perusal: Samuel French's new digital perusal process grants easy, digital access to music perusals while protecting the intellectual property of our composers, book writers, and lyricists. Samuel French perusals are intended to be used for finding the perfect show to fit your theater, casting pool, and resources. Perusals should be used to get acquainted with the music and script. They cannot be used to hold auditions, produce the show without a license, or find sheet music for a separate performance. 

This theatrically charged musical comedy thriller about a publicity crazed actor turned killer and the endearing detective who pursues him is based on the best selling novel that became a renowned movie. It is a devilish blend of humor, romance and murder with four meaty roles, two requiring great versatility: the killer adopts a myriad of disguises including a tango instructor, French waiter, female barfly and priest while one actress plays the detective's mother, the killer's mother and three of his victims.

Douglas J. Cohen is the recepient of the Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting, two Richard Rodgers Awards, a Jonathan Larson Grant, the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Theatre Foundation Award, and the inaugural Noël Coward Prize.  

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Accolades

  • Winner! Richard Rodgers Grant, 1987
    Nominee! Best Revival of a Musical at the New York Outer Critics Circle

Reviews

REVIEWS

"Terrific! Hilarious! Dynamic! An unabashedly histrionic romp with plenty of laughs, a fair share of romance and a welcome abundance of drollery." -The Los Angeles Times

"The best news about this 1987 Off-Broadway vehicle, which incorporates an oddball premise for a musical into a surprisingly conventional framework, was the arrival of a major musical-theatre tunesmith. Cohen's delightful songs (love ballads, soft-shoe ditties, jazz, and more), boasting smart lyrics and lilting melodies, display a hand adept at revealing character nuances and advancing the story. Four triple-threat performers maximize the pleasures here...fresh and vibrant offering is a splendid way to treat an audience." - Backstage

"CRITIC'S PICK! 5 out of 5 Stars! A divinely fresh entertainment!" - StageHappenings.com

"A fine way to treat a musical! A real winner." - The New York Post

"Catchy tunes and snappy lyrics...Mr. Cohen's score is a reassuring fusion, a mastery of traditional musical comedy style adorning and informing an offbeat story.  A beguiling musical!" - The New York Times

"A lighthearted romp." - Associated Press

"A fine and dandy way to treat an audience...It should be on Broadway." - The New York Observer

Visit iTunes to download the new digital recording.

RELATED ARTICLES ON BREAKING CHARACTER

The Musical That Has It All: NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY
by Chris Kam
October 14, 2015

NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY Gets a New Digital Release!
February 12, 2013

Videos

  • Highlights from the 54 Below Concert
  • "I Need A Life"
  • "So Much In Common"
  • "Still"
  • No Way to Treat a Lady
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Outdoor
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Artboard 3 Gun Shots
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 1970s
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Summer, 1970, New York City.
  • Additional Features: Physical Comedy, Play w/ Music, Stage Combat
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Fantasy Costumes, Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway, Jazz
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Song Samples

I Need a Life
0:00
The First Move
0:00
Front Page News
0:00
One of the Beautiful People
0:00
Still
0:00

Casting

2m, 2f
MORRIS BRUMMELL - 30s-40s; fairly well built; a man of physical strength who hasn't quite figured out how to use it to his advantage. Although he is far from being classically handsome, Morris' looks are appealing and he possesses a warm, inviting smile and "mensch"-like presence. Even though he lives with his mother, he should not be a typical "mama's boy." Kit unleashes a darker, more ambitious side to Morris' personality, but one should be careful not to go too far: after all, Morris is the hero of the show.
CHRISTOPHER "KIT" GILL - 30s-40s; Kit is athletic and agile with exceptionally strong hands. His youthful, almost angelic face masks his demonic tendencies. For Kit, murder is the ultimate performance and not a gruesome exercise. An actor oozing with charm is essential if the audience is to be seduced along with his victims. Kit is all about style and panache - like John Barrymore. Everything he knows about life is as a result of watching theatre. His performance should demonstrate he is a musical comedy performer gone awry.
SARAH STONE - 30s; svelte; attractive; sunny; funny; sophisticated. She is a modern-day Carole Lombard. Sarah, on the surface, has led a "charmed" existence, but on closer examination one can read the painful lessons of the past.
FLORA BRUMMELL/VICTIMS (ALEXANDRA GILL, CARMELLA, SADIE, MRS. SULLIVAN) - More than sharing an obvious physical resemblance, these women are all mature, strong and maternal. Yet in the case of Flora and Alexandra, their "maternal" instincts are sometimes questionable. Alexandra is guilty of giving Kit too little love (the theatre is her one and only love), while Flora is guilty of lavishing too much attention on Morris. Both women at times belittle their sons, robbing them of their pride and self-confidence. Flora does this for self-preservation: if Morris continues to depend on her, she will never be alone. (The actress playing these roles need not be mature as long as she is able to project maturity.) This role has been successfully divided into two roles in both United Kingdom productions: One actress plays FLORA and the other portrays ALEXANDRA and the three victims.
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Cast Attributes

  • Expandable casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

The actor playing Kit Gill disguises himself as seven other characters within the course of the play: an Irish priest, an Arthur Murray dance class instructor, a French waiter, a telephone repairman, a pizza delivery messenger, a New York cop, and a female barfly. The actress playing the character woman portray five different women: Det. Morris Brummell's Jewish mother; Kit Gill's legendary actress-mother, Alexandra Gill; an Irish widow; an Italian former Queen of the Roseland Ballroom; and a lonely barfly. In both productions in England, the part was split between two actresses, although it is strongly preferred that one actress play all five roles.

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

5 Piano/Vocal Scores

Reed I
Reed II
Drums/Percussion
Keyboard/Conductor’s Score
Bass

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Authors

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, Goo ...

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NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY premiered off-Broadway in a sold-out, extended run at the Hudson Guild Theatre in 1987 directed by Tony Award winner Jack Hofsiss and starring Stephen Bogardus, Liz Callaway, Peter Slutsker and June Gable. 

It received an off-Broadway revival in 1996-97 at the York Theatre Company directed by Scott Schwartz and starring Adam Grupper, Paul Schoeffler, Alex Korey, and Marguerite MacIntyre.  It was nominated for two Outer Critics Circle Awards (Best Revival and Best Featured Actress) as well as a Drama Desk Award.


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