New Girl in Town – Original Broadway Cast Recording 1957
ACT I The action takes place on the waterfront in New York, shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. Outside the office of the Atlantic Coal Company, a drunken Swedish barge captain, Chris Christopherson, is teased by some prostitutes waiting for the sailors on pay day (“Roll Yer Socks Up”). Chris’s “old lady,” Marthy, comes in with the news that his daughter Anna should be arriving from St. Paul any minute. Since Chris hasn’t seen her since he sent her to live with cousins in Minnesota when she was five, he still thinks of her as the little girl he knew in Sweden (“Anna Lilla”). In Larry’s Bar the drunks sing a Tin Pan Alley tune along with the player piano (“Sunshine Girl”). Marthy comes in looking for Anna (who wrote and told her father that she was a nurse). When a garishly-dressed woman (“still young but beaten”) enters and asks for whiskey, she and Marthy size each other up. When she says she’s come from St. Paul, Marthy realizes that this tired tramp is Chris’s Anna. (Anna recognizes Marthy, too, in a way: “You’re me forty years from now.”) Anna tells Marthy she had been working “in a house” and had been thrown in jail, where she got so sick they sent her to the hospital. Marthy assures Anna that Chris will take care of her and Anna scoffs, telling Marthy that it was her “safe” cousins on the farm in Minnesota who’d started her descent into prostitution. Chris enters and welcomes her, while Anna tells him ironically about life “On the Farm.” Chris offers to take Anna on a trip to Boston on his barge so she can regain her strength. Embarrassed by his living arrangement with Marthy, Chris asks her to move out for a few days so Anna can move in. Marthy gets furious and kicks him out, but when two streetwalkers tell her she should get revenge by having a fling, she convinces them they’d all rather have a dull, steady man in their life (“Flings”). On the barge off Provincetown, Anna feels healthy and reborn (“It’s Good to Be Alive”). The crew of the tug pull some shipwrecked men out of a small boat. The biggest of the three can still walk. Mat Burke sees Anna and, once he realizes she’s not a mermaid or an angel, starts to maul her. She fends him off but comes back to take care of him till he falls asleep on the deck. When they arrive back in New York, the news of the rescued sailors makes Mat something of a celebrity. Reporters and photographers surround him as he mixes up the story of how he survived with the way he feels about Anna (“Look at ’Er”). Outside the shipping office, Chris is given two tickets to the Check Apron Ball by some Tammany Hall politicians. He’s just gone out to find Anna when Marthy comes in looking for him and finds Mat, also dreaming of Anna (“It’s Good to Be Alive” – reprise). Anna is chased in by a Masher who claims to recognize her. Mat chases him off before asking Anna to the ball. Marthy becomes more and more resentful as Chris shuns her, believing that Anna is too innocent to mix with the likes of her. Marthy accuses Chris of abandoning her (“Yer My Friend, Ain’tcha?”) and then swipes one of his tickets to the ball. Mat comes looking for Anna (who has been keeping him at a distance) to ask her to tell him how she feels about him. She finally tells him that she loves him and that she has never loved a man before. They kiss (“Did You Close Your Eyes?”) and when Chris comes in, Mat tells him he and Anna are going to get married. Chris is furious (Mat is only a stoker) but Anna surprises them both by saying that she can’t marry Mat. The two men have a literal tug-of-war with Anna in the middle, but in the end, they agree to put off the argument and go to the ball. In the street, happy revelers sing on their way to the Check Apron Ball. At the ball, Marthy is on her best behavior in a makeshift old ballgown and a pair of Chris’s old shoes. When she is snubbed by Chris and the society ladies giving the ball, however, she succumbs to drink. Mat comes in already jealous of the attention Anna is being paid by men at the ball. The alderman asks Anna to dance and then leads the chorus in a rowdy dancing song (“There Ain’t No Flies on Me”). Anna is the belle of the ball, dancing with joy at being accepted by the crowd. ACT II The ball continues. With Marthy drunk and disorderly, Anna and Chris lead the company in a waltz (“Ven I Valse”). When Mat tries to ease Marthy out of the ball, she gets angry and tells Mat that Anna’s not a nurse but a “sportin’ lady” before she passes out. Anna crosses to Mat who recoils from her touch. He confronts Anna with her past and she admits that she’d worked “in a house.” Mat throws her down and runs off, declaring that she’ll never see him again. Mat gets drunk and signs on with a ship bound for the Pacific. A remorseful Marthy tells Anna to deny everything while, from the ball, we can hear a reprise of “Sunshine Girl.” Anna tries to explain to Mat that she has changed but he can’t believe her and she leaves, while Marthy is so disconsolate that she threatens to take the pledge. In Chris’s room, Anna starts to pack while trying to tell her father about her past. Chris goes off on the barge, and Anna wonders sadly “If That Was Love.” She is traipsing off with her bag – reliving scenes of the brothel in her mind (“Ballet”) when she is met by a kind market gardener named Henry who treats her as a respectable person. One year later: it’s time for the ball again. Anna has moved to Staten Island to work for Henry on a farm. When Chris meets Mat (back from China but shipping out in a few hours) he tries to be protective and tells Mat that Anna is married. Anna comes in with Henry and bushels of potatoes. Mat and Anna try to appear cool, but are still clearly drawn to each other. Despite Chris’s interference, Anna manages to tell Mat that she’s not married, just a farmhand, and they arrange to meet and talk later. Chris tries to distract Mat, but they are soon surrounded by a Salvation Army-type band of proper ladies raising money for the Seamen’s Home, the properest of them all being the reformed Marthy (“Chess and Checkers”). Mat asks Marthy how he’ll know if Anna still cares for him, and she tells him to look to see if she’s changed her dress. When Anna returns dressed not in her workclothes but in “something special,” Mat can’t take his eyes off of her (“Look at ’Er” – reprise) and promises her that even if he has to ship out, he’ll ship right back as soon as he can.
Lily: Lulu Bates Moll: Pat Ferrier Katie: Mara Lynn Alderman: Michael Quinn Chris: Cameron Prud’homme Johnson: Jeff Killion Seaman: H. F. Green Marthy: Thelma Ritter Oscar: Del Anderson Pete: Eddie Phillips Mrs. Dowling: Ann Williams Smith: Stokely Gray Mrs. Smith: Dorothy Stinnette Bartender: Mark Dawson Ivy: Rita Noble Rose: Ginny Perlowin Anna: Gwen Verdon Flo: Drusilla Davis Pearl: Mara Landi Mat: George Wallace Mrs. Hammacher: Jean Handzlik Reporter: Herb Fields Masher: John Aristides Svenson: Ray Mason Violet: Deedy Irwin Waiter: Louis Polacek Dowling: Ripple Lewis Politician: H. F. Green Krimp: John Ford Henry: Edgar Daniels Ensemble: Claiborne Cary, Drusilla Davis, Dorothy Dushock, Pat Ferrier, Marie Kolin, Mara Lynn, Ethel Martin, Joan Petlak, John Aristides, Robert Bakanic, Harvey Hohnecker, Harvey Jung, Dale Moreda, John Nola, Eddie Phillips, Alton Ruff, Jean Handzlik, Deedy Irwin, Mara Landi, Rita Noble, Ginny Perlowin, Dorothy Stinnette, Ann Williams, Del Anderson, Edgar Daniels, Herb Fields, John Ford, Stokely Gray, H. F. Green, Jeff Killion, Ripple Lewis, Ray Mason, Louis Polacek, Michael Quinn. Musical Direction by Hal Hastings