The Nervous Set – Original Broadway Cast 1959
ACT I The first scene of The Nervous Set is Washington Square Park, where we find Bunny, an author (Larry Hagman), Brad, the editor of Nerves, a wildly avant-garde magazine (Richard Hayes), and Danny, the poet (Thomas Aldredge). Together with other indigenous Village fauna they state their credo: “Man, We’re Beat.” Jan (Tani Seitz) appears; she is an attractive young woman, and the boys know she is from uptown because she is wearing a skirt rather than pants. Jan loves living in New York, but Brad and Danny explain that they are tired of such nonsense (“New York”), and Brad invites her to his apartment. Jan capriciously accepts (“What’s To Lose?”), sensing that she may be falling in love (“Stars Have Blown My Way”). A turn of the panels brings the action forward to the following Spring. Brad and Jan are now married and they find it a “Fun Life.” Their apartment is invaded by the wild-eyed Yogi (Del Close), whom Brad takes on as an associate editor for Nerves, despite the fact that Yogi has nearly assaulted his landlady (“How Do You Like Your Love?”). When Jan returns home from work, she persuades Brad to spend the weekend with her family in Connecticut, and another turn of the panels takes them to Fairfield County, where a party is in progress (“Party Song”). Dismayed by the squareness of the squires, Brad takes refuge in the bottom of an empty swimming pool, where he is joined by Sari Shaw (Janice Meshkoff), who is strikingly beautiful and strikingly available, and after a brief preliminary discussion, Brad makes the most of his opportunities. Back in New York, he and Jan agree that they really like the “Night People,” and set out for a party given at Bunny’s apartment. There Jan discovers that she must learn to adjust to Brad’s friends (“I’ve Got a Lot To Learn about Life”), particularly when she hears Danny explain how to make the most of one’s psychoses. In an attempt to be carefree and beat, she flirts with Bunny, but finds herself unable to continue and, looking about her, muses on the waste she sees (“The Ballad of the Sad Young Men”). Brad, who is touched by her sentiments, agrees to spend a quiet evening at home, and they discuss plans for the future, when he can become “A Country Gentleman.” Their plans are interrupted by Danny, who urges them to join him at dinner at the Melancholy Pigeon with Max the Millionaire (Gerald Hiken), whom Danny is tutoring in poetry at fifty dollars an hour. Max explains the pleasure he takes in the company of his friends (“Max the Millionaire”), but Jan is distressed and accuses the group of fleecing Max. He agrees with her, but points out the fun that he finds with them. Jan rushes out, and Brad defiantly goes off with Danny and Yogi to a Sutton Place party given in honor of Bunny, who has just sold his novel. Bunny, better able to cope with the complexities of the pace than the others, explains his formula: “Travel the Road of Love.” And Brad, impressed by the idea, finds he misses Jan (“Laugh, I Thought I’d Die”), and returns to the apartment while the party goes riotously on.
– from the notes by George B. Dale to the original 1959 Columbia Masterworks album OS 2018
Bunny: Larry Hagman Brad: Richard Hayes Danny: Thomas Aldredge Jan: Tani Seitz Yogi: Del Close Sari Shaw: Janice Meshkoff Max the Millionaire: Gerald Hiken Music by Tommy Wolf Lyrics by Fran Landesman Book by Jay Landesman and Theodore J. Flicker based on the novel by Jay Landesman Music Arrangements and Direction by Tommy Wolf Directed by Theodore J. Flicker