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Ring Lardner's Plays
an alphabetical listing


Updated 30 January 2006

 

 

 

 

 

   
Abend Di Anni Nouveau
A Play in Five Acts
  Publishing/Performance History
  • New York Morning Telegraph.  30 DEC 28: 1.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934.  363-366.  
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   746-748.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  618-620.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   153-155.

Characters/Cast (Listed)
ST. JOHN ERVINE, an immigrant.
WALTER WINCHELL, a nun.
HEYWOOD BROUN, an usher at Roxy's.
DOROTHY THOMPSON, a tackle.
THEODORE DREISER, a former Follies girl.
H.L. MENCKEN, a kleagle in the Moose.
MABEL WILLEBRANDT, secretary of the League of American Wheelman.
BEN HECHT, a taxi starter.
JOHN ROACH STRATON, a tap dancer.
CARL LAEMMLE, toys and games, sporting goods, outing flannels.
ANNE NICHOLS, a six-day bicyclist.

Characters/Cast (Actual)
(ACT I)
All of the listed cast (dead).
WAITER.
FIRST POLICEMAN.
SECOND POLICEMAN.

(ACT 2)
THREE MEN NAMED LOUIE BREESE.
LOUIE BREESE'S INTERNE.
EAST SIDE GANGSTER.

(ACTS 3,4, 5)
FIRST SNAIL-GUNDER.
SECOND SNAIL-GUNDER.
A NEWSBOY.
FIRST PRODUCER.
SECOND PRODUCER.

Scenes
ACT I:  A hired hall, 8:35 PM on New Year's Eve.  All the guests (cast) are dead, "their bodies riddled with bullets and frightfully garbled."

ACT II:  The interior of an ambulance.  The men are playing bridge.

ACTS III, IV, V:  A one-way street in Jeopardy.

Summary
ACT I:  A WAITER finds all the cast dead at a party.  The curtain "is lowered and partially destroyed to denote the passage of four days." Then the WAITER and the POLICEMEN have a conversation about the "havoc," the worst part of which is that the play will have to be recast.  By the end of the short conversation, all forget what they were talking about.

ACT II:  THREE MEN NAMED LOUIE BREESE and his interne are playing bridge inside an ambulance.  The LOUIE BREESES throw the INTERNE out of the ambulance for being confused.  A GANGSTER who was formerly being used as the bridge table gets up and is asked to be "a fourt'" in their game.  "There's no snow," he replies.

ACTS III, IV, V:  Two SNAIL-GUNDERS ride a tricycle onto the stage and one of them speaks briefly to A NEWSBOY.  The three giggle and leave the stage.  TWO BROADWAY PRODUCERS, nearly nude, enter on pelicans.   They exchange subtle insults

 

 

All at Sea
Musical Play in Two Acts

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Book by George Abbott, Joseph Santley and Ring Lardner. Lyrics by Ring Lardner. Music by Paul Lannin. Unproduced play, 1928. Ring Lardner Papers. Newberry Library, Chicago.

Characters/Cast
MARTIN KILGOUR, a wealthy, retired manufacturer of horse medicine from Michigan; about 55; small character comedy part, type of George Nash; would prefer to spend his declining years with his cronies at home.
MRS. KILGOUR, his wife, about 50, something of a climber, a Mrs. Malaprop, an Edna May Oliver type.
ANN KILGOUR, their daughter, young, flirtatious, giddy.
BOB ARNOLD, a young New York reporter, has come from Michigan (Paw Paw) know the Kilgours all his life and is in love with Ann.  Type of Clarence Nordstrom.  (Bob and Ann must be good dancers, preferably hot). 
ALLAN GRIER, juvenile lead, must sing well and should have a sense of humor.
CAROLINE GARRETT, leading girl, should sing well, be pretty and have a sense of humor.
LEFTY RIVERS, low comedy lead, a Chicago gunman, but not rough; more the type of Victor Moore, Jimmy Savo, Ernest Truex--does not have to sing.   Harry Watson could play this part.  Charley Butterworth could play it.
LOUIE BERG, a New York racketeer and night club owner; small part.  Typical.
LOLA LOWE, typical motion picture actress from Hollywood.
TONY, assistant purser.
MIKE BRADY, Chicago racketeer, bit.
JIM, doorman at Wildcat Club, bit.
COMBS, a mysterious tourist.
THE THREE GIRLS, like the Brox Sisters.
BODYGUARDS, policemen, reporters, photographers, stewards, natives of all the countries visited, sailors, guides, deckhands, taxi drivers, peddlers, beggars.

PLOT:  The ganster Louie Berg is wanted for murder.  A young millionaire, Allan Grier, is suffering from amnesia and is mistaken for Berg.  All works out in the end.

I feel just like poor Hamo-let
Who said, "To be or not to?"
To kill oneself is wrong, and yet
I b'lieve I've almost got to.
The girl I love is so unkind!
When I am gone, she'll rue it.
So I will die if I can find
A pleasant way to do it.

Refrain:
But cyanide, it gripes inside;
Bichloride blights the liver;
And I am told one catches cold
When one jumps in the river.
To cut my throat would stain my coat
Andf make my valet furious.
Death beckons me, but it must be
A death that ain't injurious.

2nd refrain:
A shot would make my eardrums ache
And wake my niece, who's teething;
A rope would wreck my classic neck
And interfere with breathing;
I can't take gas because, alas,
The odor's unendurable.
O Lord above, please tell me of
A death that ain't incurable.

 

 

Beautiful Katie
formerly titled Going South

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Lardner, Ring and Gene Buck. . Unproduced play. Ring Lardner Papers. Newberry Library, Chicago.

Characters/Cast
(ACT I)
JACK WHEELER.
BESSIE WHEELER, his wife.
KATE RICE, Bessie's sister.
THE WHEELERS' GUESTS:
     FRANK ADAMS
     MINNIE ADAMS
     TOM LOGAN
     EDITH LOGAN
     JIM PRESTON
     MAY PRESTON
     JIM BROWNING
     GRACE BROWNING
     LOUIE HATCH
     LAURA HATCH
     WILLARD HOLD, a friend of the Hatches'

(ACTS II, III)
THE WHEELERS.
KATE RICE.
WILLARD HOLT
WALTER TRUMBULL, a wealthy young New Yorker.
CARL SAWYER, a Californian.
HARRY HAMMOND.
MRS. PAUL POTTER OF CHICAGO.
PAUL POTTER II, her son.
ED FISHER, proprietor of the Florida Club.
WATCHER, Wheelmen, Gamblers and Society People in the Florida Club.

SOCIETY PEOPLE, Headwaiter and Waiters in the Cocanut Grove.

 

 

The Bull Pen

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • The Ziegfeld Follies of 1922. New Amsterdam Theatre, New York. 5 June 1922.
  • Judge 82 (29 July 1922): 26-27.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons 1934.  333-339.
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   721-725.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   129-133.

Characters/Cast
BILL CARNEY, a pitcher.......Al Ochs
CY WALTERS, a pitcher.......Will Rogers
JOE WEBB, a Busher..............Andy Toombes

Scene
The bullpen at the Polo Grounds where the Yankees are playing Cleveland.  

Summary
BILL keeps tabs on what's happening in the game while CY and JOE exchange quips and put-downs.  Examples follow:

CY:  How would you pitch to him [Ruth]?
JOE:  High and on the outside.
CY:  And that's just where it'd go.

JOE:  Just the same, I bet Ruth's glad I ain't with some other club.
CY:  He don't know you ain't.

JOE:  She was trying to make me.
CY:  She was trying to make you out.

 

The Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 lasted 541 performances.   New Complete Book of the American Musical Theater.

Ring mentions lines that were added by others in "Why Authors?"

 

Carmen

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Unproduced play. Ring Lardner Papers. Newberry Library, Chicago.

Characters/Cast
(ACT I)
DAN JOSEPHS, a Policeman.
MORAN, a Captain of Police.
CARMEN, a Working Girl.
MISS MICHAELS, a Girl from Upstate.
POLICEMEN, Working Girls, Citizens, Etc.

 

 

 

Cinderella

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Unproduced play. Ring Lardner Papers. Newberry Library, Chicago.

 


 

Clemo Uti--"The Water Lilies"

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • What of It? New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925. 41-44.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons 1934.  367-370.
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   749-750.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  599-600.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   157-159.

Characters/Cast (Listed)
PADRE, a Priest.
SETHSO}
GETHEO} Both Twins.
WAYSHATTEN, a Shepherd’s Boy.
TWO CAPITALISTS.
WAMA TAMMISCH, her daughter.
KLEMA, a Janitor’s third daughter.
KEVELA, their mother, afterwards their aunt.

Characters/Cast (Actual)
TWO RATS.
A COUPLE OF SALESMEN.
CHORUS OF ASSISTANT SHEPHERDS.
TWO QUEELS.
WAMA, KEVELA, PADRE, WAYSHATTEN, SETHSO, GETHSO.

Scenes
ACT I:  The Outskirts of a Parchesi Board.
ACTS IV, V:  A silo.

Summary
ACT I:  After wondering what has "become of the discs," the CHORUS sings a short song.  WAMA enters "from an exclusive waffle parlor" and exits "as if she had had waffles."

ACTS II and III:  Deleted "because nothing seemed to happen."

ACT IV:  TWO RATS wander in; "one seems diseased."  WAMA enters "from an offstage barn," "made up to represent the Homecoming of Casanova."  She exits after having a fainting spell.    KVELA and PADRE have a brief conversation after which PADRE rides and falls off from a high-wheel bicycle.

ACT V:  A COUPLE OF SALESMEN try to sell Portable Houses to the rest of the cast who don't want them.  When rejected by the rest of the cast, the SALESMEN leave in hysterics.  WAYSHATTEN (the Shepherd's Boy) and a CHORUS OF ASSISTANT SHEPHERDS chide KEVELA for not helping look after the sheep.  SETHSO asks GETHSO who their father is; GETHSO doesn't seem to care.  WAMA says "Hush, clemo uti (the Water Lilies).   TWO QUEELS are overcome by the water lilies and quiver out of control.   "They want to play the show over again, but it looks useless.)  The play ends with "SHADES." 

 

 

Cora, or Fun at a Spa
An Expressionist Drama of Love and Death and Sex--in Three Acts

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Vanity Fair 24 (June 1925): 42.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934.  358-362.
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   742-745.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  615-617.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   149-152.

Characters/Cast (Listed)
A FRIEND OF THE PRESIDENT.
PLAGUE BENNETT, an Embryo Steeplejack.
ELSA, their Ward.
MANAGER OF THE PUMP ROOM.
A MAN WHO LOOKS A GOOD DEAL LIKE HEYWOOD BROUN.
MRS. TYLER.
CORA.
POULTRY, GAME IN SEASON, ETC.

Characters/Cast (Actual)
All of the Listed Characters plus:
DEAD RINGER for DAVID BELASCO, FIRST MILCH COW, SECOND MILCH COW, ZEBU, RAT

Scenes
ACT I:  A Pharmacy at a Spa.

ACT II:  A poultry yard at a Spa.

ACT III:  A Mixed Grill at a Spa.

Summary
ACT I:  PLAGUE BENNETT and MRS. TYLER are in a pharmacy.  MRS. TYLER is putting a bottle of germs back in its place.  FRIEND OF THE PRESIDENT enters cursing the sea.  PLAGUE tells him he will be in Washington tomorrow. 

ACT II:  A David Belasco lookalike enters and exits.  The MANAGER OF THE PUMP ROOM and ELSA insult Ziegfeld until A MAN WHO LOOKS A GOOD DEAL LIKE HEYWOOD BROUN enters.  AMWLAGDLHB throws confetti and calls ELSA "conservative."

ACT III:  TWO MILCH COWS and a gigantic ZEBU are in the room.  The cows fear the zebu and leave.  CORA and PLAGUE discuss AMWLAGDLHB, who enters dancing (as usual).  A poisoned rat enters.   PLAGUE says it looks poisoned, and CORA says "You ought to saw me last night!"  The third act ends.

 

Dinner & Bridge
also called Dinner Bridge

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • The D T's Show 1927.   Dutch Treat Club Dinner.   Produced by Joseph M. Kerrigan.  New York.  25 March 1927
  • Dutch Treat Year Book 1927. New York, 1927. 40-49.

RPT as "Dinner Bridge."

  • The New Republic 51 (20 July 1927): 227-229.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons 1934.  348-357.  
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   733-741.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  608-614.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   141-147.

Characters/Cast (Listed)
CROWLEY, the foreman..........................Will Irwin
AMOROSI, an Italian laborer..................Henry Clapp Smith
TAYLOR, a Negro laborer.......................Robert Benchley
CHAMALES, a Greek laborer.................Percy Hammond
HANSEN, a Scandinavian laborer...........Rea Irvin
LLANUZA, a Mexian laborer...................Percy Waxman
THE INQUISITIVE WAITER........................George S. Kaufman
THE DUMB WAITER..................................Robert Sherwood

Scene
An area under repair on the fifty-ninth street bridge.

Summary
The play is preceeded by a program note in which it is explained that the play is "an adaptation from the Wallachian of Willie Stevens."  The play answers the question in the minds of Long Islanders and Manhattanites:  Why is the Fifty-ninth Street Bridge always torn up?  The program note explains that according to Willie Stevens, Alexander Woollcott was the chief engineer during the construction of the bridge and that he once dropped a loaded cigar, meant as a practical joke to play on his brother-in-law, under the unfinished surface planking.  Since that incident, men have been digging up the bridge to search for it. 

CROWLEY and the laborers are dirty and working.  Waiters bring them cocktails and caviar.  Later the waiters announce that dinner is served.  The men find their places.  The men speak "in correct Crownisnshield dinner English, except that occasionally, say every fourth or fifth speech, whoever is talking suddenly bursts into dialect, either his own or Jewish or Chinese or what you will."  The waiters bring the diners in pails. 

In conversation marked by many changes in dialect, the men talk about the bridge.   AMOROSI says his father, known as Giacomo "Rip-Up-the-Bridge" Amorosi began tearing up the bridge the day after it was completed.  Ripping it up is much more fun now because it is busier.  TAYLOR particularly enjoys the funerals.  He stops traffic in such a way that the mourners show up at the wrong funerals. 

AMOROSI announces that he is a trumpet medium.  AMOROSI then says that his first wife died:

HANSEN:  How long were you married to her?
AMOROSI:  Right up to the time she died.

His second wife is a Swiss murderess who is in jail.  The waiter asks whom she has murdered but then quickly exits.  TAYLOR explains that he behaves that way because he is "a born questioner but he hates answers."  AMOROSI whispers the identity of the man murdered to CROWLEY.  His wife murdered him because in her country when someone is murdered the person's name is printed in the paper.  She wanted to know his name so she killed him.  TAYLOR announces that he is a trumpet medium. 

TAYLOR says he was a newspaperman and worked on the tabloid the Porno-graphic.   AMOROSI recounts the story of a woman who went to a photagrapher and asked if he took pictures of children.  He said yes and then said he charged three dollars a dozen.  She says she will have to come back later because she only has eleven.

TAYLOR begins asking the others if they can imitate birds.  CROWLEY says someone should speak and welcome AMOROSI.  TAYLOR is chosen to speak.  He recounts a story, part in Negro/Jewish dialect, about loading bales of cotten on the levee at New Orleans.  It was then he learned to imitate birds.  He imitates some.   AMOROSI says where he is from people mimick public buildings.  He does his imitations of The American Express Company's office at Rome, The Vatican, and the Hotel McAlpin.  The whistle blows and the men go back to work.  The waiter asks how many Mack trucks crossed the bridge in the last half hour and leaves before getting a response.     

 

Elder (284) lists the actors as Will Irwin, Henry Clapp Smith, Robert Benchley, Percy Hammond, Rea Irvin, Percy Waxman, George Kaufman, and Robert Sherwood.

 

Elmer the Great

 

Publishing/Performance History

Lardner, Ring and George Cohan. . Lyceum Theatre, New York. 24 September 1928.

Characters/Cast

Walter Houston as Elmer is the only highlight of the play.

There was much antogonism betweenCohan and Lardner over the play.

The plot is not exactly the same as the story, though it was in earlier drafts (Elder says two exist)

In the final, Elmer is eating a lot in Indiana.  He refused to join the NY club because he doesn't want to leave his girl.  His girl dumps him so he will go.  Gamblers get him to try to fix games.  He secretly turns them into the police and saves the day for baseball.  The floozy he wants is discovered by the lovable Elmer and he comes to his senses for his hometown girl

Made into two films, Fast Company and Elmer the Great

See Elder 251-256. 

 

I. Gaspiri (The Upholsterers)
A Drama in Three Acts Adapted from the Bukovinan of Casper Redmonda

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Chicago Literary Times 1 (15 February 1924):  3.
  • The Transatlantic Review 2.1 (August 1924):  103-104.
  •  
  • What of It? New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons 1925. 45-47.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons 1934.  363-366.  
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   746-748.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  618-620.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   161-162.

Characters/Cast (Listed)

IAN OBRI, a Blotter Salesman.
JOHAN WASPER, his wife.
GRETA, their daughter.
HERBERT SWOPE.
FFENA, their daughter, later their wife.
EGSO, a Pencil Guster.
TONO, a Typical Wastebasket.

Characters/Cast (Actual)
(ACT I)
TUPPER.
BRINDLE.
NEWBURN.
FIRST STRANGER.
SECOND STRANGER.
THREE OUTSIDERS NAMED KLEIN.
A NEW CHARACTER.
TWO MOORS.
A GREEK.

(ACT III)
FIRST GLUE LIFTER.
SECOND GLUE LIFTER.
EIGHT REALTORS.

Scenes
ACT I:  A public street in a bathroom.
ACT III:  The Lincoln Highway.

Summary
ACT I:  TUPPER has just taken a bath, BRINDLE is taking a bath, and  NEWBURN comes out of the faucet and exits through the exhaust.  On the bath mat, two strangers exchange lines about being born out of wedlock (from "Tridget") and about FIRST STRANGER's wife:  "There's a woman living with me, but I can't place her."  THREE OUTSIDERS NAMED KLEIN cross the stage three times, thinking they are in a public library.  A woman coughs off stage.  A NEW CHARACTER asks TWO MOORS and A GREEK about the cough, asking "Who is that cough?"  THE MOORS identify her as their dead mother.  Then "[t]he curtain is lowered for seven days to denote the lapse of a week."

ACT III:  After a "translator's note," which explains hay gathering in Phlace ("On an average a hay hoarder accumulates a ton of hay every four years.   This is called Mah Jong."), the FIRST GLUE LIFTER asks the second how he is doing.  The SECOND GLUE LIFTER misunderstands what the first has asked and sings "My Man."  The realtors then "cross the stage in a friendly way.   They are out of place."

 

According to Laurence Stallings, it was acted [in New York] by Robert C. Benchley and Donald Ogden Stewart.

Donald Ogden Stewart says his "impulse toward 'crazy humor' was encouraged by the success of a skit which Bob Benchley, Marc Connelly and I did for the annual dinner of the Authors' League, which had been written for us by Ring Lardner, and was called 'I, Gaspiri (The Upholsters)." (126)  He says Benchley played a mandolin while the others "conversed deadpan in sentences which had no relation to each other or to anything else."  He remembers the "out of wedlock" lines.  He says "I know a girl who was born out of wedlock," to which Bob replies "That's a might pretty country around there."'

Stewart, Donald Ogden.  By a Stroke of Luck!  An Autobiography.  New York:  Paddington Press, 1975.

 

June Moon

June Moon Page

Buy the DVD

 

 

Publishing/Performance History

Lardner, Ring and George S. Kaufman. . Music and lyrics by Ring Lardner. Broadhurst Theatre, New York. 9 October 1929.

Characters/Cast

based on the story "Some Like Them Cold"

 

Not Guilty

 

Intended for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922, rejected.  See "Why Authors?" and Elder (259).

  • Cosmopolitan 74 (February 1923).  80-81.

 

 

The Operating Room

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Unproduced skit. Ring Lardner Papers. Newberry Library, Chicago.

Characters/Cast
THE NURSE (Comedy Girl).
THE INTERNE (Straight Man).q
THE PATIENT

Scene
A hospital operating room.

Summary
An INTERNE and a  NURSE are preparing a patient for surgery.  They try to anaesthesize THE PATIENT with ether.  THE  NURSE strokes THE PATIENT's face with her poison-ivy-infected hands:  "I guess I'm lucky it's on my hands and not my face."  THE INTERNE warns her to keep her hands away from her face.  THE INTERNE puts the mask over THE PATIENT's face.  THE NURSE and INTERNE talk about common friends, former patients who have died, and THE NURSE's boyfriend.  THE PATIENT is still awake.  THE  NURSE advises THE INTERNE to "empty the bottle on him," but THE INTERNE says a little more "would kill him."  The relief nurse calls and says she won't be able to come to work.  THE  NURSE will have to stay with the current patient.  THE PATIENT grabs the ether bottle and drinks it down.    

Includes elements of "Zone of Quiet" (25)

 

Orpheus in the Underworld

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Music by Jacques Offenbach. Unproduced play (adaption), 1925. Ring Lardner Papers. Newberry Library, Chicago.

Characters/Cast
ORPHEUS (comedy part, jazz singer, doesn't have to have a good voice; it would help if he could play a ukelele, and wonderful if he could also play a violin)
HENRY BANE (comedy part, very dumb, a pest.  Doesn't have to have a good voice)
JUPITER (comedy lead, baritone, but doesn't have to sing well)
PLUTO (comedy , tenor, ought to have a fairly good voice)
THE PRINCE OF CALISALIA (Juvenile, must have good tenor voice)
EURYDICE (beautiful young girl who can do everything; must have high, preferably coloratura, soprano voice)
DIANA (another high soprano, preferably coloratura--should have a sense of comedy)
JUNO (not much of a part; should be a mezzo; doesn't matter what she looks it; preferably oldish and unattractive)
VENUS (beautiful, with mezzo soprano voice)
HEBE (cute, flapper type; need not sing)
MORPHEUS (must speak lines, but doesn't have much singing, but ought to have bass or baritone voice to help in choruses)
MARS (tough guy with baritone voice)
NEPTUNE (sap comedy bit; no singing except in choruses)
MERCURY (Bit; needn't sing much, but could help in choruses)
MINERVA, Cybele and other goddesses and gods have no lines, but their voices are needed in choruses.
JAILER (Comedy bit.  Doesn't sing)
A SERVANT (Bit)
Guides, shepherds, nymphs and imps (Just chorus people)
Members of Orpheus' ukelele class (same)

 

 

The Other World

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Unproduced skit. Ring Lardner Papers. Newberry Library, Chicago.

Characters/Cast
MADAME GOULASH, the Medium..........Comedy Woman.
PROF. LYONS, her assistant....................Comedy Man.
GOLDSTEIN, a client................................Comedy Man.
Other Clients:
Avery, Leach, Mrs. Kramer, Mrs. Foster, and two or three others.

Scene
The play takes place in an apartment in New York.  There is a circle of chairs with a chair in the center for Madame Goulash. 

Summary
LYONS collects money "for a worthy cause" though money, nicknamed mazuma by LYONS is hated by GOULASH.  The money will be spent having Mrs. Conan Doyle's hair bobbed.  GOULASH is a trumpet medium.  Many ectoplasm jokes are made.  LYONS leaves and GOULASH takes over.   They sing "Mammy."  Various "spirit voices" are summoned, all of which are the voice of LYONS.  Many famous spirits are summoned.   "Bill" Shakespeare says Avery Hopwood wrote his plays.  The Czar of Russia tells a joke.  Next pictures of the dead are shown on the wall.  One is of Conan Doyle:

GOLDSTEIN:  Why, it's Conan Doyle himself!
MRS. KRAMER:  But he ain't dead.
MADAME:  He ain't dead, but he's gone.

Lastly, GOULASH says she will materialize a spirit.  LYONS comes out in a rediculous outfit and all of the cast recognize him as someone they know.

NOTE:  Written for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 and rejected.  See "Why Authors?"

 

Quadroon

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • The New Yorker 7 (18 DEC 1931):  17-18.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934.  363-366.  
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   746-748.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  618-620.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   135-140.

 

Characters/Cast
(PART ONE)
CHRISTINE, his sister, played by Alla Nazimova.
LAVINIA, her daughter, played by Alice Brady.
CASEY JONES, a midwife, played by William A. Brady.

(PART TWO)
CHRISTINE, his sister, played by Alice Brady.
LAVINIA, her daughter, played by Alla Nazimova.
FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE, played by A.H. Woods.

(PART THREE)
LYNN FANTANNE, a Mrs. Lunt, played by Grace George.
CASEY JONES, a midwife, played by Bert Lahr.
FRANK CASE, proprietor of the Algonquin, played by Alice Brady.

(PART FOUR)
CHRISTINE, her sister, played by Alla Nazimova.
LAVINIA, their little one, played by Alice Brady.
FRED ASTAIRE, a hoofer, played by Morris Gest.

Scenes
(PART ONE):  A Park Avenue Push-Wagon, Armistice Day, 1960

(PART TWO):  Department of Plant and Structures.  An evening in 1850.

(PART THREE):  Jimmy Walker's Wardrobe Trunk.

(PART FOUR):  An ambuscade in the Astor lobby.

Summary
The play or plays are preceeded by a long "Author's Note."  In it, Lardner explaines that all of the characters are "half-castes," and the only time the play "was performed with a whole cast, it was stopped by a swarm of little black flies, which don't bite, but are annoying."  He then makes a connection between Thomas Chalmers and Alice Brady and the tractor manufactorer Alice-Chalmers before commenting on the stock market.  Next, Lardner discusses a recent hospital stay and all of the entertainers who visited him there:

. . . Miss Claudette Colbert came up to call one day and almost instantly, piling in like interferers for Marchmont Schwartz, appeared fifteen internes, to take my temperature.  Previously they had treated my room as vacant.

Lardner then discusses the play, or plays.  The original author is Manny O'Neill, great-grandfather of Eugene "(('Greasy'))" O'Neill, "who acquired a fine sense of after-dinner speaking by playing the outfield for Cincinnati and coaching football at W. and J.  Finally, Ring addresses the lines given to men and women in the show, more given to women to keep the peace. 

HIC, the first part consists of a menu for the luncheon intermission.

HAEC, the second part has a brief exchange between the characters about LAVINIA's role in "Hedda Gabler."  This is followed by several choices of dinner menus.

HOC, the third part begins with the MAYOR and the PRINCE OF WALES dancing discussing the splendors of New York in a way that suggests they are reading from a tourist brochure.   FRANK CASE interrupts, saying "Pardon me, Officer, but can either of you boys play a cellophane?"  There is no meal, but the following instructions:   "Passengers will Please not Linger in Washrooms until Other Passengers Have Completed Their Toilets."  

HUJUS, the fourth part includes a brief conversation between FRED and LAVINIA, both of whom are dancing.  They recite a commercial for Pebeco Tooth Paste and then "She kills her with an oyster fork."  Final instructions are given to the audience:  "Leave your ticket check with an usher and your car will come right to your seat."

 

A parody of the length of O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra

 

 

Rip Van Winkle, Jr.

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • The Ziegfeld Follies of 1922. New Amsterdam Theatre, New York. 5 June 1922.

Characters/Cast

HNERY WTZ (RIP), a typographical error

BUTLER Al Shean

Brandon Tynan, Lulu McConnell, Al Shean, Andrew Tombes

Summary
Hnery Wtz has insomnia, takes a sleeping pill, sleeps for twenty years, and awakes to find everything Jewish, even the Knights of Columbus.

 

Taxidea Americana
A Play in Six Acts
Translated from the Mastoid

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • The Wisconsin Literary Magazine 24 (DEC 1924): I.
  • What of It? New York.  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925.
  • First and Last.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934.  374-377.
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   753-756.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  621-623.
  • Shut Up, He Explained:  A Ring Lardner Selection.  Ed. Babette Rosmond & Henry Morgan.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962.   163-165.

Characters/Cast (Listed)
FRED RULLMAN, an acorn huckster.
OLD CHLOE, their colored mammy.
THOMAS GREGORY, a poltroon.
MRS. GREGORY, his mother, afterward his wife.
PHOEBE, engaged to CHLOE.
PROF. SCHWARTZ, instructor in Swiss at Wisconsin.
BUDDY, their daughter.
STUDENTS, policemen, members of the faculty, sailors, etc.

Characters/Cast (Actual)
(ACT I)
STUDENTS.
DURAND.
VON TILZER.
SENATOR LAFOLLETTE.
RUBY BARRON.
PAT and MIKE, students in the pharmacy college.

(ACT V)
CHEERLEADERS.
THE WISCONSIN BAND.
WILMERDING ROOTERS.
COACH RYAN of WISCONSIN.
REFEREE BIRCH.

(ACT III)
SLAM ANDERSON, a former Wisconsin end.
DR. BONIFACE, the landlord of a switch engine on the Soo lines.
FARMER HOOKLE.

Scenes
Madison, Wisconsin

ACT I:  In front of the library.

ACT V:  Camp Randall Stadium before a game between Wisconsin and the Wilmerding School for the Blind.

ACT III:  A livery barn in Stoughton.

Summary
ACT I:  Two agricurtural students walk in front of the library holding a seed.   "They are silent, as they cannot place one another."   DURAND and VON TILZER walk down the library steps and stand with their backs to the audience.  DURAND asks if there is any news from home.  They leave the stage.   "Senator LaFollette enters from right and practices sliding to base for a few moments."  He is met by RUBY BARRON.  RUBY asks the SENATOR about sliding to base, after which the SENATOR leaves the stage and RUBY does some card tricks.   Pharmacy students, PAT and MIKE crawl on stage and fill prescriptions.  They talk nonsense about the ocean and laugh.

ACTS II, III, IV:  "left out through an oversight."

ACT V:  Both teams (Wisconsin and the Wilmerding School for the Blind) sing their songs.  COACH RYAN "announces that the game is postponed to permit Referee Birch to take his turn in the barber's chair.   The crowd remains seated till the following Tuesday, when there is a general tendency to go home."

ACT III:  The coaches send in ACT III to replace ACT VI.  SLAM ANDERSON is at the livery barn making horses laugh by making faces at them.  He goes home.  DR. BONIFACE enters and is met by FARMER HOOKLE, who enters on a pogo stick.  BONIFACE asks if HOOKLE has much luck with his hogs.   HOOKLE replies, "Oh, we never play for money."

 

 

Thompson’s Vacation

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • Cosmopolitan 73 (September 1922):  82-83.
  • First and Last. Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1934.  329-332.
  • Portable Lardner.  Ed. Gilbert Seldes.  New York:  Viking, 1946.   718-720.
  • Ring Lardner Reader.  Ed. Maxwell Geismar.  New York:  Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963.  597-598.

Characters/Cast
THOMPSON, a plain citizen.
HAINES, another.
DILLON, another.

Scenes
ACT I:  The smoking car on a city-bound suburban train.  

ACT II:  Four minutes later.  A downtown subway express.

Summary
ACT I:   HAINES and THOMPSON talk about THOMPSON's vacation in Atlantic City.  HAINES suggests that THOMPSON's choices of hotel, activities, entertainments, and time of year to vacation are all wrong.  THOMPSON leaves.

ACT II.  DILLON asks THOMPSON about his vacation.  THOMPSON says he had a rotten time and went "[n]owhere."

 

NOTE:  the Cosmo appearance is part of a miscellany called "You Know Me, Al"

 

The Tridget of Greva
Translated from the Squinch

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • The 49ers.  Punch and Judy Theatre,  New York.  7 November 1922.   
  • Blackouts: Fourteen Revue Sketches. Ed. Marjorie Rice Levis. New York: Samuel French, 1932. 1-9.
  • Shut Up, He Explained. Ed. Babette Rosmond and Henry Morgan. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1962.  125-127.
  • 24 Favorite One-Act Plays.  Ed. Bennett Cerf & Van H. Cartmell.   New York:  Doubleday Dolphin, 1963.

Characters/Cast (Listed)
LOUIS BARHOOTER, the Tridget
DESIRE CORBY, a Corn Vitter
BASIL LAFFLER, a Wham Salesman

Scene
All three characters are seated in small flat-bottomed boats fishing. 

Summary
The conversation is chiefly between CORBY and BARHOOTER.  LAFFLER says things from time to time that are completely ignored by the others.  CORBY asks about BARHOOTER's wife.  He says she isn't well, and CORBY says "That's fine!"   The conversation switches to CORBY's mother.  CORBY doesn't know what his mother's name was before she was married because he didn't know her then.  He doesn't know her first name because he always calls her mother.  BARHOOTER wonders "what's the matter" with CORBY's sister.  The conversation about relatives becomes confused.  BARHOOTER notices that the wind is coming from offstage. 

BARHOOTER recounts a story about his sister's baby.  His sister and husband were in a car two days before the baby was born.  They went down a hill in reverse by accident, and the "baby is very backward."

BARHOOTER asks CORBY and LAFFLER if they can imitate birds.  Neither can.   When LAFFLER asks why, BARHOOTER replies, "I'm always afraid I'll be near somebody that can imitate birds. 

The conversation switches to shaving and what BARHOOTER does with his old whiskers.   CORBY saves and plays with his.  CORBY asks BARHOOTER where he was born:

BARHOOTER:  Me?  I was born out of wedlock.
CORBY:  That's a mighty pretty country around there.

CORBY has no teeth and cannot eat fish, only broth.  BARHOOTER suggests they go to a brothel.  "BLACK OUT."  

 
   

Zanzibar

 

Publishing/Performance History

  • lyrics and music.  Book by Harry Schmidt. American Minstrels, Niles, Michigan. 14 April 1903.


 

 

 

 

   


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