Music and Lyrics by Barry Manilow 
Adapted by Bro Herrod 
Based on the world-famous melodrama by W.H.S. Smith 

The Drunkard | Book Musical| Rated G

  • About the Show

    Lending his incomparable writing talents to the stage, Barry Manilow teams up with Bro Herrod to delve into the world of the 19th Century melodrama. THE DRUNKARD presents a unique delivery of the famous melodrama by W.H.S. Smith, transporting audiences to an infinitely less subtle day in this deliciously coy and exaggerated musical.

    Mary Wilson and her widowed mother are in dire straights. When it comes to their attention the cottage they're renting is to be sold, Mary appears before the handsome new owner, Edward, hoping to request his mercy. Edward had already been informed of the debacle by the villainous lawyer, Cribbs, who has set about to destroy the Wilson family. Being goodhearted, Edward had already determined the Wilson family was not to be forced from their home. After laying eyes on Mary, Edward is immediately in love and the wedding is set; Cribbs's plan has been thwarted. He'll have to implement a new plan just as deviant involving the wicked devil's beverage...Alcohol! 

    A small cast size, unique play structure, and comedic style makes THE DRUNKARD ideal for intimate theatre spaces. Enlisting audience participation as well as direct sides, this one-of-a-kind show is a tall glass of entertainment that will ensnare theatergoers' attention and leave them longing for more.



    The show opens on the interior of a humble cottage where Mrs. Wilson and her daughter, Mary, are discovered side by side in rocking chairs, sewing on embroidery hoops. Their lives are not going very well. The mortgage is overdue and the ceiling is falling through. Nevertheless, they are hoping for something good. ("Something Good Will Happen Soon") They are worried that their cottage will be sold since the landlord, Mr. Middleton, is at death's door. If he dies, they wonder what will happen to them and where they will go?

    Suddenly, there is a knock at the door and the villain, the foul-tempered lawyer, Mr. Cribbs, enters to inform the two ladies that his client, Mr. Middleton, has indeed passed away. He lewdly gazes at poor Mary as he tells them that Mr. Cribbs had many bad investments and many debts that must be paid. Wilson cottage must be sold and the ladies will have to find somewhere else to live. After coldly disclosing this news, the villain leaves.

    Mr. Middleton has a surviving son, Edward, and although this young man is known to be a bit reckless and given to excess, perhaps the women can convince him not to sell the cottage. They gather up all the rent money they have saved and Mary prepares to take it over to meet with Edward and ask him for help. While Mary makes her way over to Edward's house, Mr. Cribbs prances around enjoying all the evil in the world. ("Don't Swat Your Mother")

    In a wooded glade, Edward, our hero, enters confidently and handsomely dressed. He is stopped by Mr. Cribbs who tries to discuss with him the selling of the Wilson cottage and its adjoining land. Edward has no intention of selling the cottage or land. He knows that his father had the highest esteem for the Wilsons, and Edward would never deprive them of a home. Hearing this, an angered Mr. Cribbs exits.

    Mr. Cribbs swiftly returns, however, and suggests to Edward that since young Mary is without a father, it would be very easy for him to simply take her for his own. Hearing these lewd thoughts infuriates Edward, and he chases after Mr. Cribbs. Edward is about to strike Mr. Cribbs, when Mary, who has been peeking form behind the tree, rushes forward and grasps Edward's arm. She begs forgiveness for Mr. Cribbs and the villain angrily escapes.

    Mary prepares to give Edward the rent money. He refused it, however, insisting that she keep it as a portion of her dowry. The two have fallen in love at first sight and offer vows, planning to wed. ("Peace and Love")

    It appears that Mr. Cribbs' s plan is falling apart. If Edward weds young Mary, there is no way that the cottage will be sold and he (as lawyer) can reap the profits. Mr. Cribbs, however, is not giving up that easily. He will use liquor as his potion to destroy Edward; a plan that has worked for him before. Edward's foster brother, William Dowton, comes along the path. Mr. Cribbs tries speaking with him, but William has no time, proclaiming that Edward is getting married and there is much to do. Mr. Cribbs tries to get an invitation, but William refuses. William leaves and Mr. Cribbs hears the singing of Agnes, the insane sister of William. At one time she was a happy girl who was engaged to wed. Mr. Cribbs, however, turned her fiancee on to drinking and the young man died in a drunken fit. She has never been the same since that time.

    Deranged Agnes enters and speaks of the wedding preparations she has observed. She confronts Mr. Cribbs, crying that he ruined her life the moment he turned her husband on to drinking. The crazy woman chases him and Cribbs attempts to hit her with his cane. Just then, William returns and takes Mr. Cribbs by the collar. Williams says that were it not for the fact that Mr. Cribbs is an old man, he'd break every bone in his body. William restrains himself, however, choosing good over evil, and lets Cribbs go. ("Good Is Good")

    Mary and William have a wonderful wedding, and everything appears to be going well for the happy couple. The village celebrates. (“Mrs. Mary Middleton") During this, Mr. Cribbs hands a bottle of wine to the Preacher who doesn't know quite what to do with it. Edward, however, looks at the bottle and prepares to take a sip. Mary tries to stop her new husband from taking a drink, but he persists, telling her that it is only in social celebration. Unfortunately, after his first drink he appears to be quite taken with the new beverage.


    Some years later, Edward is discovered in a village bar, disheveled and drinking quite heavily. He has been wandering from one bar to the next, drinking his nights away. Mr. Cribbs has been along all the time helping to keep poor Edward in a drunken state.

    Suddenly, a great deal of commotion ensues as Carrie Nation works her way to Edward and speaks to him of redemption through complete abstinence from alcohol. Mr. Cribbs tries to argue with her about the virtues of drinking, but she has no time for this. Our villain, however, is a very powerful man, and soon everyone in the bar has joined him in celebrating his views of alcohol. ("Have Another Drink") Carrie tries to stop him, but to no avail. They all continue drinking and Carrie leaves in frustration.

    By this time, Edward is totally intoxicated, and even the bartender tries to send him home, but he refuses causing another stir. He eventually passes out on the floor. William enters, finds his wounded brother, and tries to help him home. He reprimands Edward for his behavior and accuses the bartenders assisting his brother's demise. It is then that Edward remembers the man he used to be and realizes what he has become--a drunkard. ("Curse of An Aching Heart") Still in a drunken stupor, Edward passes out again.

    Mr. Cribbs adores how the situation is playing itself out. He delivers a monologue to the audience about living life to the fullest. ("When You're Dead")

    In a wooded glade, a trembling Edward enters more out-of-sorts than ever. He proceeds to his secret hiding place behind the tree stump, and gets his bottle of liquor which he guzzles until it is gone. He prepares to go, but is stopped by Cribbs who quickly tries to tempt him with a flask of brandy. Edward tries to resist, but he cannot. He chugs the flask while Cribbs laughs maniacally. Once Edward is completely drunk, the two join in song celebrating the joys of drinking. ("Cup of Coffee")

    Inside the Wilson cottage, poor Mary is sobbing about her situation. Her husband is a drunk, there is little money left, and her mother, Mrs. Wilson, is near death. Little Julia, her daughter, tries to console her mother. William enters with more news of Edward and his drunken ways. When Mary she sees her husband in his completely disheveled appearance, she completely breaks down. (Something Good Will Happen Soon") Hearing all the commotion, the old woman (Mrs. Wilson) runs out and screams for silence. Unfortunately, her screams bring about a sudden heart attack and she dies. Edward realizes he is to blame for everyone’s hardships and decides to leave forever.


    The curtain rises on a street in the Bowery in New York City. Mr. Cribbs removes a cover from a trash barrel where Edward is still in a drunken stupor. Edward asks Cribbs about his wife and child, and is informed that they would like to see him if he indeed became a respectable member of society. Cribbs tries to convince Edward to forge a check for $5000, persuading him that money would make him respectable. Edward does not and a disappointed Mr. Cribbs leaves him alone, drunk, and destitute. ("Garbage Can Blues")

    Inside a cold, one-room, New York City tenement, Mary is working at the ironing board, and Julia is asleep on a simple straw pallet. It appears that the mother and child are also in the most desperate of circumstances with no money and no food. Mr. Cribbs enters in a swirl of snowflakes. Mary is desperately trying to find her husband and Cribbs tries to convince her that Edward is probably off with another young woman. She dismisses his comment, for, as far as she's concerned, Edward's only fault is intemperance--not infidelity.

    Mr. Cribbs attempts to make his move on Mary, but she has no interest in him. He tries to seize her, but she resists his lascivious embraces. Things get more intense and Julia even joins in to help her poor mother. Just when Mr. Cribbs is about to win, William enters and intercedes. Holding Mr. Cribbs, he offers the villain one more chance at redemption, but Cribbs proclaims "A villain I have lived. A villain let me die." With that, William throws Mr. Cribbs down a flight of stairs, killing him. William is determined to help Mary find her husband. The two leave to search the entire city while little Julia thinks about how the joys of nature are far better than the joys of wine. ("Julia's Song")

    The scene opens on Edward in a heap of tattered clothing, lying on a curbstone. The Salvation Army appears and approaches Edward, asking him if he wants to be saved. (Do You Want To Be Saved?") At first, Edward resists, saying it is too late for him, but slowly Edward begins to listen to the leader, and is further persuaded as William, Julia, and Mary discover him and offer him help. As a final point of persuasion everyone points up Mr. Cribbs who magically appears from above. He is all in white, complete with a small harp and angel wings. Suddenly, as if by magic, Edward is ready to be saved and is transformed into a neatly dressed citizen complete with black suit, collar, and tie.

    Newly reformed, Edward and the cast focus on the sinners of the audience asking them if they, too, wish to be saved.

    "Look up to heaven, brother 
    Say down with demon rum!"

    Casting Information


    Billy's demented sister.
    *DOUBLING: The female playing Agnes doubles as temperance leader Carry A. Nation and the Old Man's Darling. 




    Our hero, virtuous, prone to temptation


    Mary and Edward's child, a gift from Heaven.
    *DOUBLING: The female playing Julia also plays a bargirl. 


    Dastardly villain and foul tempter, arch


    Our heroine, pure, decent, modest


    Helpless mother of lovely Mary. 
    *DOUBLING: The female playing Mrs. Wilson plays a barmaid and the rallying Salvation Worker. 


    Character actor to swing roles





    Edward's goodly foster brother. 

    Production Material:



Partners & Associates

  • cipc
  • bsa
  • samro