Music and Lyrics by Tom Lehrer
Adapted by Cameron Mackintosh and Robin Ray
Musical Arrangements by Chris Walker and Robert Fisher

Tomfoolery | Revue, Rated R | SMALL

  • About the Show

    Four actors, stools, a piano and a healthy dose of attitude are all you need to enter the witty, wicked, offbeat and thoroughly twisted world of famed satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer. In concerts, television appearances and a series of now-classic recordings, the Harvard-educated math professor delighted millions of fans during the 1950's and 60's with his dry, cynical but good-humored attacks on the A-bomb, racism, pollution, pornography, the military, the boy scouts and, of course, mathematics.

    Nothing is sacred in this hysterical revue featuring such Lehrer favorites as “Poisoning Pigeons In The Park,” “When You Are Old And Grey,” “The Masochism Tango,” “The Old Dope Peddler,” “The Vatican Rag” and an unforgettable Gilbert and Sullivan-esque recitation of the table of elements, linked together with his own inimitable concert patter.



    The show unexpectedly opens with a naughty parody of a Boy Scout song ("Be Prepared"). Our narrator then tells the audience what they will need to know about the songwriter, Mr. Lehrer, to most appreciate his humor and the history of his teaching experience at Harvard University.

    We are then introduced to one of the joys of a spring; a nice couple who finds fulfillment in poisoning pigeons in the park ("Poisoning Pigeons In The Park"). We are then told that we are going to return to the South.

    One actor dons a gray confederate cap, two others find straw and the South is reborn in all its glory ("I Wanna Go Back To Dixie"). No culture is safe in this show, as next they move onto life in a bigger city, with the murdering druggist and the hooker next door ("My Home Town"). Immediately following, we are enlightened on the filth and grime now present in every day life ("Pollution"). Two tipsy men then appear reminiscing about their college days ("Bright College Days/Fight Fiercely Harvard").

    For a change of pace, next comes a manic list of all the elements in the periodic table ("The Elements"). Three cast members talk to the audience about a song writing form in the 1960s, the folk song of protest. The cast dons appropriate hippy garb to further help our understanding of the period's music ("The Folk Song Army").

    Next comes a salute to Mexico lamented by a frustrated phone operator who misses her homeland ("In Old Mexico"). After an introduction to marriage and romance, a male actor comes out to give a different perspective on the classic female torch song ("She’s My Girl"). We then meet a man who wants to take advantage of his love now, rather than later when the attraction is gone ("When You Are Old And Gray").

    The audience is then reminded of the American dedication to creating the Atom Bomb, where we are then treated to a look at the 1960s international race to develop nuclear technology ("Wernher Von Braun/Who's Next"). The cast goes back to discussing relationships and takes a closer look at what it means to have friends ("I Got It From Agnes"). Then we get a look at what it would be like to have a week where everyone must love their neighbors without regard to ethnicity, religion, or class ("National Brotherhood Week").


    Returning to the now well-established anti-war salute, we meet a man going off to war in the modern times ("So Long, Mom"). This is followed by a look at the dangers of hunting season, when it is not just the animals who are in trouble ("The Hunting Song"). After a brief history of Irish folk songs, we are treated to a reenactment of a family style folk band ("The Irish Ballad"). As the cast members thumb through skin magazines, they delighted within the salacious reading ("Smut"). This is followed by a look at how confusing new arithmetic techniques can be ("New Math"). Continuing on the educational theme, unusual aspects of the English language are highlighted ("Silent E").

    The cast then discusses how politics is becoming infiltrated by many Hollywood natives ("George Murphy"). Next, a cast member reflects on motherhood and loving your mother ("Oedipus Rex"). This is followed by a look at a different side of loving relationships - those that can be considered painful or even murderous ("I Hold Your Hand In Mine/Masochism Tango").

    We are then told of a peaceful, happy time; the time of night when the dope peddler appears on the corner ("The Old Dope Peddler"). This is followed by a look at the church and its attempts to make its teachings and ceremonies more relatable in modern times ("The Vatican Rag"). Finally, the audience is reassured that it will be an easy end for everyone when the bomb drops and we all go together ("We Will All Go Together When We Go").

    Performance Group

    Casting Information

    Ensemble Cast - Many featured roles, Mainly Men, Older Role(s)
    Cast members may use their own names
    Character Breakdown

    MAN Featured musical numbers include: "The Elements," "I Got it From Agnes," "Tomfoolery," and "I Hold Your Hand in Mine."
    Male, 30-50 yrs o

    Range: F2 - F4 OLDER MAN The story's narrator and a wise-cracking guide throughout the show. Featured musical numbers include: "I Wanna Go Back to Dixie," "Wernher Von Braun," "George Murphy," and "The Masochism Tango."
    Male, 50-70 yrs old
    Range: F2 - F#4

    WOMAN Featured musical numbers include: "In Old Mexico," "The Irish Ballad," and "Oedipus Rex."
    Female, 20-50 yrs old
    Range: F3 - F5

    YOUNGER MAN Featured musical numbers include: "My Home Town," "She's My Girl," "So Long, Mom," and "New Math."
    Male, 18-30 yrs old
    Range: F2 - G4

    Production Material


Partners & Associates

  • cipc
  • bsa
  • samro