Fall 2018 – Leader of the Pack
by Melanie Mintz, Jack Heifner, Anne Beatts, Ellie Greenwich
Directed by Ron Gardner.
Musical Director Tobi Dumoulin
It’s the end of 1950’s. In the city of Levittown, New York lives a young girl named Ellie, who dreams of a great career in the music industry. She reveals to her mother, Rosie, her most cherished desire: she wants her songs played on the radio. Rosie is not supportive because she wants a more secure future for her daughter. But being an active teenager, Ellie ignores her mother’s wishes and creates a girl band called The Jivettes, which includes her school friends Mickey and Shelley. The young singers begin performing songs written by Ellie at hospitals, schools, charity events, and other venues. And wherever they perform, the young trio meets with success. Audiences watch with admiration their sincere and sparkling performances. Eventually, The Jivettes have an opportunity to record a single at the Brill Building Studios. They hope that this might be their big break. And it is.
A few years later, Rosie tells Ellie that she has to get a professional education. Ellie applies and gets admitted to Queens College. During her studies, she finds a job at a Manhattan studio in the famous Brill Building. She manages to get herself a good salary: 100 dollars per week. While working at the studio, she has her first meeting with Jeff Barry. Soon after, she writes her first single which becomes a hit. This pleases the music studio producer, Gus Sharkey, who previously was unsure about Ellie’s talents. Later, at a party dedicated to the creators of successful new songs, she again meets Jeff. They have a mutual attraction which is intensified by the romantic party atmosphere. Later, Ellie shares with Shelly and Mickey her joy at her first kiss with Jeff. After briefly dating, the young couple decides to get married over the objections of their families, who think they are too young. Regardless, Ellie and Jeff tie the knot and their marriage marks the birth of a creative collaboration. Together, the couple write many popular songs, and as a result become very wealthy.
It is now 1965, and the musical works of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry are included in the repertoire of many well-known performers. The couple is at the peak of their popularity, and Jeff begins to think about retirement. He wants Ellie to give birth to a child and become a normal wife. But Ellie is not suited for such a life. She wants to write as many songs as possible. Soon, tensions arise between the couple, and Jeff decides that it makes no sense to live together if Ellie does not want to have children. As a result, they divorce.
The creative alliance between Ellie and Jeff lasts for another year. When Ellie tries to reconcile with her former husband, she discovers that he has found another woman. This is the final break between them. Ellie begins to sink into depression because she still loves Jeff, and eventually has a nervous breakdown. But after a while she finds the strength to begin to live and to work again. It takes another few years, but Ellie returns to her creative peak and writes songs that sell millions of copies. She even begins to offer songwriting workshops which help her overcome her difficulties. As a result, she comes to the conclusion that her relationship with Jeff is in the past and she has has her own destiny.
|Gus Sharkey||21-40||M||Music Publisher/Boy group singer|
|Jeff Barry||25-35||M||Ellie’s Writing Partner & Husband|
|Lounge Singer||21-35||F||Night Club and Girl Group Singer|
|Annie Golden||21-35||F||Famed back up singer and vocalist|
|Ellie Greenwich||45-50||M||Ellie Greenwich grown up|
|Mickey/Waitress||21-35||F||Girl Group Singer|
|Darlene Love||35-45||F||Narrator & Girl Group Singer|
|Young Ellie Greenwich||21-25||F||1960s famed doo wop singer and songwriter|
|DJ Voice||21-35||M||Boy Group Singer|
|Rosie||F||Ellie’s Mother/Girl Group Singer|
|Gina||21-35||F||Girl Group Singer|
|Shelly||21-35||F||Girl Group Singer|
|Singing and Dancing Chorus||21-35||F||At least 2 female and 4 male required|