Meet John Doe
Meet John Doe
Music by Andrew Gerle | Lyrics by Eddie Sugarman | Book by Andrew Gerle and Eddie Sugarman | Based on the film by Frank Capra
MEET JOHN DOE, based on Frank Capra’s beloved film, is an epic, Depression-era musical about media, politics and the American Dream, which features a powerful score, razor-sharp dialogue and an iconic female lead. When ambitious newspaper reporter Ann Mitchell loses her job, she prints a phony letter from a “John Doe” who promises to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge on Christmas Eve to protest the state of society. Circulation goes through the roof and Ann convinces her editor to hire an out-of-work ballplayer to play “John” while she ghost-writes a column. With her words and his down-home charm, John Doe quickly becomes a national sensation and a complicated romance blooms between the pair. When the paper’s powerful owner reveals his true plans for the John Doe movement, Ann and John must confront the hoax they've created and decide what is worth fighting for.
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About The Show

History for Meet John Doe

Production Info


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To request the rights to make merchandise for this show email brian.sherman@rnh.com.

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News for Meet John Doe

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 Press for Meet John Doe

  • Quotes
“Meet John Doe is a winning new musical with an old-fashioned heart, a stirring soul, rock-solid structure, and a rich collection of political and romantic themes ideally matched to our own tough times. And oh yes, did I forget to mention that it comes with a book and score – the work of Andrew Gerle and Eddie Sugarman – that suggests the art of the well-made musical is very much alive and well?” — Chicago Sun-Times

"Politics, passion and populism ignite the stage in the tuneful musical Meet John Doe"

— Baltimore Sun

"a smart and feisty show wrapped in a big Broadway sound."

— Theatremania.com
“a smashing musical adaptation of Capra's most ambitious and controversial film... wonderfully catchy“ — The Examiner

“a great story about watching out for your fellow man that relates to the original time period as well as to today. It incorporates big Broadway-style tunes — original jazz and lyrics, that make you feel as if it's 1931..."

— The DC Traveler
“Gerle's melodies are clean, clear and effective within a wide range of rhythmic styles and Sugarman's lyrics are often evocative, calling visual imagery to mind and playing skillfully with words.” — Potomac Stage

“A new "old musical" may sound like a contradiction in terms, but that's exactly what Meet John Doe, now playing at Ford's Theater, is. At first, one might wonder if we need a show that takes us back to the days of classics like Kiss Me Kate and Sweet Charity, but with such intelligent lyrics and such a satisfying blend of hope and cynicism, John Doe is more than a nostalgia trip, and doesn't have to break new ground in order to be considered fine entertainment… This is aided by a wonderful score from Eddie Sugarman and Andrew Gerle - the lyrics are smart and funny, the rhymes are unexpected, and there is a refreshing lack of cliché... In short, John Doe has something for both the cynic and the idealist in all of us.”

— The DCist
“…a dazzling, jangly score by the very talented team of composer Andrew Gerle and lyricist Eddie Sugarman...”Talkin’ Broadway, January 16, 2014
“It leaves the listener longing to see the musical produced on a stage. The score and vocals effortlessly entertain...” — David Clarke, BroadwayWorld.com, January 03, 2014

“Gerle and Sugarman have given Meet John Doe an identity that should speak to regional theaters…”

“Gerle’s melodies are Broadway ready…”

— Steven Bergman, Boston Edge, January 03, 2014
“There is the traditional, but comforting take-home message with this musical, that ordinary men (and women) can triumph against the odds…” 
— Holly Spanner, The Public Reviews, January 27, 2014

Musical Numbers for Meet John Doe

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Song Name
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Other Versions

MEET JOHN DOE TIMELINE
Written By: Eddie Sugarman and Andrew Gerle

1924 – 1939: Writer Richard Connell writes the satiric short story “A Reputation,“ about a clerk who threatens to drown himself in New York City’s Central Park Reservoir in protest against the state of society. This leads to a screenplay by Connell and screenwriter Robert Presnell called “The Life and Death of John Doe,“ about a poor worker at Grand Central Station whose announcement of his intention to commit suicide sparks a national populist movement. Film director Frank Capra and screenwriter Robert Riskin buy the rights to “A Reputation“ and “The Life and Death of John Doe“ and create their version of the story entitled “Meet John Doe,“ which starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyk. The film, for which Capra filmed five different endings, opens in 1941 and is nominated for an Oscar for its story.

62 years pass.

2001-2002: Andrew Gerle and Eddie Sugarman write and workshop a contemporary version of the John Doe story. Finding the modern setting does not work, they start over with a musical adaptation set at the height of the Great Depression.

2003-2004: Their new version of the show is developed in the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. In the fall of 2004, a sold-out production of Meet John Doe is presented as part of the 1st Annual New York Musical Theatre Festival.

2005: Meet John Doe is developed as part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Musical Theatre Workshop. In the fall, Meet John Doe is selected for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's annual Festival of New Musicals.

2006: Andrew and Eddie develop the show at Theatreworks in Palo Alto, CA; Carousel Dinner Theatre in Akron, OH; and The Hartt School in Connecticut. Also this year, Eddie and Andrew win the Jonathan Larson Grant for their work on Meet John Doe.

2007-2008: Meet John Doe is extensively rewritten and plays Goodspeed Musicals in Connecticut in preparation for its world premiere production at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C.. The Ford’s production, with orchestrations by Tony Award-winner Jonathan Tunick, is a hit, resulting in rave reviews, an extension and 9 Helen Hayes Award nominations. Lead actress Heidi Blickenstaff and director Eric Schaeffer win Helen Hayes Awards for their work on Meet John Doe.

2011: Porchlight Music Theater of Chicago produces the Midwest premiere of Meet John Doe and Andrew and Eddie continue to rewrite the show including all-new, five-piece orchestrations by composer Andrew Gerle.

2012: R&H Theatricals licenses this new American musical, making it possible for everyone to Meet John Doe.


Awards for Meet John Doe

Joseph Jefferson Award

2011 Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination for Best Lead Actress in a Musical to Elizabeth Lanza for playing "Ann Mitchell"  in the Porchlight Music Theater production in Chicago.

Helen Hayes Award

9 Nominations for the World Premiere of MEET JOHN DOE at Ford’s Theater including 2 Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical to Heidi Blickenstaff for playing "Ann Mitchell" and Outstanding Direction of a Musical to Eric Schaeffer.

Jonathan Larson Grant

Jonathan Larson Grant Award given to Andrew Gerle and Eddie Sugarman

National Alliance for Musical Theatre

Selection 2005

New York Musical Theatre Festival

2004 selection (Inaugural Season) with [title of show] and ALTAR BOYZ.

Vocal Range of Characters:

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Writers Notes for Meet John Doe


Written By: Eddie Sugarman and Andrew Gerle

We’ve lived with this story and these characters for over a decade and counting. As in any long-term relationship, you come to know them, love them and accept that there are some things about them that you can’t and probably shouldn’t change. So here’s our two cents.

Ann Mitchell is a tough cookie. She’s a nervy, brassy broad who could care less that she’s in a man’s world. She makes immoral choices in this play, but we cheer her on because she is so damn resourceful and nervy. Importantly, she is also in a desperate economic environment and fighting for survival, which helps us not condone, but understand her choices. But let us be clear: Ann’s conscious choices lead to monumental consequences. No one points a gun to her head. Don’t try to let her off the hook; she must be held accountable for the play to have its intended impact.

This is Ann’s show and we strongly recommend that you cast a warm, likeable actress. Ann’s dialogue and actions are “sharp-elbowed” and manipulative, and casting an actress who reads as cold or calculating can quickly turn the audience against her. She’s got to have the singing pipes and the acting chops too, of course.

The pace and rhythm of this show are crucial. There is a snap and pop to the dialogue that makes it sing when it’s cooking and when it's delivered exactly as written. We have been meticulous in crafting the flow, rhythm and punch of every line as if it were a musical score, so it is imperative that actors be word-perfect. When in doubt, “Faster! Louder! Funnier!” works really well with this script and allows the slower, more deliberate moments to land and resonate effectively. The films of Billy Wilder and Howard Hawks as well as everything Aaron Sorkin has written are good guides.


Performance Tools for Meet John Doe

Playbill VIP:

MAKE YOUR OWN PLAYBILL! Playbill VIP allows you to create your very own Playbill Program. We have provided Playbill with all of the credits, song listings, musical numbers and more so that most of the work is already done for you. Just add your productions details, photos of the cast and share it with all of your friends. Learn more: www.playbillvip.com


Rental Materials for Meet John Doe

STANDARD

  • MEET JOHN DOE - Orchestration (5 Books/5 Players)
    • 1 – Piano Conductor Score
    • 1 – Reed: Piccolo/Flute; Clarinet/Bass Clarinet; Alto Sax/Tenor Sax
    • 1 – Trumpet/Flugelhorn
    • 1 – Bass (Upright)
    • 1 – Drums
  • MEET JOHN DOE - Rehearsal Set (22 Books)
    • 2 – Piano Conductor Score
    • 20 – Libretto-Vocal Book
    • 1 – Digital Logo

ADDITIONAL

  • MEET JOHN DOE - Libretti-Vocal 10-Pack
    • 10 – Libretto-Vocal Book
  • MEET JOHN DOE - Pre-Production Pack
    • 1 – Piano Conductor Score
    • 1 – Libretto-Vocal Book

Cast Requirements for Meet John Doe

PRINCIPALS
1 Woman
5 Men

ENSEMBLE
Nine or more

CHARACTERS
Ann Mitchell - Early thirties, smart, ambitious newspaper reporter who's less cynical than she thinks she is.
John Willoughby - Thirty, down-and-out ex-baseball pitcher, tall, plain-spoken, with a deep sense of fair play.
D.B. Norton - Forties-fifties, a ruthless, charming and wealthy oil mogul turned newspaper owner.
Richard Connell - Late fifties, an experienced and unsentimental newspaper editor; surprisingly, also a true patriot.
The Colonel - Fifties, professional hobo and grouch, suspicious of the system and intent on living 'off the grid'.
Beany - twenties, Connell's high-strung assistant who reveals a sober, mercenary side.
Ensemble - Nine or more strong personalities, of all types and ages, representing a real cross-section of America

Set Requirements for Meet John Doe

Materials Notes

Media Rights

Promotional

1. The Promotional Video shall be recorded and shown for the sole purposes of advertising your licensed production of the Play. For such a video, R&H allows theatres to film up to 10 minutes of total footage taken at either a performance or rehearsal (i.e.: 10 minutes of scripted moments.)

2. The Promotional Video may not include more than (i) 1 minute from any song or (ii) 3 minutes, in the aggregate, of footage of copyrighted material from the Play.

3. The Promotional Video may not include any sponsorship or underwriting without the prior consent of all R&H.

4. The Promotional Video must be submitted to R&H by sending the source video and video link to editor@rnh.com.

5. The Promotional Video must include the following: "Rights courtesy of Rodgers & Hammerstein, www.rnh.com"

6. Upon approval by R&H of the Promotional Video, you agree not to make any alterations in the approved copyrighted material used therein and you agree to obtain the prior written approval of R&H for any other use of the Promotional Video not specifically granted herein.

7. Upon termination of the Term, you shall cease to have any rights to use the Promotional Video including, without limitation, in connection with a future production of the Play, and shall immediately remove its content from any and all websites on the Internet.

8. You may not use a commercially available recording.

9. Any additional promotional rights must be approved by R&H by contactingTheatre@rnh.com.

 

*Promotional video rights can only be granted once a performance license for Meet John Doe has been secured. Please contact customer service if you have any questions. If you have not yet applied for Meet John Doe, you can do so here. LOG IN to learn more.

Archival

1. Subject to the information provided in Licensee’s application and payment of the fee as set forth in Paragraph 3 herein, Licensee shall have the right to create a single copy of the Video for internal archival, private viewing purposes at Licensee’s address only and shall not be re-copied, distributed or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed without the prior written approval of R&H. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Video shall not be (i) sold to anyone (ii) telecast by any television station or network, including, without limitation, any local cable station or (iii) distributed, exhibited or otherwise exploited over the Internet or as part of any online auction.

2. Licensee agrees to include the following language at the beginning of the Video:

©Year By R&H Theatricals. This production was videotaped by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals for archival purposes only. All Rights Reserved.

WARNING: Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, videotapes or videodiscs. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and may constitute a felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000.00 fine.

This Video is provided to you for private, organizational and home viewing purposes only. By accepting the Video, you agree not to authorize or permit the Video to be copied, distributed, broadcast, telecast or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed.

*You must be and licensed to present Meet John Doe in order to license Archival rights. Please contact customer service with any questions.

Distribution

1. Licensee shall have the right to create the Video and to make up to one hundred (100) copies of the Video for sale at cost to its Members for internal archival, private viewing purpose at Licensee’s address and for private, home-viewing purpose by Members, and shall not be re-copied, distributed or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed without the prior written approval of R&H. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Video shall not be (i) sold to anyone other than the Members (ii) telecast by any television station or network, including, without limitation, any local cable station or (iii) distributed, exhibited or otherwise exploited over the Internet or as part of any online auction.

2. Licensee agrees to include the following language at the beginning of the Video:

©Year By R&H Theatricals. This production was videotaped by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals for archival purposes only. All Rights Reserved. WARNING: Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized reproduction, distribution or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, videotapes or videodiscs. Criminal copyright infringement is investigated by the FBI and may constitute a felony with a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000.00 fine. This Video is provided to you for private, organizational and home viewing purposes only. By accepting the Video, you agree not to authorize or permit the Video to be copied, distributed, broadcast, telecast or otherwise exploited, in whole or in part, in any media now known or hereafter developed.

*You must be and licensed to present Meet John Doe in order to license Distribution rights. Please contact customer service with any questions.
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