About Face

Book & lyrics by David Arthur,

Music by Jeffrey Lodin

(Suggested by William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing)


Whittney College. Autumn. 1955. A tough school to get into – a tougher school to stay in. Strict rules, but oh so much more fun to see what you can get away with. (THE WORLD OF WHITTNEY.) We meet Coach Bill Benedick; football coach, and Beatrice Stanton; first woman professor at the college – English Lit. These two staunch singles maintain a “merry war of wits” and vie for the ten thousand dollar grant awarded to be awarded by the Pepperton Foundation to one deserving department in need of funds. Beatrice’s niece, Vicki Stanton is a sweet, but rather naive freshman drama student at the college. Her aunt gives her some sound advice on life and on boys. Jake, a senior acting student gets all the leads in all the plays, however star quarterback Claude Matthews; perfect in every way, except for a major jealous streak, decides to audition for the musical. Jake sets forth a nasty little plot to thwart that happening. (A LITTLE MISCHIEF) Coach Benedick wants Claude and the team to focus on the game, not musicals. (THE IVY BOWL) Afterwards, the Coach and Professor Stanton take yet another opportunity to bicker. After that, Jake gives heartfelt, but bad advice to Claude on how to audition. Claude believes him. Vicki and Claude are getting to know each other better, and fall for each other. (YOU, THAT’S WHO) Claude, ignores Jake’s advice. Claude and Vicki get the leads in the musical. Jake is foiled again. Maggie is Vicki’s best friend. She is a good girl looking for a bad boy. (MAGGIE’S DILEMMA) She looks for one at the campus Halloween Dance. (UNDERNEATH ) Peter O’ Brien; a not too bright, but sweet football player has had a secret crush on Professor Beatrice Stanton for three years. He approaches her at the dance and confesses his devotion for her. (JUST FOR INSTANCE.) Flattered, but realistic and reasonable, she gently turns him down. Will the thorny coach and Beatrice always be alone? Their students devise a plot so that the couple will separately overhear that they are actually secretly and hopelessly in love with each other. (LET’S GET THEM TOGETHER) The guys in the next scene speak loud enough for the coach who is innocently reading the paper who overhears about Beatrice’s adoration of him. (BILL BENEDICK IS GONNA BE A SPORT ) Now he is in love! To further his mischief, Jake has engaged a beatnick bad boy to seduce Maggie in the window of her “off limits” fourth floor dorm room. Her roommate, Vicki is at the Library. Jake gets tells the jealous Claude that it is Vicki up undressing in the dorm room window with Boris. From that 4th floor distance, it looks like Vicki. Claude storms off. Jake and the full company sing of their separate and collective woes. (FINALETTO)



Mae Francis; a savvy New York drama teacher tries to lift the kids spirits. (OPTIMISTIC) Afterwards, and before Beatrice’s class, Dean Leonard also in on the plot to get the coach and the professor together gives Beatrice some honest, fatherly advice. (LOOK AGAIN ) After Beatrice’s class it is now her turn to overhear her students talk about Coach Benedick’s secret, wild love for her. Now Beatrice is smitten as well. (THAT’S THAT) Backstage at the opening night of the musical “The Pennsylvania Maiden,” it seems that the coach has volunteered to “help out with the set” thinking he’ll see Beatrice there. She is now in love and very femininely attired. This is the first time they have set eyes on each other since they overheard about the other’s passionate love. They awkwardly converse (I GUESS I NEVER GAVE IT A CHANCE) In “The Pennsylvania Maiden’s” climatic wedding finale, insanely jealous Claude, instead of saying “I do” to Vicki’s character, instead steps forward to face the audience, and declares Vicki a tramp. In the mid-fifties this without a doubt would ruin a girl’s reputation. Vicki in shock runs off stage and the show curtain is rung down. Backstage Beatrice is beside herself with shock and grief as is Bill. In this heightened state of emotion they confess their love for each other (HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU) Bill says he will do anything in the world for her. She asks him to take Claude off the team as punishment for his actions. The Ivy Bowl, and a possible championship is at hand. Bill refuses. Beatrice and the coach bitterly argue and before you know it, they have put an end to their new union. Bill exits. Brokenhearted and again alone Beatrice ponders. (LEARNING MY LESSONS AGAIN ) In a meeting later that night in Dean Leonard’s office, Claude tells the coach that he saw two silhouettes in the window and assumed they were Vicki and a secret lover. In a rage. Bill takes Claude off the team. A remorseful Claude searches for Vicki and heartfully apologizes to her and swears to do the same in front of the entire student body, clearing her of any wrongdoing. A much more grown up, modern, and assertive Vicki responds (TRUST ME.) At the school assembly before the big game, Mr. Pepperton awards both Athletics and Humanities the full Pepperton grant and Dean Leonard expels Jake.from Whittney College. Before Jake leaves the assembly, he announces that Bill and Beatrice were duped by their students to think that the two were secretly in love with each other. The couple sadly realizing the truth, hesitatingly admit their natures are too thorny to ever love successfully. Even without Claude on board, the team lead by Peter O’Brien still wins The Ivy Bowl,, and six months later there is a wedding. It is not the wedding of Claude and Vicki, but the bride and groom stepping out of the church is none other than Bill and Beatrice. Love will always find a way! (FINALE )


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BEATRICE STANTON 35-40 Attractive. Comic. First woman professor at Whittney. Thorny but with great humor and warmth.


BILL BENEDICK 35-40 Coach of the Football Team. Tough and funny. A real guy.


CLAUDE MATTHEWS 22-28 Star Quarterback. Handsome, charming, funny and perfect.


VICTORIA STANTON 18-25 Beatrice's niece. Sweet and Innocent. Very funny and pretty.


DEAN LEONARD 55-60 Dean of the College. Father figure. Humorous, but strict.


MAE FRANCIS 55-60 Sassy, eccentric drama coach.


JAKE O’BRIEN 22-27 Comic villain. Acting student. (Twins played by one actor) Delights in mischief.


PETER O'BRIEN Claude's pal. Football playerfunny, sweet, but not bright.


MAGGIE MC CAULY 20-25 A good girl looking for a bad boy. Vicki's pal. CONRAD 20-30 Beatnik. Funny character man. A not too bright flunky.


BORIS 20-30 Beatnik. Funny character man. Jake's right hand flunky.


URSULA AND GLORIA 18-25 Pals of Vicki's. Comic.



2 Adults to play teachers, etc. and understudy Adult leads.

3 Men to play additional Football players, etc. and understudy young men's roles.

2 Women to play cheerleaders, etc. and understudy young women's roles.