Playwrite Frank Gagliano


SONGS
FROM MY MUSICALS


I have written original musical books and lyrics with composers Claibe Richardson, Jim Reichert and Raymond Benson—among other composers.

Eventually, this link will feature selections from all of the musicals—including full texts with dialogue and lyrics.

 

1) CONGO SQUARE, The Musical
(Original Book and Lyrics by Frank Gagliano
Music by Claibe Richardson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT "CONGO SQUARE" IS ALL ABOUT:

“I know that you’ve been worryrin’
but you don’t have to worry anymore—
‘cause I am safe now. . .”
(
Lyric from opening song, "Safe Now")

A trap door flies open, a rifle is thrown up onto the stage and Willy Beau, a young Black Man, wearing an R.O.T.C. uniform and carrying a rifle, climbs up into a dimly-lit space, where cobweb-covered Mardi Gras costumes, floats, elaborate masks and costumed mannequins have been stored for years. Willy Beau is pursued by the Mayor, the police, and an angry mob. Not knowing why they’re after him, Willy Beau wildly shoots some rounds out over the mob! In a kind of self-induced, frenzied amnesia, he retreats into musical fantasy worlds with his mannequin friends; fantasies that involve corruption, madness, the heroism of historical or mythical black characters--and Congo Square, where the slaves would dance to release their joy! A white woman, Delphine, enters, with her own fantasies and, together, the two innocents fall in love; confront a corrupt mayor who gets into the space, and they journey through a minefield of corruption to discover the truth about what brought Willy Beau to this point. Finally -- and often with outrageous humor -- they find the strength to face a violent -- but transcendent --destiny.

Through powerful, moving music and lyrics, CONGO SQUARE is a musical tour-de-force that takes the audience on a roller coaster ride of audacious theatricality -- and into a moving spectacle of shattered, romantic innocence.


 •Congo/Scenes Breakdown

(Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

Safe Now.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)
 

Congo Square On Sunday.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)
 

Danse Calinda.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)
 

I'm Bastille Croquere2.mp3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson) 

My Name Is Buddy Bolden.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

Wha-Wha-Wah2.MP3 

(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson) 


Elegance And Grace.MP3

(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson and Frank Gagliano)

Star.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

The Big House On Royal Street.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

And She Dances.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

Yes There Was The Lie.MP3 
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

And Onto The Carriage.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson and Frank Gagliano)

Why Can't I Bring Him In Clear2.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson and Frank Gagliano)

Despair.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

Swamp Fever.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

BrasCoupe.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson and Frank Gagliano)

Everything Ends.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

Marching To The Square.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

2) THE FAREWELL CONCERT
OF IRENE AND VERNON PALAZZO

(Original play and lyrics by Frank Gagliano,
Music by Bill Young)

  

 

WHAT "THE FAREWELL CONCERT. . ." 
IS ALL ABOUT:

 

[—no, no don’t stop playing!—even though I see you want to butt in. —Well, you can’t butt in— you’re not able to butt in except through your playing — so pleeeeease butt out! —stay background! Just keep playing! —Like in the old Warner Brother’s films, I want wall-to-wall, fade in to fade out, music—I want underscoring throughout this whole shebang! —Yes! I want — No! — I DEMAND! —no dead spots—in this wino riff I’m on!”


On a snowy night in Bodoni County, the songwriting team of Irene and Vernon Palazzo attempt to finish their new and final song — and wait for a long-lost daughter to return. Playwright Gagliano plunges Lyricist/Faculty wife Irene Palazzo, into an over-the-edge, wine-induced monologue of rage, of regrets, thwarted expectations, self loathing, outrageous and raunchy humor, fear, guilt and pain; a tidal wave that breaks on a series of shocking discoveries; receding, finally, to a calming flow of love and reconciliation; and all underscored throughout by original and standard songs, and by the improvisations of Irene’s brilliant, unable-to-speak, composer/accompanist husband, Vernon.]

(Full Text of "Palazzo" for Pdf
Download)


Here is the song that Irene and Vernon Palazzo finish composing in THE FAREWELL CONCERT OF IRENE AND VERNON PALAZZO.

It's All Right.mp3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Bill Young
Performed by Rita Gardner/Bill Young, Piano)

 
3) FROM THE BODONI COUNTY SONGBOOK ANTHOLOGY (Original Book and Lyrics by Frank Gagliano
Music by Claibe Richardson)

 

WHAT ". . .BODONI. . ." IS ALL ABOUT

FROM THE BODONI COUNTY SONGBOOK ANTHOLOGY is a 21st Century combination Our Town/Spoon River/Jacques Brel on acid.

FROM THE BODONI COUNTY SONGBOOK ANTHOLOGY was first developed at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s Musical Theatre Conference, then at the Vineyard Theatre’s Musical Workshop in New York, and then, by a Workshop in Pittsburgh.

FROM THE BODONI COUNTY SONGBOOK ANTHOLOGY is a musical revue (of sorts), in which the inhabitants of a mythical American County (most of whom want to get out) step out and sing their angst away. Songs range from the opening number, “BUY ME A TICKET OUT,” — to the Bush-era anthem, “REAGAN’S LEGACY: I DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ANYONE ELSE BUT ME,” — to the sung monologue, “A SONG OF LIFE FOR ALZHEIMER MARY” — to the realistic sung scene, “CUL-DE-SAC,” in which a bunch of teenagers and a grieving mother explore Perry Carrington’s suicide — to the satiric and surreal sketch, “DANCING WITH JOY,” in which two innocents, Eubie Copocolo and Joy, walk into a travel poster to escape Bodoni County, and which features Joy’s raunchy song, “SAND DUNE BLUES.”

Overseeing it all is the Master of Ceremonies Jonathan Overview, who chronicles the fables and foibles of Bodoni’s inhabitants, and whose need to become more than a Point Of View, culminates in his haunting song, “NOVEMBER IS MY TIME,” an autumnal moment that changes Jonathan forever — and which poignantly, and lyrically, brings down BODONI’s curtain on a note of compassion.

Here are six songs from, FROM THE BODONI COUNTY SONGBOOK ANTHOLOGY.

Reagan's Legacy.MP3
("I don't give a shit about anyone else but me")
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Patrick Hamilton)

BodoniFanfare.mp3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

Head Waltz.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

MARIANNA.mp3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Claibe Richardson)

November Is My Time.MP3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Max Showalter)

Sand Dune Blues.mp3
(Lyric, Frank Gagliano/Music, Claibe Richardson
Performed by Susan Collins)

Bodoni.pdf download

(Complete text and lyrics)

 

  4) THE RESURRECTION OF JACKIE CRAMER (Sung-Through Rock Opera)

Original Book and Lyrics, Frank Gagliano;

Music, Raymond Benson.

 

[STORY: THE RESURRECTION OF JACKIE CRAMER is an entirely sung piece about a 16-year old boy, Jackie Cramer, who denies pain and tears in life by laughing at everything. When the musical starts, Jackie slips on dog do, hits his head on a Volkswagen fender, dies and goes to heaven. There he discovers that God is a Board of Directors (the BOD), and he laughs at them. For this insolence, Jackie is sentenced to stay in Limbo until he stops laughing and learns how to cry. It turns out that Limbo is just the place Jackie’s been looking for all his young life and, because of a celestial loophole, Jackie can stay in Limbo for eternity. So the Board of Directors (the “BOD”) set out to rectify their error. They cleverly lead Jackie on a journey through heaven and earth, and force Jackie, for the first time, to confront his family and former friends--and himself. The musical culminates in a cemetery showdown in which Jackie finally cries but, paradoxically, comes alive.]

"The Resurrection of Jackie

Cramer" FULL SCRIPT AND LYRICS   

The following tracks are played and performed by the composer,
Raymond Benson

 

01_Overture.mp3

02_Susie Lou's Boyfriend.mp3

03 I Don't Get It.mp3 

04_Limbo.mp3

05_Gotta Get Him Back.mp3

06_JackieViewsHisDeadSelf.mp3

 


5)"THE PRINCE OF

PEASANTMANIA"
A Fairy-tale Extravaganza for Grownups In Two Acts)

 

 

Original Play and Lyrics,
Frank Gagliano
[Music, Sound Design and Orchestrations,
James Reichert]
 

WHAT THE "PRINCE OF PEASANTMANIA"
IS ALL ABOUT. . .



INNOCENT: What is there in them that makes them mean and ugly and vicious?; —makes them, in their agony, need to punish each other? Yes: EACH OTHER! The answer’s there —there in that daisy chain of pain! Each one the torturer! Each one the victim! Chasing each other with electric prods around the rim of — what . . . —the Cardinal’s abyss! How can that be? When it’s only for the amusement of the Mainland? —Oh, God; there’s the horror! Performing that dance of pain for their sick laughter! —I’m babbling, Glorabella! But the answer is simply . . .I must stay. Because, finally — and I’ll never understand this — . . .the ones who chased me, beat me, betrayed me . . . I love them all.

Prince Innocent is summoned to Peasantmania to attend his mother’s funeral and, he thinks, to meet, finally, Rudolph, a younger brother he’s never met. His mother had kept Innocent away from the politics of Peasantmania, isolated on the Island of Arcadia, to shield him from corruption. Innocent’s first indication that all is not well in Peasantmania is when a woman sneaks into his rooms and paints his throat with her tongue. Then Innocent discovers that his brother Rudolph is some kind of a perverted tyrant who wants the throne. Then there’s the laughter that comes from the heavens and quickly goes. And there’s the creaking and sudden shift of the ground that keeps you tilted for a few seconds, before righting itself. And then the Insurrection! And Innocent takes flight through his kingdom, with Rudolf and the Rudolph forces in pursuit.

. . .Accompanying, or also pursuing Innocent, are:
Innocent’s sweet companion, Glorabella —and the wise-mouth, beautiful Sauna, who falls in love with Innocent —and Sauna’s ambitious deadly sister Magda —and the despairing Jester, who desires Glorabella —and Pina, the warn out Seer —and The wino Cardinal, suffering from doubt and existential fatigue —and at times, it seems, the entire country of Peasantmania are on Prince Innocent’s heels. And hovering over the chase is a huge eye, hanging above stage “like God’s surrealistic yo-yo” —and with an unseen Mainland, that seems to control everything — and with that celestial laughter constantly mocking the goings on.

 . . .Beginning in the splendour of the Royal palace and descending into the dank wine cellars of the dissolute Cardinal’s Cathedral —and escaping to the Jester’s quarters, replete with fun house mirrors, balloons and a giant trampoline, on which Innocent finally makes love to Sauna—               . . .the play ends in the sewers of Peasantmania, where Innocent confronts his evil brother, Rudolph, and finally, with all innocence gone, assumes his rightful place as King, ready to fight the mainland.   . . .Told in song, rhyme, hip language, and raunchy and imaginative humor, this wild comedy/drama—first presented at The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre — has been revised, and resonates still, in today's turbulent America, losing its innocence on a global scale.  

 

THE COMPLETE REVISED TEXT:

ACT ONE: "The Prince Of Peasantmania" (Complete pdf for easy download)

ACT TWO: "The Prince Of Peasantmania" (Complete pdf for easy download)

 
"Prince" Score and Sound Excerpts Follow:   

Prince/Overture.mp3
(First Eye Appearance and Jester, Juggling. Composed and Orchestrated for Full Orchestra, by James Reichert)


Prince/Anthem1.mp3
(James Reichert Sings ALL of the
Chorus Parts of the Peasantmanian National Anthem)

Prince/Anthem2.mp3
(From a Live "Prince" Performance of
The Milwaukee Rep Theatre production)

Prince/Pathway To Paradise.mp3
(James Reichert Sings ALL the Parts, Including the Octet--Cut from the
Revised Script--may be put back)

Prince/Angel Hair.mp3
(intrumental only--Lyric
found, Act One
:
Page 1-1-41)

Prince/Act One Curtain.mp3

Prince/Pina
(Pina, The Seer's Rage and Lament.
Instrumental only--Lyric
found, Act Two: 2/Prologue/3)

Prince/The Mainland1.mp3
Chuck Olsen, James Reichert--demo)

Prince/The Mainland2.mp3
(Michael Tucker [Jester] and cast from
a live Milwaukee Rep Theatre Prince Performance)

Prince/Run.mp3
(James Reichert, Vocal)

Prince/They Stare.mp3
(Chuck Olsen, vocal)

Prince/Fun Hideaway.mp3
(James Reichert, vocal)

Prince/Sewer Collapse.mp3
(Sound Cue)

Prince/Act Two Curtain.mp3
(Last Eye and Resolving Chord)

 

 
 

 6)Rediscovered, after 25 years!

 

                      SAN YSIDRO

(A piece for chorus, brass and percussion)
     
(In memory of those massacred at a
    McDonald's Restaurant
    in San Ysidro, California,
    on July 18, 1984)


Music: JAMES REICHERT / Text: FRANK GAGLIANO
 
["SAN YSIDRO" TEXT AND MP3'S FOLLOW,
JUST BEFORE "SONGS FROM MY MUSICALS"
SECTION]

 

[NOTE: The late James Reichert, composer and sound designer,
created the sound scores for all of my Off-Broadway productions in the 1960's and ’70’s, and also wrote the songs and incidental music for my play, THE PRINCE OF PEASANTMANIA.

In 1985 Jim asked me for a new text for chorus, brass and percussion ensemble. 

I had been haunted by deaths, the year before, of 19 men, women and babies (all Latinos), who had been massacred at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, California. A madman did the killing, armed with a nine millimeter Uzi, a twelve gauge slide-action shotgun, a nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol.

JIm thought the idea worth pursuing. So I took all the news stories of that incident and wrote the text.

Jim then scored it.

I recently found a cassette tape of a performance that a West Virginia University Chorus and Orchestra recorded many decades ago. Since that performance, the cantata has stayed buried in a bits-and-pieces box in the garage. James Rushin transferred the casette tape recording to CD and MP# formats. He also made a piano reduction from Jim's full score.

Eventually, on this Web site, I will write about my collaborations with James Reichert--a genius and an alchoholic.]

"SAN YSIDRO" TEXT

1 - THE DAY OF THE BLOODBATH


In the zoo, on the day of the bloodbath
the killer-to-be, said:
(Spoken) --"Society had their chance."

In their house, on the day of the bloodbath,
the killer-to-be, said:
(Spoken) -- "I'm going hunting; hunting for humans."

On his car, on the day of the bloodbath,
his bumper sticker read:
(Sung) --"I'm not deaf; I'm just ignoring you."

On that day, on the day of the bloodbath,
the killer-to-be was as armed as a tank:
A nine millimeter Uzi;
a twelve gauge slide-action shotgun;
A nine millimeter semi-automatic pistol.

Then he told everyone:
(Spoken) -- "Everyone get down on the floor
                   or I'll kill somebody."

THEN HE SHOT AT EVERYONE THERE!

On that day, on the day of the bloodbath,
the killer-who-was, said:
(Spoken) -- "I've killed a thousand
and I'm going to kill a thousand more!"

Then he was shot and killed!

2 - THE DEAD
(Names are spoken; ages are sung)

The dead. . .The dead

Paulina Aquino. Age 22
Elsa Borboa, Age 19
Neva Caine, Age 23
Maria Elena Colmenero  Silva, Age 18
David Flores, Age 11
Blythe Regan Herrera, Age 30
Mateo Herrera, Age 11
Ormar Hernandez, Age 11
Gloria Lopez, Teenager
Jose Rubin Lozano, Age 19
Margarita Padilla, Age 18
Claudio Perez, Age 9
Jackie Wright Reyes, Age 31
Carlos Reyes Jr., Age 8 months
Victor Maximillian Rivera, Age 25
Lawrence Herman Versilius, Age 52
Miguel Ulloa Victoria, Age 74
Hugo L. Valasquez Victoria, Age 70
Jane Doe, Age.....about 20

3 - ONE CRY OF DESPAIR
"Porque, Dios? Porque?

4 - INTERLUDE

6 - CHORALE (Prayer)

Pity the children of San Ysidro.
Pity the parents, the friends and police.
Pity a nation, it's savage killers.
Pity, O Pity us all.

Pity the eyes of the people who saw it.
Pity the ears that the shots made deaf.
Pity the wife of the killer who shot them.
Pity, O pity us all.

Pity the anger, the rage, the madness.
Pity the aimless, the broken, the hurt.
Pity the grownup who never had loving.
Pity the bike's wheels that spin in the blood and the dirt!

Pity the children of San Ysidro.
Pity the parents, the friends and police.
Pity a nation, it's savage killers.
Pity, pity, O pity us all.
O pity us all.

7 - WHAT THE POLICE CHIEF SAID

When it was over,
this is what the Police Chief said;
this is what he said:
     (Spoken) -- "I hope to God I never see such a thing again."
(Sung)----- AMEN.

 (All facts are true. Names and quoteswere taken from the immediate published account of the tragedy in TheWashington Post, The New York Times, Newsweek and Time magazines)

"SAN YSIDRO"
IN SEVEN MOVEMENTS
(MP3's):

1) Overture
2) The Day Of The Bloodbath
OvertureBloodbath.mp3  

3) The Dead
3_Dead.mp3

4) Despair (Porque Dios, Porque?)
4_WhyGod.mp3

 5) Interlude
Interlude.mp3
 

6) Chorale (Prayer)
Prayer.mp3

7) What he Police Chief Said
PoliceChief.mp3