Music by CADEN JONES
Book & Lyrics by ROBERT GOULD & CADEN JONES
Full professional, Suitable for amateurs (rights available), Suitable for High Schools (rights available)
Michael Brookstein is a 21 year old highly gifted musician with serious emotional and psychological problems who four years ago witnessed the hit-and-run accident that killed his mother. Having been brought up by his mother, Amanda, since the age of 9 following her divorce from his abusive father, Michael was devoted to and emotionally dependant upon his mother. His devastation at her loss was further exaggerated by his deep sense of guilt because the last time he had seen her before she was killed he had a serious quarrel with her. In the four years since her death, he has suffered from severe depression, has been unable to face the trauma of going outside and has not spoken a word. He communicates only by typing his words on a lap-top. (His words are spoken and sung for the dramatic purposes of the musical by the character of Michael’s teenage self, who appears on an upper level, overlooking the main action below.)
Lauren Danner is a 23 year old nurse, dedicated and caring and – at least on the surface – bright and strong-willed. The musical begins with her arrival at Michael’s apartment in New York city – escorted by her employer and Michael’s psychiatrist, Doctor Black – as she commences her duties as Michael’s carer – a job she personally requested and is totally committed to.
The story of Michael’s past is gradually revealed through a series of flashbacks as the primary plot-line reveals the development of the relationship between Michael and Lauren. At first Michael is totally hostile until gradually he begins to accept Lauren first as his nurse and later as his friend. Lauren discovers that Michael is not only a highly talented musician but that he also was accepted into Juilliard before the accident. She contacts Mr. Wolf, Michael’s former music teacher and together they persuade Michael to resume his serious musical studies and submit an application to Juilliard again.
Michael begins to regain a certain level of self-confidence through his music and is successful in his audition for a place at Juilliard. At the same time, Michael becomes more and more attracted to Lauren, while Lauren attempts to fight off her own mutual attraction to Michael.
Eventually Lauren succeeds in forcing Michael to confront his memories of the day of the accident and face up to his guilt and his fears. For the first time since the accident he regains his ability to speak – and the first words he speaks (and sings) are to declare his love for Lauren. Against her better judgement, Lauren succumbs and they make love.
However, Lauren realizes that embarking upon a relationship with Michael would be a mistake and decides to leave. She tells Michael about a secret she has been hiding from him – she is terminally ill and cannot allow him to become emotionally attached to her, knowing that she is going to die. Michael, however, explains that he loves her and wants to share whatever time she has left with her.
At the end of the play, the roles have become reversed and Michael begins to care for a now bedridden Lauren. There is one final shocking “twist in the tail” before the musical ends with Lauren in Michael’s arms as they lie together on her bed, resolved to face the short time they have left together as they sing “Bite your lip and savour the taste”.