the Christmas Party Show for 1983
December 11, 1983,   5:30 sharp
by Hugh Wreisner

[This script was not found in a complete and organized state. It consisted of separate sections, the order of which could only be guessed. What was available is now presented as best we have it.]

        Hugo enters says:
        a) Welcome
        b) longish show
        c) will be an intermission
        d)don't worry about sight-lines, all the action is here

2. Arrange projector ( Joe )

    A)Hugo enters with candle
       Sings " I love a Piano "
   Explains ...
        More than the piano, the opportunity to meet people etc.
        Lots of this in bars and hotels
        Some of the people here I met at a piano
        Interesting stories

       into Larry's number . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Drums and brass
Winds and strings
All those things
I just adore
And yet they are easy to ignore
I Love a Piano even more

As a child
I went wild
So beguiled and so impressed
As all of my family will attest
I Love a Piano best !

(Alt.) Here's the truth
Since my youth
One thing everybody guessed
As all of my family will attest
I loved a piano best

My Mother told me many times
It's probably genetic
When she was pregnant she found me
A foetus quite frenetic
I guess it's true . .
I think. . . I DO!
A faint memory of it lingers
Inside the womb
If there was music in the room
I used to drum my fingers

So you see
Naturally, right from the start
Pianos have always played a part
I love a piano with all my heart !


HUGO ( more or less ad libbed)
There are three kinds of people who hear confessions: priests, bartenders and piano players. I don't know why, but people really bare their souls sometimes. I've got a lot of stories about that. Some of them X-rated ! But my favorite is the young man who came up to the piano at McCormick Inn

(( LARRY ENTERS carrying two imaginary drinks))

LARRY (( putting drink on piano))
Dry Rob Roy, right?

Right. Thank you.

LARRY ( settles on bench)
I'm enjoying your music.

Oh. Thanks. Do you have a special favorite ?

LARRY ( a bit furtive )
No no. I want to talk to you.

Okay, go ahead. I have to diddle a little here, but talk.

It's about women.
I'm very attractive to women.

Well, how nice for you.

No! No ! Problems! Problems !
See, there's this one woman who lives down the hall from me. And she ...
(( He indicates that he must communicate this in whispers))

HUGO ((Rises, listens and is shocked !
No !

Yes !
And then at work there's another one. We have this great big office with cubicles. You know ? She comes into my cubicle ... (( another shocking conference ))

Right there in your cubicle ?

LARRY ( nods)

Why are you telling me all this.

I felt I could trust you.

Well you can trust me. But you don't know that.

Yesterday, when I went out to the parking lot ? Under my windshield wiper is a long, fresh, red rose !

From one of those women.

No, from a third one. A NEW one . She's the cashier at the parking lot. She's beautiful! ((Calls for another secret conference but ..))


But . . .

Please !

But I want your advice.

My advice ! About what ?

I want to take one of them to dinner. Which one ?

But you shouldn't ask me. I don't even know these women.

You've got to help me.

Well... just off the top of my head, I'd say drop the one who's putting the roses under the windshield wiper. But I ...

I knew you'd say that.
. . . She's the one I asked, When I was paying for the parking.

HUGO (Laughs.. sort of giving up j

What'll I DO ?

When is your date ?

Tonight ! (( Looks at his watch.)) At eight ! !

Well, just enjoy the evening. It's not a lifetime commitment.

Yeah... but you don't know me! I'm very weak with women. Oh Gawd ! . . . .
I'm nervous and upset because this girl . . . , etc.
(( Sings both choruses of the song and at the end rushes off in panic.

HUGO ( yelling after him j
Good luck !


MIRIAM enters and sits on the bench by the piano

HUGO ad libs his story about meeting the prostitutes ( including the joke about how you can tell it's not the wife ).
Eventually he will say the following lines ( which are Miriam's cue j

" One night the girl didn't leave with anybody. She just sat there by herself looking very sad and lonely. I was getting ready to close up. "

MIRIAM (plaintively )
Hugo, were those guys tonight.. cops ?

Cops ?
I don't know.

MIRIAM ( very upset j
I'm sure they were cops.
Are you going back to your . . " place" ?


Will you say a prayer for us ?

HUGO ( surprised but willing)
Yeah sure.
Hey, don't be so sad.

(MIRIAM is very sad)
Do you need a ride or anything ?
Where are you going ?

Where am I going. Good question.

(( She sings the song, Hugo plays alone up to the bridge and she repeats the song from that point on. She ends it quietly and sadly, says " G'night" and exits sadly. ))


HUGO ad libs about the fun of trained talent coming into a piano bar. Woody Herman, Duke Ellington.

But my favorite is a girl singer who came in one night out of a rainstorm. She burst into this smoky room smelling of rain and fresh air. I'd never seen her before in my life... and she just pointed at me and sang;


As they near the end of the song, she begins to sort of signal what the next one will be but Hugo has his own ideas. And sings "Right," In a second she recognizes it and takes up the song, smiling with delight that he has come up with such a good one.

Hugo them begins the doody doot do intro to Singing in the Rain but she surprises him and sings Isn't this a lovely day ...

        They end softly with

        "Just singin
        Just singin
        In the rain."

Let us cuddle while the rain
Pitter patters on the pane
And we're alone.
A chance to while away
A dreamy afternoon
A lovely peaceful afternoon
No one can see us
(OH)Rain !
It's so cozy in the rain
There's no reason to complain
If I'm with you
I'll hold your hand
And then
It's ten// to one I'll kiss you
In the rain. . rain..,. rain.. .

Every time it rains it rains -- April

RIGHT. as the rain
That falls from above
So real so right is our love
It came like the spring
That breaks through the snow
I can't say what it may bring
I only know
I only know
It's right to believe
Whatever gave your eyes this glow
Whatever gave my heart this song
Can't be wrong
It's right as the rain
That falls from above
And fills the world with the bloom
Of our love
As rain must fall
And day must dawn
This love . . this love must go on.

(( Doo do doo doot etc. ))
Isn't this a lovely day
To be caught in the rain
I was going on my way
Now I've got to remain
Just as you / were going
Leaving me all at sea
The clouds broke
They broke and
Oh ! What a break for me
I can see the sun up high
Though we're lost in the storm
I can see how you and I
Could be cozy and warm
Let the rain pitter patter
For it really doesn't matter
If the skies are gray
Long as I can be with you
It's a lovely day.

( ( Doo doo doot etc. ))
Just singin
Just singin
In the rain.

(( KISS ))

"by Harold Pinter "

RON takes his place on the bench even before Hugo begins the anecdote. He is very quiet, his face expressionless ( he never smiles ). Neatly dressed, he does not remove his overcoat or hat ( cap ? ). He regards Hugo rather shyly, surreptitiously. Silence.

HUGO ( ad libbed)
One night there was a big rowdy fun group of people that sand and laughed for a couple of hours. Then sort of suddenly the room cleared out and there was just this one very quiet fellow sitting there. (( LIGHT UP ON RON))

They were a lot of fun, weren't they.

RON: ( nods gravely)

Do you have a request ? Anything special you'd like to hear ?

RON: ( Shakes his head, "No", clears his throat and reaches into his breast pocket for an imaginary wallet.)

(( Hugo diddles at the piano, casting about for a song. He is about to start one when Ron interrupts. . .))

I have a gold American Express card. ( Holds up imaginary card for Hugo to see.)
(awkward pause)

Oh ? Yeah.
... They're hard to get, aren't they.

RON ( nods solemnly )
It means they really trust you. ( He places the card lovingly on the piano.)

I've just got Visa. Plain Visa. Blue.

I've got Visa too. ( Lays it out as proof )
(( One by one he lays the cards out on the piano, rather as though assembling them for a card game.))

And MasterCard
And Diner's Cub ..International
And Carte Blanche...
And Fields . . . . Carsons.. . . Sears. . . all the big stores. . .. and Shell.... and Amoco..
I've got all the oil companies... and Money Network... and Radio Shack.
((When his has completed this astonishing display, he sits back and says, with great pride, as though expecting thunderous applause))

I have fifty one credit cards.

That's sure a lot of credit cards.
One more, you'd have a whole deck. ( The joke does not go over.)

( Hugo reaches up to take a card to read the man's name.)

What's your name ?

RON quickly presses his hand on Hugo's and leaves it there. A troubled look crosses his face.)


Pardon ?

That's my name. Cellophane.

HUGO: ( hands relax and part)
I ... uh..
I don't know what you mean.

RON: ( slowly, gravely .. .
I mean... if someone stood up in a crowd and raised his voice way up loud and waved his arm and shook his leg, You'd notice him.

HUGO: ( agrees silently)

If someone in the movie show yelled "Fire" in the second row, "This whole place is a powder keg.. (( SUNG)) You'd notice him,

(( Song then continues exactly as printed in the sheet music. We feel that the man's heart is going to break and that he will burst into sobs. But he does not. ))


If someone stood up in a crowd
And raised his voice up way out loud
And waved his arm and shook his leg
You'd notice him.

If someone in the movie show yelled "Fire" in the second row
This whole place is a powder keg
You'd notice him ( SUNG)

And even without clucking like a hen
Everyone gets noticed now and then
Unless of course that personage should be
Invisible, inconsequential Me.

"G" (F sharp)
CELLOPHANE, Mister Cellophane
Should have been my name, Mister Cellophane
Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me //
And never know I'm there.
Mister Cellophane
Should have been by name
Mister Cellophane
Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there.

Suppose you was a little cat
Residing in a person's flat
Who fed you dish and scratched your ears
You'd notice him.
Suppose you were a woman wed and sleepin in a double bed
Beside one man for seven years
You'd notice him.
A human being's made of more than air
With all that bulk you're bound to see him there.
Unless that human being next to you.
Is unimpressive, undistinguished YOU KNOW WHO ( A natural )

B flat (( Cellophane, Mister Cellophane )) Piano plays alone
Should have been my name,
Mister Cellophane(( RON SINGS ))
Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I's there I tell ya . . .
C CELLOPHANE , Mister Cellophane
Should have been my name, Mister Cellophane
Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I'm there
Never !
KNOW ( high G)

I'm there.

((On the final "I'm there" Hugo stops playing, his own emotion paralyzing him.

RON: ( sweeps up all the cards and hastily replaces them)
I hope I didn't take up too much of your time.

(( He flees !))


HUGO ad libs his anecdote about the hazards of letting customers get at the piano. Either they are terrible and hard to get rid of, or ( which is worse they are much better than Hugo, which is very embarrassing.

Eventually, he will definitely say the following line, which is Buddy's cue:

Well, one night this fellow walked up to the piano and said:

Would you mind if I played a number ?

HUGO ( looks him over very carefully Well do you really know how to play ?

A little. I'm not too bad.

HUGO ( reluctantly )
Well, okay.
Go ahead

(( BUDDY sits down and plays Fingerbuster or something equally flashy. Audience is delighted and roars and applauds when he is finished. Hugo does a sort of Jack Benny shtick... . Buddy remains at the piano . . and then finally says:))

Thank you very much.
Intermission ! !


1. Glamor music (trick slide on ) "

I love a piano even more than I did
When I
Was a little KID)))

HUGO ENTERS glamorously ....
Ad libs .....

1. Tenth Chritmas show .. . highlight of my year... . keeps me alive
2. Christmas present
3. This song is my Christmas card

No matter what happens all year long,
When that door opens at 5:30 ( sharp !)
and the first guest arrives
The whole year has been worth it and the new year looks great:

Life is/ in perfect order with you in the room
It makes/ my shoulders broader with you in the room
All year/ When things won't jell
And the pieces don't fit I'm suddenly IN
I'm suddenly ON
I'm suddenly IT ! !

Who else / Has friends who treat him so generously ?
What's more/ They come and do it all annually.
I've got a combination that works like a charm
They do it for fun
They do it for me
They do it for FREE !

With you/ I spend the holidays
Calm and content.
Without you/ I think that Christmas would
Seem more like Lent
Thank you/ and Merry Christmas and
You can assume
You give me a lift !
You give me a gift !
Whenever it's You in the Room.

Life is/a celebration
With your in the room
Singing's a new sensation with
You in the room
Each time/ I face a year that looks
Boring and bland
With you it looks good
With you it looks great
With you it looks grand

Always/ You put a permanent star in my eye
Even/ a dark December can
Shine like July
I break into song I burst into bloom.
Whenever it's you in the room.


Finally ... there was The great Night... at the Croydon.
The entire cast of a touring musical came in
Each sang a number
Or played a number
They all sang a number
1. we can't reproduce
2. few rehearsals
3. good ending

Scott here, who often sang If I Were a Rich Man, appeared late in the evening and I informed him quickly and fearfully that Joe Shea had already just done Rich man. And he said:

So ? We'll do Tradition.

I don't know Tradition.

Sure you do! It's just oop PAda oop PA da etc

HUGO ( starts playing )
Just this ? Just oop pa da oop pa da . . ?

SCOTT: goes right into the opening monologue


This oft-told story needs no script ....
1 napkin
2 napkin
3rd napkin ....REACTION .....

Life is just a bowl of cherries .......
(( Second chorus in E flat. . and peppy. ))

Thank you.

Sometime later, he came in again
And he stood at the piano and ... just ... looked at me and said:

Do you remember me ?

I sure do (( right into song.... very UP ))


HUGO ad libs the opening, making the following points:
1. You get interested in the people you play for.
2. You acquire skills in interpreting body language, clothing language etc.
3. Gives examples of the difference between lovers and married people. . how they sit, talk etc.
Eventually, he will definitely say .. .

Well, one night this couple came in, completely absorbed in each other (YOUR CUE)
(( Frank and Mercita ENTER . They are staring lovingly into each others eyes, which they never stop doing for one instant. They pantomime a bit of conversation, perhaps laugh affectionately, a kiss now and then.))

This was at the Croydon, with a real piano bar where the people sit right at the piano. Well they sat down and never said Hello or made a request. Usually people will say something, just to be polite... like "We're enjoying your music ". Not these two. They never even looked at me.

So I tried all the old sure-fire things... Misty, As Time Goes By, Embraceable You... Nothing ! Then I started to observe and analyze. You could figure out that:
1. They were pretty well-heeled ( from the way they were dressed)
2. They ware NOT married to each other. ( Too talkative and affectionate)
3. They were obviously madly in love. (( THEY KISS LIGHTLY ))
4. But they were easily in their fifties ! And this goo-goo eyes ?

And then they ordered champagne ! In the Croydon ! ! I didn't even know we HAD champagne in the Croydon. It was a respectable place, but pretty seedy.. not where you'd go to celebrate a special event. They surely could afford the Empire Room or something. And then when the champagne came they just readed for the glasses .. . never breaking their gaze.

(( FRANK AND MERCITA pantomime all this, twining their arms around
to drink from each other's glass ))

What in the hell were these two doing ? The facts didn't go together. And then (( AHA ! I figured it out. That very day, his wife must have called him and said: " Okay I give
up. You can have the divorce." And then He called Her (( pointing )) and said: "Darling! We're free at last. We've got the green light ! Meet me in the lobby of the building as soon as I'm through at the office. We'll go someplace for a drink."

Well that explains everything doesn't it . They rushed into each others arms and came into the first bar they found. You get to be very smart. ((triumphant chords on piano And just as I solved it, the woman turned around and spoke to me:

MERCITA : (dreamily)
Do you have anything for a 31st anniversary ?

HUGO collapses in shame and laughter.

What's the matter (( FREEZE)

HUGO ( to audience
And I told her everything I just told you. (Turns back to Mercita)

MERCITA; ( genuinely puzzled)
But why did you think that ?

Well, partly champagne in the Croydon,(!?) But mostly, well I've seen people who were happily married... and I've seen people madly in love... but I've never seen both together.

MERCITA ( Mystified. It all seems perfectly normal and natural to her.)
Really ?

Explain it to me.

MERCITA ( rather at a loss for words)
Well. . .. I don't know .. . .
Frank had an orchestra .. . . he plays trumpet.. . .
And I auditioned for him as a singer...
And so we met ....
And I liked his music...
And I loved him...
And I....
I know he's around when the sky and the ground etc.

(( She sings the song partly as an explanation to Hugo, partly as "a number" for the real audience, but mostly as a fervent love- song to Frank. After the first chorus, Frank's trumpet mysteriously appears and he soaringly plays the first half of the song. They finish together and kiss lightly.

EXIT on applause.