December 5, 2009
The Town Hall

New York City, NY

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The Lives of the Cowboys

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(THEME)

SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS... brought to you by Fort Worth brand footwear. The fancy barn boots you can wear to the dance. And now today's exciting adventure.

(TRAFFIC OUTDOORS, DISHWARE, CAFÉ AMBIENCE)

GK: New York, Dusty. Imagine that. A month ago we were on the Santa Fe trail. Here we are on the Great White Way and we got us parts in a Broadway show. You and me.

TR: I don't know why I am doing this. I'm no actor.

GK: That's okay. I can handle the acting, you just be appropriate.

TR: Putting on makeup ---- being a stage cowboy----

GK: Well, if this show turns out to be a hit, you and I may be able to retire in luxury.

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACH)

SS: What can I bring you, love?

GK: I'd like the Greek yoghurt and juice.

TR: Yoghurt and juice? Since when??

SS: We got fresh squeezed orange, carrot cranberry, casaba, pomegranate, papaya, passionfruit, peach, pear, persimmon, and pink grapefruit.

GK: I'll have the pomegranate.

SS: Very good, love. And for you, sir?

TR: Uh----- how come you address him as Love and you call me Sir?

SS: How much time you got?

TR: Never mind. Bring me two sunny side up on top of a 12-ounce steak, rare, with a side of hash browns and bacon. And coffee. With some coffee grounds.

SS: You want an oil slick on top?

TR: That'd be fine.

SS: Cream or sugar?

TR: Beg your pardon?

SS: Black coffee coming up. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)

(PAUSE)

TR: Yoghurt?

GK: Dairy product.

TR: I know what it is. Never saw you eat it before.

GK: Now you get the chance.

TR: You going vegan on me?

GK: Just want a light breakfast, that's all. First rehearsal this morning. Kind of nervous. (BRIDGE) It was a new musical about New Yorkers who feel a sudden urge to get out of the city and become cowboys. It was called “White Plains” and the director Xavier Onassis had seen me in Jackson Hole and cast me on the spot after I saved him from the embarrassment of getting on his horse the wrong way.

FN: Lefty. Sweetheart. Welcome. (AIR KISSES) You look fabulous. Love the outfit. The chaps are fabulous. How was the trip? Limo find you at the airport okay? How's the hotel? Did they deliver the wine? I ordered a fantanstic Chardonnay. I hope you liked it. And the flowers? I ordered flowers. I hope they came.

GK: Yeah, they were there.

FN: So you got the song?

GK: “Blue Moon of Manhattan” ---- yeah.

FN: I love it. It's fantastic. It's going to be a total hit. Everybody here absolutely adores it. You like it?

GK: I like it. It sort of changed from the version I saw in October.

FN: Yeah. We sort of took a different direction. Let's try this Act I scene, okay? Marvin???? Let's bring up the lights for Act I, scene 11! Okay? (MOTORIZED FLIES MOVING IN) ----- No, Marvin----- That's scene two ----- I don't want the thunderstorm, Marvin----- Marvin----- (THUNDER, LIGHTNING. THEN THUNDER AUDIO SLOWS DOWN AND STOPS) It's scene 11, Marvin. Take the sagebrush away. (MOTORIZED MOVEMENT) And bring in the street scene. (MOTORIZED MOVEMENT AND STOP) Little more. (MOTOR) Little more. (MOTOR) Little more. (MOTOR, BIG CRUNCH) . You busted the streetlight, Marvin. Bring it up. Bring it up. (MOTOR, CRUNCH) Never mind. Let's just do the scene. Pretend there's a streetlight-----
Let me hear it, sweetheart.

(STRUM)

GK (SINGS):
Blue moon of Manhattan
Keep on shining
I really need to find a job today
Blue moon of Manhattan
Keep on shining
Please shine up my little resume.

FN: Okay, good. Now let's put a body mike on you------ tape this to your cheek. No, no, not that cheek. (RUMBLE OF MIKE) There. That comfortable?

GK: No.

FN: You'll get used to it. Try the song again. BRING UP THE SOUND, MARVIN. (MIC FEEDS BACK) Not so loud. Okay. Again.

(STRUMS)

GK: (SINGS, W. REVERB) Blue moon of Manhattan
Keep on shining
I really need to find a job today

FN: Good. Great.Perfect. Cut. Okay---- Fiona??? Fiona! (FOOTSTEPS) Ah, here she is. Fiona, want you to meet Lefty.

SS: Hi.

FN: Fiona is playing the part of Mary Lou, your girlfriend.

SS: Wonderful to meet you. I love your work. This is so great to meet you.

FN: So you're standing under the street lamp with your guitar and your suitcase because she's kicked you out and she comes walking down the street and there he is with her.

GK: Who?

FN: Jud.

GK: The new boyfriend?

FN: Right.

GK: Where is he?

TR: Right here.

GK: You're Jud?

TR: That's what it says on my script. Jud. J-u-d.

GK: He's the new boyfriend.

FN: Right.

GK: And she's leaving me for him. Jud.

FN: Right.

GK: When I saw the script originally, it was going to be----

FN: I know, but we just didn't think that was plausible, so we went this way. And she tells you it's over between you and her and you stand there, shocked, unable to speak, and they walk away arm in arm and you sing your song. Okay, sweetheart?

GK: Who wrote this crap?

FN: I did.

GK: Oh. So I stand here unable to speak. In shock.

FN: Right, sweetheart.

GK: I couldn't say something like “You've got to be kidding” or “You got rocks in your head” or “What did you have for breakfast ----- Dumb Flakes?”

FN: Don't want that ---- just an uncomprehending silence.

TR: So what am I doing?

FN: Waiting for her to finish with him so you can take her back to your place.

TR: Okay. What are my feelings here? Am I hostile to him?

FN: You're wary but not hostile. Mainly you want to get her back to your place so you can make love with her.

GK: He's making love with her? You expect people to believe this? Are the seats going to be facing the stage? Will the lights be on?

FN: It's an ironic romantic comedy-----

GK: You're carrying irony kind of far--- I mean, look at him.

TR: Who you looking at?

GK: Talking about the character you're playing, not you.

TR: Okay. Do I have some sympathy for him? Or no?

GK: What's all the discussion about? You've got one line in the scene. One line. “Come on, darling.”

TR: Two lines. “Come on, darling. Let's go to my place.” Two lines. But very important lines, so I want to get my motivation clear in my own mind----

GK: When did you become a method actor?

TR: Want to be convincing, that's all.

GK: I'd go for irony if I were you.

FN: And then I think I will have him put his arm around Mary Lou and turn her so her back is to you ----

TR: What's my motive there?

GK: Oh for crying out loud----

SS: I think you want to shield me from him----

GK: Could we just do the scene?

FN: Marvin----- raise the streetlight a little. Thank you. (MOTORIZED) Okay, one more thing. You're holding her cat.

TR: Me?

FN: She's got a cat and you've got it in your arms. It's to make you more sensitive so when you shoot him in the Second Act, it's more of a surprise. Anyway, let's rehearse this scene, Act I, scene 11.

GK: He shoots me?

FN: Don't worry. It happens off stage.

GK: Offstage?

FN: We rewrote the show so you're just in this one scene. Which reminds me, why don't you try playing the scene with your back to the audience?

TR: It works for me.

GK: Doesn't matter if my back is to the audience, when they hear him say, “Let's go to my place” there's going to be a huge laugh. Huge.

TR: I don't mean to tell you what to do, Mr. Onassis, but I feel like I ought to maybe hit him at the end of Act I. Stomp on his foot. Give it some emotional impact.

FN: Just do it the way we wrote it.

TR: How about if I try stomping on his foot and if you don't like it, we'll change it.

FN; Let's just do the scene, people. Marvin----- could you bring in the crickets----- Crickets, Marvin. Nighttime. It's right there. (CAR SCREECHES AROUND CORNER, MACHINE GUN) No, Marvin. Crickets. Look for it. ---- Sound guy is drunk again. ----- (JUNGLE CRIES) No no no no. Crickets. Crickets. ----- And let's train the spotlight on Jud ----

GK: On him??? (SFX TRAIN WHISTLE, TRAIN PASSING THROUGH FAST, DOPPLER, WARNING BELLS, TRAIN PASSES)

F

N: Marvin, you idiot ---- I said “train the spotlight” ----- not that train----- Okay? Marvin????

(FOOTSTEPS)

TR: I just think it works better if I stomp on him and he falls down and the lights go out. Curtain down. End of the act.

GK: When did you become a playwright?

FN: Okay, let's do the scene. ----- You're down here under the streetlight. Fiona, you and Dusty walk in from stage left. And action----- (FOOTSTEPS)

SS: I love you, Jud. You came along and suddenly I felt empowered. You're strong in a way Curly never could be. He was a loser. And you----- wow----- what a guy. ---- (FOOTSTEPS STOP) Oh. Curly.

GK: Hi, Mary Lou. Where you going?

SS: Away.

GK: With him?

SS: Yes, it's too late, Curly. You and I are all over.

GK: You're going with him? This drooling idiot? Have you no self-respect?

TR: Wait! Wait! Hold on! Hold on. ----- That's not in the script.

GK: Just trying to be in the moment.

FN: Keep going.

TR: He's sticking new stuff in the script.

FN: Don't stop----- your line, Fiona----

SS: It's all over with us, Curly. I need a man. A real man.

GK: You're looking at him. Right here. You had a man. Me.

SS: Let's go, Jud.

TR: Let's go. To my place.

GK (STRUMS, SINGS):

Well, my girl has made me blue
She said we are through
I have to move out
Cause she found someone new.

Blue moon of Manhattan
I am pining
Longing for my darling Mary Lou
Is this how it ends?
No email she sends.
She's taken me off
Of her list of Facebook friends.

Blue moon of Manhattan
Keep on shining
I'm riding west on West End Avenue. (YODEL)

FN: Very nice. Very nice.
(PHONE RING) Excuse me. ------ (PICK UP) Yes? Yes?------- Uh huh. ------ I see. ------- Sure. --------- Okay. -------- Yes, of course. ------- Oh really? ------- Fabulous. -------- Yes yes yes yes yes. Right away. Ciao. ------ There's been a little change, gentlemen. Somebody suddenly became available for the part, a big star, and so the producers have decided to go in a different direction.

GK: What? We're fired?

FN: We'll call it artistic differences. No problem.

GK: What star is going to do this?

TR: (ARNOLD) I'm here and I'm ready to go. “Hasta la vista, losers.” Come on, baby. Let's go to my place.

(THEME)

SS: The Lives of the Cowboys, brought to you by Alamo Styling Mousse. A mousse that holds your hair high until the last follicle is standing.

(THEME)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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