City of Angels (musical)

City of Angels (musical)
City of Angels
Coa playbill.jpg
Original Broadway Playbill
Music Cy Coleman
Lyrics David Zippel
Book Larry Gelbart
Productions 1989 Broadway
1993 West End
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical
Tony Award for Best Book
Tony Award for Best Score

City of Angels is a musical comedy with music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by David Zippel, and book by Larry Gelbart. The musical weaves together two plots, the "real" world of a writer trying to turn his book into a screenplay, and the "reel" world of the fictional film.



City of Angels opened on Broadway at the Virginia Theatre on December 11, 1989 and closed on January 19, 1992 after 878 performances and 24 previews. It was directed by Michael Blakemore with sets designed by Robin Wagner and costumes by Florence Klotz.

While the show continued on Broadway, the Los Angeles company opened in June, 1991 at the Shubert Theater in Century City, running 6 months, with Stephen Bogardus as Stine, Lauren Mitchell as the villainess, and Randy Graff and James Naughton recreating their original roles. The production was revamped and embarked on a national tour, during which Barry Williams, of The Brady Bunch fame, took over the role of Stone. Jordan Leeds was chosen from the tour's ensemble to play Stine. The tour played venues from the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa, Florida in February 1992 [1] to the National Theatre, Washington, DC in June 1992[2] to the Crouse-Hinds Concert Theatre, Syracuse, New York, in November 1992.[3] The national tour closed in November 1992, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The musical opened in London's West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre in March 1993 and ran until November 13, 1993. Blakemore again directed with Roger Allam as Stone and Martin Smith as Stine, with Henry Goodman as Buddy Fidler. [4][5]

The theatre company Reprise! Broadway's Best production ran in January-February 2006 at Freud Playhouse, UCLA, Los Angeles. The cast featured Burke Moses (Stone), Vicki Lewis (Oolie), Tami Tappan Damiano (Gabby), and Stephen Bogardus (Stine).[6]


The setting is Hollywood in the late 1940s, with two stories occurring simultaneously: a Hollywood comedy and a detective drama. The real-life scenes are in color and the movie scenes in black and white. Costumes and setting reflect the reality vs. film.[6]

Alaura Kingsley, a striking socialite, is ushered into detective Stone's office by Oolie, his loyal Girl Friday. Alaura hires him to find her step-daughter Mallory Kingsley, a beautiful "bad" girl, who will later turn up in Stone's office. Stone receives a brutal beating from two thugs and is framed for a murder. As the plot thickens, Stone's own past comes to haunt him. The relatively simple missing daughter case turns complicated and may end up costing Stone his life. It keeps getting more and more complicated, possibly because the author keeps rewriting it.

The author, Stine, is a novelist adapting his novel, City of Angels into a screenplay for movie mogul Buddy Fidler. Buddy, a charismatic and autocratic producer-director, has an immense ego and, although he claims to be a fan of Stine’s work, he continually demands rewrites from the increasingly reluctant Stine. As Stine struggles to keep both his job and his novel's integrity, his wife Gabby disapproves of his womanizing and leaves for New York on a business trip. Shortly afterwards, he begins an affair with Buddy's secretary Donna. Gabby discovers this and leaves him.

When Stine fulfills Buddy's request to remove a racially-motivated plotline from the screenplay, Stone himself grows frustrated with his author's lack of integrity and berates him for it. Creator and creation have an argument, which Stine wins by typing a scene where the detective is beaten up.

Stine flies to New York in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile with Gabby, earning Buddy's ire. When he returns, he discovers that Buddy has drastically rewritten the film's ending to his own satisfaction and given himself a prominent co-writing credit. Stine appears on set for the first day of filming to confront the unrepentant Fidler and discovers, to his shock, that a popular crooner has been cast as his hard-boiled detective. With Stone himself at his side, Stine rips up the script and quits. He is about to be beaten by two studio guards, when, in a reversal on their earlier confrontation, Stone aids him by typing a scene allowing Stine to defeat the guards and win back both his wife and his self-respect.

Apart from Stine and Stone, the actors portraying the characters in Stine's movie double as the Hollywood executives and actors Stine encounters.

Musical numbers

Act I
  • Prologue: Theme from City Of Angels
  • Double Talk – Stone and Alaura Kingsley
  • Double Talk – Buddy Fidler and Stine
  • What You Don't Know About Women – Gabby and Oolie
  • Ya Gotta Look Out For Yourself – Jimmy Powers and Angel City 4
  • The Buddy System – Buddy Fidler and Donna
  • With Every Breath I Take – Bobbi
  • The Niby Tennis Song – Stone and Alaura Kingsley
  • Ev'rybody's Gotta Be Somewhere – Stone and Angel City 4
  • Lost And Found – Mallory Kingsley
  • All Ya Have To Do Is Wait – Munoz, Yamato, Mahoney and Officer Pasco
  • You're Nothing Without Me – Stine and Stone
Act II
  • Stay With Me – Jimmy Powers and Angel City
  • You Can Always Count On Me – Oolie
  • You Can Always Count On Me – Donna
  • Alaura's Theme-Orchestra & Chorus
  • It Needs Work – Gabby
  • L.A. Blues-Orchestra
  • With Every Breath I Take – Stone and Bobbi
  • Funny – Stine
  • I'm Nothing Without You – Stone, Stine and Gabby
  • Epilogue: Theme from City Of Angels
  • Double Talk Walk (Curtain Call)

Broadway cast and characters


There are recordings of the original Broadway cast on Sony (ASIN: B00000272K), released on February 9, 1990, [7] and the London original cast on RCA (ASIN: B000003FN9), released October 12, 1993 [8]

Awards and nominations

Tony Award


  • Best Musical
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Book of a Musical
  • Best Actor in a Musical (James Naughton)
  • Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Randy Graff)
  • Best Scenic Design


  • Best Actor in a Musical (Gregg Edelman)
  • Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Rene Auberjonois)
  • Best Costume Design (Florence Klotz)
  • Best Lighting Design (Paul Gallo)
  • Best Direction of a Musical (Michael Blakemore)
Drama Desk Awards
  • Outstanding Musical (winner)
  • Outstanding Book of a Musical (winner)
  • Outstanding Lyrics David Zippel (winner)
  • Outstanding Music Cy Coleman (winner)
  • Outstanding Set Design (winner)
  • Outstanding Costume Design (nominee)
  • Outstanding Lighting Design (nominee)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Musical James Naughton (winner)
  • Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical René Auberjonois (nominee)
  • Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Randy Graff (winner)
  • Outstanding Director of a MusicalMichael Blakemore (nominee)
  • Outstanding Orchestration(winner)

Gelbart received a 1990 Edgar Award for Best Play.

Olivier Awards
  • The American Express Award for Best New Musical (WINNER)
  • Best Director of a Musical (nominee)
  • Best Actor in a Musical Roger Allam (nominee)
  • Best Actress in a Musical Haydn Gwynne (nominee)
  • Best Supporting Performance in a Musical Henry Goodman (nominee)


  1. ^ Fleming, John. "Angels' gets its wings from music", St. Petersburg Times (Florida), February 16, 1992, p. 1F
  2. ^ Rose, Lloyd. "Witty 'City Of Angels", The Washington Post, June 12, 1992, p. C1
  3. ^ Vadeboncoeur, Joan. "Witty 'City of Angels' Arrives", The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), November 3, 1992 (no page number
  4. ^ The Guardian (London), Michael Billington, p. 7, April 1, 1993
  5. ^ The Globe and Mail (Canada), October 18, 1993
  6. ^ a b Perlmutter, Sharon."Review, 'City of Angels', 2006, Jan 29, 2006
  7. ^ City of Angels Original Broadway Cast listing",, accessed November 28, 2008
  8. ^ City of Angels Original London Cast listing",, accessed November 28, 2008


External links

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