The System (Stop, Frisk & All That Jazz)

Stop, Frisk, and All That Jazz

How will three black Broadway

singers, profiled by NYPD, survive

The System?

Show Essentials

  7 MALE ROLES   (6 AFRICAN AMERICAN, 1 WHITE)

  1 FEMALE ROLE (AFRICAN AMERICAN)

  RATED PG, 90 MINUTES

Full Synopsis

Circa 1998, New York is under the reign of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Sam and fellow singers Clarance and Frank daydream of making it on Broadway as they take a break in Central Park from their job as themed restaurant singers. While sharing the final remnants of a joint, dressed in their costume tuxedos, they are arrested by undercover cops.

Throughout, we center on Sam’s quest for dignity and identity – juxtaposed to The System that is trying to stop him. Since neither singer has ever been arrested, we share their shock and dismay while the plight of other incarcerated characters of color weaves a tapestry of testaments around them – all lives interrupted by the systemic racism and implicit biases which led to their collective loss of liberty in The System.

The height of the AIDS epidemic is mercifully on the decline; however, fear, stigma, and homophobia fuel public and private anxiety while Sam secretly struggles with bi-sexuality while Clarance and Frank are both undeniably gay.

As jail time slowly passes, flashbacks invite us into all the three singers’ lives and past/present relationships, including the world of their job to which they have not returned. Sam escapes his reality via his poetry and he hosts spiritual (theatrical) visitations from a majestic African warrior of whom Sam questions the meaning and purpose throughout.

Sam’s girlfriend Karen mostly appears in flashbacks with Sam, which leads to her pregnancy as they navigate deeper struggles with identity as possible parents. Karen is a young lawyer, seen primarily in a fantasy parallel universe of an ongoing (a la Fosse’s “All That Jazz”) Fellini-esque absurdist courtroom, where Sam is the plaintiff whom she represents. Exaggerated witnesses inform the court of disparaging laws, disproportionate sentencing, and shocking race-based statistics. Light is also shed upon the prison industrial complex.

Karen evolves and must make difficult choices.

After thirty-six hours in holding cells, the three singers are close to being released when they are asked by fellow inmates to sing. They do. This infraction (as viewed by a judge and guard) leads to a physical confrontation, by which Sam is swallowed down the rabbit hole of the criminal justice system.  How will three Broadway dreamers, profiled and arrested, along with countless other men and women of color, survive The System?

Casting

  • Cast Size: Total 7 – (3 African American, 1 White Male, 1 Female of Color)
  • Cast Type: Ensemble
  • Dancing, Acting, Singing

Characters

Man 1:

…SAM LENOX, African American singer/poet from age 30 to 50

Woman 1:

… KAREN CRAWFORD, African American trial attorney at ages 25 and 40

Man 2:

… CLARANCE ANTHONY, African American R&B vocalist from age 30 to 50

Man 3:

… FRANK LAWRENCE, African American R&B vocalist, age 25

Man 4:

… MACEO, African American R&B vocalist, age 35

… NARCOTICS UNDERCOVER #2, age 30, undercover NYC Police Officer, age 25

… DARYL SMITH, undercover NYC Police Officer at age 25

… FREDERICK “CAROLINA” CARVER,  a southern African American teenager, age 25

… NARCOTICS UNDERCOVER #3, undercover NYC Police Officer, age 25

 …DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING

….DR. NORTH, a noted PhD on racial relations.

Man 5:

… TEDDY, African American R&B vocalist at 25

… PROSECUTOR in white hand-held fan/masks, age 25

…. NARCOTICS UNDERCOVER #1 age 25 and undercover NYC Police Officer, age 25

… JULIO “DOO RAG” MARTINEZ, Latino urban teenager, age 21

… AFRICAN AMERICAN JUDGE (if needed)

…..ANSWERING MACHINE (V.O.)

… DEATH ROW GUARD, age 60

Man 6:

… JUDGE (V.O.)

 … BILLY RAY VEGA,  a career crackhead, age 46

…. THOMAS UNCLE, African American corrections officer, age 50

…..RICKY B. (V.O.), age 25

… AFRICAN MALE SILHOUETTE,  a muscular African American, timeless, adult male

Man 7:

… BAILIFF, an exaggerated singing courtroom bailiff, age 45

… JUDGE STEINBERG, a white NYC judge, age 60

… WHITE COP #1

…. C.O LEBLANC, a corrections officer, age 40

… ELMER DICKENSON LYNCH, industrialized prison expert, age 40

… PUBLIC DEFENDER #1, white, nervous new public defender, age 30

Full Song List

SONG/POEM LISTING

(all poems are lower case)

                                                                                   Act One

“a poet’s got a dream”………………………………………………………………………………………..Sam

“Can You Imagine?”………………………………………………………………………. Karen & Company

“Sing My Soul”…………………………………Phase Phive: Sam, Clarance, Frank, Maceo, Teddy

Raise Your Right Hand…………………………………………………………………………………………..Bailiff

“One Hundred to One”………………………………………………………………………..Billy & Company

“Reefer Scat Fugue”………………………………………………………………………………………Company

“bitter chocolate”…………………………………………………………………………………………………Sam

“Yoruba Kings”……………………………………………………………………………………………….Company

“While Black”…………………………………………………………………………………………………Company

“Raise Your Right Hand” (Reprise #1)…………………………………………………………………….Bailiff

“Stop and Frisk”…………………………………………………………………………….Carolina & Company

“Chocolate Flower” ……………………………………………………………Frank, Teddy & Phase Phive

“black seeds”…………………………………………………………………………………………………………Sam

“Yoruba Kings”(Reprise #1)…………………………………………………………………………….Company

“don’t eat the cheese”……………………………………………………………………………………………Sam

“Yoruba Kings”(Reprise #2)…………………………………………………………………………….Company

“miracles unplanned……………………………………………………………………………………………..Sam

“Unsee”………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Karen

“Can You Imagine?”(Reprise #1)……………………………………………………………………Company

                                                                                   Act Two

“I Wanna Be The One”………………………………………………………Clarence, Frank, Sam, Karen

“Secret Scat Fugue”………………………………………………………………………………………..Clarance

“Martin Said It”……………………………………………………………………………Clarance & Company

“Etes Vous Libre Ce` Soir?”…………………………………………………………………………………….Frank

“Yoruba Kings”(Reprise #3)…………………………………………………………………………….Company

“don’t eat the cheese”(Reprise #1)…………………………………………………………………………Sam

“what is a man?”…………………………………………………………………………………………………….Sam

“Cross This Bridge”…………………………………………………………………………………………………Karen

“This Little Light Of Mine”………………………………………………Sam, Frank, Clarence & Inmates

“Down By The Riverside”………………………………………………Sam, Frank, Clarence & Inmates

“Yoruba Kings”(Reprise #4)…………………………………………………………………………….Company

“sweet chocolate”………………………………………………………………………………………………..Sam

“Freedom In The System”…………………………………………………………………….Sam & Company

Development History

2018 – Reading K/Q

2013 – Reading SUNY Empire State College

2010 – Reading Triad Theatre

2009 – Reading New Professional Theatre

Billing

Book, Music, Lyrics and Poems by

Lee Summers

Additional Music by

Timothy Graphenreed

Requirements

The following acknowledgement shall appear on the table program flyers and on publicity materials distributed in connection with performances of the play. Said billing shall be in a type size no less than 50% (fifty percent) of that of the title, and will appear on a single line right below title.  Billing shall be in substantially the following form:

THE SYSTEM

(100%)

Book, Music, Lyrics and Poems by

Lee Summers

(40%)

Additional Music by

Timothy Graphenreed

(40%)

Such billing shall also appear wherever and whenever the name of the play appears in all advertising issued by, authorized by, or under the control of the producer. It is understood that under no circumstances may the director, designers, the acting company or other creative personnel receive any larger billing, except in the case of minimum single-column or directory-type ads in which the above billing may or may not be used, at the discretion of the producer.  Additionally, the individuals billed as set forth above shall be entitled to a bio in all programs whenever any other party is entitled to same, subject to space limitations no more onerous than to which any other party is subject.  No inadvertent failure to comply with the provisions of the above shall constitute a default under the terms of this agreement, provided, however, that the producer shall rectify the failure as soon as practicable upon receiving notice from the author.

ADDITIONAL TITLE PAGE AND BILLING:

Furthermore, you agree to include clear and prominent credit on the title page of all programs and in all publicity wherever and whenever the full production credits are given, in a type size not less that 25% of the type size used for the non-logo title of the play substantially as follows:

SHORTENED BILLING:

In advertisements of ¼ page size or less where only the title of the play, performance dates and venue are provided, the following “shortened billing” is permissible:

Lee Summers’

The System

MUSIC PUBLISHING CREDITS:

In addition to the above billing, you agree to include the following musical compositions, credits on or appurtenant to the “Staff Credit Page” of the program for all licensed productions of the play:

(MUSIC, LYRICS & POEMS BY LEE SUMMERS

ADDITIONAL MUSIC BY TIMOTHY GRAPHENREED)

A POET’S GOT A DREAM

CAN YOU IMAGINE?

SING MY SOUL

RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND

ONE HUNDRED TO ONE

REEFER SCAT FUGUE

BITTER CHOCOLATE

YORUBA KINGS

WHILE BLACK

STOP AND FRISK

CHOCOLATE FLOWER

BLACK SEEDS

DON’T EAT THE CHEESE

MIRACLES UNPLANNED

UNSEE

I WANNA BE THE ONE

SECRET SCAT FUGUE

MARTIN SAID IT

ETES VOUS LIBRE CE` SOIR?

WHAT IS A MAN?

CROSS THIS BRIDGE

 SWEET CHOCOLATE

FREEDOM IN THE SYSTEM

Butterfly Theatricals Billing
In accordance with the Dramatic Performing Rights License, all publicity materials (posters, programs, etc.) MUST include the following credit:

LEE SUMMERS’ THE SYSTEM

Is presented through special arrangement with Butterfly Theatricals (BT)

All authorized performance materials are also supplied by BT.

  http://www.Leesummersshows.com

The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

Included Materials

Item                                                                                                                         Quantity Included

KEYBOARD – CONDUCTOR SCORE                                                                      2

LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK                                                                                         7

Production Resources

REFERENCE RECORDINGS

Standard Orchestration

Instrumentation – Some Doubling

PIANO                                             

BASS                                                                                                

DRUMS                                                                                            

GUITAR

PERCUSSION

TRUMPET

TROMBONE

WINDS (SAX, FLUTE, OBOE)

SYNTHESIZER

Butterfly Theatricals LLC – Copyright 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s