An excerpt from That’s Life
Curtains open onto the Domino club, band stage left, tables stage left, stage is dark, fixed light on centre for compare. Far down stage right is a table, chairs and a telephone, which acts as Dons house and Teresa’s house at points.
Compare enters through audience
Marty Don’t cha just hate those shows that use a narrator, yeah to introduce characters, update you on the story, change scenes etc, Me too. Oh wait, hang on (he is on the stage now, turns to the audience and very cheesily says) I am that narrator. Hiya folks, the name’s Marty Russo, welcome to the Domino Rooms, home of New York’s own Frank Donati, but more about him later. I’m here for the night, I’m gonna walk you through the ups and downs, lives and loves of some of the locals in these parts. Let’s start with Mama (spotlight goes to Mama, who is counting money and putting it in her bra). Mama, she owns this joint, anything that goes down here, Mama, she knows about it, she’s been in the business a long, long time, worked her way up from a dancer, at least that’s how she tells it. Rumour has it, she’s involved with some pretty influential people round here, know what I’m sayin’? But she runs this place well, she looks after her girls, that’s them over there (spotlight goes to group of dancers including Grace, who is slightly apart from the others). Cute chicks right, too much hassle though, you understand what I’m sayin’, ooh, she’s new (seeing Grace and straightening his tie) I’ll chat to her later. Then we have our five main acts at the Domino Rooms, (spotlight goes to acts without Frank, standing lightly flirting)The Sapphires, Dionne Day, Ava Divine, Dean Davis and our headline act Frank Donati (spotlight goes to empty space on stage). But like I said, more on him later, he’s running late as usual. (Don, Lucky and Freddie enter, lights come up, all cast react, waitress rushes to get a table for them, pulls out a chair, Mama goes straight over to greet them). This here is Don Giovanni, he owns half of Manhattan and everyone in it. He’s the boss, he’s numero uno, he’s the Don. The two guys with him, that’s Freddie the Fox, slyest guy I know and Lucky Lucianno, never loses. Not the sharpest tools in the box, but trust me, you don’t want to get on the wrong side of them. That’s all you need to know for now folks, let’s get the evening started with our very own smooth crooner, Dean Davis
After song, dancers are gathered around Dean, everyone applauds, he moves to the side, a waitress appears
with a drink for him, she stands drinking it and watching the dancers
Ginger First night on the job and you’re already outshining us.
Grace Thank you, I tried my best, but gee, I was so nervous.
Ginger So you agree? You think you outshine us?
Grace Um, no, um, that’s not what I meant
Ginger Did you hear that girls? Grace here, thinks she’s a bit special
Nora I knew it, that’s why you’re wearing that necklace, wanted to make sure you got noticed.
Betty That necklace don’t go with the costume, we don’t use it til act 3
Grace Oh right, sorry, I thought something wasn’t right.
Ginger Whatever. You did that on purpose, we’ve met girls like you before, you won’t last, they never do.
Nora Yeah and you didn’t even get the steps right (Nora and Ginger exit)
Betty Hey, don’t take it to heart, you did good. (Betty exits)
Dean approaches Grace who is looking a bit down hearted.
Dean You must be the new girl, I’m Dean Davis.
Grace I know who you are (she is slightly star struck).
Dean I couldn’t help overhearing you and the other girls
Grace Are they always like that?
Dean Yeah, pretty much, you’ll get used to it. They get a bit territorial when a new broad comes along, especially a sweet patootie like you.
Grace (looking shy) I bet you say that to all the girls
Dean Only the ones I wanna get to know better
Grace I should go, there’s not long until the next act
Dean Hey, don’t let those broads get to you, you’re gonna do just fine here
Grace Thanks (goes to leave)
Dean Hey Sweetcheeks! I didn’t catch your name
Grace (turning back to him) Grace, my name’s Grace (she exits)
He watches her leave, checking her out, makes it quite obvious that he likes her, Mama approaches
Mama I see you met my new girl, sweet thing, head full of dreams, come all the way from South Detroit. Frank’s still not shown his face, you may have to cover for him again.
Dean Ab-so-lute-ly, anything for you Mama.
Mama I knew I could count on you, you wouldn’t let me down, wish I could say the same about Frank.
Dean I’ve stood in for him three times this week already, don’t know why you let him get away with it.
Mama The crowd love him, he’s my star
Conversation switches to Don, Loretta, Lucky and Freddie, Mama goes to them. Dean exits
Freddie I kid you not, four aces in a row.
Lucky What can I say, lucky by name
Don Ya Know, I’ve only seen that happen once before, back in the day, me and Mama were down at the railway arches, yeah, we were this close to losin’ everything, then bam, Mama shows her hand, four aces, you think you’re lucky Lucianno, That Broad’s the lucky one
Mama You telling tales on me again Giovanni
He stands up, double kisses her
Don Always Mama, always. How’s tricks?
Mama So so, picks up at weekends, bit quiet during the week lately
Don Have you had any more trouble with that crowd from 42nd street?
Mama No, not since you asked your boys to have a quiet word with them for me, not seen them since
Lucky I’ve seen them, one of them walks with a limp now
Lucky and Freddy look at each other and laugh
Loretta I’ll have a bloody mary when you’re ready.
Mama Oh will you? Do I look like a waitress?
Loretta This is a bar ain’t it?
Don Loretta, play nice.
Loretta Honey, I just wanna get a drink
Mama (summoning a waitress) Get Don’s plaything a drink
Loretta Excuse me?
Mama Oh I’m sorry, are you not a plaything, did he marry you? Oh no. he’s got a wife
Loretta Who do you think you’re…
Don Ladies, enough
Mama Sorry Don, but if you’re going to have a pet, keep it on a leesh
Loretta You’re just a jealous bitch
Mama And you’re just a tramp
Freddie I thought Frank was your opening act tonight?
Mama He is, Dean had to stand in, that’s the 3rd time this week, trust me I’ll be having words with him
Don Funny you mention having words with Frank, that’s why I’m here tonight
Mama Oh really, problems?
Don Never problems mama, just need, you know, a quiet chat