Andrew Lippa's Wild Party
Decadence and excess are the life of the party in this jazzy 1920s whodunnit.
Show Essentials

Full Synopsis

Act One

It's the Roaring Twenties, and the beautiful, young Queenie – although she tries – cannot find a lover who is able to satisfy her desires – until she meets Burrs, a vaudevillian clown with a voracious appetite for women. Both Queen and Burrs have now met their emotional and sexual match ("Opening").

For a while, they live together, happily sated. Eventually, however, the relationship sours. Burrs' violent nature, which once thrilled Queenie, now scares her ("The Apartment"). Still, she longs to generate the same excitement that brought them together. She suggests a party, and Burrs agrees ("Out of the Blue").

The party begins with a parade of guests: Madeline the lesbian, Eddie the thug, Mae the dimwit, Jackie the dancer, lover-brothers d'Armondo, Dolores the hooker and Nadine the minor ("What a Party"). Although Queenie radiates beauty and confidence, Burrs preys on other women. He makes his move on their youngest guest, Nadine. Despite her casual reprimand of his behavior, Queenie wants to hurt Burrs in return ("Raise the Roof").

The vivacious Kate arrives with her new friend, Mr. Black ("Look at Me Now"). Queenie, quite taken by Black, plans to make her move on him. Kate drags him away to meet the other guests. Queenie's plans are momentarily undermined ("He Was Calm"). The party's revelry continues: Burrs hits on Kate; Madeline hits on Nadine, Eddie chugs beer and almost fights with Burrs. During the chaos, Black finds himself equally as taken with Queenie as she is with him – much to the chagrin of Kate ("Poor Child"). As revenge, Kate plans on seducing Burrs. Meanwhile, in a corner of the room, Madeline is in a drunken stupor and on the prowl for a woman, with very little success ("An Old-fashioned Love Story").

Although Queenie is fully aware that Burrs will threaten her physically, she makes her move on Mr. Black, easily getting him to dance with her. Burrs watches them, his ire rising. Unsuccessfully, Kate tries to get Burrs to dance – then, in order to diffuse the situation, Kate takes Queenie out of Mr. Black's arms and dances with her instead.

Burrs' violent reaction against Mr. Black and Queenie is prohibited by the whole company dancing the Juggernaut ("The Juggernaut"). At its end, Mr. Black and Queenie are together again. To get the reaction that he wants from Queenie, Burrs grabs Nadine, the minor, and makes out with her. This enrages Kate, who throws Nadine to the ground by her hair. Madeline rushes to aid Nadine. Burrs cuts into Mr. Black and Queenie's dancing. Managing to have her to himself, Burrs tells Queenie to stay away from Mr. Black. Laughing at him, Queenie says that she will do whatever she chooses. He twists her arm. They are interrupted by Oscar and Phil at the piano. Burrs releases Queenie, seeing that too many people are watching.

Burrs and Queenie join Oscar and Phil's epic musical number that is based on the story of Adam and Eve – Burrs plays Adam and Queenie, Eve ("A Wild, Wild Party"). Their number is interrupted by a discontented neighbor. Eddie and Mae yell insults to the man, and the crowd goes wild. The two celebrate their togetherness ("Two of a Kind").

Suddenly, Mr. Black approaches Queenie and pointedly asks why she stays with an abusive brute. She reflects on her situation and comes to the conclusion that, perhaps, she has just learned to like the aggressive treatment ("Maybe I Like It This Way").

Elsewhere, Kate is attempting to seduce Burrs. He refuses her advances and expresses his deepest, darkest feelings for Queenie – she is driving him crazy ("What Is It about Her?"). Kate tries to kiss Burrs, but he pushes away. Black kisses Queenie. She embraces him.

Act Two

The party rages on. Kate is alone and reflecting on her youthful indulgence ("The Life of the Party").

Alone in the bathroom, Queenie is taking stock of her predicament. Although she's angry that she has confided in Black, a virtual stranger, she recognizes his goodness. This both stirs and confuses her feelings. Black enters the bathroom with a drink. The two share a moment as Black conveys his admiration for Queenie ("I'll Be Here"). Suddenly, Burrs comes in seeking Queenie's attention. He apologies for his behavior and asks her forgiveness. Before she can respond, Kate arrives. She unsuccessfully tries to draw Burrs back onto the dance floor. Both men vie for her affections and devotion – Mr. Black asks Queenie to leave the apartment with him. Burrs asks her to stop the party and let them return to their isolation. Queenie is unable to respond to either man ("Listen to Me").

Frustrated and hurt, Burrs lashes out by physically threatening her. His outburst causes Queenie to leave the bathroom, and Black quickly follows. It is clear that Burrs is quickly becoming desperate and depressed ("Let Me Drown"). Soon after, he begins to hallucinate and hear Queenie's voice in his head. Thinking that Mae is Queenie, he mistakenly attacks her and angers Eddie. A fight ensues.

Mr. Black and Queenie return to find Eddie viciously beating Burrs. Queenie is afraid that Burrs will be killed if it is not stopped. Out of concern, Black rushes in and knocks Eddie unconscious with a chair. Mae tends to Eddie, and Kate comes to the aid of a passed-out Burrs.

Realizing all of the trouble that he is causing, Mr. Black tells Queenie that he will leave. Queenie, however, cannot let him go and leads him into the bedroom. In a moment of passion, the two begin making love. The party guests follow suit in the living room ("Come with Me").

Early the next morning, the revelers lie asleep in the living room. Kate wakes Burrs, who is beside her. Queenie is strikingly absent. Burrs, fearing the worst, staggers to the bedroom to find her in the bed with Black. When the two lovers wake, Queenie recoils in shock; Black jumps up and attempts to tackle Burrs but fails. Burrs moves to the dresser and locates a gun. Full of rage, he tries to force Queenie to make a choice between the two men. He threatens to kill Black and also threatens to kill himself ("Make Me Happy").

Black, who realizes that Burrs is about to make a decision, takes the chance and lunges at Burrs. The gun goes off. Burrs is dead. Fearing that Mr. Black will now be executed for the death, Queenie urges him to flee. Before leaving, Black professes his love for her ("Poor Child – Reprise"). Queenie, now having lost both men, questions how things managed to reach that point of loss. She exits the apartment – with her coat – all eyes upon her sad, beautiful grace ("How Did We Come to This?").

← Back to Andrew Lippa's Wild Party
Cast Size: Medium (11 to 20 performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown


Strong, handsome, and poised without being posed. An enigmatic loner. Protective. No-nonsense kind of guy who cannot understand Queenie's attraction to Burrs. African-American.

Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Handsome. A professional clown. Dangerous and charming all at once. Sexually ravenous and drawn to Queenie like a moth to the flame. Hurts somewhere deep inside, and slowly descends into jealous insanity.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 40
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: G3
A party-goer pitching ideas and hoping to score with Sam. A wild woman of the night.
Gender: female
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Mae's husband who is perhaps even more dim-witted than she is. A big oaf. Can be a lovable teddy bear but also a quick tempered brute. Adores his wife.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 45
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
A lush. Likes to be the "life of the party." Always looking out for number one, and is jealous of Queenie. Sexy, sensual, and confident.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: F3
Madelaine True

A tired woman with even more tired eyes and a cruel mouth. An announced lesbian. Sexually hungry. Blunt and very dry.

Gender: female
Age: 40 to 55
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Eddie's wife. Sweet and beautiful, but not particularly bright. Adores her husband and dotes on him.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 45
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Busy producer and "attention whore." Trying to avoid the outrageous pitches made by Dolores, until it becomes sexual.
Gender: male
Age: 30 to 50
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Oscar D'armano
Phil's brother and lover who dresses as his twin. A composer and an entertainer in every sense of the word. Very flamboyant.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Phil D'armano
Oscar's brother and lover who dresses as his twin. A composer and an entertainer in every sense of the word. Very flamboyant.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Blonde and beautiful. Sexy. Looks a little older and more tired than her age would indicate. Afraid of being alone. Has become addicted to Burrs' presence and ravenous sexual appetite.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: F3
The only minor at the party. Waifish and somewhat naïve. She is in over her head and trying to keep up.
Gender: female
Age: 16 to 18
Vocal range top: A5
Vocal range bottom: A3
One of the party goers and a member of the usual "gang." He is full of life and energy.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Full Song List
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Queenie Was A Blonde
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Raise The Roof
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Look At Me Now
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: An Old-Fashioned Love Story
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: By Now The Room Was Moving
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: A Wild, Wild Party
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Two Of A Kind
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Maybe I Like It This Way
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: What Is It About Her?
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: The Life Of The Party
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: I'll Be Here
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Let Me Drown
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Tell Me Something
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Come With Me
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Jackie's Last Dance
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: Make Me Happy
Andrew Lippa's Wild Party: How Did We Come To This?

Show History


Andrew Lippa's Wild Party is based on Joseph Moncure March's 1928 narrative poem of the same name. Lippa came across March's narrative poem while wandering through Barnes & Noble's poetry section, searching for a story to musicalize. He'd never heard of March's piece and did not know the 1975 James Ivory film version that starred James Coco and Raquel Welch.


Based on Joseph Moncure's narrative poem, Andrew Lippa's Wild Party was first developed in 1997 at the National Music Theatre Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. It received further development at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1999 before opening Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club on February 24, 2000. Directed by Gabriel Barre and choreographed by Mark Dendy, the production ran for 54 performances, closing in April of 2000. It starred Julia Murney as Queenie, Brian D'Arcy James as Burrs, Idina Menzel as Kate and Taye Diggs as Mr. Black.

In 2004, Andrew Lippa's Wild Party was produced as a part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In recent years, it has been staged in cities throughout the United States, including Chicago, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Memphis and Reno.

Cultural Influence

  • Andrew Lippa's Wild Party Off-Broadway cast recording was released by RCA Victor on July 11, 2000.


  • Besides winning for Outstanding Music, Andrew Lippa's Wild Party was nominated for an additional twelve Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding New Musical.
  • Andrew Lippa's Wild Party coincidentally debuted during the same theatre season (1999-2000) as a Broadway production with the same name and source material.

Critical Reaction

"Tasty stew of jazz, blues, gospel and Tin Pan Alley... a sexy, sweaty, gloriously disorienting voyage."
– Chicago Tribune

 "...Tonally eclectic score vibrates with passion and memorable melodic hooks."
– Variety

"The infectious score by Andrew Lippa has a contemporary feel and offers energetic character numbers, impassioned ballads, and comical charm songs. ...Produces fully realized characters that are realistically flawed and conflicted."
– Talkin' Broadway

"...Breathtakingly powerful musical."
– Houston Press

Drama Desk Award

2000 - Outstanding Actor in a Musical, Nominee (Brian D'arcy James)
2000 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Alix Korey)
2000 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Idina Menzel)
2000 - Best Music, Winner (Andrew Lippa)
2000 - Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Julia Murney)

Outer Critics Circle Award

2000 - Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical, Winner (Andrew Lippa's Wild Party)

Lucille Lortel Award

2000 - Lighting Design, Winner (Kenneth Posner)
2000 - Outstanding Costume Design, Winner (Martin Pakledinaz)
2000 - Outstanding Scenic Design, Winner (David Gallo)



Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March


You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
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Book, Music, and Lyrics by
Based on the Poem by
Joseph Moncure March
Partially Developed and Received Readings at
The O'Neill Theater Center
during the 1997 National Music Theatre Conference
Originally Produced in New York City by The Manhattan Theatre Club

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