Full Synopsis

Full Synopsis

Act One

A cast of three men and two women lead us through an evening at a cocktail party that explodes time and place as it deals with universal themes.

Man 3, alone onstage, gives the audience some instruction on how to approach the evening ("Invocations and Instructions to the Audience"). The rest of the company enters, illustrating the difficulties and precision that go into making a performance ("Putting It Together").

The performers become characters at a cocktail party; Man 1 and Woman 1 are the married couple hosting the party. It is their 25th anniversary. Man 2 works at Man 1's publishing firm and Woman 2 is a maid, hired for the evening. Man 3 is a mischievous and mysterious uninvited guest who often comments on the action. The characters schmooze ("Rich and Happy"). Man 3 comments on how they are just rolling along, unaware that things might go wrong ("Merrily Fragment #1"). Woman 2 pours a bottle of champagne for the men, remarking on her lack of skills but abundance of beauty ("Lovely"). Woman 2 then transforms into a guest as the men sing about the values of having a maid – for a variety of reasons ("Everybody Ought to Have a Maid"). As a party guest, Woman 2 attracts Man 1's eye, much to the chagrin of Woman 1 and Man 2; Man 3 watches Woman 1. Everyone privately wonders, and seethes, at the illicit glances exchanged by the couples ("Sooner or Later Sequence"). Man 1 attempts to seduce Woman 2 ("Hello, Little Girl"). Woman 1 catches him ("My Husband the Pig"). As Woman 1 bemoans her married life, Woman 2 commiserates ("Every Day a Little Death"). Man 3 comments once again on how easily relationships start to slip away ("Merrily Fragment #2").

Man 1 attempts to split up Man 2 from Woman 1 by telling him about another woman ("Have I Got a Girl for You"). This leads them both to ponder the beauty of women ("Pretty Women"). As Man 2 prepares to seduce Woman 2, going back and forth in his mind about the best approach, his thoughts are sung by Man 3 ("Now"). When he finally makes his move, they sing about the consummation of their relationship in all its glory and awkwardness ("Bang!").

Woman 1 suggests that she and Man 1 buy a house or go on a vacation to rekindle their marriage, but Man 1 is apathetic ("A Country House"). Man 3 reflects on how they got to this state in their marriage ("Merrily Fragment #3"). Woman 1 becomes drunk and lashes out at Man 1 ("Could I Leave You?").

Act Two

The company performs a number, out of character, about how tough things were, looking back, and how the situation has changed ("Back in Business"). Back at the cocktail party, they start to get stoned ("Rich and Happy and Stoned"). Gradually sobering up, they begin to muse on the problems of love and sexual attraction ("Medley – A Little Night Music"). They decide to play a game, but the relationships between the couples become even more strained ("What Would We Do without You?"). Man 3 gets them to play a gun game, and the others explore what it means to have a gun ("Gun Song").

They switch to another game, where everyone writes a question on a card for someone else ("A Little Priest"). Man 3 changes the rules on them after they've written the questions, and now Woman 2 must answer her own question. She promptly responds ("The Miller's Son"). Man 2 then has to answer to the fact that he remains unwed and how it feels ("Live Alone and Like It"). Man 1 is then tasked with answering a question about his feelings on being married ("Sorry-Grateful").

Man 3 then asks Woman 1 whom she was thinking of on the day that she got married; she mentions a girl who cries over the one who got away ("Sweet Polly Plunkett"). It's Man 3's turn to answer a question about marriage ("I Could Drive a Person Crazy!"). Following his presentation, they declare Man 3 the winner, but before it's decided, Man 2 wants to try again. This time, he discusses his desire for a marriage that doesn't involve compromise or sacrifice ("Marry Me a Little"). Woman 1 reveals that she was panicked on her wedding day ("Getting Married Today"). Man 3 again comments on how far things have gotten off track ("Merry Fragment #4").

Man 1 responds to Woman 1's revelation by expressing a yearning of his own for marriage, despite all of the messiness that it entails ("Being Alive"). Woman 1 asks him why they can't go back to how things used to be, acknowledging that maybe the good old days never existed ("Like It Was"). Despite this, all of the characters revel in the strength of old friendships ("Old Friends / Finale").