Kay Cram sits in the Casacabana nightclub, waiting for her husband Hubie on their tenth anniversary (“Waiting, Waiting”). Hubie, a pie-in-the-sky schemer, is determined to find his big break and become a hot shot, but he is sadly lacking in the husband department.
Kay suggests that Hubie take a nice steady job in her father’s dry cleaning establishment (“Take A Job”), but he scoffs at the notion. Instead, Hubie goes into business with Fatso, Skin, and Brains, three of his old gangster friends from the slot machine days. This time, however, they swear “It’s Legitimate”; they plan to lease jukeboxes to ice cream parlors and pancake houses. While placing a jukebox in a Greenwich Village restaurant, the men meet Tilda, a young waitress who sings a haunting folk song (“Cry Like The Wind”).
Hubie soon discovers that successful jukebox operators have to make records, develop new talent, and build up hit tunes. He remembers Tilda’s song and together they develop it into a big hit (“Ambition”). Tilda’s star begins to rise (“Success”) and she meets a handsome competing record company executive named John Henry Wheeler. They fall in love (“Fireworks”) and Tilda skyrockets to fame under Wheeler’s guidance in a zany ballet production number (“What’s New at the Zoo?”). Meanwhile, Hubie’s success dwindles (“The Late, Late Show”).
Kay wonders how she wound up with such a no-goodnik husband (“Adventure”).
Wheeler and Tilda find genuine contentment together (“Make Someone Happy”). But violence flares in the jukebox business, and soon Hubie and the boys find themselves under questioning at a Senate investigation in Washington. Hubie is identified as the Mr. Big of the jukebox rackets (“V.I.P.”). At last, Hubie achieves Big Shot status, but instead of finding glory, he is scorned and left crestfallen (“All of My Life”). Hubie realizes his blind ambition has never brought him any satisfaction; the only true joy in his life remains his faithful and patient wife, Kay (Finale: “Make Someone Happy”).
(2 female; 2 male)
John Henry Wheeler
James Russell Lowell, IV
The Sumo Student
The Recording Engineer
The Chief Counsel