My Favorite Year
The musical story of a young man's coming-of-age during the golden years of live television in 3...2...1...
Show Essentials
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Full Synopsis

Act One

An eager young man in his mid-twenties appears, standing alone on an empty stage. This is Benjy Stone, who reveals that 1954 was not his best year. But it's his favorite year - the year he made the jump from lowly assistant to freshman writer on television's hottest show, 'The King Kaiser Comedy Cavalcade.'

Suddenly, we hear the screams of a Stage Manager and the stage transforms into Studio 6B of the RCA Building, five minutes before the live show is about to air in front of millions of viewers ("20 Million People"). We see the screaming producers, flying costumes, last minute rehearsals, and other chaos. We meet other important figures: King Kaiser, Sy Benson, Alice Miller, Herb Lee, and K.C. Downing. In the middle of it all, Benjy's mother calls to remind him that he's coming over for dinner tomorrow. The countdown continues until the show begins.

It is now Monday morning at the RCA Building. Benjy delivers food and coffee for everyone in the writer's room. They suddenly get the word that King Kaiser is coming down the hallway. Because of King's superstitions, the food is hidden and everyone tries to appear official and professional. King informs the writers that Martha Raye has cancelled her guest star appearance for the next week. Instead, it's going to be Alan Swann, a swashbuckling actor. King wants a funny sketch written for Mr. Swann. As the other writers fight over what the sketch should be, Benjy steps out and tells us that he is destined to write the sketch for Alan Swann, because this man was his movie hero ("Larger Than Life").

Later, at the writers' office, everyone is panicked - Alan Swann's plane has landed but they can't find him. King isn't happy with any of the sketches. Benjy suddenly jumps in with a new sketch, pretending that Sy Benson actually came up with it. Sy goes along with it and all get involved ("Musketeer Sketch"). By the end, King is thrilled and Sy takes all the credit.

The door flies open and Alan Swann appears, extremely drunk, and promptly passes out cold. King wants to dump him, but Benjy defends Swann. After a bit of coaxing, King decides to give him one more chance but he also puts Benjy personally in charge of him. He wants Swann at every rehearsal -- sober or else!

Later at the Waldorf, K.C. and Benjy report to the office that everything is under control; Swann is tucked away in bed. Benjy asks her if she's ever dreamed about being a star - she says no. He sweeps her off her feet, pretending that he's Alan Swann and she's Rita Hayworth, complete with an offstage chorus. They're interrupted by the entrance of Benjy's mom, Belle, and her Filipino husband, a former bantamweight boxer, Rookie Carroca. K.C. leaves the Waldorf while Belle makes herself at home. Benjy tries to get her to leave, but she makes him promise to invite Alan Swann to dinner. Benjy feels ashamed of his Filipino stepfather, but Belle tells him that Rookie is actually a prince - just like Alan Swann ("Rookie In The Ring").

A fully-recovered Alan Swann appears, elegant and ready for a night on the town. Swann searches the room for his suitcase full of liquor, which Benjy has hidden. He explains that he needs to abstain, or else Benjy is going to lose his job. Swann promises to abstain while in his care. The two go out on the town and Swann misbehaves, but doesn't drink. Benjy does his best to keep Swann out of trouble but eventually loses him ("Manhattan").

The next day in the Broadcast Studio, all the writers read the headline story: Swann hauled in for disturbing the peace naked in Bethesda Fountain. King is furious and threatens Benjy. Swann enters, sober and alert, and charms the entire staff - including the cranky King - who reveals his superstitions to Swann ("The Gospel According To King").

Rehearsal for The Musketeer Sketch begins, with Benjy clumsily acting as a stand-in. Benjy reveals to Alan Swann that 'Benjy Stone' is a made-up name. His real name is Benjamin Steinberg. Swann tells Benjy that he, too, was once a simple guy named Clarence Duffy, who transformed himself into a film star. Rehearsals for the entire show continue, but Benjy sees K.C. completely smitten with Swann. Acting on a jealous impulse, Benjy embarrasses her and she runs off.

Benjy follows K.C. into the ladies' room there. She tells him to get out, but he wants to know what's been going on between her and Swann. Alice, in a stall, overhears the entire conversation. K.C. forces Benjy out and Alice emerges from her stall. K.C. tells Alice that she's intimidated - she's the only unfunny person on the show ("Funny"). Alice tries to teach K.C. a joke but she is hopeless ("The Joke").

Back in the Broadcast Studio, the Musketeer Sketch is all set for performance. Benjy awkwardly approaches Swann and asks him to dinner at his mother's house in Brooklyn. Swann accepts and goes off to get changed while Benjy waits. A pretty sixteen-year-old girl enters with a letter she wants Benjy to give Swann; an invitation to her school's reception at the plaza. Benjy puts the letter in his pocket and promises to give it to Swann. The young girl leaves.

The scene shifts to Belle's Brooklyn apartment. The doorbell buzzes and Benjy and Swann are welcomed first by Uncle Morty, then by Rookie, who's done all the cooking, and finally by Belle, who makes a dazzling entrance in an over-the-top hairdo and dress ("Welcome To Brooklyn"). Aunt Sadie tops them all by arriving in her wedding gown. Finally, the entire neighborhood arrives to have a look. Swann dines with Benjy and his family, charming them all. After dinner, Swann tells Belle he admires the loving family life. He admits it's something he's never found. However, he does have a daughter, Tess, who lives with her mother in Connecticut. He has not seen her in three years. While clearing the table, Benjy overhears this conversation and gives Swann the invitation he received earlier. Benjy is shocked that Swann hasn't seen his daughter in three years but Swann tells Benjy that life can never be as perfect as we would like to imagine ("If the World Were Like The Movies"). Belle appears with a bottle of champagne and to Benjy's dismay, Swann accepts.

Act Two

Later that evening, Benjy and a drunken Swann charge on through Central Park. He is determined to get to the Plaza to see Tess, but is unable to find it. Swann tells Benjy that tomorrow he'll be sober and will know all the reasons why he shouldn't see his daughter - but tonight he's going to see her with or without Benjy's permission ("Exits")!

At the Plaza, Swann makes a scene with the doorman, who knocks him down. Tess comes out of the Plaza with a group of friends, just in time to see her father's humiliation. She leaves, and Swann is devastated. In Swann's room at the Waldorf, shortly before dawn, ex-prize fighting champ Rookie has just finished attending to Swann's cuts and bruises, and we see the beginnings of a relationship between Benjy and Rookie. As Rookie leaves, Benjy gives him two front row tickets for the big show.

K.C. then enters. Benjy has called her over to help him out. He asks K.C. to watch Swann for a few hours while Benjy goes off to do something. At first K.C. is upset, and they quarrel. But Benjy finally tells K.C. that he's crazy about her. K.C. doesn't quite know how to take it. She tells him she likes this new side of him and they finally give in to a passionate embrace ("Shut Up And Dance"). They kiss at last. He leaves, and she promises to get Swann to the studio on time.

At a last minute rehearsal for the show, King and Alice perform a comedic hobo number ("Professional Showbizness Comedy"), King has promised Alice one gag for tonight's show; however, he keeps stepping on all of her funny lines. Alice stops the music and says that she is not continuing. King lets her have her gag, and with that, a bunch of clowns enter and bind and "gag" King. She's finally got her big chance to shine! She tells a series of jokes, has fun with a striptease number, and eventually finishes with a tambourine and kick-line of clowns. Everyone at the studio raves about the number. Even King supports the idea of airing it live.

The floor manager then announces that there are five minutes until air. Benjy enters with Swann, dressed in his Musketeer costume. Everything seems to be perfect except that Swann panics when he hears the show is broadcast live. Also, to further complicate matters, Belle has come backstage to tell Swann she's met his daughter, who's sitting next to her in the first row. Belle leaves and Swann confronts Benjy, blaming him for bringing Tess to the show. Benjy confesses. Swann announces that he's not doing the show; Benjy promises to the crew that he will work everything out. The show begins.

Benjy enters Swann's dressing room to find Swann searching for and finding his last hidden pint. Benjy tries reasoning with him: Swann finally has a chance to make it up to the daughter who still deeply loves him. Swann is uninterested and defeated ("The Lights Come Up). He leaves.

On stage, the Musketeer Sketch begins, but when it comes time for Swann's entrance, he isn't there. Benjy is preparing to accept the fact that Swann has abandonded him and the show when, all of a sudden, Swann pops up through a window in the set! Swann performs the sketch perfectly and it is a rousing success. Amidst all the joyous chaos, Benjy steps out of the scene, looking back at this beautiful moment in his life. Tess runs to her father's arms, Swann is redeemed, King and Alice are happy, his first sketch is a success, and he has finally found happiness in love, work, and family ("My Favorite Year").

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Cast Size: Medium (11 to 20 performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Benjy Stone
Our story's excitable protagonist, he is a young hopeful who remains eager and alert. A freshman writer on King Kaiser's Comedy Cavalcade.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 25
Vocal range top: Gb4
Vocal range bottom: Ab2
King Kaiser
A big bear of a man who is brash and abrasive. A former Catskill Comic, he is now the host of America's number one TV show.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 45
Sy Benson
Head writer on the Comedy Cavalcade. Tough and ruthless, he bullies all except King. Deep down, he is nothing more than a frantic pushover and wimp.
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 50
Vocal range top: E4
Vocal range bottom: F#3
Alice Miller
The tough-talking gag writer on Comedy Cavalcade. Gutsy, dry, and quick-witted.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: D3
Herb Lee
Rumpled and silent, yet seemingly expressive. A writer on the Comedy Cavalcade staff who usually communicates through Alice.
Gender: male
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: Eb4
Vocal range bottom: E3
K.c. Downing
A bright, attractive career girl and assistant to the producer. Straight-laced and misplaced in a crowded world of funny people.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 25
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Leo Silver
Grey-haired and well-dressed. The lead producer of the Comedy Cavalcade who boasts plenty of intimidation to make up for his other shortcomings.
Gender: male
Age: 55 to 65
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: G3
Alan Swann
A handsome, well-traveled Hollywood leading man. Although charismatic and visible, he is now considered a sad "has-been."
Gender: male
Age: 40 to 50
Vocal range top: Eb4
Vocal range bottom: G2
Belle May Steinberg Carroca
Benjy's beloved mother. A substantial beacon of Brooklyn society, she is generous of nature and proportion.
Gender: female
Age: 45 to 55
Vocal range top: G#5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Uncle Morty
Benjy's uncle who is round, thick, and bald, but always full of life and knows how to have a good time.
Gender: male
Age: 50 to 65
Vocal range top: D4
Vocal range bottom: C3
Chorus Girls; Male Dancers; Sketch Actors; Stage Hands; Grips; Cameramen; Wardrobe People; Secretaries; Assorted Denizens; Brooklyn Neighbors
Full Song List
My Favorite Year: Overture/Twenty Million People
My Favorite Year: Larger Than Life
My Favorite Year: The Musketeer Sketch
My Favorite Year: Rookie in the Ring
My Favorite Year: Manhattan
My Favorite Year: Naked in Bethesda Fountain
My Favorite Year: The Gospel According to King
My Favorite Year: The Musketeer Sketch Rehearsal
My Favorite Year: Funny/The Duck Joke
My Favorite Year: Welcome to Brooklyn
My Favorite Year: If the World Were Like the Movies
My Favorite Year: Exits
My Favorite Year: Shut Up and Dance
My Favorite Year: Professional Showbizness Comedy
My Favorite Year: The King Kaiser Comedy Cavalcade
My Favorite Year: The Lights Come Up
My Favorite Year: Maxford House
My Favorite Year: The Musketeer Sketch Finale
My Favorite Year: My Favorite Year

Show History


My Favorite Year is based on the motion picture of the same name.

My Favorite Year  is a 1982 American comedy film written by Dennis Palumbo and Norman Steinberg, and directed by Richard Benjamin. It stars Peter O'Toole, Mark Linn-Baker, Jessica Harper, and Joseph Bologna. O'Toole was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Though there are some necessary differences in the musical adaptation, My Favorite Year stays fairly close to the source material.


My Favorite Year opened on Broadway at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater on December 10, 1992 and closed on January 10, 1993 after 36 performances and 45 previews. The cast included Evan Pappas, Tim Curry, Tom Mardirosian, Katie Finneran, Andrea Martin, Josh Mostel, and Lainie Kazan. The show was directed by Ron Lagomarsino and choreographed by Thommie Walsh, with scenic design by Thomas Lynch, costume design by Patricia Zipprodt, and lighting design by Jules Fisher, with associate lighting designer Peggy Eisenhauer.

Musicals Tonight! in New York City presented a staged concert of My Favorite Year in April 2003.

A March 2007 production in Chicago at the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre included two new songs.

Cultural Influence

  • As Artistic Director of the off-Broadway theater organization Playwrights Horizons, Andre Bishop had nurtured the careers of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, producing their first show, Lucky Stiff, in 1988, and their subsequent hit, Once On This Island, which moved to Broadway. When Bishop was named Artistic Director of Lincoln Center Theater, one of his first ventures there was to produce My Favorite Year.
  • An original cast recording was released on the RCA Victor label in 1993.


  • Tim Curry was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his portrayal as Alan Swann. The show also received Drama Desk Award nominations for Oustanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Josh Mostel) and Outstanding Orchestrations.
  • Lynn Ahrens, who wrote lyrics for My Favorite Year, is the songwriter and singing voice of many of those memorable educational ditties on ABC-TV's Schoolhouse Rock.
  • Lainie Kazan was the only member of the cast who reprised her film role for 1992's Broadway musical version of My Favorite Year.
  • My Favorite Year marked Andrea Martin s Broadway debut
  • Josh Mostel who played Sy Benson in the original production is famed actor Zero Mostel's son.
  • In My Favorite Year, The King Kaiser Comedy Cavalcade is based on Sid Caesar's Your Show Of Shows and the swashbuckling Alan Swann is based on movie legend Errol Flynn.

Critical Reaction

"A sweet, snappy and altogether beguiling musical comedy... An exceptionally strong book...and a stylish, smart score that pays homage to the big Broadway songs of 35 years ago." -Associated Press

"Bright, breezy, expert entertainment" -The New York Times

Academy Award

1982 - Best Actor, Nominee (Peter O'Toole)

Tony® Award

1993 - Best Actor in a Musical, Nominee (Tim Curry)
1993 - Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Lainie Kazan)
1993 - Featured Actress In A Musical, Winner (Andrea Martin)
1993 - Featured Actress In A Musical, Nominee (Lainie Kazan)
1993 - Leading Actor In A Musical, Nominee (Tim Curry)
1993 - Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Winner (Anddrea Martin)

Theatre World Award

1993 - Best Debut Performance, Winner (Andrea Martin)

Drama Desk Award

1993 - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Nominee (Josh Mostel)
1993 - Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, Nominee (Josh Mostel)
1993 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Winner (Andrea Martin)
1993 - Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical, Winner (Andrea Martin)
1993 - Outstanding Orchestration, Nominee (Michael Starobin)

Outer Critics Circle Award

1993 - Best Actress in a Musical, Nominee (Lainie Kazan)



Based on the motion picture, My Favorite Year, courtesy of Turner Entertainment Co., with story by Dennis Palumbo and screenplay by Norman Steinberg and Dennis Palumbo


Under the terms and conditions of your organisation’s Performance Agreement, the following credits must appear on all advertising (including websites) relating to the production. Credits must be reproduced faithfully in accordance with the following layout. No alterations or deletions can be permitted unless stated below.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.

Book by

Joseph Dougherty 

Music by

Stephen Flaherty

Lyrics by

Lynn Ahrens

In programs and houseboards (except posters with only the title and the stars'
names), the following credit must also appear:
"Based on the Motion Picture, 'MY FAVORIYE YEAR', Courtesy of
Turner Entertainment Co., Screenplay by Norman Steinberg and Dennis Palumbo
Story By Dennis Palumbo"
In print ads (other than award and congratulatory ads, ABC's ads of less than
1/4 pages, teaser ads or TV and radio ads, if, in any excepted item, only the
stars, the title, the name of the theatre and/or critics' quotes appear),the
credit would be: "Based on the Motion Picture,'MY FAVORITE YEAR'
On the title page of programs and in all advertising of 1/2 page or more,the
following credit: Originally Produced By Lincoln Center Theater
The Authors are to receive billing credit in all forms of publicity and
advertising under the control of the Producer, where and whenever the title
of the Play appears. The names of the Composer, Lyricist and Bookwriter shall
be equal in size,type,coloring,boldness and prominence. No billing shall
appear in type larger or more prominent to the Authors execpt for the title
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

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