Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Two con men, a beautiful woman and the elite of the French Riviera collide in this sexy and irreverent farce.
Show Essentials
6
Roles
+ Ensemble
12
Rated
2
Acts

Full Synopsis

Act One

The curtain opens on an elegant dance at a Casino in the French Riviera. Amidst a well-dressed crowd, multiple women are looking for the prince. Lawrence Jameson (an impeccably dressed Brit) emerges with Andre (his French assistant). The two men have set up a royalty scam ("What They Want") to provide these visiting women "escape from the ennui"--and to live comfortably off their money! One of these wealthy women, Muriel Eubanks, is so taken by this fantasy that she believes Lawrence when he says her jewelry detracts from her beauty -- and hands it over willingly!

As Andre and Lawrence prepare to board a train, Andre warns him that a young American con artist named the Jackal has been rumored to be working along the southern coast of France. Lawrence dismisses the burgeoning con and settles in with his next victim. Freddy Benson, dressed much more cheaply and distinctly American, enters and sits between them. Just as soon as Freddy feigns hunger pains, charitable work, and an ill grandmother to this unfortunate woman, her husband returns. Still, he walks away with a twenty dollar donation.

The scene flashes back to Muriel. Struck helpless by a man who made her swoon under the pale blue moon, Muriel questions, "What Was A Women To Do."

Back on the train, Lawrence swindles Freddy of his twenty dollars by examining his teeth as an imposter dentist. Not wanting another con in his territory, Lawrence manipulates Freddy into visiting the social playground of Isla de los Muertos (The Island of the Dead). Lawrence exits as Muriel boards, noticing Freddy talking to the prince. When Muriel asks Freddy to give her scarf to the prince, he swears to "give it to him all right" as he discovers he has been swindled twice! Back at the chateau, Lawrence is paying Andre for his assistance and the men coalesce on their history and discovery of the Jackal. As they prepare to welcome oil heiress Miss Jolene Oakes of Oklahoma, they are surprised to open their doors to Freddy! Freddy is prepared to tear Lawrence apart but finds himself mesmerized by the Villa. Freddy realizes he's been missing his potential, and all the "Great Big Stuff." Freddy begs Lawrence to show him the ropes. Intrigued by the challenge, Lawrence accepts--only to be criticized harshly by Andre ("Chimp In A Suit").

In the next scene, Lawrence begins Freddy's continued education. Jolene arrives with a flourish from a shopping rendezvous and surprises Lawrence with wedding plans for the next day! Lawrence questions if he's missed a scene while Jolene paints a picture of their idyllic future ("Oklahoma"). When Lawrence tries to evade her plans, she points a pistol at his feet and forces him to join in her big western dance number.

The three cons are stuck on how to handle the dissolution when, suddenly in a pin spot, Jolene shrieks, "You Have a Brother?" Jolene is introduced to Lawrence's mad brother Ruprecht (portrayed with hilarity by Freddy) in the dungeon of a basement. Ruprecht eats a goldfish, licks his brother, and mounts him before even greeting Jolene. When he is finally introduced, he calls her "mother" and goes wild before being "sedated." Lawrence closes the scene and his relationship with Jolene by detailing "All About Ruprecht."

An alleluia is heard in the distance as the lights come up on Andre making a donation to The Abbey of Beaumont sur Mer. As the docent turns around, it is revealed to be Muriel! She is so zealous to talk to the prince that she has been spending five days trying to find his country. She is thrilled and appeased simultaneously when Andre reveals that the prince plans to memorialize her image with a commemorative stamp ("What Was A Woman To Do - Reprise 2").

We see Jolene leave in a hurry as Freddy and Lawrence toast their success! The Hotel Manager brings Andre a dossier of Miss Christine Colgate--the American Soap Queen. Andre asks the manager to extend his hospitality for her and the staff whisks into preparation. Freddy and Lawrence now place a bet--the first one to get $50,000 from the next target will gain control of the territory. The loser must abdicate and leave town permanently. When the overly enthusiastic yet clumsy Christine enters ("Here I Am"), the men shake hands.

We find Christine at the casino. Lawrence places his bet and body coyly beside Christine before being split by the disabled U.S. Army officer, Buzz (Freddy in a decorated costume and wheelchair). Freddy wheels over Lawrence's foot before asking Christine to assist him in placing his bet because of his "bad luck." When she loses for the both of them, he is followed by Christine to the terrace, where he confesses the chip was his last hope. Freddy tells Christine a long wrenching story of his paralysis and how he needs $50,000 for an operational cure from specialist Dr. Emil Shuffhausen. The affected Christine begins to write a letter to doctor and assures Buzz not to worry ("Nothing Is Too Wonderful To Be True").

Andre and Lawrence observe this act and watch Christine escort Freddy back to her room to finish the letter. Christine clumsily spills hot soup on Freddy's groin. Unable to react, Freddy suffers in his creation as Buzz. Meanwhile downstairs, Muriel is checking back into the hotel, Andre is paying a bellboy to page the doctor, and Lawrence is preparing his next character. The act closes with Christine introducing Buzz to Dr. Emil Shuffhausen (who happens to be in the hotel -- and happens to be Lawrence)!

Act Two

Dr. Emil Shuffhausen "tests" Buzz's paralysis by increasingly inflicting pain on his lower body ("Ruffhousin' Mit Shuffhausen"). Freddy attempts to cover his pain by yodeling. Soon, all three are singing and yodeling with varied emotions. The game is almost up when Muriel comes upon Lawrence impersonating the doctor. He covers by inconspicuously saying that he is traveling incognito. Lawrence manipulates Muriel into praying while he quickly escapes with Christine. Meanwhile, Andre tries his best to seduce Muriel like a true Frenchman ("Like Zis, Like Zat"). Creating a moonlit scene accompanied by an accordion player, Muriel and Andre dance until they unexpectedly kiss.

Back in Lawrence's Villa, Freddy is left in his wheelchair at the bottom of the stairs while Lawrence gives Christine a tour and makes private attempts to get close to her. The doctor assures Christine that if Buzz wants to walk, he can and will! Freddy crawls up the stairs when he hears Lawrence and Christine dancing. Lawrence simply shuts the door to fuel the paraplegic's envy ("The More We Dance"). Unaware to Lawrence, the suffering Freddy is befriended by Sailors who volunteer to put Lawrence on a ship to Honduras!

Freddy, Christine, and Lawrence are walking home through the gardens. Freddy asks for a goodnight kiss and is surprised when he gets one--from Lawrence--before being whizzed offstage. Lawrence then discovers that Christine is not as rich as they thought. Christine Colgate isn't an heiress, she simply won a contest. She is selling off her prizes (including a car and her jewelry) to fund Buzz's surgery and the doctor's fees. When Christine leaves, Lawrence tells Freddy that they ethically need to call it off. However, Freddy calls Lawrence on his growing attraction to her and they wager again on who can get her love first. Suddenly, Lawrence is captured in net by a gaggle of sailors and is whisked away.

Buzz returns to Christine's suite and confesses his love. Buzz believes he can walk again if he had a love to walk to ("Love Is My Legs"). Backed by a gospel choir, Buzz stands, staggers, and finally "accidentally" falls on top of Christine. Instantly, Dr. Emil Shuffhausen interrupts and escorts his patient "back to bed"--where Freddy is next captured by sailors!

"Dr. Emil Shuffhausen" takes the touched Christine to the train station. Once there, he waives all fees and forbids her to call the emotional Buzz. Lawrence has an epiphany as he watches her depart ("Love Sneaks In"). At the same time, Andre and Muriel emerge from their love nest and say their goodbyes while murmuring their lust. ("Like Zis, Like Zat - Reprise")

Freddy manages to return to Christine's suite, only to find her gone. As he says his goodbyes, he begins to purloin objects from the room. Suddenly, Christine reappears and professes her love toward Buzz. Christine wants to immediately consummate her love. As she disappears to the bathroom to prepare, Freddy celebrates his victory ("Above The Waist"). When Christine emerges, her innate clumsiness causes her to knock her new beau unconscious.

Andre finds Lawrence to tell him he has lost the bet to Buzz. When there is a knock on the door, the men expect to see a gloating Freddy. Surprisingly, it is a weeping Christine! She informs them that Buzz disappeared after they made love and took all of her valuables--including the $50,000 that was shipped from the USA!

Lawrence is moved and personally covers her losses by packing a suitcase with $50,000 of his own money. Christine takes it, but returns. Equally touched by his generosity, she hands him the suitcase back and states she simply cannot accept.

When Andre arrives to announce the Jackal was captured, Freddy enters in Christine's robe and fuzzy slippers. Lawrence is angry at him for taking Christine's money. Freddy informs him that Christine knocked him out and then robbed him! ("The Reckoning") The men rush to the suitcase--it is filled with Freddy's clothes and a note from the Jackal. Christine announces her departure from the orchestra pit and it is revealed that she is the Jackal!

Back at the airport, Muriel and Andre are exchanging quick goodbyes. Andre keeps turning back to offer Muriel additional amenities. Before he can ask, Muriel volunteers to stay! The men reflect on how and when they had been had. As they prepare to say goodbye, Christine returns with a group of wealthy tourists: a proposition. The men accept and the three celebrate through "Dirty Rotten Number" being Dirty Rotten Crooks!

Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible Cast Size
Cast Type: Older Roles
Dance Requirements: Standard

Character Breakdown

Lawrence Jameson
An experienced British con artist who is sophisticated, suave, and elegant.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 60
Vocal range top: Bb4
Vocal range bottom: G2
Freddy Benson
A young, clever, aspiring American con artist. He is a sloppy, yet attractive womanizer, and is eventually conned by Christine.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: A2
Christine Colgate
A seemingly good-natured American heiress vacationing on the French Riviera, who is revealed to be a notorious con artist. Naive and clueless at first, she becomes cunning and mischievous.
Gender: female
Age: 35 to 45
Vocal range top: F#5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Andre Thibault
Lawrence's French assistant. Official and mostly serious, he has a light-hearted nature and a quirky sense of humor.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 55
Vocal range top: F4
Vocal range bottom: F2
Muriel Eubanks
A wealthy and attractive American socialite from Nebraska, she one of Lawrence's victims and Andre's subsequent love interest.
Gender: female
Age: 50 to 60
Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: E3
Jolene
An American heiress from Oklahoma and the "Princess of Petroleum," she is very eager, optimistic, and energetic.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Ensemble
Waiters; Butlers; Maids
Full Song List
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Overture
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Give Them What They Want
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: What Was a Woman To Do
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Great Big Stuff
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Chimp in a Suit
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Oklahoma
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: All About Ruprecht
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Here I Am
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Nothing is Too Wonderful to Be True
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Miracle
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Ruffhousin' mit Shuffhausen
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Like Zis/Like Zat
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The More We Dance
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Love is My Legs
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Love Sneaks In
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Son of Great Big Stuff
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: The Reckoning
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Dirty Rotten
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Finale

Show History

Inspiration

 

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is based on the 1988 comedy film of the same name, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin. The film itself is rumored to be a remake of the 1964 film Bedtime Story, which closely matches the plot and has the same names of its two leading men. Composer and lyricist David Yazbeck happened to catch a week-long marathon of the film on television one day, and became interested in the concept. After contacting MGM to obtain the rights, TV writer Jeff Lane showed interest in the project and was brought on as bookwriter.

Productions

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels premiered in San Diego, California on September 22, 2004.
 
The musical opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on March 3, 2005. Directed by Jack O'Brien and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, the show was nominated for 10 Tony Awards and 10 Drama Desk Awards. The cast included John Lithgow, Norbert Leo Butz, Sherie Rene Scott, and Joanna Gleason. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels closed September 3, 2006 after 36 previews and 627 performances.

A North American national tour launched on August 4, 2006 with Norbert Leo Butz reprising his role as Freddy. The tour ended on August 19, 2007. The next month, a 25-city Non-Equity company opened in Dayton, Ohio. Its final performance was on March 23, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Critical Reaction

"The show's climactic number, its title song, is aggressively catchy enough to bring down the house." -The New York Times

"Well, yes: a bit vulgar, a bit hokey, a bit for the tired businessman, but often funny, not infrequently clever, with a nice sprinkling of the outrageous that s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."  -NY Magazine

"David Yazbek's lyrics are as clever as his music is rich." -Backstage.com

Connect

Billing

Based on the film, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, written by Dale Launer and Stanley Shapiro & Paul Henning

Requirements

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.
DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS (100%)
BOOK BY
MUSIC AND LYRICS BY
JEFFREY LANE (50%)
DAVID YAZBEK (50%)


Based on the film "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"
written by Dale Launer and Stanley Shapiro & Paul Henning (37.5)
 
 
The following credits shall be given on the main credit page of all theatre programs:
 
Produced on Broadway by Marty Bell, David Brown, Aldo Scrofani, Roy Furman,
Dede Harris, Amanda Lipitz, Greg Smith, Ruth Hendel, Chase Mishkin, Barry and
Susan Tatelman, Debra Black, Sharon Karmazin, Joyce Schweickert,
Bernie Abrams/Michael Speyer, David Belasco, Barbara Whitman, Weissberger
Theater Group/Jay Harris, Cheryl Wiesenfeld/Jean Cheever, Florenz Ziegfeld,
Clear Channel Entertainment and Harvey Weinstein

World premiere at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, California
Artistic Director: Jack O'Brien/Executive Director: Louis G. Spisto

 
If the orchestrations and arrangements of Harold Wheeler, Ted Sperling/David Yazbek and Zane Mark are utilized, the following credits (in the size, prominence and style of type no less than that used for the musical director's credit) shall be accorded on the main credit page of all theatre programs:
 
Orchestrations by
Music Arrangements by
Dance Music Arrangements by
Harold Wheeler
Ted Sperling/David Yazbek
Zane Mark

 

The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK27
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
KEYBOARD PATCH SOLUTIONS
LOGO PACK
LOGO PACK DIGITAL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT SMALL
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT X-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK ADULT XX-LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD LARGE
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD MEDIUM
LOGO TEES SIX-PACK CHILD SMALL
PERFORMANCE ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
PRODUCTIONPRO
REFERENCE RECORDING
REHEARSAL ACCOMPANIMENT RECORDING
SCENE PARTNER
STAGE MANAGER SCRIPT
TRANSPOSITIONS-ON-DEMAND
VIRTUAL STAGE MANAGER

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
BASSACOUSTIC BASS , ELECTRIC BASS
CELLO
DRUMS
GUITARACOUSTIC GUITAR , BANJO , ELECTRIC GUITAR
HORN
KEYBOARD 1
KEYBOARD 2
PERCUSSIONBELL TREE , BONGOS , CABASA , CASTANETS , CLAVES , CONGAS , COWBELL , CYMBALS , GRAN CASSA , MARK TREE , ORCHESTRA BELLS , PIATTI , SHAKER , SUSPENDED CYMBAL , TAMBOURINE , TIMBALES , TIMPANI , TRAIN WHISTLE , TRIANGLE , WOOD BLOCK , XYLOPHONE
REED 1ALTO FLUTE , ALTO SAXOPHONE , Bb CLARINET , FLUTE , PICCOLO , SOPRANO SAX
REED 2Bb CLARINET , ENGLISH HORN , FLUTE , OBOE , TENOR SAXOPHONE
REED 3Bb CLARINET , BARITONE SAXOPHONE , BASS CLARINET , BASSOON , FLUTE
TROMBONEBASS TROMBONE , TENOR TROMBONE
TRUMPETCORNET , FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
TRUMPET 2FLUGELHORN , TRUMPET
VIOLIN(3 VIOLINS REQUIRED), ELECTRIC VIOLIN , VIOLA , VIOLIN