I Had a Ball

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We are on the Coney Island Boardwalk. At an open window a sign reads "Garside, The Great Psychologist." Families with children come marching in and are greeted by the Coney Island workers and regulars. ("Coney Island U.S.A.")

Stan the Shpieler, a low-level grifter just released from a short prison sentence, returns to Coney and finds his old pal Garside. Garside gets Stan on his couch and tries to convince him that romance is in his future. Stan laughs but then admits that he has been longing for romance. ("The Other Half of Me")

Meanwhile, Miss "Under the Boardwalk" Addie, a curvaceous beauty who has also returned to Coney, brags and shows off to the fellas. The Alley Gang twit Addie about her sexual peccadilloes. ("Addie's At It Again")

Garside decides to use his talents to bring Stan together with Jeannie, the ferris-wheel operator, who feigns satisfaction in being alone. ("I Got Everything I Want") Garside plays around with a crystal ball he has named Sam. To his amazement, he begins to see the future in the ball and pleads with his idol, Sigmund Freud, for help. ("Dr. Freud") Ma Maloney, the local busybody, decides to refashion dowdy-looking Jeannie into a glamour girl. ("Think Beautiful")

Garside begins to advise Stan, Jeannie and Addie about their love lives. Stan is convinced by the Gang that he has a happy future and is roused to hallelujah and belief. ("Faith") Garside, however, bungles his matchmaking: Jeannie winds up with a handsome loan-shark, Brooksie, while soft-hearted Stan ends up with the tough Addie.


Ma and the Alley Gang bemoan the lousy summer weather, the lack of business, and the low-class customers they are attracting. ("The Neighborhood Song") Stan and Brooksie have become successful entrepreneurs. ("The Affluent Society") Jeannie is trying to make the best of her bad marriage to Brooksie. At a big party in her honour, she takes centre stage. ("I Had a Ball") The festivities break up when Brooksie burst in, pulls Jeannie aside and tells her that he is out of money. The ferris wheel has been sold to cover big losses He tries to hustle her out of her remaining cash. The disillusioned Jeannie is again alone. ("Almost") Things are no better for Stan, who has caught Addie playing around with other men. ("Fickle Finger of Fate")

Garside tries to correct his mismatches. He brings Addie and Brooksie together. ("You Deserve Me") A chase scene in the Tunnel of Love ends as Jeannie and Stan discover that they are meant to be soul mates. Garside congratulates himself and "Sam" on their success. ("You Deserve Me" reprise)

(Adapted from the synopsis in the booklet for the Decca Broadway CD issue.)

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