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Dogfight (musical)

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Benj Pasek

Adapted from
First performance
16 July 2012

Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

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Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

1991 film Dogfight written by Bob Comfort

2012 Off-Broadway2014 Off-West End2015 Australian Production2015 European Amateur Premiere2015 Dutch Production

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Dogfight trailer

Dogfight is a musical with music and lyrics by Pasek and Paul and a book by Peter Duchan. It is an adaptation of Nancy Savoca's 1991 film, Dogfight. The musical premiered Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre in 2012, and in August 2014, the musical had its European premiere at the Southwark Playhouse in London.


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Dogfight first rehearsal at 2st


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The musical opened on July 16, 2012 at the Second Stage Theatre, after previews from June 27, and concluded its limited run on August 19. The show was directed by Joe Mantello and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Its original production starred Lindsay Mendez as Rose. Derek Klena as Eddie, and Josh Segarra as Boland. The cast also included Nick Blaemire, Annaleigh Ashford, Steven Booth, Becca Ayers, Adam Halpin, Dierdre Friel, F. Michael Haynie, and James Moye. David Zinn designed sets and costumes and Paul Gallo designed the lights.

The show received rave reviews for its writers and for leading lady Lindsay Mendez's performance.

The original cast recording was released on April 30, 2013.

Other productions

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Dogfight played at the Southwark Playhouse in London from August 8, 2014, through September 13, 2014, in a production directed by Matt Ryan and starring Laura Jane Matthewson as Rose and Jamie Muscato as Eddie.

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The first New York regional production played White Plains Performing Arts Center September 19–21, 2014, produced by WPPAC and the Harrison Summer Theatre.

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On April 9, 2015 the European Amateur Premiere of Dogfight opened at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton, England. Directed by Adam Lacey, Musically directed by Jack Hopkins and Choreographed by Pippa Lacey (Assisted by Amber Lloyd and Anna Forster).

Dogfight (musical) Dogfight39 at Second Stage Theater The New York Times

The Australian premiere is presented by Neil Gooding Productions in association with the Hayes Theatre Co, Sydney, opening on May 1, 2015, with direction by Neil Gooding.

Dogfight (musical) DOGFIGHT

The first fully translated production of Dogfight will be in Dutch and opens on June 11, 2015 at the M-Lab theatre in Amsterdam.

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The San Francisco premiere of Dogfight opened on September 22, 2015 at San Francisco Playhouse, with direction by Bill English.

On October 2, 2015 Dogfight made its New Zealand premiere at Auckland Music Theatre, with direction by Katie Flood.

The Oklahoma premiere of "Dogfight" opened on January 23, 2015 at Upstage Theatre, with direction by Patrick Towne, and music direction by Joey Harbert.

Act One

In 1967, Eddie Birdlace, a U.S. Marine just returned from Vietnam, rides a Greyhound bus heading for San Francisco. As he travels through the night, he remembers Rose Fenny ("Prelude: Take Me Back") and the night he spent in San Francisco four years earlier. Memories overwhelm him and suddenly it's November 21, 1963.

The Greyhound bus becomes a military bus, carrying Private First Class Birdlace and his rowdy fellow Marines, fresh out of training and ready for action. Arriving in San Francisco, they're eager to take the town by storm on their last night in the United States ("Some Kinda Time"). Birdlace and his two best friends, Boland and Bernstein, who call themselves the Three Bees ("We Three Bees"), are participating in a dogfight, a cruel game with simple rules. Each Marine puts $50 in the pot. The one who brings the ugliest date to the party wins the money. Birdlace and his friends set off to scour the city for potential dates ("Hey Good-Lookin'").

Birdlace ends up in a diner, where he sees Rose, a shy waitress, quietly playing guitar in a corner booth. He flirts with her, eventually inviting Rose to be his date ("Come to a Party"). Not knowing the true purpose of the evening, she's excited to go on her first date. She tears items from her closet, searching for the perfect dress ("Nothing Short of Wonderful"). Meanwhile, other Marines find their dates, including Boland, who breaks the established rules of the dogfight by inviting Marcy, a wisecracking, near-toothless prostitute eager to win a share of the cash prize that comes with being deemed the ugliest date ("Come to a Party (Reprise)").

As Birdlace and Rose walk to the party, she is chatty, revealing her folk music aspirations and her burgeoning pacifism. When they reach the Nite Lite, a club rented for the party, Birdlace finds himself questioning his plan to subject her to the event. He suggests they go somewhere else and get a bite to eat. Rose believes his change of heart means he's embarrassed by her, that he doesn't want his friends to meet her. Conflicted, Birdlace acquiesces and they enter the party.

At the table with his friends and their dates, Birdlace drinks heavily and grows sour. He tries unsuccessfully to keep Rose off the dance floor during the slow dance, when the contest is officially judged. As they dance, each Marine presents his date for judging ("That Face"). It's determined Marcy is the ugliest, crowning Boland the big winner. Later, in the ladies room, Marcy reveals to Rose the true nature of the party ("Dogfight"). A distraught Rose returns to Birdlace. She is furious and deeply hurt and slaps him hard across the face. "I hope there's a war and you get killed," she tells him, before escaping in shame. Back home in her bedroom, surrounded by rejected dresses and dashed hopes, Rose beats herself up for having believed Birdlace's lies ("Pretty Funny").

Act Two

The Marines, reckless and invincible, continue their debaucherous last night with a trip to the arcade and then by visiting a prostitute ("Hometown Hero's Ticker Tape Parade"). But Birdlace can't bring himself to revel like his friends do. Feeling terrible about how he treated Rose, he leaves them and goes to her. He apologizes as best he can and offers to make it up to her by taking her out to a fancy dinner. At first incredulous, Rose sees Birdlace's apology, though misguided and inarticulate, is in fact genuine. She consents to the date, demanding they never again discuss the dogfight ritual and its indignities. They cautiously set out on their date ("First Date, Last Night").

At a swanky restaurant, Rose challenges Birdlace's tough exterior and cuts through his posturing, lies, and bravado. They share a meal and inch closer to understanding each other. Later, they take in the late-night view from the Golden Gate Bridge. Rose tells Birdlace that, despite its unpleasantness, what happened earlier that night has helped her to a new understanding. She can no longer allow herself to be defined by what other people think of her ("Before It's Over"). In the remaining hours before Birdlace must report and ship out, Rose nervously invites him home with her. They share an awkward and romantic first sexual experience ("Give Way").

The next morning Birdlace returns to his buddies and the world of casual cruelty that shaped him ("Some Kinda Time (Reprise)"). The Marines head overseas, where they will be pawns in the growing Vietnam conflict. Birdlace sees his friends, including Boland and Bernstein, killed in action. These harsh memories linger as Birdlace arrives in San Francisco in 1967, a broken, confused, lost man, unwelcome and derided ("Come Back"). Birdlace makes his way through the changed city to find an older, wiser Rose at the diner. Compassionate as ever, she welcomes him home ("Finale: Take Me Back").


1Prelude: Take Me Back
2Some Kinda Time
3Hey - Good-Lookin'


Dogfight (musical) Wikipedia

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