THE CITY SCENE
“PARADISE GARDENS EAST”
Conerico Was Here To Stay
In the Off-Broadway production of “Conerico Was Here To Stay,” at the Cherry Lane Theatre (Produced by Barr-Wilder–Albee), the role of Jesùs, the Puerto Rican gang member, and YAM’s salvation, was played by Jaime Sanchez. Jaime went on to win a Derwent Award.
The Blind Man goes through “The Crazies”
Melinda Dillon played The Girl With The Cello (just before she’s raped), in the Barr-Wilder-Albee “Conerico” Workshop, prior to the Off-Broadway Production”
Paradise Gardens East, The Musical
When ‘CONERICO WAS HERE TO STAY” was revived Off-Broadway in 1969, it was part of “The City Scene” (produced by Simon Saltzman) and was coupled with the musiical version of my play, “PARADISE GARDENS EAST.” Book and lyrics were by Frank Gagliano; Mildred Kayden composed the score. Terry Kaiser starred as YAM, Raul Julia was featured as Jesùs and Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior on The Sopranos) won kudos as the Blind Man.
(First Play in “The City Scene,”
published by Samuel French)
BROTHER: This’ll scare the rapist off. It fires blanks.
If he gets by that,
this button springs it. Here you try it.For God’s sake,
don’t you be afraid of it! That filthy rapist has to be
afraid of it! We’ll have a little dry Run.
Now. . .I’m the rapist. . .
Sis, suffering from terrible laryngitis, arrives in the big city from Bodoni County. Her brother, who lives in a New York apartment complex, Paradise Gardens East, takes her in and sets out to protect her from prowlers, rapists and other horrors. While Brother goes out on a rapist-repelling errand to buy rapist-repelling items (like a blowtorch), Brother locks Sis in his apartment, and a strange young man, who calls himself William Saroyan O’Neill, appears on her window ledge. Protesting air pollution, he threatens to jump. The crowd below thinks he is suicidal and wants him to jump; chants for him to jump–takes bets on him jumping!
The brother returns. A furious encounter with William Saroyan O’Neill on the ledge results in an unexpected ending and with Sis regaining her voice.
2) CONERICO WAS HERE TO STAY
(Second play in “The City Scene”,
published by Samuel French)
YAM. Hello. II’m calling from the local subway station.
(He leans out of the phone booth.)
I can’t see the sign from here with the station’s name, but–
GIRL’S VOICE: You saw my number on the poster.
YAM. That’s correct. And it says, “For happiness And thrills, call–“
GIRL. Right. Well, what’s your pleasure? Fellatio? Anal gratification? Or the usual?
YAM, conservatively dressed and carrying a briefcase and umbrella, awakens from a doze to discover he is alone on a subway platform. He has amnesia. His hat is on the subway tracks. He calls various numbers written on the posters–to help him get back his hat–and his memory. While waiting, he avoids making contact with a belligerent blind man, who seeks his help; stands by when a girl with a cello is raped by some gang members; tries to find his courage in a suicidal fantasy and–finally–does find courage when he meets a charming, courageous, volatile Puerto Rican gang member, who, in a climax of violence and escape, helps YAM find his identity and his humanity.
In the original Off-Broadway production (Produced by Edward Albee), the role of Jesùs , the Puerto Rican gang member, and YAM’s salvation, was played by Jaime Sanchez, who went on to win a Derwent Award. In the Off Broadway revival, Terry Kaiser starred as YAM, Raul Julia was featured as Jesùs and Dominic Chianese won kudos as the Blindman.