Plymouth Theatre, (5/13/1978 - 12/31/1978)

First Preview: May 05, 1978
Opening Date: May 13, 1978
Closing Date: Dec 31, 1978
Total Previews: 12
Total Performances: 274

Category: Musical, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by Joseph Papp; Associate Producer: Bernard Gersten

Originally produced by The New York Shakespeare Festival (Joseph Papp, Producer)

Music by Elizabeth Swados; Book by Elizabeth Swados; Lyrics by Elizabeth Swados; Additional text by Bruce Hlibok ("Hubbell--You Don't Understand" and "Hubbell--Out on the Street"), Jossie de Guzman (Spanish Argument from "Footsteps" and "Nightmares in Spanish"), Randy Ruiz (Spanish Argument from "Footsteps" and "Nightmares in Spanish"), David Schechter ("Lazar's Hero" and "Lazar's Dream"), Carlo Imperato ("A.J.'s Dream"), Venustra K. Robinson ("Roby's Dream"), Diane Lane ("Jackie's Dream"), Vincent Stewart ("Eddie's Dream") and Ray Contreras ("Nightmares in Spanish"); English-Spanish translations by Josie de Guzman

Directed by Elizabeth Swados; Choreographed by Elizabeth Swados

Scenic Design by Douglas W. Schmidt and Woods Mackintosh; Costume Design by Hilary Rosenfeld; Lighting Design by Jennifer Tipton; Sound Design by Bill Dreisbach; Hair Design by J. Roy Helland

NYSF General Manager: Robert Kamlot; Company Manager: Bob MacDonald and Roger Gindi

NYSF Production Supervisor: Jason Steven Cohen; NYSF Production Manager: Andrew Mihok; Production Stage Manager: Gregory Meeh; Stage Manager: Peter Glazer and Patricia Morinelli

Piano and Toy Piano: Judith Fleisher; String Bass: John Schimmel; Congas, Timbales, Bongos, Bell Sirens and Others: Leopoldo F. Fleming; Trap Set, Triangle, Glass and Ratchet: David Sawyer; Saxophone and Flutes: Patience Higgins; Guitar: Elizabeth Swados

NYSF Casting Director: Rosemarie Tichler; General Press Representative: Merle Debuskey; Press Representative: Richard Kornberg; Photographer: Martha Swope

Opening Night Cast

Bernie AllisonSundar
Trini AlvaradoMelinda
Paula AndersonChorus
Leonard BrownEZ
Mark Anthony ButlerMex-Mongo
Ray ContrerasLuis
Jossie de GuzmanLidia
Jerome DekieChorus
Karin DekieChorus
Lisa DekieChorus
Karen EvansDeidre
Jonathan FeigIggy
John GalloglyChorus
Sheila GibbsMocha
Bruce HlibokHubbell
Carlo ImperatoA. J.
Rachael KellyJackie
Jon MatthewsEddie
Timmy MichaelsChorus
Evan H. MirandaEric
Nan-Lynn NelsonNikki Kay Kane
Toby ParkerChorus
Lorie RobinsonInterpreter for Hubbell
Venustra K. RobinsonRoby
Randy RuizManny
David SchechterLazar
Kate SchellenbachJane

Understudies: Carey Bond, Michele Dagavarian, Jerome Dekie, Katherine Diamond, Sheila Gibbs, C. S. Hayward, Michael Laylor and Timmy Michaels

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1978 Best Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Joseph Papp

 1978 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Elizabeth Swados

 1978 Best Original Score [nominee] 

Music by Elizabeth Swados; Lyrics by Elizabeth Swados

 1978 Best Choreography [nominee] 

Elizabeth Swados

 1978 Best Direction of a Musical [nominee] 

Elizabeth Swados

Drama Desk Award

 1978 Outstanding Musical [nominee] 

Produced by Joseph Papp

 1978 Outstanding Director of a Musical [nominee] 

Elizabeth Swados

 1978 Outstanding Lyrics [nominee] 

Lyrics by Elizabeth Swados

 1978 Outstanding Music [nominee] 

Music by Elizabeth Swados


ACT 1 Sung By
Where Do People GoCompany
Once Upon a TimeLidia and Company
Every Now and ThenA. J., Sundar and Company
Song of a Child ProstituteJackie, Lidia, Manny and Luis
Find Me a HeroLazar and Company
The Undiscovered SonEric, Fleisher and Schimmel
The Basketball SongEZ and Company
Lullaby for LuisLidia, Luis, Higgins and Company
We Are Not StrangersEric and Company
ACT 2 Sung By
Lullaby From Baby to BabyMelinda, Hubbell and Deidre
Revenge SongCompany
SometimesRoby, Lazar and Company
We Are Not Strangers (Reprise) Mocha, EZ and Company
The Untrue PigeonNikki Kay Kane
Senoras de la NocheLidia, Manny and Nikki Kay Kane
Where Are Those People Who Did "Hair"?Lazar, Deidre and Company
Let Me Be a KidCompany
Lonesome of the RoadLuis, Sundar and Company


New York Daily News: "'Runaways' is a hard kiddie show"

Decked out with a backup vocal chorus, some shiny additional props and new sneakers for everybody, "Runaways," the street musical with an agonizing theme, has moved uptown from the Public to the Plymouth, where it opened Saturday night. Its energetic young cast, the same with one exception, remains irresistible, and the evening certainly has its moments, but the show still strikes me as an overlong graduate production by the sociology department of a well-endowed university.

Elizabeth Swados, who has written, composed and staged the whole thing with the help of some cast members who have improvised sections here and there (like "A Chorus Line," "Runaways" was developed over a period of many months at Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival headquarters), has chosen a heartbreaking subject: runaway children from broken or badly bent homes.

In over three dozen numbers ranging from monologues with rhythmic backgrounds to ensemble singing and dancing episodes, "Runaways" sketches the life styles, habits, attitudes and backgrounds of strays ranging from a child prostitute (Rachael Kelly is the one replacement, her predecessor having left for a film role) to young men and women on their own in a world one of them terms "an orphanage for grown-ups."

There are some raw and bitter moments, mostly monologues along the lines of those in "For Colored Girls," one of this show's ancestors, as when a youngster who smashed the TV to get his parents' attention tells of being given a scalding bath and scraped with the broken glass. And some sardonic ones, as when two boys play at knocking their parents and siblings off a skyscraper, the pair weeping outlandishly after each tumble. And an occasional lighthearted one, as in "The Basketball Song."

But aside from the feeling one gets from "Runaways" of the cooly calculated use of shocking material for a work that means to entertain at the same time, there is the problem of sameness about the people, their parents (all either alcoholics or drug addicts, and all violently combative) and, more importantly, Miss Swados' score.

In arrangements improvised by a very smart small band off to one side of the wire-fenced playground setting (with its caged pigeon high in back), Miss Swados demonstrates, as she has on several previous occasions, a highly sophisticated rhythmic sense and a naive melodic one. The musical numbers, which encompass rock, reggae, salsa and other forms, rarely rise above their cymbal, rasp, triangle, bongo drum and other percussive effects, except in some simple choral passages and in one or two plain but effective strains, such as "Lullaby From Baby to Baby."

Nan-Lynn Nelson, generally playing a stoned young woman, and David Schechter, an aggressively funny fellow, again stand out in a vibrant cast. Miss Swados' staging is effective in obvious ways, for the most part: unison foot-stamping, speeded-up running in place and in a line, lying down in a line, advancing toward the audience, and so on (again, her rhythmic instincts are at work). The utilitarian Douglas S. Schmidt-Woods Mackintosh set has been expanded for the larger stage, and both Hilary Rosenfeld's costumes and Jennifer Tipton's lighting must be commended once more.

"Runaways," with its naked souls reaching hungrily toward a possibly nonexistent future, is necessarily composed of anguish, but it has not been transformed into art. Striking the same note repeatedly, its growing montony is relieved only by its spirited cast, which can vault over anything, even the doldroms.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Plymouth Theatre

(5/13/1978 - 12/31/1978)


Kenya Brome

Understudies: Toby Parker.

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