The No-Frills Revue
Songs from a host of legendary composers take the stage with "no-frills" and plenty of no-holds-barred satire.
Show Essentials
9
Roles
PG
Rated
1
Act

Full Synopsis

The No-Frills Revue is a series of skits and songs, performed just as the title promises, with little sets and no elaborate costuming. The show begins by emphasizing the importance of stools, followed by a therapy patient's dream concerning Yma Sumac. We witness a skit about nerves before a high school reunion and living life as a boring person. We also see an organization with the goal of making people go crazy, such as the noisy early morning garbage man or the person in the express line with twenty items.
 
The following is a list of musical numbers that appear throughout the show:
 
"The No-Frill Revue"
"Stools"
"My Reunion Prayer"
"Being with Me"
"Someone's Got to Do It"
"Privacy"
"A Brand New Hammer"
"We Have to Sing This Song"
"I Know Where the Bodies Are Buried"
"Tippy-Tappy"
"Stools Reprise"
"In the Quiet of Your Arms"
"Yes, We Have the Manuscripts"
"It Hasn't Been Easy"
Casting

Casting

Cast Size: Flexible Cast Size
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: None

Character Breakdown

Man 1
Actor appears as: ANALYST, MCGINTY, BOY, HIPPIE, and TONY. He is boyish, non-threatening, and spacey. Loves people as much as he loves being alone.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Man 2
Actor appears as: VOICE OVER, MARSHALL, and MAN 2. He is a serious, all-business type of guy. Intimidating and materialistic.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Man 3
Actor appears as: LEADER, MAN 1, and WARBUCKS. He is a no-nonsense, militaristic kind of guy. Rich, sleazy, and perverted.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Woman 1
Actor appears as: PATIENT, MEYERS, SECRETARY, and SANDY. She is outgoing and frantic, yet assertive and protective of those she loves.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Woman 2
Actor appears as: ELLEN, CATHCART, and ROSEBUD. She is an oddball and wallflower but also gregarious and curious for all life has in store.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Woman 3
Actor appears as: HISKEY, WOMAN, and LOUISE. She is a rather serious, business-like woman with little patience. Also has a strong love of rock and roll.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Woman 4
Actor appears as: SMITH, GIRL, and MARIA. She is an exaggeratedly simple woman. Pretty and likable, but not the sharpest tool in the shed.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Woman 5
Actor appears as: ABERDEEN, ACTOR, and GOLDE. She is proud, self-conscious, and apologetic. Also wildly materialistic.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Woman 6
Actor appears as: LOOMIS, GOSSIP COLUMNIST, and ANNIE. She is completely over-the-top. Scheming, selfish, and money-hungry.
Gender: female
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: D3
Full Song List
The No-Frills Revue: The No-Frills Revue
The No-Frills Revue: Stools
The No-Frills Revue: Ima Dream
The No-Frills Revue: My Reunion Prayer
The No-Frills Revue: Being With Me
The No-Frills Revue: Someone's Got To Do It
The No-Frills Revue: Privacy
The No-Frills Revue: A Brand New Hammer
The No-Frills Revue: We Have To Sing This Song
The No-Frills Revue: I Know Where The Bodies Are Buried
The No-Frills Revue: Tippy-Tappy
The No-Frills Revue: Bud, Lou, and Who?
The No-Frills Revue: In The Quiet Of Your Arms
The No-Frills Revue: Yes! We Have The Manuscripts!
The No-Frills Revue: It Hasn't Been Easy

Show History

Inspiration

Conceived by director/lyricist Martin Charnin (Annie), The No-Frills Revue takes its cue from the brilliantly sardonic topical revues of the 1950s, employing original songs, sketches, a small cast and a trio of musicians in an hilarious all-out assault on the world as we know it. It is a tribute to the type of 1950s and '60s nightclub act pioneered by Julius Monk, or in modern terms, a sort of musical Saturday Night Live!

Productions

The No-Frills Revue opened at Off Broadway's Cherry Lane Theater on November 25, 1987. The cast included Adinah Alexander, Sasha Charnin, Clare Fields, Stephani Hardy, Sarah Knapp, Eddie Korbich, Andre Montgomery, Lynn Paynter, Justin Ross and Bob Stillman.

Since then, it has been performed many times regionally and at colleges and universities.

Cultural Influence

  • The creative team for The No-Frills Revue includes such Broadway notables as Martin Charnin (Annie), Thomas Meehan (Annie, Hairspray) and Marvin Hamlisch (A Chorus Line).
  • Prior to working on the The No-Frills Revue, Martin Charnin contributed material to the long-running Off-Broadway revue, Upstairs at O'Neal's, which was also done in a '50s- and '60s-nightclub style.

Trivia

  • In his production notes, Mr. Charnin writes, "There is a very specific aesthetic attached to this musical revue – embodied in the opening lyrics to The No-Frills Revue – and that is, less is more." The piece calls for minimal costumes, props and set pieces, as well as interchangeable male and female roles. Although the revue was performed originally with nine performers, it can be done with as few as six – three men and three women.


Critical Reaction

"For comedy, No-Frills is lighter than air!"
– New York Times



"A welcome new potpourri of songs, sketches and skits!"
– New York Post



"Proves that the revue form, when offered with intelligence and savvy acting, is robustly alive."
– Daily News

Connect

Billing

Requirements

You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
 
You agree to bill the Play and the Authors in all programs, houseboards, displays and in all advertising and all paid publicity in the following manner:
THE NO-FRILLS REVUE
 
Sketches, Music and Lyrics Mostly by
(in alphabetical order)
MICHAEL ABBOTT, DOUGLAS BERNSTEIN & DENIS MARKELL,
CRAIG CARNELIA, MARTIN CHARNIN
RONNY GRAHAM, MARVIN HAMLISCH, BRIAN LASSER
MICHAEL LEEDS, THOMAS MEEHAN, SARAH WEEKS
BILLY WEEDEN, DAVID FINKLE & SALLY FAY
 
Dialogue and Segues by
MARTIN CHARNIN, DOUGLAS BERNSTEIN & DENIS MARKELL
 
Entire Production Conceived and Originally Directed by
(in alphabetical order)
MARTIN CHARNIN
 
Originally Produced by Musical Theatre Works, Inc.
 
You further agree to bill the Authors and the various material contributed by them in all programs in the following manner:
Tonight’s Selections Include

"THE NO-FRILLS REVUE"
Dialogue, Music and Lyrics by Martin Charnin
 

"STOOLS"
Music and Lyrics by Martin Charnin
 

"YMA DREAM"
Written by Thomas Meehan
 

"MY REUNION PRAYER"
Music and Lyrics by Bill Weeden, David Finkle and Sally Fay
 

"BEING WITH ME"
Music by Brian Lasser, Lyrics by Michael Leeds
 

"SOMEONE'S GOT TO DO IT"
Dialogue, Music and Lyrics by Michael Abbott, Sarah Weeks and Martin Charnin
 

"PRIVACY"
Music and Lyrics by Craig Carnelia
 

"A BRAND NEW HAMMER"
Music and Lyrics by Bill Weeden, David Finkle and Sally Fay
 

"WE HAVE TO SING THIS SONG"
Music and Lyrics by Douglas Bernstein & Denis Markell
 

"I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED"
Music and Lyrics by Martin Charnin
 

"TIPPY-TAPPY"
Music by Marvin Hamlisch, Lyrics by Martin Charnin
 

"BUD, LOU, AND WHO?"
Written by Thomas Meehan
 

"IN THE QUIET OF YOUR ARMS"
Music and Lyrics by Martin Charnin
 

"YES! WE HAVE THE MANUSCRIPTS!"
Written by Ronny Graham and Martin Charnin, Music by Ronny Graham
 

"IT HASN'T BEEN EASY"
Music and Lyrics by Bill Weeden, David Finkle and Sally Fay
 
All Material Subject to Change, Re-arrangements, Re-casting and Substitutions.
No Extra Charge for Substitutions.
THE NO-FRILILS REVUE is performed without intermission
The videotaping or other video or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited

Included Materials

ItemQuantity Included
LIBRETTO/VOCAL BOOK10
PIANO CONDUCTOR'S SCORE2

Production Resources

Resource
PRODUCTIONPRO

STANDARD ORCHESTRATION

InstrumentationDoubling
DRUMSTEMPLE BLOCKS , TRIANGLE , WOOD BLOCK
KEYBOARD 1