Music, Lyrics & Book by
Additional Lyrics by PETER ERVIN KRAUS & ANTHONY BARLOW
© JULY 2009 DRAFT Intellectual Property Protected by Copyright
© Registered at “Stationers’ Hall Registry”
Registration Certificate No. B10/1534/40532
… A conventional book musical consisting book, music and lyrics;
Centred on the game of TENNIS;
Set in the late 1970s and into early1980s,
Employing a main cast of 8, Supporting Cast,
and 7 to 10 Piece Band,
Consisting Contemporary Popular Music & Song …
… Exploring ‘Class
Distinction’ by exposing Human Nature
in terms of dilemmas such as
RICH verses POOR, and CHEATING verses HONESTY & FAIR PLAY
Life in general, and in a Competitive Sporting Environment!
Song & Scene Breakdown
OUTLINE back to top
Two Sons, Three Parents, Four Friends and a
The winner may take all … but is there ever a true winner?
Set against the backdrop of amateur club and professional tennis, the
story follows the friendships, relationships and rivalries of two boys
who are destined to compete against each other emotionally and professionally
throughout their lives. They undergo the pressures of ‘First Love’
relationships, whilst juggling school education on the one hand, with
training as performance tennis players on the other.
In a world of extreme competition they aspire to
be champion tennis players, but the road to success is strewn with the
challenges of humanity, which will test their friendships, and strength
of character right up to their nail biting TIE BREAKER finale –
But the last call and deciding point is a “SPIN”? …
Who will win?
The opening scene joins NICK and BEN, aged 18 or
19, preparing for their climactic confrontation at a Major Grand Slam,
or Davis Cup Final. The umpire spins a coin and, just as their match
begins, the action freezes to a blackout and the story flashes back
3 years. Aged 15 or 16, we follow Nick and Ben’s life experiences
on court and off, at local club level, on the junior tennis circuit,
through county training and selection. They eventually develop into
full-time tennis players competing on the professional circuit, bringing
us back to the opening scene where NICK and BEN face each other across
the net in their first major tournament final.
UNIQUE SELLING POINT (U.S.P.) No 1:
The Finale opens during the closing stages of
the only actual real tennis match to be played on stage. This is between
the hero Nick, and his rival Benjamin in their first major tournament
The scene begins at the start of the match-deciding tiebreak in the
final set. The two players actually compete in a real, not simulated,
tiebreak (average length about 10 min), the result of which is unknown,
by anybody, until the outcome of match point.
The cast have rehearsed two different final scenes, and are prepared
for either result, each Performance.
(Please see MINI - TENNIS EXPLAINED next page!)
UNIQUE SELLING POINT (U.S.P.) No 2:
TENNIS LEGENDS TO PERFORM
It is intended that the role of one of the ‘TENNIS
LEGENDS’ will be played by one of a selection of actual real live
Tennis Legends still competing, part time, on the veteran’s circuit.
These natural performers, some of whom are already accomplished actors,
singers, and/or musicians, would be ideally suited! Trick shots, etc,
would be encouraged so that each individual player can customize the
part to their own unique talents.
Mini-Tennis is approved and endorsed by the
LTA & BTCA who use this innovative sport to introduce 4 to 8 year
olds to the game of tennis. Their nationally standardised junior county
training scheme includes mini tennis leagues and tournaments from local
school level up to the National mini tennis competition played at Wimbledon.
Imagine a badminton court with the net lowered, so that the bottom of
the net touches the ground.
Imagine a small duplicate tennis racquet.
Imagine a tennis ball made of foam or sponge so that, no matter how
hard it’s struck, it absorbs the power and slows down during its
flight-path to suit the shortened length of the court, yet still bounces
at the correct height, and still responds to spin. Also brightly coloured
In other words, imagine the game of tennis in miniature,
proportionally reduced, but otherwise as realistic as the full-scale
game, employing all the shots & tactics of tennis so that a match
between Andy Murray and Roger Federer would still be as spectacular
and exciting as if it were played on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
PUT SIMPLY ……THE COURT SIZE CAN BE ADAPTED TO SUIT THE SIZE
OF THE STAGE !
BACKGROUND TO THE ERA
The 1970s was a very entertaining and exciting
era in the evolution of the game of tennis as a hugely popular Spectator
Sport worldwide. Many characters and crowd-pullers were in competition.
Legendary veterans such as Laver & Rosewall, Newcombe & Smith,
Court & Casals were approaching their latter years, still driven
by the prospect of victory, and eager to put in their place newcomers
and upstarts such as McEnroe, Connors & Borg. Chris Evert battled
to take Billy Jean King’s crown while a young Martina Navratilova
was on their heels, to later dominate the lady’s circuit throughout
the 80s. Other contemporaries included tennis legends such as Nastase,
Tanner, Villas, Tracy Austin & Yvonne Cawley (Goolagong).
The British contingency included Cox, Taylor, Wade, Barker, Mottram
and, of course, the Lloyd brothers with their famous Davis Cup battles.
Big money was invested into the game. Tennis was fast becoming a world
leader in spectator sport.
TIEBREAK the musical is intended at 2 hours’
length with a 20-minute interval.
The set is a green tennis court laid flat on the stage.
It may be more practical not to stage the work in a conventional proscenium-arch
theatre with a picture-box stage, but to use instead theatre-in-the-round,
with the audience surrounding the set on three sides. (This does not,
however, preclude the use of the more conventional style of theatre!)
This opens up two interesting concepts in terms of potential venues.
At a major level, theatres could be used that have been designed along
the lines of The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
Also, we must not rule out the possibility of using actual Sporting
Arenas such as one of the show courts in any of the 4 major Grand Slams!
) US, Australian, French and Wimbledon).
On a smaller scale, tours could be organised of studio theatres, and,
where banks of portable seating are available, sports halls and school
halls. This certainly opens up the potential of working in partnership
with sporting, educational and training organisations.
Up to the finale, (the tiebreak duel), the net is only suggested by
a line shadow across the middle of the court, brought in at times of
dramatic conflict. For the finale itself, a real net is erected and
a real game played.
Up to that point, the flat-floor rectangular set provides the appropriate
arena for the dramatic movement that arises from the interactions of
characters and situations within the context of the game of tennis.
The sensation of the passage of time is created on the clock and scoreboard
on the audience-free side.
Throughout the show, there would be one Tennis court or Tennis area
permanently set upstage, but moveable as and when necessary!
To portray different times and places, the sets, scenery and backdrops
would change around the court area!
ANALYSIS back to top
NICK (the Hero): Honest, working-class, hard-working,
sense of fair play. A likeable, cheeky youngster, who matures into a
handsome, strong athlete. The main story revolves around Nick as he
searches his heart, being forced to prioritise between his tennis, his
schoolwork and his girlfriend, Emma! Which of the three will he decide
He is driven to succeed and wants to become a world-class player. His
dream is to win one of the 4 Grand Slams, especially Wimbledon. His
life revolves around tennis, practising daily for at least three hours,
more on the weekends. Nick does not have much time for friends, girlfriends,
or his schoolwork, but he is good academically. His love of tennis is
becoming more and more of an obsession, a fact that has not gone unnoticed
by his girlfriend, Emma, his mother, and his coach, friend and mentor
Danny. He is falling behind at school and becoming a thoughtless boyfriend.
BEN (the Rival): Nick’s archenemy from childhood,
a spoilt rich kid, smug and a cheat throughout Act I. His character
improves during Act II, as he matures and rebels against his father,
POTTS, who is the real antagonist. BEN and NICK eventually become friendly
rivals – or do they?
An only child, Ben and Pott’s relationship is less ‘father-and-son’
and more ‘Dr. Frankenstein-and-Igor’! Ben does as he is
told and tries hard to impress his father but nothing ever seems to
be good enough. He secretly despises his father. Ben is jealous of Nick's
natural talent and drive, and is intimidated by his good looks. Ben
also fancies Emma. By being cocky, he pretends that he is very confident,
but deep down, this is a cover because he is very insecure. He is the
sort of person that could be nice, but chooses to be cocky and manipulative,
in order to make himself feel, and supposedly look better.
EMMA (the Heroine): Nick’s best friend from
childhood. Without realizing it, she and NICK have always been in love,
and this love grows stronger. Emma is always there to support Nick,
but Nick often does not realize or reciprocate this!
Emma is a kind-hearted girl with the typical insecurities and worries
of a girl her age. She is tall for her age with blonde hair and English
Rose pretty good looks. Recently, Emma has developed much stronger feelings
for Nick. She trains hard and dreams of becoming a dancer. She does
well at school and enjoys playing tennis, although she is not very good.
Emma has a best friend called Laura, in whom she confides, and tells
all her dreams and secrets to.
EMMA is reaching an age where she wants to lavish her attention on one
man and have that attention and care lavished back upon her. Nick has
been her beau for many years, but childhood is a simpler time, and his
worsening obsession with tennis is creating a chasm between them, which
she is not mature or selfless enough to bridge alone. She eventually
gives into the advances of the manipulative Ben, but who could blame
a teenage girl for following the path of doomed romance?
LAURA GLADYS BETHAN (Emma’s friend): Comical
Welsh character, short & dumpy with a strong Welsh accent. Sexually
experienced and admits to it. A practiced schemer and manipulator. A
tart with a heart, who secretly fancies Nick, but settles for Ben. A
Likeable, humorous character.
Laura is Emma’s closest friend. She is much more sexually experienced
than Emma, often ridiculing Emma for still being a virgin, and not yet
having taken the ‘plunge’ with Nick! With regards to the
relationship between Nick and her best friend, she acts like a diplomatic
cupid – somehow managing to navigate a successful course through
the teaming rapids of their relationship and hopefully delivering them
to a happy ending. She is used to living in Emma’s shadow. Laura
has never been a pretty one, and is not particularly talented at anything.
Although a little bit jealous of Emma, she tries to be the best friend
DANNY (the Tennis Coach): Early 40s, liked and respected
by all; former world-class contender who never quite realised his full
potential (his career high was reaching the Wimbledon semi-final many
years ago). Dedicated to passing on his vast experience and knowledge
to the club’s juniors, he continually battles with Potts over
their rights as club members, (e.g. court time, coaching hours, facilities,
etc,)! He is incredibly passionate about the game, and is Nick’s,
and all the juniors’ hero.
His quiet strength, warmth, and benevolence make him a natural leader
and a born coach. He has enough accolades and support to take up a position
much higher in the world of tennis, but there are a few things keeping
him in this provincial town: firstly, he has found a prodigious talent
in Nick, and wants to nurture him, and pass on his experience and expertise;
and secondly, he is in love with Nick’s mother, Molly. Danny’s
passion lives on through coaching the juniors. Danny acts as the play's
narrator, and is a likeable, jolly, but determined character.
MOLLY (Nick’s Mother): Earthy, gutsy, working-class
hero. A single parent, always struggling to get by and make ends meet!
Kind Hearted and dedicated to her son and his well-being. Now good friends,
She and Danny are former lovers who nearly married years before, but
Danny left the area to pursue his tennis career! Molly has never really
forgiven Danny for what she sees as abandoning her!
Molly is simultaneously fragile and reluctant to offend and yet strong
and stubborn. She has a Socratic ability to affect the thoughts and
actions of those around her, whilst appearing to submit to them. She
is the moral compass of the plot, a moral measuring stick against which
Danny and Nick are forced to measure themselves. She is an immensely
loyal person with love and devotion to her only child, Nick. It is difficult
for her to let go of her bitter memories and accept her true feelings
of love for Danny… but she manages in the end!
Mr POTTS, PAUL (Ben’s Father): Rich, upper-class
social climbing twit. Always pulling strings. Thinks he can buy everyone
and everything. He is Secretary of the Tennis Club, but longs to become
Chairman! Not a supporter of the club’s junior contingency, he
is continually battling with Danny, the Coach, over the juniors and
their rights as club members! He has always bullied his son Ben, constantly
pulling him down and disapproving. He has always advised his son to
cheat and be underhanded, just like he is. Ben’s father becomes
the real antagonist, as Ben turns against him during Act II.
Potts is also an LTA Official, and represents and reflects all that
was negative about the LTA in this era. (ie: Snobbery, Arrogance, Nepotism,
Closed Shop, etc).
POTTS is an unscrupulous and cold-hearted businessman who is secretly
trying to oust Danny and the local children from the club so that he
can turn it into a member’s only club for the affluent members
of the local community. He is a repugnant character, who tries to frame
Danny for his own crime of embezzling funds from the club!
Mrs POTTS, FRANGELICA (Ben’s mother): An upmarket,
sophisticated woman. Always a little tipsy, she is constantly ridiculing
and mocking her husband, whom she has grown to despise! She secretly
sympathises with, and admires Nick’s mother. She can be quite
humorous and has a good heart. She constantly flirts with other men,
especially DANNY, much to her husband’s annoyance and frustration.
Her catchphrase is ‘Call me Frangelica, PLEASE! In fact YOU can
call me anytime!’
A bit of a snob, she enjoys throwing brunches for her upmarket friends
and feels like she is doing good deeds by mixing with people beneath
her social stature.
TV/RADIO COMMENTATOR (doubles as sports agent?)
SPECTATORS & PRESS double as TENNIS PLAYERS, TENNIS GROUPIES, LINESMEN/WOMEN;
BALL-BOYS & BALL-GIRLS double as JUNIOR PLAYERS;
Supporting Cast Members
BORG, McENROE, CONNERS & NASTASE: Caricatures of the four tennis
legends, who appear at the start of Act II during a practice session
which includes trademark idiosyncrasies such as McENROE’s “You
cannot be serious!” and CONNORS’ grunt. These ‘catch-phrases’
evolve into a comedy song and ‘Soft Shoe Shuffle’.
SPECTATORS & PRESS double as TENNIS PLAYERS, TENNIS GROUPIES, LINESMEN,
BALL-BOYS & BALL-GIRLS double as JUNIOR PLAYERS;
BREAKDOWN back to top
(Click on underlined songs to listen to music
or click on lyrics to read them)
1) Beginning at the end, a
TV commentator talks live on air as Nick & Ben (Aged 18),
warm up for their Final confrontation! The Umpire Spins a Coin...
The action Freezes as Danny enters.
VIDEO SCREEN DISPLAYS RELEVANT EVENTS & DATES IN REVERSE FLASHING
BACK 3 YEARS!
|Scene Change - Local Tennis
|2A) Local Tennis Club
||Danny & Full Cast
||Fundamental 5 Jive (lyrics)
Fast Rhythm R & R
|Explains basic Tennis Techniques
|2B) Nick, Danny, Emma, Laura &
Molly discuss Nick's forthcoming match against renowned cheat Ben!
|2C) Local Tennis Club
Emma, Potts, Nick & Club
Down the Line (lyrics)
|3) County Junior Champs
||Nick & Ben, The Potts &
||Cheat to Win;Don't Cheat to Win!
||Duet: On Court
|Cheating versus Fair Play
|Scene Change - Nick's Home
|4A) Nick's Home
||Danny & Molly
Summer Days (lyrics)
||Bright Latin Rhythm
||Reminiscing on former Tennis Years
|4B) Nick's Home
unexpectedly and pompously calls Nick's Mother to discuss Nick's
tantrum & display of bad conduct during his match against Ben.
That, and his poor school exam results, could jeopardise his LTA
|4C) Nick's Bedroom
all the Rules (lyrics)
||Slow Prog Rock
||Reflective - Questioning his future
|Scene Change - High Street
Dialogue between Emma and
Laura discussing Emma and Nick's 'up and down" relationship!
|5) High Street Boutique
||Emma & Laura
||'Little Red Dress'
||Sexy & Flirty
- Clubhouse Bar & Potts's Office
Split Stage Right - Clubhouse Bar
Stage Left - Potts's Office
characters are present,enjoying the party! Potts is in his office.
Mrs. Potts is flirting with Danny (both tipsy!) Danny makes an announcement
about Nick's successful scholarship and then sings the song .....
|6A - SR) Clubhouse Dance
Kid in Town (lyrics)
||Up-Beat Country Swing
||Reflective / Reminisces about his tennis days
|6B - SL) Pott's Office
||'Call me anytime'
||Dislike for Potts & Flirtatious manner
|6C - SR) Emma and Laura
enter, Emma looking gorgeous in her new red dress! All head's turn
to Emma, who is shy and coy, but Laura is the one brazenly lapping
up the attention! After some dialogue, the Cast freezes except for
Emma, Molly, Laura & Mrs. Potts. Each of the 4 girls wears a
colourful frock underneath their clothes! The frocks are shown only
as each character rips off their top clothes, as they stand to sing
|Emma, Molly, Laura & Mrs. Potts
||'After all this time'
||Describes each girl's feelings about their
Danny overhears Pipe’s
telephone conversation! Potts is about to scupper Nick’s
and also get Danny sacked, by accusing him of stealing from the
club’s coaching proceeds!
Danny challenges Potts! Potts denies everything, but finally admits
his scheming, mockingly challenging
Danny to prove it! They almost come to blows! Danny realises that
he can’t prove any of Potts’s schemes!
Cliff-hanger ending to Act I, as the two men sing .....
6D - SL) Potts's Office
|Danny & Potts
||'I'm Gonna Finish You'
||The 2 men aggressively challenge
|6E - SR) Club House
Bar - Emma, Molly, etc. reprise last chorus of .... 'After all this
END ACT I
|1A) A Tennis Court
||Full Cast Production No.
||Establishes the Theme
|2) Grand Slam Practice
Nastase & Borg
|The Performance Factor 4
||Ensemble, Famous Catch
phrases of Fab 4.
|Scene Change - Changing
rooms & Emma's Bedroom
Split Stage Right - Changing Rooms
|Split Stage Left
- Emma's Bedroom
|3A -SR)) Nick has drawn one
of the Fab 4 in the first round (probably McEnroe)
| Changing Rooms before the match
||Nick & One of the Fab4
Slow Prog Rock Duet
|Youth/Enthusiasm vs Experience/Treachery
|3B - SL) Scene re-establishes Nick
& Emma's ON/OFF relationship for the past 3 years,and the fact
that Emma still loves him and wants to get back together ... for
real this time!
||Emma & Laura
in the Wings (lyrics)
||Reflective Emma's love for Nick
|Nick wins the Match and instantly
becomes the 'People's Hero'
|3C - SR) Changing
After the Match
on the Dotted Line (lyrics)
new found fame & fortune
|Scene Change - Clubhouse
|4A) Scene portraying
Emma and Nick getting back together again, and their new found maturity!
Also portrays Ben’s improving attitude & character and
his growing rebellion towards his father and his underhandedness!
Also establishes his new found friendship and admiration for Nick!
Ben and Laura get together!
||Nick & Emma
Ben & Laura
and Forget (lyrics)
|4B) Danny tells Molly that
he has always loved her, and that he wants to marry her and take
care of her, and become Nick’s full time manager. Molly reciprocates
positively and tells Danny that Nick is his son!
||Molly & Danny
||'I'll Love You Once Again'
|4C) Ben sees his
father for what he really is for the first time in his life! He
stands up to him and challenges his father’s unscrupulousness!
Danny & Nick, Ben & Potts sing …
`Into The Zone´
||Danny & Nick
Potts & Ben
|'Into the Zone' (lyrics)
||Cheating v Honesty
|4D) Potts is arrested!
Danny is cleared of stealing money from the Club Funds! He is offered
his old coaching job back at the Club! He accepts, but explains
that Nick is his first priority, and he will be his full time coach,
mentor, manager and father from now on. Ben shows signs of his new
and improved good character by congratulating Danny! Ben sings a
short reprise of … `Breaking
All The Rules´
- Grand Slam Fianls Day
|5A) Comedy Scene & Song
5B) Scene portraying
Nick & Ben's route to the final!
- Centre Court. Grand Slam Finals Day
|6A) Centre Court
Grand Slam Finals Day
|THE TIE BREAK
IS PLAYED BETWEEN NICK AND BEN.
|6B) Centre Court
Grand Slam Finals Day
|Nick or Ben
||'Victory is Sweet'
|6C) FINAL SONG
||‘PLAY THE GAME’
NB. Whatever the
outcome of the Tie Break, Nick and Emma end up together, as do
Danny and Molly, and Ben & Laura! Mrs Potts ends up with a
young Toy Boy!