Jerry Gorman is a regular guy from Passaic, New Jersey who just wants to fly. The neighbors think he’s nutty and his mother disapproves. But his girlfriend Gracie believes in him. Loosely based on a true story, Jerry soars to 16,000 feet with nothing but a lawnchair and 400 helium balloons. FLIGHT OF THE LAWNCHAIR MAN is a musical that reminds us that dreams can come true if you believe in yourself.
Meet Jerry Gorman. He’s a thirty-four-year-old guy from Passaic, New Jersey, who just got promoted to Snack Bar Manager at Wal-Mart. His mother is thrilled, but Jerry is depressed. Deep inside, he knows he was born to achieve something extraordinary. But what? With the help of his girlfriend, Gracie, and a movie rental from Netflix, Jerry has an epiphany: He wants to fly! But how? He’s not very bright, not very rich, and not very cool, unlike his neighbor, airplane pilot Big Jack Preston. Plus, Jerry is so dyslexic he can’t even drive a car. The neighbors think he’s nuts. But Gracie encourages Jerry to quit his job and follow his “Jerriosity.” Together, Jerry and Gracie try flight school, the Up With People Space Program, and anything else they can think of to help Jerry soar into the stratosphere. But they are stymied by bureaucracy, Jerry’s disapproving mother, and deep, dark family secrets.
Finally, when all seems lost, Jerry and Gracie hit on a highly unorthodox method of getting airborne. With a little help from a lawnchair and 400 helium-filled toy balloons, Jerry defies the odds and takes to the friendly skies. Once aloft, Jerry is thrilled by the splendor of flight. But his reverie is quickly halted when Big Jack flies by in a jumbo jet, spots Jerry in his floating lawnchair, and reports Jerry to Homeland Security. Meanwhile, Gracie is on the ground with a walkie-talkie fending off the media and an FAA Agent, who charges Jerry with piloting an unlicensed lawnchair and demands he land immediately. Oblivious to the commotion on the ground, Jerry rises higher into the glorious atmosphere, where he discovers Leonardo Da Vinci, Charles Lindbergh, and Amelia Earhart, who urge him to join the greats of aviation in the sky. In the end, Jerry has a decision to make: come back down to earth, or fly forever where the air is free.
THE FLIGHT OF THE LAWNCHAIR MAN
Book by PETER ULLIAN Music & Lyrics by ROBERT LINDSEY-NASSIF
Based on a concept by ROBERT LINDSEY-NASSIF
Flight of the Lawnchair Man was presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals in 2004
JERRY GORMAN (34; tenor or lyric baritone): kind of short-ish. Extremely likeable, but the kind of guy whose likeability never seems to get him anywhere in life. A dreamer who until recently never felt he had a right to his dreams. You’d almost call him a loser, if he didn’t have such a great girlfriend.
GRACIE, Jerry’s girlfriend (32-35; soprano/mixed belt): embraces life and all that it offers, including her job as a toll booth operator on I-95, and Jerry, whom she adores despite what others see as his shortcomings, and his sometimes frustrating hesitation to allow their relationship to progress to the “next level.”
BIG JACK PRESTON (35-37; high baritone): is the kind of guy uniforms were created for. He looks really good in one. He is all man, a man’s man, a manly man, an exemplar of manlitude. He’s also quite tall. He exudes self-confidence and never (until later in the show) let’s the cracks show.
BLAIRE (mezzo soprano or soprano/mixed belt): a flight attendant who exudes a bubbly, ditsy enthusiasm that masks a competence and ability that no one has ever imagined, but which will become apparent to us later in the show.
MOTHER GORMAN, Jerry’s mother (late middle age; lyric soprano/mixed belt): can be a bit of a steamroller and a nag where her son is involved, but she does it out of love – and fear. She’s a suburban working mother trying to maintain an upper middle-class lifestyle with a lower-middle class income. She has been hiding what, to her, is a terrible, terrible secret, and lives in terror of it being discovered.
MR. FRANKEL: Jerry’s boss. High strung, often angry, he nevertheless has a heart that starts to pump warm blood when he spends time with Jerry’s Mom later in the show.
FRENCH BOY (mezzo soprano): a classic little French boy from classic French movie.
NASA OFFICIAL (an official from NASA): he’s all business, but hates to have to be the bearer of bad news.
TV REPORTER: a handsome, serious, callow reporter from a major cable news organization.
FAA AGENT: a Federal Aviation Administration Agent of indeterminate gender. Takes his (or is it her?) job very, very seriously.
LEONARDO DA VINCI (legit tenor): the great painter, inventor, and all around Renaissance Man of the Italian Renaissance. Speaks and sings with an alarming similarity to Chico Marx.
CHARLES LINDBERGH (baritone): the great aviator who made the first solo flight across the Atlantic. Speaks and sings with an alarming similarity to Jimmy Stewart.
AMELIA EARHART (mezzo soprano/mixed belt): the great aviatrix who almost became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe by air. Speaks and sings with an alarming similarity to Katherine Hepburn.
ENSEMBLE PARTS: Should be evenly mixed high and low voices. NEIGHBORS, SHOPPERS, WAL-MART EMPLOYEES, COMMUTERS, PASSAIC CITIZEN’S MILITIA, FLYING MECHANICS, ETC. NOTE: The show can be performed with a cast of eleven, with strategic multiple-casting of parts. For example, the same actor can play the French Boy and Amelia Earhart. Likewise, the same actor can play the NASA Official and the TV Reporter. Different doubling, tripling and quadrupling schemes can also be employed (for example, the NASA Official can be played by any number of actors in the show). All available performers can play additional characters and crowds, such as neighbors, shoppers, etc.
Piano/Vocal (Keyboard 1)
Reed 1 (Flute, Clarinet, Piccolo, Alto Sax)
Reed 2 (Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Bass Clarinet, Flute)
Drums (Set, Glockenspiel, Triangle, Toms, Woodblock, Mark Tree, Suspended Cymbal, Tambourine, Bell Tree, Wind Chimes)