Tales of Tinseltown


Tales of Tinseltown
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Hooray for Hollywood in this high-octane musical satire. The bright lights of Hollywood are a long way from Iowa, where Ellie Ash aspires to become a star. In the right place at the right time, she jumps aboard aspiring screenwriter Elmo Green’s bike and they’re off to Hollywood, where Ellie is discovered as America’s Next Sweetheart. She soon uncovers the high price of fame and must determine if she’s willing to sacrifice everything for Hollywood stardom. With a star-studded cast album featuring Tony Award darlings Tony Yazbeck and Harriet Harris, YouTube sensation Christina Bianco, and many other notable names, Tales of Tinseltown unlocks the underbelly of America’s obsession with fame and fortune.


Act I

On a 1930s film back lot in Hollywood, Adele DeRale, the creator of the “Tales of Tinseltown” fan magazine that covers Hollywood gossip, is center stage singing about reporting the latest scandals (“The Public Wants to Know”).

Across the country, on an Iowa farm, Elinor Hinkelberry is reading the latest copy of “Tales in Tinseltown,” as she dreams of being a famous Hollywood actress. She is contemplating changing her name for the screen to “Ellie Ash,” and making her way to stardom (“I Belong in Hollywood”).

A young man named Elmo rides up on his bicycle. He overheard the girl’s dream of going to Hollywood and informs her that he is a young screenwriter on his way to meet his uncle, a very famous movie producer. Ellie hops on the bike with Elmo and they depart (“Let's Go”).

As the two finally arrive in California, Elmo and Ellie are led on a tour of the famous N.G.N. Production lot (“N.G.N. Productions”).

The famous producer (and Elmo’s uncle) Norman G. Neinstein enters in an argument with one of his stars, Lulu Beauveen. Elmo tells his uncle that he has come to be a writer and that he has a young actress he should look at.

Just then, Lulu enters, obviously under the influence, bickering at Norman to let her do a movie-musical. Elmo, seeing the opportunity, chimes in and offers to write it (“The Musical Showdown”). Norman agrees and tells Elmo to get to work.

The next day is the screen test for the Elmo’s new jungle-themed movie-musical. They are looking at thousands of actors for the roles, and Elmo keeps urging his uncle to see Ellie.

At the auditions, several actors strut their stuff and get cast (“Someone to Love Me," "I Can Sing," "All Over the Place”). Eventually Ellie jumps in, does a duet and gets cast (“All I Dreamed”).

The next day, Elmo is surprised to see that his uncle has changed and misinterpreted his script, but he reluctantly agrees. Lulu shows up to the jungle set stoned and late, and the company begins shooting (“The Jungle Song”).

Ellie continues to flirt with the stars and with Norman, landing her own movie that Elmo will write, working endlessly (“So This Is the Movies”).

Adele is now reading off the flashing headlines: “New star Ellie Ash has taken Hollywood by storm, starring in films written by Elmo Green.” We see Ellie play multiple roles in several films (“Sounds in the Night”), (“Keep in Step”). Then Elmo writes an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame in which Ellie gets to play Esmeralda (“Hunchy”).

When they begin to shoot a new movie, Ellie arrives on set to perform a number and finishes by puking in a water pail (“It's Mine”). Adele picks up on her symptoms and realizes she is pregnant. All of the men wonder if it could be theirs. Elmo, furious and heartbroken, quits his work at he studio and storms off. Adele threatens to print the scandal and Ellie slaps her, sealing her fate.

Act II

In Act II, Adele is getting lots of dirt on the recent scandal (“Tell Me Please”).

Ellie is crushed, and Elmo comes back to comfort her. He suggests that Ellie dress up as someone else and take a screen test at another production company that he has been writing for, Weevil Productions.

She is up for a role to be a lust-filled floozy. She gives it her best shot, pretending to act like Lulu (“Born to Be Bad”).

Back at N.G.N., Norman is trying to clean the image of the production company. He is shooting a movie staring Lulu as a young nun in college, who piously cheers the football team on to victory. Lulu is struggling with being innocent (“You've Got to Be Good”).

While both movies are filming, a real California earthquake hits! Ellie runs to save some of the animals that Weevil keeps on the set. Ellie saves most of the animals, but she is trampled by a stampede of cattle and rushed to Hollywood Hospital.

Adele prepares to go the hospital in disguise to get the scoop ("My Best False Face"). Elmo attests his devotion for Ellie and proposes (“I'll Stand by You”). Some of the actors that Ellie became friends with visit and share in the happiness (“For my Career”). She ends up being carried off, leaving Elmo alone in dismay.

Ellie is preparing for her next role when she runs into Elmo packing his belongings. She is shaken by his departure and is unsure if she can perform. Lulu, taking advantage of the venerable situation, offers Ellie some drugs, which she wearily accepts. Ellie comes on to do her part brilliantly, (“Stars in my Eyes”). But afterwards, she reveals that Lulu drugged her, and chaos ensues: twists, turns, revealed secrets, tragedy, and an absurdist ending, as Ellie and Elmo are reunited at the Hollywood Sign, where each plans to jump. They decide, instead, to cast aside the ravages of Tinseltown and bike off into the sunset— expecting happier times in the New York theatre (“Finale”).


Delicious satire! An ambitious pure Hollywood musical.

–New York Times


Ellie Ash – 18-25; pretty, petite ingénue; soprano with sexy naiveté; Alice Faye/Doris Day/Betty Hutton-type with star quality; amorally ambitious; must do animal imitations and other sound effects.

Elmo Green – 25-30; Jewish, young Jimmy Stewart or Tom Hanks-type; high baritone; idealistic screenwriter; loyal with lofty goals; faces disappointment and disillusionment but perseveres.

Adele DeRale – 35-45; manic, antic gossip columnist; mezzo-soprano; constantly in disguise; a chameleon combination of Tracy Ullman and Helen Hayes; lovably dangerous and power-hungry.

Norman G. Neinstein – 40-50; tyrannical film producer; baritone-bass; blustery and short, a combination of Erich von Stroheim and Mel Brooks (or a faux sophisticate like Peter Sellars); doubles as farmhand Clyde.

Lulu Beauveen – 25-35; temperamental film vamp; eccentric-voiced mezzo; voluptuous, crafty and fiendishly determined to do musicals; a drug-glazed cross between Joan Crawford and Jean Harlow; sanctimonious despite her sinful ways.

Danny Burke – 25-35; great acrobatic dancer; high baritone with slick, slightly sleazy Gene Kelly style; a lady’s man; kinetic and amorous; doubles as farmhand Clem.

Bertha Powell – 25-35; brassy Broadway broad transplanted to Hollywood; alto with Merman-like high belt to strong E-flat; can make walls shake with her voice; coarsely attractive, hard-boiled with a soft spot.

Tony Toscanini – 25-25; a hulky blob from Flushing who is transformed into a handsome heartthrob; resonant, operatic tenor voice with a floridity and strong A-flat; a Mario Lanza-type; doubles as farmhand Lem.

Casting Note: Some performers double as Tourists in the early part of the show.

Setting: A sardonic vision of 1930s Hollywood.

  1. The Public Wants to Know
  2. I Belong In Hollywood
  3. Let's Go
  4. N.G.N. Productions
  5. The Musical Showdown
  6. Someone To Love Me
  7. I Can Sing
  8. All Over the Place
  9. All I Dreamed
  10. The Jungle Song
  11. So This Is the Movies
  12. Sounds in the Night
  13. Keep In Step
  14. Hunchy
  15. It’s Mine
  16. Tell Me Please
  17. Born to Be Bad
  18. You've Got to Be Good
  19. My Best False Face
  20. I'll Stand By You
  21. For my Career
  22. Stars in my Eyes
  23. Broken Promise Land
  24. Musical Mélange
  25. Finale

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement. To download the show rider for Tales of Tinseltown: a Movieland Musical, click here.

"Damn near perfect! Attention Messrs. Shubert, Azenberg, Schoenfeld, et al. While Broadway bemoans the fact that 'there just aren't any new musicals that will run forever and make millions for everyone involved,' composer Paul Katz and librettist Michael Colby have come up with what could be the new Fantasticks, Dames at Sea or other long-running, money-making mega-hit. A musical extravaganza." –Backstage (NY)

"Delicious satire! An ambitious pure Hollywood musical. Numbers that are laughter from the first syllable to the last." –The New York Times

“Popcorny fun! An Off-Broadway bonanza of a musical. This stylish Hollywood satire is the biggest little spectacle south of 42nd Street. The fable is familiar, but the score soars and the cast is like all the stars at MGM rolled into eight talented crazies who put the move in movies and the sin in cinema!” –Newtown North, Host Magazine

“Brilliant! A brilliant send-up of Hollywood films of the '30s, complete with plot twists and stereotypical characters without becoming trite or predictable. This is an Off-Off-Broadway show with a Broadway feel.” –Miami Weekly News

“Delightfully entertaining. Hilariously outrageous! What a rare and refreshing show. A cross between Babes In Arms and Day of the Locusts.” –San Diego Tribune

“Pure gold! Sparkling new tuner may be the ‘singingest, dancingest, most toe-tapping’ musical since 42nd Street. A melodic score. Funny, nostalgic and slightly campy lyrics. A sturdy, traditional musical worthy of a Broadway venue.” –Theatregoer

“Musical on its way to becoming a big hit! Uniquely inventive, highly impressive.” –Parle

“Spellbinding! Exciting, spellbinding scenes. Numbers that are not only technically accomplished, but bubble with vitality which puts to shame the similarly spectacular but essentially cold-blooded, glossily self-conscious show-stoppers of such Broadway hits as 42nd Street. An upbeat evening of musical entertainment.” –Westchester Spotlight Magazine

“Outrageous parody! Stand-out numbers and clever libretto. A musical to be reckoned with when it resurfaces.” –Dance Magazine

“A dizzy, dazzling, altogether delightful parody. Everything theatregoers could want in an evening’s entertainment— and more. Once of the best shows of the year.” –South Shore Record

“Had the box office turning people away right up through closing night. Its secret? Theatrical savvy, clever lyrics, singable music, ingenious stating. Tales of Tinseltown has no phony tinsel. It is real value.” –Stages Magazine

“A lot of fun. A campy and enjoyable amalgamation of every Hollywood cliché ever created and rerun.” –Grand Rapids Press

"Watch for it! This is a crowd-pleaser packed with talent. Paul Katz's music captures the schmaltzy and plunkety-plunk early movie tempo, never falsifying the clever libretto of every false value Michael Colby could conceive of. You will leave the theatre wreathed in smiles." –Marjorie Gunner (President, NY Outer Critics Circle), On and Off-Broadway

"Enjoyable escapist entertainment! Colby has written lyrics that sound better than what has been coming out of Broadway lately." –Miami Herald

"Wacky fun! Suggests Dames at Sea crossed with Carol Burnett's entire oeuvre. Delicious, tuneful, winning." –The Los Angeles Times

Materials: Digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.

Required production materials for Tales of Tinseltown:

  • Cast Scripts
  • Vocal Books
  • Director's Script
  • Stage Manager's Script
  • Orchestrations
  • Piano/Vocal Score
  • Piano/Conductor Score


  • Keyboard 1
  • Keyboard 2
  • Guitar
  • Bass
  • Drum

Production resources:

  • ROCS Stage/Tracks – Performance Tracks
  • ROCS Show/Ready – Rehearsal tracks for each role with the individual character played at full volume, other parts at half volume.