Regina is giving a dinner party for William Marshall, a Chicago financier with whom she and her brothers intend to make a business deal which will safeguard the fortunes of their family. Present are Regina's brothers, Ben and Oscar; Oscar's wife, Birdie, and his son, Leo; and Alexandra, Regina's daughter. Regina's brothers insist that Regina put up her share of the capital for the deal, but Regina knows they can't raise enough without her and wants more than the straight one-third she is entitled to. It is revealed, however, that Regina is totally dependent on Horace, her husband, for the money. Birdie overhears the siblings plotting to marry Alexandra off to Leo, in order to keep the money from the deal in the family. Regina throws a ball for Marshall. Leo and Oscar discuss a plan for Leo to steal some bonds from his uncle Horace, at whose bank he works. Horace returns home from the hospital, where he was being treated for a severe heart condition. Regina confronts him with her financial plan, demanding his compliance; he refuses. Horace makes plans to change his will. Regina taunts Horace by flirting with a previous suitor. Leo returns from stealing the bonds from the bank. Leo and Ben assure Marshall that the money is in hand to close the deal. Horace tells Regina that he has discovered that Leo has taken the bonds, and that without knowing it, they have already invested in Hubbard Sons and Marshall, Regina's business deal. Regina turns in rage on Horace; he counters by telling her that he will tell the world the bonds are a loan from her and that they are all she's getting in his will. Regina taunts Horace until he has a heart attack and is rendered unconscious. Oscar, Ben, and Leo enter and realize Horace knows of the theft. Regina reveals that she also knows and that if Horace dies, she will demand the largest share. Horace dies. Regina threatens to put her brothers in jail if they don't surrender to her wishes. Alexandra, consumed by grief from the death of her father and from the evils she has witnessed in her family, renounces her mother and threatens to leave forever.
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Use of ragtime, jazz, blues, spirituals, waltz song, and popular song; a Gottschalk pastiche; over a continuous orchestral accompaniment, the voice parts move from speech to intoned declamation to song
Vocal & Musical Forces
Full orchestra; 3 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, 4 baritones, bass; speaking role
Original Cast: Regina, Jane Pickens; Birdie, Brenda Lewis; Horace, William Wilderman; Cal, William Warfield; Leo, Russell Nype; Alexandra, Priscilla Gillette; Oscar, David Thomas; Ben, George Lipton; Mr. Marshall, Donald Clarke
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