What Audiences Should Know
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Age Recommendation: 12+
There is some physical violence and some gun-play, but all of it is comically exaggerated – a throwback to the fantasy of America in the Roaring Twenties. There are a few tussles between almost all of the couples in romantic subplots as well as the leads, Billie and Jimmy. She even threatens him with a gun at one point – in order to get him to pay attention to her terrible attempts at seduction in “Treat Me Rough.” Guns are waved and occasionally fired offstage in police raids and by bootleggers defending their stash from the Feds.
This show is a sex farce set in the Roaring Twenties, so there are many references to casual sex, adultery, and seduction – but all of it tongue-in-cheek. The romantic lead, Jimmy, is a wealthy playboy about to start his 4th marriage (unknowingly still married to his 3rd wife) while maintaining a bevy of chorus girls from his favorite speakeasy. Much of the onstage kissing is ridiculously exaggerated – backed by sweeping romantic music. Several of the female romantic leads play “hard-to-get” in a comically exaggerated style, which Billie then tries to mimic but fails miserably. In the musical number “I’ve Got to Be There”, the chorus girls offer to go skinny-dipping with Jimmy and almost get him out of his clothes, too. There’s a running joke where Cookie uses verbal hijinks to trick various characters (men and women) into kissing him. Like all farces, the intricate, complicated and almost unbelievable plot lines revolved around disguises, misunderstanding, and the comic revelation of secret relationships. All ends up happily ever after with various couples paired off at the end of the show.
There is very mild use of obscene or offensive language – see the list below for details.
D*mn: spoken once
H*ll: spoken once
*ss: spoken once
Drinkings, drugs & smoking
The action of the farce revolves around the party atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties (smoking, drinking, and casual sex) in conflict with the U.S. federal government attempting to enforce Prohibition. Characters smoke and drink throughout the show in a comically exaggerated fashion and the drunkenness of some characters is used as a plot device to move the farce forward. The musical opens with Jimmy, a falling-down drunk playboy, meeting Billie, a successful bootlegger who decides to hide her stash of illegal alcohol in his beach house cellar. She and her gang are being hunted by the Chief of Police, a U.S. Senator, the teetotaling “Duchess” and their Vice Squad. One of the bootlegger’s gang, Cookie, spikes the Duchess’s drink who, after swinging from the chandelier, falls in love with Cookie and changes her mind about the “demon rum.” Jimmy’s mother Millicent turns out to be Brownbeard, the master bootlegger, and eventually the pursuit falls to the wayside as the musical ends with a glittering dance party.
Families Can Talk About...
Nice Work If You Can Get It provides a good opportunity to speak with young people about the roles we all play in life – those we choose and those expected of us.