On Our Shelves Now
Full Length Play
Comedy (Large Cast)
8 to 12m, 7 to 12f
In the depths of the Depression, Godfrey, a "forgotten man," is rescued from his packing-crate home by ditzy socialite Irene Bullock during the course of a scavenger hunt. Irene offers Godfrey a job as butler to the banking family of Bullocks. Godfrey tolerates their eccentricities, alcoholism and general nuttiness. He cures hangovers, dodges missiles thrown by Irene's jealous sister, Cornelia, and charms matronly Angelica Bullock, who sees pixies every morning. Irene and Molly, the pert Irish maid, both fall in love with Godfrey, but for Irene it's serious—and she's determined to get her man. Falsely accused by Cornelia of stealing the famous Bullock Pearls ("de bullock boils" according to the detective on the case), Godfrey uses the opportunity to recover his personal finances—and, when the Bullocks end up going broke, he rescues them by getting them all (gasp!) jobs in The Dump, a new nightclub Godfrey has built to provide work for his friends and for the Bullocks, too. Finally, Irene weds her man Godfrey, and it all works out in the end. First published as a serial in Liberty magazine, the story was later issued as a hugely successful novel, My Man Godfrey. Author Eric S. Hatch was summoned to Hollywood to write the screenplay for the famous 1936 screwball comedy, with help from Morrie Ryskind. The film starred Carol Lombard and William Powell and the script was nominated for an Academy Award. Godfrey has endured all these years because it has a serious social theme anchoring a wacky screwball comedy. The theme is simple: a job dignifies and provides purpose in life; without it you're a bum on the one hand or an empty socialite on the other. This theme powers the work but never obtrudes, never sets back the romantic screwball comedy that is My Man Godfrey.
Unit set, flexible staging. Approximate running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.