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Theatre / 110 in the Shade

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"I want him to stand up straight—and I want to be able to stand up straight to him!"
Lizzie Curry

110 in the Shade is a 1963 musical based on N. Richard Nash's 1954 play The Rainmaker with a book by Nash, lyrics by Tom Jones (no, not that Tom Jones, the Texan librettist), and music by Harvey Schmidt. It was the songwriting team's first Broadway musical after their Off-Broadway success with The Fantasticks.

The story centers on Lizzie Curry, a young woman living in drought-ridden 1930s Texas with her widowed father, H.C., and her brothers, Noah and Jimmy. Intelligent and witty but insecure, Lizzie has pretty much given up hope of finding a husband. H.C., Noah, and Jimmy plan to invite the local sheriff, File, to a town picnic in hope that Lizzie can impress him. File refuses to go, intent on searching for a con man said to be headed their way. A man calling himself Starbuck does show up, promising to bring rain for $100. The town immediately falls for him, all except Lizzie, who sees through his con. Starbuck, for his part, is attracted to Lizzie, and tries to break down her many shields. After many an argument, he and Lizzie begin to have feelings for each other and wind up spending the night together, and in the morning, Starbuck offers to take Lizzie away with him. Before Lizzie can make a decision, File shows up, proposing marriage, and Lizzie must choose between the two men. Her decision is made when Starbuck tells her if she comes with him she won't have to be Lizzie any more, since 'Lizzie' isn't a good enough name for her, and File says its a perfect name for her. Realizing that despite her one night with Starbuck when she allowed herself to dream, she is a simple girl at heart and likes being 'Lizzie.' Lizzie chooses to marry File, and Starbuck prepares to leave town, returning the town's $100, as he didn't make it rain. Just as he does, the rain starts to fall, Starbuck whoops in surprise, takes his money and leaves, leaving Lizzie alone with File, to hopefully live happily ever after.

Includes examples of:
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations: The musicial was based on a 1954 play titled The Rainmaker.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Bill Starbuck, who changed his name from Smith because that didn't suit a man like him (who also considers "Lizzie" too prosaic a name for a woman — "why, it don't stand for anything!").
  • Heat Wave: The entire show takes place during one, hence the title.
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: "Everything Beautiful", "Evenin' Star" in addition in the 2007 revival.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: A memorable example. Lizzie wears her hair in a bun for most of the play, but Starbuck takes it down, telling her how beautiful she is. Shortly after, they spend the night together.
  • Recurring Riff: The words 'let the rain come' or slight variations are always sung to the same melody.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: Starbuck convinces the town that he can bring rains to end their drought.
  • Tsundere: Lizzie has elements of this. She can be very hostile to what she percieves as nonsense or silliness, and is especially hostile to Starbuck.