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Act One


Scene One:  Summertime 191*.  A crowd has gathered at the palatial home of Gus and Judy Trenor; they wait to see the tableaux vivants in which their friends will appear. But no tableau is more eagerly anticipated than Lily Bart’s.  Lily flirts with Seldon, who once had an affair with their hostess, Judy.  Seldon swears the fling is over, but Lily holds secret letters that are evidence of the affair.  Lily, who has no income, forces herself to be kind to Gus Trenor, her antagonistic host, because Gus manages what little money she has and plays the stock market on her behalf.


Scene Two: The next morning, Lily is lounging beneath a tree in the morning sunlight rather than trekking off to church with her hosts.  Seldon comes upon her, and believing her to be asleep, ponders his complex feelings for the woman who is part flesh, part work of art. When Lily wakes, they engage in a flirtation that is both flippant and serious.  They nearly make their longed-for connection when a car passes and Lily fears that she will be caught. The spell breaks.


Scene Three: Evening, winter.  Lily is called urgently to the Trenor house, where she finds Gus waiting for her.  He is drunk and angry. He confesses that all the money that he made for her playing the stocks was fraudulent.  He made no money for her; he simply gave her his money. Now, he proposes a bargain: He wants to divorce his wife.  It will be easier for him if he has proof of her infidelity, and he knows that Lily holds letters between Seldon and Judy.  She must give him the letters or he will tell everyone that she took money from him, which will ruin her chance of making a good marriage.  When she refuses to turn over the letters, he indicates he will settle for a third option: She must sleep with him – to make up for his suffering marriage bed.  Distraught, Lily flees into the street. She meets Seldon coming from a party. She fibs to explain why she was at the Trenor house; but Seldon catches her in the lie and presumes that she is having an affair with Gus.


Act Two


Scene One: Springtime.  Lily is working in a hat shop.  Little by little, she has been chipping away at her debt to Gus Trenor.  Gus comes to visit her with a new proposition: he wants to marry her. With his fortune and her capacity to charm, they will be the toast of New York.  But Lily must ruin Seldon to facilitate the divorce. It isn’t until Gus points out that Seldon has offered no help to Lily whatsoever that Lily – hurt by Seldon’s indifference – agrees to his plan.


Scene Two:  Autumn at the Trenor house.  Lily plans to announce her engagement to the newly divorced Gus Trenor at a grand party.  To pacify herself and to drown her own guilt over dragging Seldon’s name through the mud, Lily self-medicates with laudanum.  She does her best to charm, and little by little, she begins to win back her old friends. Seldon barges into the festivities, calling her out for inauthenticity.  Lily learns that he had been overseas and knew nothing of her troubles. In the turmoil that follows this dramatic interruption in the festivities, Seldon is escorted out of the house by Gus’s friends.  Seldon staggers into the street and the sound of a collision is heard. Lily is told that Seldon is dead. She collapses as the curtain drops.

Lily Bart 


Gus Trenor 

Judy Trenor 


(In several scenes, there are several small solos which can be sung by chorus members.)

SATB Chorus







Mezzo soprano



Flutes I and II


Bb Clarinets I and II

Bass Clarinet

Bassoons I and II

Horns in F I and II

Bb Trumpets I and II

Trombones I and II




Percussion-Toms, triangle, cymbals



Violins I and II



Bass violin

Orchestral parts as well as a piano reduction for rehearsal and smaller productions available at

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