Part of the SHORT MUSICALS NOW COLLECTION
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Michael Finke
At age 82, Polly Patolsky believes she is meant to spend the rest of her days with her unfaithful and manipulative husband, Charlie. But on the worst day of her life (and her marriage), Polly reaches a breaking point and finds strength and courage in a strange place with an unlikely new friend.
Polly Patolsky is an 84-year-old woman, relieving the worst day of her life. After coming “HOME FROM THE GROCERY STORE”, she finds her husband, Charlie, in bed with her best friend, Ethel. As Polly scolds and chastises the two of them, Charlie and Ethel belittle and demean Polly by reminding her “stress is never healthy for a woman her age.”Needing a drink to calm her nerves, Polly goes to the only bar she knows of that’s open early in the day; a bar that her nephew told her about. What she didn’t know was that it’s a gay dive bar called “The Raging Bull”.
Polly is sitting and crying at the bar until a young and vibrant Hispanic drag queen (although not in drag) named Javier Delarosa turns to Polly to ask what’s wrong. She tells him the tale of Charlie and Ethel and how Charlie has pulled this stunt before. And whenever he does, he always apologizes by taking Polly out to a fancy dinner, buying her a Bloomingdales gift card, and giving her flowers. There’s always flowers.
Repulsed by this story, Javier tells Polly of the time he dated a man who publicly wronged him. Javier suguest she make theatrical a statement that was “LOUD AND CLEAR”, which involved stuffing the mans car with sex toys and a graphic “goodbye note”. Polly says she could never do a thing like that to Charlie, to which Javier responds, “Don’t give me that bull.” As Javier and a Gaggle of Gays sing to Polly, encouraging her to start a riot and let her husband know it’s over, Polly becomes inspired with an idea.
She sends Javier and the Gaggle of Gays to a florist to pick up a very special order. When she returns home to a seemingly apologetic Charlie, she tells him that the time has come for her to leave. And in case he doesn’t believe her, Polly directs Charlie to look outside and see the hundreds of “DEAD FLOWERS” lying on their lawn (as we watch Javier and the Gaggle of Gays drop dead flowers on the stage, one-by-one). Charlie, now realizing Polly is being serious, begs for her to say. Polly reminds him that he needs to calm down because “time is running out and all his doctors can tell.” She hands him dead flowers and says, “This will be you.”
Javier and the Gaggle of Gays sing about how Polly walked out of the house with her head held high. And Polly says she tried, “until the day he died to send dead flowers once a year.”
POLLY PATOLSKY: 82-year-old timid housewife, the hero and protagonist of the story; Alto
JAVIER DELAROSA: 24 years old, a young and vibrant Hispanic drag queen; Tenor
CHARLIE PATOLSKY: 84 years old, Polly’s domineering husband; Baritone
ETHEL WEINBLATT: 72 years old, Polly’s “closest” friend; Alto
GAGGLE OF GAYS: Small queer ensemble of all ages and genders; Vocal parts can vary
“Dead Flowers” was originally produced as part of Theatre Now's SOUND BITES 5.0 Festival on May 28th 2018 at the Signature Theatre in New York, New York.
MICHAEL FINKE is an award-winning New York based musical theatre writer. He's had his work performed at Lincoln Center, Feinstein's/54 Below, Joe's Pub, the Christmas Day telecast on ABC, the Bowery Poetry Club, and more. He's written the book, music and lyrics for musicals such as Reporting Live, Caroline and George, Surrounded By the Water, Powerline Road, and the musical short Dead Flowers. Michael’s a winner of the New Voices Project with Disney Imagineering and New Musicals Inc. and is a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatist Guild.