I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road

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I'm Getting My Act Together
and Taking It on the Road
MusicNancy Ford
LyricsGretchen Cryer
BookGretchen Cryer
Productions1978 Off-Broadway
1981 West End

1979 Travelite Theatre
1980 Drury Lane Theater
1982 World Playhouse

Los Angeles
1982 Aquarius Theater
1983 Earl Carrol Theater

I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road is a musical with music by Nancy Ford and book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer. The show premiered Off-Broadway in 1978.


The musical was produced by Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival at The Public Theater, opening on June 14, 1978 and closing on March 15, 1981 at the Circle-in-the-Square (Downtown)after 1165 performances. Directed by Word Baker, the musical featured Gretchen Cryer as Heather; Nancy Ford appeared later in the run as Heather, as did Betty Buckley, Virginia Vestoff, Carol Hall, Betty Aberlin and Phyllis Newman.[1]

The show also had a 1981 West End production.

The show was presented by Encores! Off-Center at New York City Center in a semi-staged production in July 2013. Directed by Kathleen Marshall, the cast featured Jennifer Sanchez, Christina Sajous and Renée Elise Goldsberry.[2]

In July 2016, the show returned to the UK in a limited engagement at the Off-West End Jermyn Street Theatre, starring West End actress Landi Oshinowo in the role of Heather, directed by Matthew Gould. This production marks the first UK revival of the show.[3]


The lead, Heather, is a 39-year-old divorceé attempting a comeback as a pop star. Generally considered a feminist vehicle, the plot centers around her displaying new material for her manager without relying on showbiz clichés. However, "The collaborators are emphatic that they never meant the musical to be a feminist declaration. 'We were writing about relationships between men and women, not about women’s roles in society as a whole,' explains Ford."[4]


Manager Joe Epstein returns from a trip and finds his star Heather Jones on stage at a nightclub, singing her own songs about the emancipation of women, together with the two singers Alice and Cheryl and the band. She told Joe Epstein that this would be her new show. Joe, who had been Heather's friend for a long time, reacted angrily to Heather's change, but he was not able to persuade Heather to go back to her usual role. Almost 40 years old, she feels that the time has come for a change. The songs she is singing now are touching Joe in an unpleasant way, because they remind him of the way he treats his own wife. Heather is determined to support women's liberation; she splits up with her manager and goes on to perform her own show.

Popular culture[edit]

The play was parodied by Andrea Martin and Catherine O'Hara on Second City Television as "I'm Taking My Own Head, Screwing It On Right, and No Guy's Gonna Tell Me it Ain't" in 1981.[5]


New York production[edit]

  • Heather Jones - Gretchen Cryer
  • Joe Epstein, Manager - Joel Fabiani
  • Alice - Margot Rose
  • Cheryl - Betty Aberlin
  • Jake - Don Scardino, (created by Kevin Weyl who took the role through previews)
    • The Band
  • Piano - Scott Berry
  • Guitar - Lee Grayson
  • Drums - Bob George
  • Bass/Flute - Dean Swenson

London production[edit]


  • Natural High
  • Smile
  • Miss America
  • Strong Woman Number
  • Dear Tom
  • Old Friend
  • In a Simple Way I Love You
  • Put in a Package and Sold
  • Feel the Love
  • Lonely Lady
  • Happy Birthday

Additional song, London production[edit]

  • If Only Things Was Different


  1. ^ Listing Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed March 1, 2015
  2. ^ Isherwood, Charles. "Breaking Out of the Box (and Into a Song)" The New York Times, July 25, 2013
  3. ^ Rank, Julia. " 'I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road' review at Jermyn Street Theatre – ‘energetic’" The Stage, July 11, 2016
  4. ^ "Cryer & Ford – Taking The Act To City Center" samuelfrench.com, July 26, 2013
  5. ^ Episodes sctvguide.ca
  6. ^ original London cast album, That's Entertainment Records TER 1006 (1981) (distributed by Varèse Sarabande)

External links[edit]