Detailed synopsis of
scenes and music numbers



A small town circa 1920. (OVERTURE) It is nighttime. We hear the footsteps of someone sneaking about, then a cat screeches. "Gotchya!". The lights go up on the village park (DO IT). The tall Constable Michael Muldoon tacks up a poster seeking help in the capture of a cat burglar who has been stealing cats all over the county. He is pleasantly surprised when Maggie speaks to him. She was an old flame who at age 15 ran away, some 20 years ago. She is in town for her best friend's wedding. Maggie makes her living telling fortunes, and she predicts that Muldoon will capture the criminal and receive a nice promotion for it. He is skeptical of her powers.
Suddenly, there is a commotion as a man with a handlebar mustache and bowler rides into town on a bicycle (LITTLE BLACK BOXES)He selectively gives away 12 little black boxes. He instructs the new owners not to open his or her boxes, for if they do the boxes will be empty. Their patience, he informs them, will bring them (or someone they know) a treasure. Constable Muldoon is about to run him out of town until he too is given a box, and he becomes all flustered. The Boxman slips away as the villagers begin to fight over the boxes. Maggie senses that several people’s fortunes are tied to the boxes and she makes predictions (MAGIC BOXES). After handling Muldoon’s box, she becomes upset and runs off.
Inside Village Hall Mrs. Mayor flirts with John, the handsome promoter of the upcoming cat show (He had also been given a box). Constable Muldoon informs the mayor about the boxes. "It must be a prank," she declares. She notes that people receive nothing through magic, but must work for things (WORK). Muldoon promises to investigate the matter thoroughly. Cynthia and Todd arrive to get a marriage license. Cynthia has two children, Christopher and Angela (their father died years ago) and Todd has a son Ronnie, a troubled boy. Mrs. Mayor is surprised that Cynthia is marrying Todd and she appears to be somewhat uncomfortable about it.
John goes to the park to eat his lunch. There he encounters Mary, a homeless woman, and he shares his sandwich with her (SHARING). Christopher had also been given a little black box. He and his mother Cynthia discuss it with Todd, as does Constable Muldoon with his mother. (HONEY)
That night, the Boxman, laments Mary’s fate while she sleeps on the park bench. He reveals that Mary used to own the fanciest house in town, but was swindled out of it. Soon after, Todd Greely moved in. The Boxman had uncovered the plot but soon met with "a little accident". John comes by to give Mary some dinner. The Boxman hides in the bushes and appreciates John’s act of kindness. The burglar shows up suddenly and meets the Boxman, who seems to encourage the burglar to steal Christopher’s box (VICTORY). The Burglar is caught stealing the box. He escapes out the window, but not before Cynthia realizes it is her fiancée Todd. Todd had ripped open the box and found nothing inside. Of course, the wedding is off, and Christopher blames the Boxman for causing him to loose a chance at a new father. Cynthia comforts her children (ONCE IN A WHILE).
Later that night, in a haunting scene, the Boxman appears to Christopher. He tells Christopher that the marriage would have failed, and that his mother was just settling. He says that everything will work out ((ANTHONY)
Next day in the park, John again shares his lunch with Mary and leaves just as Cynthia and her children arrive. (By now the audience realizes that Cynthia and John are destined to meet, however, the two will continue to miss each other by seconds throughout the musical.) Ronnie teases Angela by giving her a fake little black box. (MAGIC - REPRISE)
That night, Mrs. Mayor argues with Todd, the cat burglar. (RUNAWAY). We learn that she is behind the theft of the cats, in an effort to win the cat show for her own cat. (Apparently, Todd does odd, dirty jobs for her because she is blackmailing him.) She and Todd are both concerned about the Boxman and all the disruption he is causing. Todd intends to leave town for good.
The Villagers arrive for a meeting to discuss the problems created by the boxes. The mayor wants to open a box to prove they are empty and a hoax. She coerces Constable Muldoon into giving up his by saying that he had accepted it as a bribe from the Boxman. He is devastated, when she smashes open the empty box. The mayor proposes that everyone just forget about the troublesome boxes, but suddenly someone announces that his box has grown. Another says that hers has changed color. Everyone begins to argue (ALIVE). Muldoon picks up his shattered box and discovers, stuck inside, a little charm — a gold heart.


(ENTRE'ACTE - ALIVE) Mrs. Mayor awakens from a nightmarish dream about dancing boxes. In the park, (DO IT) we find that Mary’s box has grown large enough for her to make a simple home of it. She has found her treasure! Angela has colored her fake box as a joke on Ronnie and now he is convinced it is genuine. The villagers assemble to view the parade. (THE PIE MARCH) (MARCHE HUMORISTIQUE). Mrs. Mayor welcomes the Cat Society to the village, and the contest soon begins. (CATS) Meanwhile, Angela discovers that her false box has grown huge in size — the time is right to open it! She discovers her lost cat, except that it now is beautifully colored with blue and so on. The judges are about to award Mrs. Mayor’s cat the grand prize, when Angela arrives. The judges are amazed at the beauty of Angela’s cat and they award it the prize. Mrs. Mayor marches off angrily.
  Still trying to leave town, Todd, disguised as a clown, attempts to get his son Ronnie. Ronnie doesn’t recognize him, and Muldoon becomes suspicious. Todd runs off and speeds through town in his truck. As a bad joke, Ronnie pushes Christopher into the road, and John shouts and runs to pull Christopher out of harm’s way. Christopher thanks the man, who then introduces himself as John. Christopher is suddenly awed and runs away saying that he has to find someone. He drags his Mom to meet John, but John has already left..
Muldoon calls the police in the next town requesting they stop the truck. Angela reports that it was Ronnie who pushed Chris into the street. Mrs. Mayor realizes that she too had better leave town, but first out of guilt, she awards Muldoon a promotion and a pay raise. Maggie, gives him a thumbs up. The shy Muldoon is suddenly full of confidence and he asks Maggie to dinner. She is not at all shy about accepting and gives Muldoon a taste of what he might expect if they are to begin courting ((THIS MAN IN UNIFORM).
  That evening, Cynthia sits on her couch weeping. The Boxman appears behind her and silently expresses his love and that he has missed her. She senses his presence and looks up to heaven and smiles. Meanwhile Mrs. Mayor is hastily packing her things, dumping clothes and jewels into her suitcase.
Constable Muldoon and Maggie dine. They acknowledge that they really do belong together, and have lost the last 20 years (I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED). Word reaches Muldoon that the cats have been recovered, but that Todd has escaped and is heading back toward Springfield through Dawson’s Woods on foot. Muldoon leaves to help capture Todd.
(RUNAWAY - REPRISE) When the search party catches up with Todd, he captures one of them and holds a gun to his head. Constable Muldoon advances and is shot dead. Suddenly the Boxman appears. Todd fires shots at him but with no effect. The Boxman, admits that he is a ghost, killed years ago by Todd. Todd is arrested. (ANTHONY – REPRISE) The Boxman resurrects the dead Muldoon. Muldoon is awed, but the Boxman confesses discreetly that he can’t actually raise the dead. Muldoon discovers that it was the gold heart in his shirt pocket that stopped the bullet. The two of them agree to keep that a secret, after all, a little legend can go along way.
John is about to leave town. He looks for Mary to share lunch one last time, but he is given the sad news that Mary passed away. John is about to exit, but then decides to stay to eat lunch. Cynthia has since sat on the park bench to read her papers. She drops some of them, and, while bending to pick them up, John quietly sits beside her. Unaware of his presence, she bunks his arm as she straightens herself, dropping the papers again. Without glancing at one another, they rush to pick up the papers. Feeling something strange, they look into each other’s eyes while slowly standing (AT LAST). It is love at first sight. Cynthia trembles with happiness, somehow knowing that this is the man for her, and that their meeting was a special gift.
Next day in the park, we learn everyone’s fates. Todd and Mrs. Mayor are in the paddy wagon being transferred to county prison. When its drivers turn around, we see that it is the Boxman, and Mary who now wears a bowler and mustache too! Christopher poses with his new family. Ronnie will be adopted by Constable Muldoon and Maggie. Even Muldoon’s Mother has a boyfriend. ((LITTLE BLACK BOXES - REPRISE). Mary and the Boxman throw little black boxes into the audience. (THIS MAN IN UNIFORM - REPRISE)

    THE END     















Copyright 1999, 2000
T. E. Breitenbach
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No part of the music, lyrics, dialogue, pictures, or logos may be reproduced or utilized in any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from:
T. E. Breitenbach
c/o Premiere Musicals Guild, PO Box 538,
Altamont NY 12009  USA