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The Diamond as Big as the Ritz Synopsis

A present day quandary frames the F. Scott Fitzgerald novella.

Scene 1 – Immigration Office

·      We open in a windowless, concrete block waiting room with a folding chairs, a table and suitcases in the corners.  Yash and Mira have been there for hours and hours.  We know they had hoped to enter the US but have been detained.   We don’t know exactly where they are or from where they have come.  We can hear in Yash’s voice, a lightly accented foreign English.  On the other hand, Mira, has much heavier accent similar to Yash.  She struggles with English.

·      While they wait, Mira is reading Fitzgerald stories.  Yash asks her what she is reading “The Ritz”.  She starts to explain when she is interrupted by…

·      A compassionate French-speaking immigration officer enters and gives them water to drink.  She is clearly concerned about them.  She starts to ask questions about Mari when she is interrupted by an American in a suit, who is brusque and difficult.  We learn very little from him other than he has the power to grant them entry to the US.  

·      After the US man and the French woman leave, Yash is distraught.  To distract Mira and himself, Yash asks Mira to practice her English by telling him the story from the novel.  Mira says she will play the heroine, Kismine, if Yash will play the hero, John.

Scene 2 – Arriving in Montana

·      Best Summer Yet – a classic opening number with John and Percy traveling from St. Midas School to Montana on the train, disembarking in Fish, taking a buggy, then the car being lifted over the mountain and arriving.  When they arrive, Percy explains that this is “where the United States ends” and efforts that have been made by the family to keep their location secret.

·      Kismine whisks John away from her brother, presumably to practice her Italian -- her tutor seems to be missing. John tries to explains how things in Hades are upside down and how he wants to Rise Above My State.  Kismine sings: Waiting to Be Alone.  She has never been allowed to be alone with a boy.  At the end of the song, she asks why he hasn’t asked her to kiss him.  He responds that: "Some of them do but not me. Girls don't do that sort of thing−−in Hades."  

·      Later, John makes a wrong turn in the house and is almost assaulted by a Negro guard who think he is the “Italian”.  The Negro, who is sworn to find and kill the Italian, secretly admires him I'd Give This All Up.

·      At dinner that evening,  in The Diamond as Big at The Ritz – led by Braddock Washington, we hear the history of the Washington family whose success we learn is, in part, because of deception of the slaves and includes killing people in case they tell the secret. The end of the song is punctuated by the message that “the Italian has escaped” and then…


Scene 3 - Immigration Office 

·      Yash pulls us back to the present, saying that the Washington family of “The Ritz” is awful and shouldn’t be emulated.  Mira, of course, doesn’t see it that way.  They’re rich!  They only kill people who are mean to them.

·      We learn that Yash, who has a temporary work permit in the US, went to his homeland to bring Mira to the US.   But they are trapped at the border because Mira doesn't have documentation.

Scene 4 - Montana

·      Summer is in full swing as we watch John and Kismine learn from each other in Life of Luxury.

John and Kismine kiss – their first.

·      John and Kismine, head over heals in love, promise to get married and elope the following spring in One Magical Kiss.​ John visits Mrs. Washington to assess his chances. She sings High Tea.

·      John, Kismine and Mr. Washington are out for a walk and run into pit of aviators who have a rousing aviator song, Far.

·      Kismine lets slip that visitors are usually killed.  They debate if they should leave or stay in Go?


Scene 5 - Immigration Office

·      US official returns – Yash can return but Mira is being sent back.  Yash admits that if Mira and/or he return, they will both be killed.  Yash says he will go back, too, if they don’t let Mira enter.  The US official asks Yash what good that will do if no one is able to tell Mira’s story.  The Canadian official is aghast at the attitude of the American.


Scene 6 - Montana

·      Kismine and John have decided to leave.  Kismine will line her pockets with diamonds.

·      John fakes sleep but is almost killed but is interrupted by a commotion and far off song – the reprise of the aviator song Far.

·      John and Kismine escape to the mountain.  They spy Braddock in the distance.  Braddock tries to bribe God with Cut a Deal.  Nothing happens form God's end.  

·      There’s a big explosion and John and Kismine run to safety.

·      At sunrise, Kismine reveals she left the house with rhinestones by mistake.  They sing a final sobering number, So Youth Goes.


Scene 7 – Immigration Office

·      Back to Immigration Office.   The US and the Canadian officials enter.  The US official wants to know Yash’s decision.   Yash begs for a moment to decide.  From another detainee, Yash learns of a quirk in the law that may help him and Mira.


Scene 8 – Montana

·      The Aviator, bruised from the battle that is still unfolding, sings Enough Already.

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