The Two Whistlers

A One-Act Musical Comedy

Words and music by Phil Shaw


Phil Shaw
1350 E Flamingo Rd #345
Las Vegas NV 89119 USA

(702) 372 8297

Copyright © 2015 by Phil Shaw - All Rights Reserved



Full score(pdf)





  1. Two actual-sized, quality (preferrably painted) copies of the Whistler self-portrait.
  2. REMBRANDT's "Man with Cactus flowers":
  3. A large (perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 life-size) oil portrait of the actor who plays MARTIN, either standing beside some cactus flowers, or seated beside a table on which there are some cactus flowers. The man is gazing to his left, 'off-camera', in the style of Degas's "Woman with Chrysanthemums".

  4. Paintings mentioned in the opening number "2. The Vegas Student Art Show", each with a label and an entry number:
  5. A blank white canvas, labelled "Future Perfect", with any entry number.

    A canvas with a large number "46", labelled "47", with entry number "45".

    A rack of dresses, labelled "Sally's Dresses", with any entry number.

    A box, about the size of a cigar box, preferrably wood, labelled "A sealed box containing a letter that was not written by Abraham Lincoln", with any entry number.

  6. Various other paintings, onstage and perhaps also in the theatre lobby.


The annual Vegas Student Art Show is about to open at Las Vegas University. Complications ensue.



The piano introduction ["1. PRELUDE"].

MAVIS and JORDAN enter on one side of the stage and REMBRANDT and MARTIN enter on the other side. They comment on the paintings ["2. SONG: THE VEGAS STUDENT ART SHOW"].

Scene 2 - JORDAN and MAVIS

JORDAN and MAVIS enter ["3. DIALOGUE - THIS IS THE ART SHOW, MAVIS"], and MAVIS says that JORDAN's mother had called her and asked if JORDAN had any romantic interests. JORDAN says no, but there is this one guy ["4. SONG: THERE'S THIS GUY (JORDAN'S VERSION)"]. MAVIS asks if JORDAN couldn't simply walk by and drop her handerchief ["5. DIALOGUE - CAN'T YOU JUST"].

JORDAN shows MAVIS her entry "Icarus Whistling", which contains MAVIS's copy of the Whistler, and JORDAN explains why it is hung upside down.

MAVIS asks JORDAN to take good care of her Whistler, because she likes it a lot, even though it reminds her of her good-riddance ex-husband ["6. SONG: WHAT A DISASTER (MAVIS'S VERSION)"]. JORDAN assures MAVIS that she'll be careful with the Whistler, and asks MAVIS to get her the receipt for the proof of ownership the school requires. MAVIS exits to get the receipt, and JORDAN goes along to help her find the parking lot. ["7. DIALOGUE - THE ONLY THING (MAVIS'S VERSION)"].



REMBRANDT shows MARTIN his entry, "Man with Cactus Flowers", a painting that uses MARTIN as the model. REMBRANDT says it will be fun to have the model standing beside the painting, and MARTIN tells REMBRANDT that he has a meeting, so he won't be able to stay for the show.

MARTIN says that REMBRANDT's mother is sure to call him about the show, and she's sure to ask him if he has any romantic interests. REMBRANDT says no, but there this girl ["9. SONG: THERE'S THIS GIRL (REMBRANDT'S VERSION)"].

MARTIN asks if REMBRANDT couldn't just walk up and say 'Hi, I'm REMBRANDT' ["10. DIALOGUE - CAN'T YOU JUST"].

MARTIN notices "Icarus Whistling", and turns it right-side up to examine it. He identifies it as a Whistler self-portrait, and says he has one just like it in his office, which he keeps as a reminder of how lucky he is to be rid of his good-riddance ex-wife ["11. SONG: WHAT A DISASTER - Martin's version"].


REMBRANDT and MARTIN discuss whether "Icarus Whistling" should be upside down ["12. DIALOGUE - WE SPLIT UP BEFORE YOU MOVED OUT HERE"].

JORDAN enters, and REMBRANDT is startled. MARTIN asks if she is the girl in "THERE'S THIS GIRL". REMBRANDT says yes, and asks MARTIN not to say anything.

JORDAN introduces herself to REMBRANDT and MARTIN. She says that "Icarus Whistling" is her entry, and she explains why it is upside down. JORDAN notes that the Whistler is only a copy, and REMBRANDT says of course it's a copy. The original is in the Freer Museum in Washington. REMBRANDT then notes that the Whistler is a very good copy, perhaps too good. He inspects it, and concludes that it's an authentic Whistler. He phones DR FREEMAN at the Freer, who says that the Whistler had beeen stolen some years ago. REMBRANDT convinces DR FREEMAN that the original Whistler is in the student art show, and DR FREEMAN says that he'll send someone to get it. JORDAN realizes that if DR FREEMAN takes the Whistler, then she won't have an entry for the art show. MARTIN says that he can drop off his copy of the Whistler before he goes to his meeting. MARTIN exits.

JORDAN notices that "Man with Cactus Flowers", is a painting of MARTIN, and so must be REMBRANDT's entry. She says she likes it a log.

REMBRANDT and JORDAN say that they've noticed each other around the school, but never met ["13. SONG: NOTHING VENTURED NOTHING GAINED"].

JORDAN expresses regret that she and REMBRANDT have somehow suddenly become a comfortable couple, and skipped the more exciting romantic stage of the relationship. ["14. DIALOGUE - OH, REMBRANDT, HOW HORRIBLE"]. REMBRANDT reassures her that they'll still have the romance ["15. SONG: DANCERS ON THE MOON"].

Scene 5 - The Art Show - ALL

JORDAN and REMBRANDT comment on the art works ["16. SONG: THIS IS IT"].

MAVIS enters with the proof of ownership for JORDAN ["17. DIALOGUE - JORDAN!"]. MAVIS then sees "Man with Cactus Flowers", and is further shocked to see that it is a painting of MARTIN.

MARTIN enters with his copy of the Whistler self-portrait that JORDAN asked him to bring. MAVIS is shocked to see MARTIN, and MARTIN is shocked to see MAVIS.

MAVIS introduces MARTIN as her good-riddance ex-husband, and MARTIN introduces MAVIS as his good-riddance ex-wife. MAVIS and MARTIN regain their composure. MAVIS tells REMBRANDT that "Man with Cactus Flowers" is a fine painting, except...except that it's hung a little bit too high. MARTIN says that it's hung at just the right height, and MAVIS and MARTIN argue over how high it should be hung. As they argue, MAVIS and MARTIN grow more and more heatedly aroused ["18. SONG: THE STORMY WINDS OF LOVE"]. MAVIS & MARTIN leave in a lustful rush.

JORDAN and REMBRANDT are surprised when MAVIS and MARTIN exit. They stand around awkwardly, checking their watches ["19. THEY LEFT!"].

MAVIS and MARTIN return, dishevelled, ["20. SONG: I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!"]. Everyone sings the final song ["21. SONG: THE ART OF ART"].


Performance Notes

  1. The running time is 65 minutes, plus pauses between numbers.
  2. The Two Whistlers takes place entirely in the main exhibit room of the annual student art show at Las Vegas University.

Musical Numbers

Click on a song name for the Virtual Singer generated MP3 demo of the song. See Notes on the demo recordings for a description of those demos.