Play Preview: A Pound In Your Pocket


After hibernating in composer Charles Strouse’s closet for almost 50 years, A Pound In Your Pocket is coming to The Fourth Street Theater this weekend. Director Misti Wills (The Fringe Festival; La Mama) brings together a musical which fosters a rhythmic collaboration between theater professionals, King’s alumni and current students.

"It’s cool [to work with college actors] because I can see where I used to be in their shoes," said Justin Beard, a professional actor, who is playing the male lead Dick Swiveller.

Beard seizes opportunities to take on a mentoring role but enjoys this diverse cast as much as student-producer Amanda Dash ('16) (Broadway’s Amazing Grace the Musical and James Joyce’s the Dead). Dash works for Carolyn Rossi Copeland, Strouse's Executive Producer, who rediscovered the Strouse and Adams collaboration. Dash's favorite A Pound In Your Pocket character is Sophie Wackles, played by King’s alum Dagmar Wetherill, because of her humor and pivotal role in continuing the plot.

“Every story needs a character like that,” said Dash.

This Spring semester’s production will be in the more flavorful and spacious Fourth Street Theater in the East Village. The theater’s quaint yet sophisticated aesthetic synchronizes itself with the simple, sophisticated set and backdrop taking place in lawyers’ Sally & Sampson Brass’s home.

Strouse famously composed Annie and Bye, Bye Birdie along with his writing partner Lee Adams. A Pound In Your Pocket is based off the Charles Dickens novel The Old Curiosity Shop. The play shares Dick Swiveller’s booze-filled journey to becoming heir to a family fortune. He takes a law clerk job to pass the time until he receives the inheritance. He befriends his employer’s lonely servant who receives unkind treatment from her crooked employers.  They’ll face greed and injustice from all angles through misunderstandings and topsy-turvy plot twists.

This will be the first time A Pound In Your Pocket is shown in New York City. Every show has sold out already and the crew isn’t surprised.

“Charles Strouse is a big deal because of Bye, Bye Birdie,” says Dash.

And, according to sources, the 87-year-old Strouse will be in attendance for one of the shows. If you spent the pound in your pocket on a ticket, then you’ll enjoy the cozy, quaint show at the Fourth Street Theater. For more information, click here to go to the event page.

Corrections: Amanda Dash's graduating year adjusted from "'15" to "'16." Spelling and title, "Caroline Copeland" to "Carolyn Rossi Copeland, Strouse's Executive Producer."