This is the seed of a Bruce Springsteen jukebox musical. It exists to poke fun at jukebox musicals and to tell an interesting story. Consider this a work in progress.

The River

Book by Tom Tostanoski
Music and Lyrics by Bruce Springsteen


Anthony “Tony” Milano: Third generation Italian. Very traditional. Grandfather was an anti-fascist, returned to Italy to fight against Mussolini. Union laborer, between jobs as the plant closed.

Mary Milano: Wife of Tony. Was a young mother. Isn’t sure she connects with Tony any longer.

Rosalita Milano: Tony and Mary’s daughter. Rebellious. Named for the Al Dexter song Mary heard the day she met Tony.

Jack Pompoff: Rosalita’s boyfriend. Sings in a band called “The Wild, The Innocent.”

Joe Pompoff: Jack’s older brother. On leave from Vietnam in Atlantic City after having been injured by napalm.

Sherry Pompoff: Rosalita and Jack’s daughter. Lawyer in Manhattan.

Tom Joad Pompoff: Sherry’s younger brother. Rabble rouser in his grandfather’s union.

Act I

Summer, 1968

Rosalita storms out of the house, yelling her her intentions to meet up with Jack. Tony starts to follow her when Mary pulls him back. Mary tries to talk sense into Tony, who won’t have any of it. Mary walks off as well, in tears.

A dejected Tony recounts his history (“The River”), which bleeds into Jack meeting up with Rosalita. He promises to get her out if their sleepy industrial town (“Born to Run”) using his musical skill.

Mary overhears how good Jack is with her daughter and laments how Tony seems to be slipping away (“Brilliant Disguise”).

A day passes. We meet up with Jack getting out of work (“Night”), meeting up with the band (“Blinded By The Light”), and singing for Rosalita (“Rosalita”). Tony shows up and breaks up the garage concert, dragging Rosalita home.

Tony opens his mail to to find a notice from the draft board. His is 1-A and will be heading to boot camp in July. He picks up his guitar, dejected, and starts to pluck out a song (“Waiting On a Sunny Day”).

The next day, Jack takes Rosalia to the amusement park and proposes to her (“Tunnel of Love”) after telling her about being drafted. They both go to see Tony, as Rosalita knows he’ll never allow their marriage.

When Tony learns that Jack isn’t running from being drafted, however, he willingly accepts him and tries to explain his stubbornness (“The Wrestler”). Jack is upset at being accepted only because he’s going to war. Mary tells him to take what he can get, but Jack is still reluctant.

Tony approves the marriage. As Jack has basic at Fort Dix, Tony breaks the bank to take them to the Jersey Shore (“Atlantic City”). Jack encounters his brother Joe, who throws him a bachelor party.

Joe has left his wife and has become aimless and eccentric (“Hungry Heart”). He cannot stay for the wedding, as he goes back to Saigon the next morning. Jack worries about him (“Blood Brothers”), but must focus on his own destiny.

At the wedding, Jack and Rosalita exchange vows (“Secret Garden”). The wedding band has an odd electric organ, and Jack gets the crowd going (“Dancing In the Dark”). The party is interrupted by terrible news: Joe’s plane was shot down by an NVA rocket.