Philadelphia Store: The Musical


by Brian Jaeger




BRIAN - M early 20s and in college as English major

DANNI- F/M mid 30s married with two kids; former manager (Danny)

AMANDA - F 17 year-old LDS high school senior; uses big words

MIKE - M early to mid-20s, Lutheran

BRAD - M high school sophomore; mom is manager; has money

WOODY - M 40 years old and awkward

DON - M 60+ ; he’s either lazy or old or both

THE RUSSIAN LADIES 30s to 40s; lots of jewelry; no English



ANYA - F mid 20s; Ukranian; married but looking good (and looking)

JULIA - F 20 career retail store employee; cheerleader type

KRISTIE - F high school; very attractive



ANDRÉA - F mid 20s; rich girl; daughter of Mr. Corp

DEBBIE - F/M high-octane dock manager; looks older than she is (Dobie)

OLD DENISE - F/M pretty much the same as Young Denise but older (Dennis)

YOUNG DENISE - F/M pretty much the same (Dennis)

ROBERTO - M 50 swarthy store manager

GEORGE CORP - M Owns MegaCorp

PRYCE - M early 30s and a rising star at MegaCorp


STACY - F/M mid 20s

JAVIER - M mid 20s; big muscles

PETE - exists, but not actually in person except for song



LOVER 1 opposite or same as Lover 2 (tall/short/heavy, etc)


TEEN SHOPLIFTER - F teen, probably from Menomonee Falls


Philadelphia Store: The Musical




Scene opens on the dock of a department store. The back end of a semi trailer is being unloaded, with the items going onto rollers. Boxes are being stacked in various places around the room. Lots of clothes on hangers are stored on rolling racks.


Two men finish unloading the truck and lock the back door. They leave and a new slowly appears as music plays for first song. The crew members begin their work of pulling the plastic wrapping off clothes.


The Philly Store

Goin to the mall to the Philly Store

Buyin lots of clothes but we still want more

Checkin out the girls; checkin out the guys

Checkin out their stories cause they’re all telling lies



We work on the floor and we’ve got style

Best bang for the buck, mile for mile

The clothing is cute and so are we

The fashions are hot but they’re not free

We straighten forever—girls are a mess

Hey, wait, did you see that one dress?

Oh my God, it’d look so cute on you

Like, I totally need to own it, too!


Goin to the mall to the Philly Store

Did you see that one girl today and what she wore?

Checkin out the girls; checkin out the guys

Checkin out this sale, Hello! some really awesome buys


[We work in jewelry, the non-fine kind

Purses and hats and the hosiery you'll find

We're not sure why we don't have underwear

But the intimates section is over there

And fine jewelry gets its own section too

It’s better than ours and making us blue

But not as bad as those dirt dockers

Who just stand around and look at our knockers

Goin to the mall to the Philly Store]


dock crew

We work the dock and always keep it real

We may not have any sex appeal

But we have a lot of fun and only work a little

When anything goes on, we’re right in the middle

Unload the truck, then unload the boxes

Nothing can happen here unless the dock says

We haul garbage and hangers, employ preppies and bangers

We make the store run right every day and through the night


Goin to the mall to the Philly Store

Doin what we can to seem a bit less poor

Checkin out the girls; checkin out the guys

Checkin out the dumpster cause there are way too many flies

DANNI is roughly 35 years old, two kids at home and a great husband. BRIAN is in his early twenties, with no girlfriend and no real prospects, and a lot of high school ‘buddies’ who all have their own lives now. AMANDA is a high school senior who is prettier than she thinks she is. She is also a bit ignorant as to the ways of guys. Plus, she’s Mormon and seems to want to save someone.



Hey, Brian; Amanda. Welcome to another day at The Philadelphia Store. I’ve been here for an hour helping with the truck, but guess who’s also here tonight, B.



Me, you, Amanda, Don, Woody.



No, I mean on the sales floor. I’ll give you a hint: you might like her.  



    (with attitude)

Ooh, a game! I dunno, that tall super-model girl from Juniors?  



Not her… And this girl specifically asked about you.



Sounds serious. Maybe I should book a hall for the wedding.



You know I’m looking out for you—I told her I was working with you tonight, and she asked, “Really?”



And that counts as an intromission [interrogation]?  When I ask about a guy, I just go and ask. Was it that Julia girl Brian’s always perining [pining] for?



It wasn’t Julia.



And I don’t pine for her. I just really, really wish she’d notice me.



Julia’s only out of your league because you believe she is.


BRIAN begins to guess every name of the girls he likes at the store. DANNI shakes her head for each one, possibly adding comments like, “She’s cute,” or “Oh yeah…”



Fine, it wasn’t Julia. Was it Ashley? Anastasia? Janelle? Jennifer? Karen? Kari? Who, then?



Wait for it... Heather up in Housewares!



Aw, she seems nice enough.



Heavy Heather from Housewares!? Maybe I’ve had a string of bad luck with the ladies, Danni, but I don’t think I need your help with Heather.



I’ve heard you’ve never had a girlfriend. That must be so frustrating for you. Maybe Heather would be a good start, unless you’re interested in someone on the dock with us or in high school or something.



Yeah, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up like Woody! I’ve worked here a long time, and I really enjoy finding matches for those I work with.



Why, Danni?



Back when I was young, I had a lot of fun going out on dates with fellow employees. Now, I work here with Brian and Mike, who are too afraid to ask anyone out. I mean, they already don’t have them, so why not ask them out?



But if they shoot me down, I don’t have them and I get all embarrassed, and they probably tell all their friends.  


Enter Woody, a short, round jovial fellow with absolutely no work ethic. He is itching his rear and looking at his walkie-talkie, and talks in Wolfman-Jack-like raspy voice.



Danni! Erd! Erd-man! Danni Erd! Brian! Guys! What’s up? And, oh, Amanda. Mandy. Manda. Mandolina.



    (mimicking voice)




Hey, Woody, what do you think of Heather in housewares?







Not too bad, eh?




Aaaah! Heavenly Heather from Housewares! Why do you ask?



That’s one big slice of heaven!



So it is! I was actually talking to her the other day. About my new television.



Your parents’ new television.



Right, our new television. And she was interested.



Maybe she likes you, Woody.



Ya think? Because the girls used to when I started here twenty years ago. They used to sneak back here just to see me. I shoulda grabbed one and never let go.


The bell rings for the back door delivery. Woody stands there, thinking about his past for a few more seconds.



Because it hasn’t always been like this.



The door, Woody! This isn't the beginning of some flashback scene.



I’m going, I’m going. But I’m telling ya, it was better, once.


Woody leaves through the back hall to answer the door.



Man, if he’d grab one and not let go now, they’d hafta call the cops AND the paramedics.



And the Animal Shelter. The point is, I’ve been here almost as long as Woody, and no girl has ever spoken to him willingly.



Not even Heavy Heather?



Not even close!



But he said…



He also claims he should be the store manager.



Yeah, I don’t see him as management material. Besides, Roberto hires all the best-looking girls as it is.



That’s why they call this the Philly Store. Roberto likes eye-candy as much as the next guy.



But isn’t he married? That’s gross; he’s like 40!



Yes, he’s married and more like 50, but are you going to question his right to hire pretty young women and look at them? Someday, when Brian’s a famous writer, maybe he’ll want to hire a no-talent secretary who just looks pretty.



That’s guaranteed. But can’t Roberto get fired for doing it? You know, like harassment laws?



To Roberto, her-ass is two words. Besides, who’s going to fire him? Get used to it, college-boy: this is retail.



Too bad someone like Roberto has a wife and has to hire pretty girls to fill a void, while Woody has no one, and can’t hire anyone to do that for him.



We’ve tried with Woody. We’ve taken him out with us, and even set up a couple blind dates. I looked into a mail-order bride from the Philippines or the Ukraine, but that’s a little rich for us.



That is sad and everything, but maybe Woody doesn’t know what he’s missing. You know what they say: “Ignorance is bliss when it comes to your first kiss, and you should wait until you find your true mate.”




Who would say that?



And the saying may be true, but we tried to change all that for Woody one time when Short Fred picked up a lady for him at a bar, only it turned out she was more than a lady.


AMANDA is confused by the allusion. DANNI may gesture in front of her pants with her hands. BRIAN gets it.



Oh, well, Woody should’ve kissed ‘em, anyhow. I suppose if this was Woody’s tragedy, he would have some sort of tragic flaw: poverty or lack of drive, perhaps.



No, I think it’s the fact that he lives in his parents’ basement and he’s over forty, working in a store with mostly college girls who have hopes beyond this place.



Jeez, that is some tragic flaw! Maybe internet-order brides are cheaper than mail-order ones.


Music begins to play.


If this was some sort of musical, we'd sing a song about Woody right now, but musicals are so fake. Where's that music coming from?


Woody is near the back door, possibly overhearing a bit of the conversation, and singing along in his song:


Forty Years Old and Never Been Kissed


I’m sure you’re wondering why

He’s really not so bad a guy

But every chance he’s had he’s missed

Forty years old and never been kissed (repeat)


I may be kind of short

And a “different” sort

I may have a funny voice

But that’s not by choice

I may avoid work like the plague

But I want more than some old hag


Because every chance he’s had he’s missed

Forty years old and never been kissed


It started with Judy in second grade

She was a cutie; I had it made

But when I grabbed her at recess

She left-jabbed me in the chest

And told my teacher I was mean

Who told the preacher I was obscene

Who told my mother I was lost

Who did smother me and accost

To read more, a subscription is needed: Click here to subscribe