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Dogfight is a musical with music and lyrics by Pasek & Paul and a book by Peter Duchan. It is an adaptation of Nancy Savoca's 1991 film Dogfight.[1] The musical premiered Off-Broadway at the Second Stage Theatre in 2012, and in August 2014, the musical had its European premiere at the Southwark Playhouse in London.

Original Off-Broadway cast album cover
MusicBenj Pasek
Justin Paul
LyricsBenj Pasek
Justin Paul
BookPeter Duchan
by Bob Comfort
Productions2012 Off-Broadway
2014 Off-West End
2015 Sydney
2015 Netherlands
2017 Germany
2018 Austria
2019 Norway


The musical opened on July 16, 2012 at the Second Stage Theatre, after previews from June 27, and concluded its limited run on August 19. The show was directed by Joe Mantello and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Its original production starred Lindsay Mendez as Rose. Derek Klena as Eddie, and Josh Segarra as Boland. The cast also included Nick Blaemire, Annaleigh Ashford, Steven Booth, Becca Ayers, Adam Halpin, Dierdre Friel, F. Michael Haynie, and James Moye. David Zinn designed sets and costumes and Paul Gallo designed the lights.

The show received rave reviews for its writers and for leading lady Lindsay Mendez's performance.[2]

The original cast recording was released on April 30, 2013.[3]

Other productionsEdit

Dogfight played at the Southwark Playhouse in London from August 8, 2014, through September 13, 2014, in a production directed by Matt Ryan and starring Laura Jane Matthewson as Rose and Jamie Muscato as Eddie.[4]

The first New York regional production played White Plains Performing Arts Center September 19–21, 2014,[5] produced by WPPAC and the Harrison Summer Theatre.

The Australian premiere is presented by Neil Gooding Productions in association with the Hayes Theatre Co, Sydney, opening on May 1, 2015, with direction by Neil Gooding.[6]

The first fully translated production of Dogfight in Dutch opened on June 11, 2015 at the M-Lab theatre in Amsterdam.[7]

The Chicago premiere of Dogfight opened on September 5, 2015 at Theater Wit with BoHo Theatre. Under the direction of Peter Marston Sullivan, the show was led by Jeff-nominated actress Emily Goldberg (as Rose) and Garrett Lutz (as Eddie Birdlace).

The San Francisco premiere of Dogfight opened on September 22, 2015 at San Francisco Playhouse, with direction by Bill English.[8]

On October 2, 2015 Dogfight made its New Zealand premiere at Auckland Music Theatre, with direction by Katie Flood.[9]

The Oklahoma premiere of Dogfight opened on January 23, 2015 at Upstage Theatre, with direction by Patrick Towne, and music direction by Joey Harbert.

The Irish premiere of the show took place in the Granary Theatre, Cork from September 13–15, 2016 with direction by Emily Hutt, musical direction by Michael Young and starring Pearse O'Donoghue as Birdlace, Saoirse Garet as Rose, Mark O'Sullivan as Boland and Shane Corcoran as Bernstein.

The Arizona premier of Dogfight opened on July 14, 2017 at Brelby Theatre of Glendale, with direction by Shelby Maticic, and music direction by CJ O'Hara.[10]

On the 6th of May in 2017, the show opened in Germany at the Theater für Niedersachsen – Hildesheim, in a complet first German translation with the name "Dogfight – Ein hässliches Spiel".[11]

A new amateur production of Dogfight played March 6–10, 2018 at London's Bridewell Theatre, produced by Sedos.[12][13]

The Next Chapter Actors production of Dogfight was held August 10–11 in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Production Director: Kyle Weidman of Little Chute, Wisconsin.

The Belgian premiere of Dogfight, produced by Karthago, opened in GC De Kluize (Oosterzele) on April 12, 2019. The show is directed by Arne Schögler who also did translations and choreography. Musical direction by An Verleysen.

The Scandinavian premiere of Dogfight opened in Oslo at Riksscenen for a limited run on August 26, 2019. Directed by Renate Stridh, choreography by Miguel-Angel Fernandez. Musical direction by Petter Kragstad. This production added three female ensemble members. These were Helene Wibrand as Peggy/ensemble, Andrea Rymoen as Suzette/ensemble and Ingrid Nören Stenersen as Chippy/ensemble. BroadwayWorld Norway called it "an outstanding musical with tender and heartfelt performances." [14]


Act OneEdit

In 1967, Eddie Birdlace, a U.S. Marine just returned from Vietnam, rides a Greyhound bus heading for San Francisco. As he travels through the night, he remembers Rose Fenny ("Prelude: Take Me Back") and the night he spent in San Francisco four years earlier. Memories overwhelm him and suddenly it is November 21, 1963.

The Greyhound bus becomes a military bus, carrying Private First Class Birdlace and his rowdy fellow Marines, fresh out of training and ready for action. Arriving in San Francisco, they are eager to take the town by storm on their last night in the United States ("Some Kinda Time"). Birdlace and his two best friends, Boland and Bernstein, who call themselves the Three Bees ("We Three Bees"), are participating in a dogfight, a cruel game with simple rules. Each Marine puts $50 in the pot. The one who brings the ugliest date to the party wins the money. Birdlace and his friends set off to scour the city for potential dates ("Hey Good-Lookin'").

Birdlace ends up in a diner, where he sees Rose, a shy waitress, quietly playing guitar in a corner booth. He flirts with her, eventually inviting Rose to be his date ("Come to a Party"). Not knowing the true purpose of the evening, she is excited to go on her first date. She tears items from her closet, searching for the perfect dress ("Nothing Short of Wonderful"). Meanwhile, other Marines find their dates, including Boland, who breaks the established rules of the dogfight by inviting Marcy, a wisecracking, near-toothless prostitute eager to win a share of the cash prize that comes with being deemed the ugliest date ("Come to a Party (Reprise)").

As Birdlace and Rose walk to the party, she is chatty, revealing her folk music aspirations and her burgeoning pacifism. When they reach the Nite Lite, a club rented for the party, Birdlace finds himself questioning his plan to subject her to the event. He suggests they go somewhere else and get a bite to eat. Rose believes his change of heart means he is embarrassed by her, that he does not want his friends to meet her. Conflicted, Birdlace acquiesces and they enter the party.

At the table with his friends and their dates, Birdlace drinks heavily and grows sour. He tries unsuccessfully to keep Rose off the dance floor during the slow dance, when the contest is officially judged. As they dance, each Marine presents his date for judging ("That Face"). It is determined that Marcy is the ugliest, crowning Boland the big winner. Later, in the ladies room, Marcy reveals to Rose the true nature of the party ("Dogfight"). A distraught Rose returns to Birdlace. She is furious and deeply hurt and slaps him hard across the face. "I hope there's a war and you get killed," she tells him, before escaping in shame. Back home in her bedroom, surrounded by rejected dresses and dashed hopes, Rose beats herself up for having believed Birdlace's lies ("Pretty Funny").

Act TwoEdit

The Marines, reckless and invincible, continue their debaucherous last night with a trip to the arcade and then by visiting a prostitute ("Hometown Hero's Ticker Tape Parade"). But Birdlace cannot bring himself to revel like his friends do. Feeling terrible about how he treated Rose, he leaves them and goes to her. He apologizes as best he can and offers to make it up to her by taking her out to a fancy dinner. At first incredulous, Rose sees Birdlace's apology, though misguided and inarticulate, is in fact genuine. She consents to the date, demanding they never again discuss the dogfight ritual and its indignities. They cautiously set out on their date ("First Date, Last Night").

At a swanky restaurant, Rose challenges Birdlace's tough exterior and cuts through his posturing, lies, and bravado. They share a meal and inch closer to understanding each other. Later, they take in the late-night view from the Golden Gate Bridge. Rose tells Birdlace that, despite its unpleasantness, what happened earlier that night has helped her to a new understanding. She can no longer allow herself to be defined by what other people think of her ("Before It's Over"). In the remaining hours before Birdlace must report and ship out, Rose nervously invites him home with her. They share an awkward and romantic first sexual experience ("Give Way").

The next morning Birdlace returns to his buddies and the world of casual cruelty that shaped him ("Some Kinda Time (Reprise)"). The Marines head overseas, where they will be pawns in the growing Vietnam War. Birdlace sees his friends, including Boland and Bernstein, killed in action. These harsh memories linger as Birdlace arrives in San Francisco in 1967, a broken, confused, lost man, unwelcome and derided ("Come Back"). Birdlace makes his way through the changed city to find an older, wiser Rose at the diner. Compassionate as ever, she welcomes him home ("Finale: Take Me Back").

Cast and charactersEdit

Character 2012 Off-Broadway Production 2014 Off-West End Production[15] 2014

NY Regional Premiere

2015 Australian Production[16] 2015 European Amateur Premiere 2015 Dutch Production[17] 2015 Chicago Professional Premiere 2017 Germany First German Premiere[18] 2017 Midwest Regional Premiere 2018 Vienna's English Theater 2019 Scandinavian Premiere Oslo
Rose Fenny Lindsay Mendez Laura Jane Matthewson Gina Gentile Hilary Cole Cecily Redman Eline de Jong Emily Goldberg Elisabeth Köstner Amanda Hennen Helena Lenn Benedicte Søreng
Eddie Birdlace Derek Klena Jamie Muscato Dustin Smith Luigi Lucente Maison Kelley Jeffrey Italiaander Garrett Lutz Tim Müller Luke Harger Daniele Spampinato Sigurd Vespestad Marthinussen
Boland Josh Segarra Cellen Chugg Jones Colin Earyes Toby Francis James Mateo-Salt Stef van Gelder Matt Frye Friedrich Lukas Sandmann Bryce Crandall Eduardo Medina Barcenas Endre Skattum
Bernstein Nick Blaemire Nicholas Corre Tyler Henson Rowan Witt Aidan Cutler Luuk Melisse Nick Graffagna Jürgen Brehm Jace LeGarde Christopher Aguilar Bendik Hvoslef-Eide
Marcy Annaleigh Ashford Rebecca Trehearn Chelsea Alfredo Johanna Allen Lauren Key Iris Oppatja Mary Kate Young Teresa Scherhag Cally Stanich Roberta Ajello Tone Oline Knivsflå
Stevens Adam Halpin Joshua Dowen David Cronin Kyle Sapsford George Stuart Silencio Pinas Travis Austin Wright Björn Schäffer Sam Hildestad Alex Bermann
Fector F. Michael Haynie Samuel J Weir Shawn Smith Haydan Hawkins Frazer Shine Ruben Van keer Matt Provençal Maurice Daniel Ernst Will Rafferty David Paul Frank Engelvoll
Gibbs Steven Booth Ciaran Joyce Steven Liberto Jack Van Staveren Alistair Smith Jorrit de Vries Neil Stratman Jens Krause Seth Hannasch Marvin Schriebl Sindre Fløistad
Mama Becca Ayers Amanda Minihan Paulette Oliva Danielle Barnes Lucy Follows Rhona Roode Jillian Weingart Laura Mann Rachael Ronding Kudra Owens Mariane Snekkestad
Ruth Two Bears Dierdre Friel Emily Olive Boyd Natalia Fogarty Emily Havea Amber Lloyd Marie Körbl Carisa Gonzalez Tanja Kleine / Sandra Pangl Lauren Hugh Rosa Enzi Henriette Lerstad
Lounge Singer James Moye Matthew Cutts Douglas Katch Gray Mark Simpson Chris Wolverson Silencio Pinas Peter Robel Fehmi Göklü Brendan Finn Georg Hasenzagl Kim Helge Strømmen

Musical numbersEdit

*Not included on the Original Cast Recording


Awards and nominationsEdit

Original Off-Broadway productionEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2013 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actress in a Musical Lindsay Mendez Nominated [20]
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated [21]
Distinguished Performance Lindsay Mendez Nominated
Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Musical Won [22]
Outstanding Choreographer Christopher Gattelli Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical Nominated [23]
Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Peter Duchan Nominated
Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway) Pasek & Paul Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Lindsay Mendez Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Paul Gallo Nominated


  1. ^ "Dogfight, New Musical About Cruelty and Hope, Opens in NYC; Lindsay Mendez and Derek Klena Star". Playbill. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  2. ^ "Review Roundup: Second Stage's DOGFIGHT". Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  3. ^ "Dogfight Official Cast Recording - Amazon". Amazon. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  4. ^ Shenton, Mark. " 'Dogfight' to Receive U.K. Premiere at London's Southwark Playhouse", May 8, 2014
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Casting Announced for New York Production of 'Dogfight' ", August 25, 2014
  6. ^ Purcell, Carey. "Pasek and Paul's 'Dogfight' Gets Australian Premiere Today", May 1, 2015
  7. ^ "M-Lab Has 'Dogfight' With Cast of Young Talent" (, April 10, 2015
  8. ^ Wilson, Emily (September 22, 2015). "Dogfight, a River Phoenix Movie, Comes to the SF Playhouse As a Musical". SF Weekly.
  9. ^
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Ein hässliches Spiel". (in German). 2017-10-16. Archived from the original on 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Dogfight Archived 2014-12-20 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Dogfight".[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Ein hässliches Spiel". (in German). 2017-10-16. Archived from the original on 2017-10-16. Retrieved 2017-10-16.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Nominations Announced for 58th Annual Drama Desk Awards; Giant and Hands on a Hardbody Lead the Pack". Playbill. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013.
  21. ^ Cox, Gordon. Off Broadway musicals outnumber Broadway shows in the tuner category". Variety, April 23, 2013
  22. ^ "The Piano Lesson, The Whale & Dogfight Honored at 2013 Lucille Lortel Awards"., May 6, 2011
  23. ^ "Outer Critics Circle Nominees Announced; Pippin Earns 11 Nominations". Playbill. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.

External linksEdit