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Heaven Can Wait

Heaven Can Wait
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Harry Segall
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 80
Pub. Date: 1943
ISBN-10: 0822205092
ISBN-13: 9780822205098
Cast Size: 6 female, 12 male (2 major female roles and 5 major male roles

About the Play:

Heaven Can Wait is a full-length romantic comedy by Harry Segall. Joe Pendleton, an up and coming boxer, is mistakenly transported to Heaven 60 years before his life is scheduled to end. His guardian angel returns Joe to earth in the body of multimillionaire Jonathan Farnsworth and Joe falls hard for beautiful Bette Logan, but Farnsworth has wronged Bette's family. How can Joe find love with Bette? Heaven Can Wait has all of the ingredients of a lighthearted "body-switch" comedy while also asking important questions about life, destiny, and true love.

Heaven Can Wait is a "spirited," timeless classic set in the 1940's... Mr. Jordan (or Ms. Jordan as the role has also been played by a female) is checking passengers who are to depart for the Hereafter. All wait patiently in line, except for one passenger. Joe Pendleton, a young boxer with a chance of becoming a heavyweight champ, adamantly refuses to believe that he is dead. He insists Jordan look up the "records," which confirm that Joe is right. He is not due in Heaven for another 60 years! The heavenly messenger who harvested his soul has indeed goofed. Mr. Jordan agrees to return Joe to earth to continue his fighting, but there is a major hitch. The boxer's grieving manager, Max Levene, has already cremated Joe's body! So, a suitable substitute body must be found. Jordan is informed that the crooked, extremely wealthy financier Jonathan Farnsworth is soon-to-be murdered by his adulterous wife and her sly, slick lover. Joe suddenly finds himself inside another man's skin, as the devious duo are hell-bent on finishing him off, visible as Joe to the audience but apparently as Farnsworth to Mrs. Farnsworth, and the public. The "body-switch" comedy that follows springs from rough-edged Joe's attempts to blend in with the sophisticated rich folk. Old habits die hard, and it's not long before the pompous "Farnsworth" unaccountably goes into training as a fighter. In addition, "Farnsworth" decides to share his wealth and help Bette Logan, a young woman whose father the financier has railroaded into jail. Bette, having despised Farnsworth, finds herself falling in love with him and he with her. Just as Joe (still in Farnsworth's body) is about to get a chance to become a fighter, Jordan reports that Farnsworth does not approve of Joe's treatment of his body (and money) and is raising a fuss to have it back. While deciding on another body for Joe, Jordan receives a flash that K.O. Murdock, the heavyweight champion, has been mysteriously shot. As K.O. is about to be counted out Jordan transfers Joe's spirit into the body of K.O. in time to have K.O. remain champ. There are still problems to be straightened out when Joe really becomes Murdock and loses memory of his previous existence – including Bette. Fortunately they meet and fall in love again – and Mr. Jordan is free to head for the Hereafter, his earthly task accomplished.

Heaven Can Wait is a 1938 classic that has been made into several movie versions over the years and the cult US TV series Quantum Leap. The most well-known was the 1978 film starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. The original movie, 1941's Here Comes Mr. Jordan received two Academy Awards for Original Story and Best Screenplay. This popular comedy has been consistently delighting audiences for more than 70 years, and has become a staple of community theatres, regional repertory houses, middle schools, high schools, and colleges

Cast: 6 female, 12 male (2 major female roles and 5 major male roles) – flexible casting; the role of Mr. Jordan has also been played by a female

What people say:

"Heaven Can Wait is a fantasy-comedy with a plot full of twists, turns and loop-the-loops ... There are lots of laughs, sighs, and an ending full of heart and even a touch of sadness." — OsideNews (California)

"With an interesting plot that is full of surprises and a lead character you root for, Heaven Can Wait is a fun play full of fantasy, twists, and comedic situations." — Talkin' Broadway

"...[this] gem of a romantic comedy proves a surefire crowd-pleaser for audiences of all ages." — StageSceneLA

"If you're up for a comedy rolled into a drama wrapped in a love story, catch this one...." — The Alexandria Times (Virginia)

About the Playwright:

Harry Segall (1892-1975) was an American playwright, screenwriter and television writer. Born in Chicago, he worked initially as a playwright prior to moving to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter for such studios as MGM, RKO Radio Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Universal Studios. His play Heaven Can Wait was made into the film Here Comes Mr. Jordan, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Story.