A Golden Age Musical
By Michael Colby and James Fradrich
North Atlantic is an affectionate spoof of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. On a mysterious, remote island, Honey Snodgrass and Melanie Fong, members of the Iowa branch of the Teaching Corps, find romance, bigotry, and the dream ballet to end all dream ballets. With South Pacific as its closest touchstone, this family musical, set sometime after World War II, features elements reminiscent of the entire Rodgers and Hammerstein catalog. Named Outstanding Production of the Year by Show Business Magazine.
Somewhere in the North Atlantic, a ship, the Chow Mein, pulls up to the shoreline. Two young women from Iowa, Honey Snodgrass and Melanie Fong, have arrived after joining the Teaching Corps in order to better the lives of underprivileged Eskimo children. Honey, the leader of the two, is beaming at being in this new place (The Happier Side). Essie Norton, their teacher superior, enters to escort the ladies to their barracks. As they head out, Essie tells the girls that the Lieutenant Governor, Sir William Littlewood, is throwing a party that evening.
Meanwhile, four Eskimos on the glacial coast have been growing impatient, awaiting the arrival of Eskimo Annie and her usual booze delivery (Where the Hell Is Annie?). Finally, Eskimo Annie arrives bearing libations. Nanook, the village wise man, tries to advise the Eskimos of drinking’s downside, but they ignore him and Annie passes out bottles of moonshine. She attempts to sell several items to help keep the Eskimos warm, but they are looking for something more specific…women. Annie agrees to find girls for them (Someting Special).
Honey enters looking to buy school supplies and Annie determines whether or not Honey is a potential partner for her customers. Honey explains that she is through with romance (Before I Fall).
Later, in the home of Sir William Littlewood, the party begins (Now Is Here). Sir William and Honey have an immediate affection for one another (Duo Thoughts). William talks about how, in life, one may encounter someone that changes them completely. Honey happens to be that changing force for him (I’ve Held a Hope).
The next day at the old, run-down school, Essie leads the women to their empty classroom and leaves them to prepare for the first day. After Essie leaves, Honey confesses that she has fallen in love.
The ladies are interrupted by Sandy Shore from the North Atlantic Sociological Division. He immediately takes an interest in Melanie, and Honey leaves the two of them alone to get acquainted. As they get to know each other, Sandy offers to take Melanie for a ride in his sleigh (The Sleigh with the Cream Colored Team).
Later, as her students come in for class, Honey realizes that the Eskimo children don’t speak English. In fact, the only student who does is William’s son, Robert. She begins to teach them the language using gestures (The Sign Song).
Essie enters to inform Honey that her living quarters have collapsed, an occurrence that is typical in this place. Honey has lost all of her belongings. Essie makes an attempt to make her see the brighter side of things (There’s a Rainbow at the End). A large crowd pitches in to raise a new igloo for Honey and Melanie (Raising an Igloo).
Sandy delivers some bad news to Honey; Sir William is currently under investigation for his past in Britain and his dealings with the infamous bootlegger, Eskimo Annie.
Honey confronts Eskimo Annie to find out the truth. Just as Annie is about to reveal something, William enters to stop her. Honey pleads with William to tell her and he refuses, causing Honey to run off. William is left alone to dwell in sorrow (Solo Thoughts).
Honey is back at work in the classroom with her students, though, she is not completely over her short romance. Melanie and Essie try to convince her to forget it altogether (Erase Him).
Sandy takes a moment to confess his love to Melanie and asks her to settle down with him (And Ya Won’t Complain).
William and Nanook try to convince Eskimo Annie to stop her operation. The North Atlantic is a wonderful place and she has tainted its name. Sensing the pride for the territory, Honey, Melanie, and Sandy enter to express their praise (North Atlantic).
Honey sees that William is a good man and they get back together (Who’d Have Guessed It?). William takes the time to divulge his secret to Honey: he is not really British. He was born into Jewish royalty in Austria and fled during the Nazi occupation. His wife lost her life on their family’s journey. Upon learning the truth about William, Honey becomes weary of getting married again (Deep in My Mind). In her mind, she goes through all the major events that have led up to this moment (Ballet).
Honey realizes that she actually does want to be with William, just as Melanie enters, hysterical, with terrible news. Nanook and Sir William Littlewood went to stop the illegal bootlegging. While they were there, a scuffle took place that caused an avalanche! Sandy enters to inform them that Nanook is dead and William is still missing. Essie reminds the group to have hope and Honey agrees (Reindeer Moss).
As the group sings, William enters and embraces Honey. The group then reprises “North Atlantic” in celebration of their beloved home (Finale).