c o m p o s e r s l y r i c i s t s p l a y w r i g h t s
Book by Joseph McDonogh / Lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman
IN DEVELOPMENT AND AVAILABLE FOR PRODUCTION 2015-16
In the era of vaudeville and flappers, speakeasys and bootlegging, Al Capone and Johnny Torrio - there was one man who was king of it all - George Remus.
His empire was worth $300 Million in 1922, and he is said to have been the inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby.
Powerful - at times, funny - and full of incredible twists!
"I was a kid who worked his ass off just so there was food on the table. My father was too sick to work, We were broke and we lived in a squalid tenement, little more than a slum - so I worked three, four jobs, anything I could find.
I never got the chance to play stick ball or go swimming with my buddies on Saturdays, I was the man of the family, I worked and that’s all I did." - George Remus
Remus and his bootlegging friends and crooked politicians at his mansion.
Well - you see, Remus – I wanted to personally thank you for what you did for my boy, Frankie, and his little tax problem. He’s been working for me and – how should I say it? He helps me with matters of importance and I appreciate your keeping him out of jail" - Johnny Torrio
Remus' daughter Romola (yes, Romola) was the first Dorothy in the silent film cersion of The Wizard of Oz
"My friends – the trucks belong to my trucking company – the drugstores belong to me – the whiskey is mine – but it has to look like someone else is doing this – a middle man – and every good business needs a good middle man. It’s the perfect circle gentlemen - from my warehouse to my trucks, and through you, to my dealers – and no one is the wiser. Got it?" - George Remus
Remus and his partners in the "Circle" bootlegging trade
One of the best-known criminal attorneys in the Midwest, George Remus spent twenty years as a defense attorney in Chicago and knew the ins and outs of the Volstead Act.
By buying up distilleries and creating his own drug company, Remus became an enormously successful bootlegger, serving as both buyer and seller, and then cooking the books to "lose" shipments in-between. He built this enormous octopus of a bootlegging operation. And most cleverly, he started a drug company, a wholesaler to drug stores. And then he would send his trucks out, his own men would hijack those trucks and put it into the illegal liquor trade. He called his system "The Circle.
Remus soon had 3,000 employees working three shifts a day and was doing millions of dollars worth of business a year. In 1925 Remus was indicted for violating the Volstead Act 3,000 times. It took the jury less than two hours to find Remus guilty and he was sentenced to serve two years in federal prison.
When he got out he shot his wife for betraying him, was tried in court and found not guilty on the sole ground of insanity.
"Yes, George Remus is a married man. He’s got a wonderful wife. But enough of my problems." - George Remus
Imogene Remus - shot and killed by her husband George for betraying him by running off with a liquor agent and taking his money.
"Imogene and I would like to welcome each of you to our home. And, gentlemen, you might have noticed all of the sparkling new automobiles lining the drive out front. When the clock strikes midnight and we ring in a new year, each of you will receive the keys to one of these fine vehicles as your New Year’s gift from me to you. And as a token of my affection, each of you lovely ladies will be receiving a stunning 14 carat diamond necklace which I am certain will only enhance your beauty. Happy New Year 1925!" - George Remus