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TGP   The Gangster Priest
   Comedies
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Author  Peg Herring
Cast: 8 Men, 3 Women, Extras
Time: 90 Minutes
Set: Two simple sets
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Synopsis
     "Lucky" Liam O'Malley runs a speakeasy in the early 1930s with the help of his manager Mike Larkin; Kokomo, an aging boxer; and the colorful Ears. None of them is a violent type; in fact, the "gang" is a fabrication designed to get real gangs to leave them alone. The club's headliner, Baby Tremaine, confesses to her fiance Larkin that she lied to her older sister, saying she is employed by a respected priest. Now the sister is coming to meet "Father O'Meara", and Baby's lie will be revealed. At Larkin's request, Lucky reluctantly agrees to masquerade as the priest while others fill positions in the priest's "household". They borrow the home of Cecilia, a rather shady local lady who insists on playing the role of housekeeper.
      Baby's sister Ellie arrives with her prim personal assistant, Miss Pruitt. There is immediate chemistry between Ellie and Lucky, but rumors soon arise that a big-time gangster has come to town looking for territory and willing to use poison to get it. "Big Louie" has two large bodyguards who discourage anyone from approaching him.
      Managing the club, trying to figure out what Big Louie wants, and dealing with the visitors becomes increasingly difficult for Lucky and his associates. Cecilia insists on making her own additions to the housekeeper's uniform, Barbie and Betty can't decide who will be the maid and who the secretary, Ears has the worst German accent ever, and Kokomo takes a shine to Miss Pruitt and pinches her backside. At the club, the janitor surprises everyone by replacing the terrible act standing in for Baby; she's a smash hit. A meeting is set up with Louie to discover what his intentions are. Hoping to discourage him, Larkin asks the help of the staff at the club, mostly females, who disguise themselves as members of Lucky's "gang". At the meeting Baby recognizes Big Louie as Wilbur, her con artist uncle, which throws everything into confusion.
      Ellie tries the next day to speak with "Father" about some things she'd like to confess, but they are interrupted. She leaves for the train station just as Lucky is informed that Big Louie/Wilbur has vowed to permanently get rid of his "family problems". Rushing to the station believing that he must save the woman he loves, Lucky discovers that Baby has confessed the whole charade to Ellie. In turn, Ellie admits that she, not Wilbur, is Big Louie (Eloise). She operates a rum-running business to support the orphanage where she was raised. The "property" to be obtained was a gift for Baby, and the poison purchased was to rid the place of mice. At that moment it is announced that Prohibition has ended, making both Lucky and Ellie into honest business owners. The play ends with the wedding of Baby and Larkin as Ellie and Lucky plan one in the very near future.