Was gangster John Dillinger really the man gunned down outside the Biograph theatre in Chicago?
The real-life theory that a double was killed is the subject of a new musical, Dillinger: Public Enemy Number One, by California composer-lyricist-librettist Paul Aleman, getting a private, starry industry reading in Manhattan Nov. 11-12.
Michael Unger directs a cast that includes Charma Bonanno, David Bonanno, Janet Dickinson, Melissa Dye, Felicia Finley, John Hickock, Eddie Korbich, Deven May, Joe Mahowald, John Jeffrey Martin, Matt Moore, Rachelle Rak, Peter Samuel, Jim Stanek, Tony von Halle, Barbara Walsh and Eric Jordan Young.
Unger told Playbill On-Line the show is about the life, and more importantly, alleged death, of the infamous gangster. "The show is based on the well-substantiated rumors that Dillinger actually arranged for a double to be killed instead of him that legendary night outside the Biograph movie theatre in Chicago in 1934," Unger said. "Proponents of this theory point out that the fingerprints of the body that was killed that night were never filed, neither the dental records nor the eye color matched Dillinger's and supposedly Dillinger had had plastic surgery three months previously and there were no scars from what would have been a fairly rudimentary, covert, living room surgery."
Phil Reno is musical director. Book, music and lyrics are by Paul Aleman. Blue Mountain Music presents the staged reading (with general management by 101 Productions, Ltd.) of Dillinger: Public Enemy Number One for industry folk at 4 PM Nov. 11-12 at the New 42nd St. Studios, 229 W. 42nd Street. For information about admission, industry members may call (212) 575-0828 ext. 264. — By Kenneth Jones