SYNOPSIS & MUSIC
Donny Johns takes the Don Juan legend, made famous by Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and updates it to a college campus today. In form, it is a classic book musical. In musical style, it draws strongly on indie rock.
Donny is a fifth-generation legacy at Sayville College. A statue of his great-great grandfather, the college’s founder, overlooks the Quad. A hipster who doesn’t own a cell phone, Donny juggles three women at the same time, collecting naked photos of his conquests. His serious girlfriend is Ann, a prelaw student who Donny leads on with dreams of marriage and commitment. Isabel is an edgy art student who Donny blackmails by threatening to expose her affair with Olivia, her ethics professor. Teresa is a “townie” who works in the dining commons and aspires to a scholarship that Donny’s family controls. When Donny’s cousin Marcus threatens to expose everything to Ann, the virtuosic Donny manipulates a drunken Marcus into assaulting Ann – and then comes to her rescue.
This incident brings Donny into conflict with Loretta Lord, Sayville’s new President, an African American woman who is initiating surprisingly progressive new policies. President Lord finds herself contemplating how to confront this powerful family. Isabel and Teresa humiliate Donny in the dining commons. Donny seeks his revenge by circulating their naked photos to the campus and exposing Isabel’s affair. Outraged, Teresa, Isabel and Donny’s once-loyal wing-man Cat-Eye deface the statue in the Quad, the symbol of the Johns legacy. In the end, President Lord manages to get a scholarship for Teresa, but has to restore the statue and accept the Johns family’s influence. Ann rejects Donny, and becomes an activist.
Donny blends comic and dramatic elements with buoyant music and heightened theatricality to tell a story about gender, race, privilege, and legacy in a way that directly speaks to our times. It reframes the Don Juan story, more relevant than ever today, to give voice and agency to the women who fight back.