Act I opens at the CURTIS HOUSE, where a group of PUBLISHING COMPANY GIRLS arrives to deliver PONY his first check for his memoir, The Greasers. On the heels of his newfound success, Pony has kind of become a jerk. He proves this with the flashy [Opening number for PONY and THE GIRLS: “Stayin’ GOLD”].
TWO-BIT arrives so they can deliver exposition to each other. We find out Soda-Pop has disappeared with Buck’s T-Bird. With the promise of Pony’s book revenue, Darry has taken a break from work to attend anger management classes and reflect on life. In his place, Two-Bit has begun working Darry’s old shifts at the roofing company. In addition, there has been a mysterious rash of recent CHURCH BURNINGS around town.
Scene 2: Pony and Two-Bit see a commotion in THE LOT. A BLACK FAMILY stands there, heavily packed with suitcases waiting for a car. Pony and Two-Bit are surprised to see them, and asks if they’re real. The family assures them they are real. [Next song: “The Five Black People of Tulsa”]. The family explains they are moving east, because even though the church burnings aren’t exclusively black churches they aren’t taking any chances; they had relatives in the Tulsa riots of the 20’s. They aren’t going to mess around. In addition, they’re not going west because there’s something weird going on with rich kids in Stillwater.
Scene 3: THE HOSPITAL. THE DOCTOR and THE NURSE proudly discuss their new master: the RESURRECTED JOHNNY CADE!!! They wheel him onstage, still confined to his bed, but pale and beady eyed, and sinister, as he reveals his master plan to burn down all the churches of Tulsa in revenge for his paralysis and eventual death, with the help of his two minions, the now mind-controlled Doctor and Nurse! [Track 3 for JOHNNY, DOCTOR, AND NURSE: “No One Can Touch Me Now!”]
Scene 4: OUTSIDE THE (REBUILT) CHURCH IN WINDRIXVILLE: DARRY exits an anger management class, which chose the new Windrixville church for its seclusion. He spies… DALLAS, who claims to have met Jesus in the afterlife and has realized the value of life and doing for others. Darry gets confused and thinks Dallas IS Jesus, which he adopts as his higher power for rethinking his life. Dallas says he has been sent back to stop Johnny from completing his master plan, which surely will end on Jay Mountain. [Track 4 for DARRY, DALLAS, and THE ANGER MANAGEMENT CLASS: “Holy Dallas”]
Scene 5: The CURTIS HOUSE. PONY and TWO-BIT discuss the strangeness of recent events. CHERRY VALANCE arrives, warning the Greasers of “something strange” going on out west in Stillwater, which she can no longer sit by idly. Before she can explain, DARRY also arrives, urging the boys to round up all the greasers, to come with him out to Jay Mountain, where “The Lord” will reveal the next step of His Plan.
Act I Finale: The REBUILT CHURCH AT WINDRIXVILLE: PONY, TWO-BIT, DARRY, TIM, and BUCK join DALLAS. Shortly, JOHNNY, THE DOCTOR, and THE NURSE show up, ready to burn down the church. The boys are excited to see the dead boys returned. However, hearing each of their cases, the Greasers split. DARRY and TWO-BIT side with DALLAS, while PONY and TIM side with JOHNNY. Buck just wants to find his T-Bird. [Song: “Brother vs. Brother, Grease vs. Grease”]
A rumble ensues. Dallas succeeds in stopping Johnny from burning down the church. SODA-POP shows up with SANDY. He announces he and Sandy are ready to get married, and how great it is they saved the last church near Tulsa. Suddenly, the church catches fire. JERRY and MRS. O’BRIEN emerge from the back with sheepish grins.
Lights up on an ABANDONED HOUSE in STILLWATER. SOCS gather, awaiting the arrival of their leader. RANDY enters, wearing a headdress made from a trash can lid, and a ceremonial necklace made of an old belt. These Socs are more of a cult than the old gangs from Tulsa, as Randy describes their ways. Randy has written his own version of the events in Tulsa, which serves as his cult’s holy text. MARCIA is present but disillusioned with Randy. [Act 2 opening number: RANDY, MARCIA, and the SOCS: “The Book of Bob”]
BOB appears to Randy, congratulating him for completing Phase 1 of their plan. Resurrecting Johnny Cade as their puppet has successfully turned the Greasers on each other, and once they are weakened, the turf in Tulsa will be ripe for the taking. Randy assures his master all is proceeding according to plan. Marcia notices the conversation, but asks Randy who he is talking to. Randy grumbles that he was praying.
Scene 2: CURTIS HOUSE: DALLAS, DARRY, and TWO-BIT discuss their plans to rebuild the church. Darry and Two-Bit assure Dallas their roofing company will help out. After the fight, it seems, Pony has run off with Evil Johnny. CHERRY arrives again, this time with urgent news that Randy and the Socs are on their way to rumble one more time at the vacant lot. MARCIA also arrives. She tells the guys about Randy’s sinister plan, including the truth about Randy using Johnny as a puppet.
The Greasers must gather their numbers at the lot to make a last stand. Dallas says he’ll meet them there, after confronting Johnny at the hospital. Darry decides to go with him to talk to Pony, taking a copy of Gone With the Wind to remind Pony of his innocence. Cherry goes to warn the other Greasers.
Marcia confesses to Two-Bit that Randy has gone insane. Two-Bit offers to console her. She admits that seeing him again, he has stolen her heart. Two-Bit confesses his feelings for Marcia as well. [Love ballad from TWO-BIT to MARCIA: “Of All the Things I’ve Stolen…”]
Scene 3: THE HOSPITAL: DARRY confronts PONYBOY, apologizing for all his wrongs against him in the past. It’s part of his anger management class. Pony remarks he’s always hearing excuses out of Darry, and slaps him. He apologizes, says he didn’t mean to, and Darry says, “That’s fair.” Hatchets buried, they go home.
Meanwhile, DALLAS explains to JOHNNY how Bob and Randy are using him, and that he (Dallas) was sent to stop him from making a big mistake. Both factions of Greasers must unite to stop the unholy Soc invasion. Johnny agrees to lead the Greasers into battle. [Battle cry: “You Give Me a Push; I’ll Give You a Victory”]
Scene 4: THE VACANT LOT: RANDY, BOB (who is only visible to Randy), and the STILLWATER SOCS stand ready for battle. JOHNNY, PONYBOY, DALLAS, DARRY, TWO-BIT, SODAPOP, and TIM arrive. Noticing weapons on both sides, Dallas explains that his afterlife wisdom has made him a pacifist, and could he please confiscate everyone’s heaters, chains, and pool sticks. Everyone hands them over. Dallas thanks everyone, then leaves, taking all weapons to the church at Windrixville so he can lay them on the altar before God.
Randy shows everyone his book, the Book of Bob, the TRUE account of the events months ago. Ponyboy holds up his book, which he says is the true account. Both sides argue over which book is true, until Johnny stops them. Johnny had a conversation with Margaret Mitchell, esteemed author of Gone With the Wind, he says, in the afterlife, in which she explained to him the importance of context in the subjective analysis of historical texts, the dangers of tribalization when interpreting texts to create social totems, or something like that, and so forth, I couldn’t really understand…Johnny is just wicked smart now ok?…more big words here from Johnny, I think he’s almost done, yadda yadda yadda. Ok.
Randy and Ponyboy shrug and toss their books aside. They agree to fight anyway. Just as Darry and Randy are about to throw down, a shout from stage right. “Wait for me!” “Paul?” Darry says, as he’s sucker punched by Randy. Yes, Paul is a Greaser now, dear reader, and why not? They’re the coolest gang in town. And Paul is their secret weapon. Those Stillwater Socs are just crapping their pants now! The Rumble is on. [Staging note: During the Rumble, Johnny’s hospital bed must be onstage. Clearly the best way for a rumble to be staged is for it to happen around a hospital bed. And Johnny must be confined to it. If you want, you can have the Doctor and Nurse wheel him around the lot, so he can lunge at people and so forth, but he has to be in his bed.] [Staging note #2: To get the rights to this play, Johnny must also have at least one Soc dive into the bed with him, fight him in the bed, and the Soc must lose. It’s not subtitled The Revenge of Johnny Cade for no reason, ok bucko?]
The Greasers win. Everyone heads to the (Once again rebuilt) church to find Dallas.
FINALE: THE (ONCE AGAIN) REBUILT CHURCH AT WINDRIXVILLE: PONY-BOY, JOHNNY, DOCTOR, NURSE, DARRY, SODAPOP, SANDY, TWO-BIT, MARCIA, CHERRY, and PAUL meet DALLAS at the CHURCH as DARRY’S ROOFING COMPANY leaves. Man, that was fast, they say. It’s already rebuilt!
Can we get married now? asks Sodapop. “Sure,” says Dallas. “Just let me clear all those guns off the altar. Wanna come with, pal?” he says to Johnny. “Sure, buddy,” Johnny replies, and the two friends go inside the church, arm in arm.
Darry asks Ponyboy if he learned his lesson about books. Ponyboy says “yep! Sometimes they can be dangerous things! Better yet…” and with that, he lights his book on fire, and tosses it into the church. Darry remarks that he didn’t have to go that far…
The church catches on fire again. “Anyone wanna go inside and save them?” says Sodapop. Everyone shares a hearty laugh.
From outside, they hear the sound of a roof collapsing, and a scream from Johnny. “I THOUGHT that was a fast build!” says Two-Bit. Then, the sound of guns going off. “I guess it was always meant to be this way,” says Cherry.
Sodapop laments not being able to get married again. JERRY and MRS. O’BRIEN appear, noting that Jerry is also an ordained minister, and Mrs. O’Brien is a wedding planner. The group begins to make wedding plans. Two-Bit asks Marcia if she wants to get married also. She agrees. Ponyboy asks Cherry to marry him. Darry reminds him he’s 15, and he also needs to study for his midterms. The group shares a hearty laugh.