If I Only Knew Your Name

A Musical Play in Two Acts

Kevin O’Brian grew up in a rough part of East Boston. As a teenager, he saw his brother shot to death in a barroom brawl. Years later, after a bitter divorce, Kevin lost himself in petty crime and drug addiction and wound up in prison. In February 1969, out of prison for two years, 50-year-old Kevin lives alone with Jake, his goldfish, in a one-room flat in a tenement building overlooking a street not much different from those of his childhood. He’s clean now and works a minimum-wage job on the docks and visits occasionally with Frankie, a local letter carrier and a friend from the old days.

But it’s not enough. Kevin longs for a family of his own. In the dead of winter he befriends the Hooker (as she is known throughout the majority of the play), a neighborhood prostitute who works the streetlight underneath his window. Although initially cautious, they quickly warm to one another and recognize their paths through life haven't been that different.

But even as they become more intimate, there’s one thing she won’t reveal to Kevin: her name. And he keeps a secret as well. Together Kevin and the Hooker explore, confront and ultimately triumph over their harsh pasts.

The 13 original songs in the play are performed live by charted Americana recording artist Arthur Godfrey, who acts as a musical narrator of sorts. The full-length, two-act, play opens and closes with Godfrey alone onstage, and the actions of the characters take place in his memory as he plays the songs and reflects on an eight-month period at the close of the 1960s.

Download the play in PDF format here.