Plot Outline of
“Dorian-The Remarkable Mister Gray”
adapted for the stage by Randy Bowser
based on "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde




ACT ONE



“Prelude.” It’s summer time, 1880, in London. Street vendors, “street walkers” and the young Dorian Gray are enjoying the uncommonly warm weather.

Elsewhere, the popular painter, Basil Hallward, fusses and frets over his current work-in-progress, a life size portrait of Gray, (“Every Picture Painted”) while his cynical, witty friend, Lord Henry Wotton, watches him with amusement.


When the painter’s young subject finally arrives, Henry is soon amusing himself by filling Dorian’s head with his philosophy of “Self Development.”



Lost in thought, Dorian becomes acutely aware of his inner restlessness (“Somewhere In-between”).


When the finished portrait is finally shown to him, he realizes that even at his young age of 22, he already feels the press of time and is dismayed he’ll grow old before experiencing all he longs for. He expresses the childish wish that his portrait will grow old while he remains ever the same age (“Dorian’s Prayer”). Unhappy that he has unwittingly upset Dorian, Basil almost destroys the new painting, but Dorian stops him in time.




Henry, delighted to have a new protegé, whisks Dorian off to an exclusive party (“Fantastic Eyes”) where Lily and her prostitutes, seen earlier in the street, spirit the enthralled young man away.
Life becomes full of adventure, and only a month later, Dorian announces to his constant companion, Henry, that in the dangerous East End of London, he has the met the girl of his dreams. Sibyl Vane is an actress, and according to Dorian, “A genius.” With his characteristic flare for the outrageous, Henry replies that
“...no woman is a genius. They never have anything to say, but say it so charmingly.”




We meet the Vane family as if they are characters in a small, gas-lit Music Hall. Sibyl, madly in love with Dorian, sees the future for her family as one so blazing and glorious that it is as if they are going “Into The Sun.”


The only cloud blocking Sibyl’s sunshine is that her brother, James, threatens to kill Dorian if he mistreats her.

It’s “Non Nonny Ho” and Dorian, Henry and Basil are all in attendance to see Sibyl in “Romeo and Juliet.”
The poor girl is so distracted by Dorian’s presence in the audience, that she makes a shambles of her performance.


Left alone after the show, Sibyl says to Dorian, “I Heard the Laughter” but that she didn’t care. Acting is no longer real for her, now that she knows true love. Dorian is horrified, accusing the girl of killing his love for her, now that she has abandoned her talent which attracted him.


Denizens of the night dangerously accost Dorian on his journey home (“La La London”) and once he steps back into his lavishly decorated library, he is confronted with “Dorian’s Dilemma.”


The face in the painting seems to be sneering with a new harshness. The young man, refusing to believe the inanimate portrait has actually changed, takes it to be a warning from his conscience that he has behaved dreadfully, and that he must make amends with Sibyl by proposing marriage to her.

Henry arrives the next morning with the shocking news that Sibyl has killed herself.


We see that in her dying moments, “Beware The Dreams,” she believed that it was a fatal mistake to have had hopes of marrying Dorian. Henry seizes on Dorian’s remark that the whole nightmarish circumstance seems more like a play than reality, and explains that while “It’s All Very Sad,” tragedies such as Sibyl’s death must be seen as wonderful scenes to be savored.









Basil’s inspiration has abandoned him. His artistic imagination is “Blank” now that Dorian is no longer posing for him.






Going against his earlier decision to never share Dorian’s portrait with the public, he now contacts Dorian ("Every Picture Painted"-reprise) with the desperate need to borrow the portrait for an exhibition.




“Dorian’s Decision” is to hide the painting rather than loan it, now that it’s definitively clear that the portrait is indeed changing, taking on the age and the sins of the subject, and that Dorian himself has miraculously been granted the gift of immortality.


Feeling super human, Dorian celebrates his freedom from mortality with wild abandon in “The Black Cat Ballet” at Lily’s dockside den of iniquity.


CLICK FOR ACT TWO

Plot Outline of
“Dorian-The Remarkable Mister Gray”
adapted for the stage by Randy Bowser
based on "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde




ACT TWO



“Twenty Years is Short but Long,” and now as the new century dawns, Dorian finds himself sated with his life of self-absorption.

Basil is moving to Paris, in hopes of finding new inspiration, but first visits Dorian to say that even though the younger man is “The Picture of Innocence,” Basil is horrified at the ugly rumors whirling around Dorian’s reputation.

In a fit of bitter pique, ("The Attic")Dorian shows Basil the now monstrous looking painting, then kills his old friend, knowing he can't risk exposure of his demonic secret.




To establish a potentially useful alibi about his whereabouts at the time of Basil’s disappearance, Dorian makes his servant believe he didn’t return home that night until “10 past 2.”



Meanwhile, some segments of high society still finds Lord Henry “A Most Amusing Man” despite his ties with the mysterious and feared Dorian Gray, known to be Henry’s protege.

Alan Campbell, an old friend of Dorian’s, and a brilliant chemist, is blackmailed into destroying Basil’s body. No trace of Basil’s visit that night remains.

“Some Love Too Little” is bitterly and tauntingly sung by James Vane who has returned to London to track down the “Prince Charming” who drove his sister to her premature death. Dorian barely escapes James’s knife, urgently and successfully pointing out to James that he is twenty years too young to be the man James is looking for.





“Scandals” abound, as Henry revels in recounting to Dorian. Alan Campbell has committed suicide, and one of the country’s most honored painters, Basil Hallward has simply seemed to vanish.

Hearing James outside his window, Dorian realizes he's been betrayed and is terrified that James will make good his threat, and so retreats to “Croydon Down,” his country estate, with a protective entourage of friends.

Having over heard the Dorian make his hasty plans to go to his country estate, and knowing that James is planning to murder him, Lily secretly follows the party. There, deep in the woods, she manages to have James killed in an apparent hunting accident at the height of the party’s escapades.



“We Can Step Into Forever,” Lily tells Dorian, when she tries to unravel the paradoxical feelings she has for the simultaneously dangerous but seemingly innocent Gray. Dorian tries to convince both Lily and himself that he too has harbored hopes of love between them.

Henry, true to form, scoffs at Dorian’s tale of finally having found true love. Nettled by Henry’s sneering disregard for Dorian’s attempts to reform himself through love, and seeking revenge on the man who led him astray 20 years before, Dorian invites Henry up to his attic for a fateful encounter with his portrait.

But Dorian stops short of committing another murder, and abruptly sends Henry out of the house. With love now guiding his life, Dorian decides that the portrait must be reverting back to its original state, and that he’ll be able to join the human race again as an ordinary mortal. Sparing Henry’s life was the first step on Dorian’s new path.

He can’t bring himself to draw back the curtains which will reveal to him whether or not love is redeeming his soul. Instead, he rushes off for a scheduled rendezvous with Lily.

“Dorian’s Solution” is to seize the possibility of a new life with Lily, and to destroy the possessed painting which has become a mocking burden to him.

Dorian resolves to reveal all to Lily, to explain that he’s been living under a curse, which he now renounces.

Back in the attic, when the curtain is drawn and Lily sees the painting, the figure on the canvas is more horrific than ever. Dorian realizes that his newly professed love is not providing the salvation he hoped for.


Lily doesn't understand what the picture is Dorian has shown her, and can’t completely comprehend what has happened to Dorian, but she can see he’s suffering. As part of The Finale (“Dorian’s Solution”) she sings a reprise of “Beware The Dreams” which Sibyl (her pure counterpart) sang when she committed suicide in Act One. Sibyl’s ghost is in the attic, along with the ghosts of Basil, James, and Alan, and Dorian can see her. Sibyl and Dorian dance a slow, reconciliatory waltz as Lily sings. The ghost then slowly guides Dorian’s hand to the portrait and he slashes it into the canvas.

Through horrible, gripping pain, Dorian experiences a heavenly epiphany (“Sudden Sunshine”), seeming to glimpse an after life where he will truly be immortal and unstained with sin. The spirits of all his victims surround him and express their forgiveness for his horrible sins against them.

But the painting takes its final revenge, changing back to its original state as Dorian transforms into the monster the painting had become.



Upon stabbing the canvas, Dorian has discovered it’s impossible to have life without a conscience. Completely insane, and possessed again by the unearthly power of the portrait, Dorian attempts to strangle Lily—but crashes to the floor before he can finish the deed. Lily, motivated by authentic love for Dorian, cradles the monster in her arms as it dies.

Henry, dressed again as Harlequin, as he was in the masquerade scene of Act One, observes Dorian’s death with the same detached amusement he has watched all of life. He is “...glad that he knew the remarkable Mr. Gray,” but remains monumentally unmoved.



Henry and the Greek Chorus of Londoners, also dressed again as masqueraders, along with the ghosts, are left to marvel at the “beauty” of Dorian’s mysterious and tragic death.