Desperate Measures - PLOT SYNOPSIS

2017 Off-Broadway
Desperate Measures the Musical - PLOT SYNOPSIS

Act I

Johnny Blood, a hotheaded young cowboy, killed a man in a bar fight for a saloon girl Bella Rose, and is sentenced to death (“The Ballad of Johnny Blood Lyrics”). Knowing that Johnny killed in self-defense, the sheriff decides to ask Johnny's sister Susanna, a novice nun – Sister Mary Jo, to plead with the governor for Johnny's life (“That’s Just How It Is”). The governor, who sees strict law and order as his political legacy (“Some Day They Will Thank Me”), ignores her plead (“Look in Your Heart”), but suggests exchanging Susanna's chastity for Johnny's freedom.

Seeing the dilemma Susanna faces, Johnny argues “It’s Good to Be Alive”. The sheriff suggests a plan to switch Susanna with a saloon girl after the dark (“It Doesn’t Hurt to Try”).

They find Bella Rose, who agrees to participate for free because she is in love with Johnny (“It’s Getting Hot in Here”). The sheriff and Susanna coach Bella to walk and smile like a nun, while Bella teaches Susanna to lighten up (“The Way That You Feel”). Alone, Sheriff wonders about the feeling he has grown towards Susanna (“Stop There”).

At night, Susanna goes to the governor's house, only to switch with Bella after the light is off. Everyone wonders how their lives are changed “In the Dark”.


Act II

The next morning, Susanna visits the governor for Johnny's pardon, but he confesses that he has fallen in love with her (“What a Night!” – “About Last Night”), and threatens to still have Johnny hanged if Susanna does not agree to marry him the next day.

Bella Rose visits Johnny in the jail, who becomes jealous of her sleeping with another guy, even though it is for saving his life (“Just for You”).

The sheriff comes up with a new idea. He has the governor sign a new agreement: if Sister Mary Jo agrees to marry him, Johnny will go free (“What a Day”). At the same time, he has Susanna telegram the abbey to allow Bella to become a nun, also named Sister Mary Jo, to marry the governor. As plan B, he also leaves Johnny a key and a horse to escape. Susanna realizes her feeling for this man (“What is This Feeling”).

Everyone wonders what will happen (“Life Takes You by Surprise”). The governor barges into the dressing room, almost exposing the plan, which is only saved by the identical wedding dresses and some quick wit. Susanna and Bella decide they should have fun with the fake wedding (“It’s a Beautiful Day”). Instead of escaping to Mexico, Johnny stops the ceremony. The sheriff finally gets the upper hand, and the wedding becomes the happy ending for both couples (“Finale”).

Songs from Musical: Desperate Measures the Musical Lyrics
Synopsis to Desperate Measures