an original solo musical based on the life
of
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
book/music/lyrics by Jillann Gabrielle

Synopsis/Treatment

This synopsis/treatment is for the 90 minute theatrical version of Oh, Jackie O! The 60+ minute version, for libraries, retirement communities and senior centers, is much less risqué and is tailored specifically for senior consumption. Extremely provocative dialogue and three edgy songs are eliminated (‘Black Jack Bouvier,’ ’The Saga of Jackie’s Cherry’ and ‘What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose’) and replaced with ‘My Love Affair with Europe.’ But both versions are irreverent, truthful, and fun and unmask her to reveal the real Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—the Jackie whom you probably do NOT know—unless you are a Jackie scholar.
Time: Spring 1994
Place: Jackie Onassis’ Manhattan apartment
Note: Jackie was a terrific mimic. She tells her story throughout by utilizing costume pieces and mimicking all the people who appear in it. She smokes incessantly (but the cigarette is not lit.)
Story: Jackie enters extremely beleaguered, phones Maurice, and tells him she has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She says she’ll be ok until he gets there, and fixes herself a drink. She takes in her situation and sings: They

Call Me Jackie O! Her life flashes before her. She recalls her childhood in Manhattan and her contentious early relationship with her mother and the pressure she put on Jackie from her very early years to be beautiful and marry wealthy. This creates tremendous self doubts in Jackie. She confesses the reason why she speaks in her Marilyn Monroe-like
voice. She sings and dances her love for her bad boy father in the twist song: Black Jack Bouvier A hopeless womanizer who swings both ways, he and Jackie adore each other. She portrays Black Jack as she shows us how he taught her to attract men. She reveals she was an avid reader well before she started school. In her privileged upbringing her mother, also an accomplished equestrian, had Jackie riding horses and
competing in horse shows competitions, which
Jackie loved, from the age of two. She laments her parents devastating divorce when she was eleven from which she never fully recovered. She regales us with tales of her boarding school days and her rebellious behavior. She vows ‘never to be a housewife!’ Her mother remarries up into even higher society. Jackie abhors her years at Vassar, but adores her studies abroad in France where she becomes fluent in French and comfortable with several other languages. Her stepfather sends Jackie and her younger sister, Lee, whom Jackie completely dominates, to Europe, where Jackie
is in her glory. My Love Affair with Europe (in the 60+ minute version only) She has her coming out party in Newport, Rhode Island and is named ‘Debutant of the Year.’ In The Saga of Jackie’s Cherry Jackie confesses how she eventually lost her virginity. With a thousand other contestants she enters Vogue Magazine’s Prix de Paris contest. She imagines herself creating wonderful things as an art director sitting in a chair hanging in space…and wins! But her mother forbids her to go to Paris because there are no eligible bachelors there. Through her stepfather’s connections she lands a job at the Washington
Times-Herald as the ‘Inquiring Photographer’ where she scours D.C. seeking comments to witty and humorous questions. By 1952, she has her own byline. Per their mother, Jackie and her sister will receive no inheritance from their stepfather so they must find wealthy eligible bachelors to marry. Jackie has to audition many young ‘jerks.’ She even gets engaged, but that relationship is soon nixed by her mother at the same time Jackie meets and becomes involved
with Congressman Jack Kennedy. Giving up her dream of being a screenwriter or a movie star she decides I Want a Dangerous Man. She shares many common interests with Jack such as literature, history, and gossip. She falls head over hells for him, despite and because of his reckless womanizing—which was just like her father, Black Jack. Jack’s father, Joseph Kennedy, admires Jackie and the feeling is
mutual. Papa Joe, as she calls him, more or less ordains Jack’s marriage to her— she is Catholic and sophisticated—the perfect combination for Jack’s political career and his quest for the White House. Jackie’s mummy finally approves—given ‘all that marvelous Kennedy money.’ While Jackie is in England covering the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II Jack proposes via telephone. Papa Joe welcomes her to the Kennedy family by indulging her obsession with clothes by giving her carte blanche on her wardrobe purchases. Beautiful Things Jackie marries an unwilling Jack, but overhears Bobby confess that he would have wanted to marry her if he weren’t already married. Jackie manages to maintain silence during all his philandering. His childhood and wartime injuries of his back kick up after the wedding and he goes in for surgery and almost dies. Jackie nurses him back to heath and is instrumental in his writing Profiles in Courage which earns him a Pulitzer Prize. Jack’s philandering finally comes to a head in their marriage and Jackie has had enough. She goes to Papa Joe and says the marriage is over, but Joe pays her generously to stay in it—Jack is bound for the Presidency. Then Jackie finally gets revenge with her
own philandering in What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose. But she pays the price for Jack’s philandering by losing two babies, one full term. Now, as a senator’s wife she begins her battle with the media. Eventually she’s able to carry a child full-term and gives birth to her and Jack’s pride and joy—Caroline. Jack’s 1960 campaign for the Presidency is like a whirlwind. She becomes pregnant with John, Jr. Jack, Papa Joe, and Bobby (Jack’s campaign manager) use her glamour and beauty to help win Jack the Presidency. She scorns the Rat Pack’s support of Jack because she knows that they are pimping for him. Jack finally wins and Jackie is thrilled for him. She gives birth to John, Jr. and feels complete as a woman. But, still not well from her delivery of their darling son, she takes an ill-advisedly takes a tour of the White House with Mamie Eisenhower and spends two weeks in bed planning
the transformation of the White House into a palace during the era of 1812. And eventually she will be able to proclaim I’m the Queen of the Circus. Jackie takes us through the historic inauguration, her continued self-doubts, her panic attacks, and Jack’s behind the scenes liaisons. There is a very short honeymoon for JFK’s administration and the Bay of Pigs debacle sets the entire White House into a tizzy, but Jackie diverts her fears by continuing to work on the transformation of the White House and her support of civil rights for black Americans by hosting White House concerts utilizing peoples of all colors.
Then Jack and her worst fears come to pass with the thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis as she prays I Just Want to Be with You Jack may have been able to negotiate his way out with Khrushchev and Castro, but Jackie fears for his recklessness with his copious affairs with call girls, White House secretaries, an East German spy, and movie stars including Marilyn Monroe who even calls the White House residence phone
and talks to Jackie. After Marilyn sings ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ at Madison Square Garden, Jack finally ends the affair and gives her to Bobby who bungles it and Marilyn winds up dead. Jack’s back is so bad at times he is forced to use crutches and finally resorts to using the infamous Dr. Feelgood to alleviate his pain and give him energy to deal with his many crises. Even Jackie partakes of the magic potions and Dr. Feelgood gets invited to tour Europe with Jack and Jackie in ’61. Jackie becomes an international superstar in Paris where she translates for Jack with DeGaulle, and again in Vienna when she ‘Enchants the
Soviet Pig,’ Khrushchev, to protect Jack from his bullying. Jack finds new respect for Jackie. Jackie loses another child, Patrick, and they are both despondent and grow closer. But Jackie is slow to recover and is invited by her sister and her sister’s current amour, Aristotle Onassis, to cruise the Greek
Islands and relax—and Jackie accepts—despite Jack’s protests. Onassis sets his sights on Jackie and sweeps her off her feet with jewels and his famous charm. I Want a Dangerous Man reprise. When she finally returns Jack asks Jackie to campaign with her in Texas. And since she is riddled with guilt over her affair with Onassis and the bonding they established with the death of Patrick she says, “I’ll campaign with you wherever you want, Jack.”
*****INTERMISSION (IF TAKEN)*****
On the flight to Dallas Jack finally falls for Jackie and says he will give up other women, but she doesn’t believe him. Jackie gets presented a dozen red roses when they deplane in Dallas. At all the other stops they gave her yellow. She relives the gruesome details of the assassination and her personal loss of Jack. Everything in her life is gone in a matter of eight seconds. Bobby meets
her at the plane back in Washington and doesn’t leave her side through the whole funeral. Onassis phones her at the White House and she invites him to stay with her and her family there, but he and Bobby are at each other’s throats and Onassis leaves before the funeral. She shares her private moments she had with Bobby and her children at the funeral. Her last act in the White House is to write a letter to
Khrushchev imploring him to continue the nuclear disarmament he started with Jack. From her metaphoric director’s chair hanging in space she creates the myth of Camelot in a interview with Life Magazine. She reveals her inner sorrow these many years later about her love for and loss of Jack in It Gets Harder as the Years Go By. She descends into a suicidal state and is dependent on pills and booze. She is obsessed with the assassination. She fears for her sanity. She buys and moves into a house in Georgetown and reporters and tourists descend on her like locusts. She is at war with the press. Click! part 1 She worries who is going to take care of her and the children. Bobby saves her life as they become emotionally and spiritually one, but he cannot divorce Ethel. He is the Lancelot in her Camelot. The
children take to him as if he were Jack. Onassis stops by quite often with gifts for her and the children and urges her to return to the living. Both Bobby and Onassis help her out financially. After a year she decides to relocate to Manhattan, her first home. She can get lost in the crowds there like Greta Garbo. She buys her large Fifth Avenue apartment. Bobby joins her and decides to run for United States Senator from New York. Their mutual passion peaks. Onassis waits in the
wings, and in ’67 he invites her to spend time on Skorpios and gives her many jewels. Bobby decides to run for President and they are forced to end their affair. She fears for Bobby’s life. He is assassinated and she must pull the plug on the respirator. As he is lowered into his grave she decides to marry Onassis for protection since “They are killing Kennedys.” The paparazzi continue to hunt her. Click! – part 2 As Jackie walks down the aisle in the little church on Skorpios her mother begs her not to marry Onassis, but she does and he spoils her with sex and money. He gets
along with with both children, particularly John. But Onassis’ children never take to Jackie and eventually the marriage is seriously on the rocks when his son dies in a plane crash. At first, Onassis blames himself, but eventually he and his daughter, Christina, blame Jackie. He files for divorce but dies of myasthenia gravis before it is finalized. The Black Widow Teddy Kennedy goes to bat for her and
gets $20 million from Onassis’ estate in a settlement with Christina. Jackie moves back to Manhattan and focuses on raising her children. Caroline rebels but still goes to Radcliffe, becomes a lawyer, and marries an older Jewish man and is very happy. John, Jr., also becomes a lawyer, but The Hunk Flunks the bar exam twice before finally passing. Jackie is livid over his affair with Madonna, and puts her foot down when he says he want to be an actor. But Jackie counts her blessings as she sings to
her two wonderful children in Caroline and John. Jackie has become a prisoner of celebrity and finally asks herself, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?” She becomes a junior editor for Viking Press and loves it. Then ultimately she is offered an associate editorship at Doubleday where she
excels. She develops a close relationship with a Jewish diamond merchant her age, Maurice Tempelsman, whom she has known since the 50s. He is a financial wizard and turns her $20 million into $200 million overnight—her money worries are over! After divorcing his wife, he moves in with Jackie and they are extremely happy. He’s no looker like Jack, but they share many common interests in the arts, speak French together, and read poetry together. Caroline had it right all along, Jewish men make the best mates.
Maurice helps Jackie to become the person she’s always wanted to be. Jackie looks back on what she has accomplished and grown through in her life in Making the World the Way I Want it to Be. She comes out of her flashback, stunned that she is going to die. She has taken such good care of herself—all the desserts she’s skipped to keep her figure— then she realizes that she has smoked incessantly her whole life and remembers that the doctor said that amphetamines can cause Non-Hodgkins
Lymphoma—Dr. Feelgood! She did it to herself… But she realizes both her parents would be very proud of her—she did exactly what they taught her to do. And that she will get through her own demise the same way she’s gotten through every other difficult moment in her life—from her director’s chair hanging in space, only this time she won’t come back to earth. In Ring Down the Curtain she looks at her impending death and Jack’s death and how she looks forward to seeing him in heaven. But before the end of the song she calls Maurice and tells him they are going out to lunch at their favorite French restaurant and have some fabulous desserts! She loves her life and intends to go out living it to the fullest!


Jackie’s infamous but beloved father, Black Jack Bouvier, holding the hand of another woman while his wife, Jackie’s mother, sits next to them.



Jackie’s stepfather’s Hammersmith Farm Estate in Newport, RI, where she had her coming out party and her wedding reception. It’s one of his three estates on the Eastern Seaboard.