Here's the prospectus for HATFUL!

Our hero, William, is a young Aryan student type with suspect "nationalist" tendencies and a thing about anonymous rough trade. As the curtain rises, his head is sticking out of the back window of a car on a hillside desolate, and he is singing ecstatically ("This Charming Man"); a chorus of bicyclists joins in. As he finishes his song, his companion pops out of the car; it is a young, suspiciously high-voiced young man named Sandy. William tells Sandy gratefully that, having recently gotten engaged, he was afraid that the anonymous-pickup part of his life might be coming to an end. De nada, says Sandy ("William, It Was Really Nothing"), but a man like you shouldn't be engaged. They exchange phone numbers. In the next scene, we see who William is engaged to: an older woman named Jeane, a petty criminal. William is pretty drained at this point and just wants to do his schoolwork, but Jeane has other ideas ("Handsome Devil"). William gets all sulky ("Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now") and realizes he has to see Sandy again. "There's a club, if you'd like to go," Sandy offers. They meet there, and Sandy (backed by a chorus of dancers) offers himself sexually in any way William desires ("Ask"). William suggests they adjourn to a nearby disused railway line, where it is dramatically revealed that Sandy is actually a young woman, Sandie, and what's more, she's been obsessed with William for years and figured that this masquerade was the only way to win his affections (the duet "Half A Person"). At this point, William has no idea _what_ his desires are, and announces that not only is he celibate now but that he has been for years. He packs his things to move out, confronts Jeane and rejects her dramatically ("Jeane"). Jeane, distraught, invites over a quartet of her best women-friends who have also recently been rejected by men they thought they could change, and for Act I's closer, they sing "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side," each attempting to top the others' high notes.

For the big Act II opener, William returns in despair to his old friends, now in the National Front, who suggest a little mayhem to pick up his mood. They burn a disco and lynch the DJ while performing an ensemble song-and-dance number ("Panic"). Jeane returns pathetically to William ("Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"), who snidely rejects her affections and her lifestyle but sleeps with her anyway ("What Difference Does It Make?"). Meanwhile, Sandie bewails her lonely fate ("Unloveable"). Fortunately, the triangle is resolved when Jeane goes to visit her friend Stephen, who tells her that William loves Sandie as he could never love her ("You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby"). Jeane wanders out into the street and is hit by a double-decker bus. William, distraught, goes to visit her in the hospital ("Girlfriend In A Coma"). Jeane sits feebly up in bed, sings her final tragic ballad ("Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me"), and expires. William, at last, realizes that he didn't especially love Jeane in the first place, and heads over to Sandie's apartment to throw stones at the window. Sandie lets him in, and the lovers embrace as they sing a duet reprise of "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want". As the sun rises, the entire cast returns to the stage, links hands, sways, and joins voices in glorious choral song ("That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore"). Curtain. They'll be going out into the streets whistling "I've seen this happen in other people's lives/And now it's happening in mine," I tell you.

--Douglas Wolk