Ragged Dick


Ragged Dick and Alger's Silas Snobden's Office Boy inspired the 1982 musical comedy Shine!. The show's librettist Richard Seff writes that the musical is an original based on Ragged Dick and Silas Snobden's Office Boy: "We've borrowed characters from both novels, youthened some, aged others, re-invented a few, created a few of our own. We stuck with Alger's pervasive theme: That in America one could begin with nothing, and with the right attitude, hard work, application and a little bit of luck, dream a dream and chart a course on which to achieve it."[17]

Eugene Paul reviewed a production mounted by the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2010 and wrote that "Virtue ... is the message and the thrust of the show." In his plot summary, Paul wrote that Ragged Dick is working his way slowly up the ladder of respectability when an opportunity to improve his prospects is offered him in Snobden's haberdashery. He faces a setback though when his wicked stepfather Luke appears on the scene. Dick avoids him and pursues his goals. "But everything comes crashing down when the darling son of a noble banker who has befriended Dick is kidnapped by none other than his stepfather, Luke. Suspicion and hatred, none of which Dick deserves, force him out of his job ... If you want to know how Dick overcomes these tribulations -– but then, you already know, don’t you. There is always a happy ending in Horatio Alger’s stories."[18]

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