A co-op of some 50 families draws a substantial audience, but there wasn’t any nervousness visible in this performance by our lower-grades drama class (elementary grades). The kids did a wonderful job, and they only get to rehearse once a week, for about 50 minutes, for only 10 weeks, with two quick dress rehearsals. Anyone who has ever put together a reasonably substantial show knows that’s insane. It is. But we do it anyway. And it works. The bar stays high, in spite of our limitations. And the kids reach for it!
A radio play is something of a “different animal.” It is a skill in itself. It requires the actor to hold a script and read from a script, always into a microphone, while acting for two audiences — the imaginary one, and the live one in front of them. And The Clump is a radio play within a play. It begins as a regular play, with no scripts, as the audience gets to know The Radio Kids as everyday kids who are local radio stars in 1940 America.
Our modern-day, cell-phone-using, television-watching, internet-using, elementary-school-level kids had to learn some things about American culture in 1940. It was fun! And they enlightened the audience with a little cultural literacy in an entertaining way. Nan may have her dad’s Popular Mechanics magazine with a story about the 1939 New York World’s Fair and the amazing new “telly-vision,” but, as Swell Sammy Sakowitz makes clear, “It’ll never replace radio!”
And, of course, with a radio play, you have to have sound effects (SFX)! Our SFX actor did an amazing job of playing 5 parts, as a Radio Kid who also played “Mom,” and as Bob the Bologna Man, and Bud the Baseball Slugger, while doing physical SFX with wood and pans and cans and other SFX with her voice into the microphone. She literally wore several hats (and coats).
This was the “world debut” of this brand-new play and it features two radio jingles (yes, we added one). It is perfect for elementary-school plays (public or private schools), but it could also easily be done by middle school, junior high, or senior high students. It would really be funny with adults dressing and acting as kids!
See our catalog for The Radio Kids in The Mystery of the Clump in the Night! And we’ll get the new jingle added quickly.
Did we find out what “the clump” is?! I think we have to wait for the next show!
Listen up, Bugsy Bigtime! Sam Shade does it again! He solves the Case of the True Meaning of Christmas!
It’s a jazzy, action-packed, laugh-loaded musical with a message, and a track record for pleasing both casts and audiences. It’s fun for the whole family. It’s a show that can be made as professional and grand and sophisticated as you have the resources to do so — or it can be scaled down for a class of youngsters.
Armed with his signature lollipops, our tough but charming detective led a cast of 30 for our own homeschool co-op drama classes, both upper and lower grades. Our 3rd through 6th graders played the “urchins,” while all other parts were played by our 7th through 12th graders.
The nice thing about this script is, if you happen to have two classes like that, you can actually work with them separately and then put the whole show together during the last extra rehearsals. It works. We’ve done it more than once.
We did the “middle-level” version of the script (see the Catalog Page) that features all 7 songs with a simpler story for a smaller Backstage Crew. If you produce either of the 7-song versions, you can easily schedule your cast in three sections during early rehearsals.
The “basic” version features 4 songs and is ideal for a younger cast (as opposed to high school or adult) and/or a smaller cast. The “full-blown” version is 7 songs with a true play within a play, involving more characters in the Backstage Crew (the Broadway Wannabes) and more interaction between the “front stage” and backstage.
The basic version is ready to go into the Catalog. We are working to schedule another recording session to finish the songs for the other two versions. Keep checking. We should have them ready for business in January.
Of course, we did ours with live music — keyboard, piano, guitar, and drums. Future plans are to have it scored for a full jazz band!
A Shakespearean Tale is our newest script and will be FFP’s first regional production. This musical features seven original songs and can be scaled way up for a “real pro” show, or scaled way down for small co-op groups or youth groups, for kids, teens, college students, or adults.
As character and occasional narrator Will Surrey explains, “I told you it’s a fanciful tale.” And it is — featuring a number of “tails.”
Follow a lost Shakespeare manuscript from 1616 London to 1955 New York City, where you’ll meet the lawyers Macbeth and Macbeth, and the girls in the typing pool. Can they sing and dance better than they type?
From literary mice to Shakespearean Southerners, this script dances its way from “harpsichordish” English country to fancy fiddlin’ Alabama country, with a bit of Broadway in between.
Check back as we finalize auditions and rehearsals for our own summer 2012 production here in North Texas, and as we complete the packaging for online orders.
When I first started writing musicals, the idea was to bring a reasonably sophisticated, “mini-Broadway” quality to songs that were singable and plays that were do-able for teens and kids in small to medium sized youth groups. I started with several scripts I nicknamed “Bible on Broadway.”
When we became homeschoolers and discovered homeschool co-op groups and I began teaching “drama classes” (actual “do a production” class) for 3rd through 6th graders and 7th through 12th graders (give or take a grade or two), I was pushed to continue coming up with new material.
Often, I would take existing scripts, redo them, scale them up for high schoolers or down for elementary grades, expand them, contract them, and always, totally customize them for the specific cast I was given to work with that semester. Not only did we not have the luxury of auditions, we had very little time to rehearse. But we resisted lowering the bar and the kids were amazing in rising to the occasion.
SO,…that’s why one of our missions is to help you fit scripts and songs — as much as possible — to your own cast or class, audience, and venue. Our material is copyrighted, so we have to stay within our specific permission parameters, but we want to help you put on a good show with the cast at hand.
I also realized that some of our scripts were capable of being scaled way up for a “real pro” cast, for adult community theater, or college theater. As we get them packaged, you’ll find several scaled-up or scaled-back versions of certain scripts to help you fit your own situation.