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The Magic Pebble - Short Musical, Comedy

The Magic Pebble

Nancy Kierspe Carlson, Betsy Chapman

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Short Musical, Comedy

11m, 4f

ISBN: 9780573695230

Four bored youths discover a magic pebble and hang on for dear life as it takes them to a pirate ship crewed by the irascible Captain Crimson and his sidekick Seaweed. They inadvertently bring Crimson and Seaweed back to the present.

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Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author(s) | Reviews
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Short Musical


Theatre for Young Audiences

60 minutes (1 hour)

Time Period - Contemporary

Settings Of Play - The play begins in a vacant lot where the four youth discover the magic pebble. They are transported to a deck of a pirate ship, then to the court room of King Tut, then back to one of the youth's front room.


No intermission, Physical Comedy, Special Effects

Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes


No Special Cautions




Appropriate for all audiences, Children (Age 6 - 10), Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)


Jr High/Primary, High School/Secondary, Community Theatre, Shoestring Budget


Best play of the year, Bonfils Theatre, Denver CO

Winner! Best Play of the Year, Bonfils Theatre, Denver, Colorado  

Four bored youths discover a magic pebble and hang on for dear life as it takes them to a pirate ship crewed by the irascible Captain Crimson and his sidekick Seaweed. They inadvertently bring Crimson and Seaweed back to the present where they have amusing confrontations with the miraculous creatures vacuum sweeper and radio and with the concept of a round world. From the opening song to the closing duet, there is plenty of adventure and exciting fun for children and adults. Very easy music....comedy which appeals to the adults who bring their children.

"In the audience, the children shrieked and clapped, teetering on the edges of their seats. Even parents chuckled and applauded...The playwright milked time and space conflicts for great gags, especially the pirate Crimson's duel with a vacuum cleaner." - Denver, Colorado

"Pebble Gang a witty treat for all ages!  Nancy Kierspe Carlson has the rare capacity to appeal to both adults and youth.  Decidedly, the show is for kids, but there are plenty of lines thrown in for the adults too. And they don't go saling over the heads of the kids." - Lincoln, Nebraska

"If your couth is couthless and your ruth is ruthless, hop right over to the Arts Center and you'll recoup fast.   Nancy Carlson has created a play adults and children of all ages will want to have around much longer than a breif 60 minutes...which seemed like 60 seconds." - Fort Wayne, Indianas

The Magic Pebble premiered in 1981 at the Children's Theatre of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and has enjoyed productions throughout the United States ever since.



11m, 4f


Ensemble cast, Non-Traditional casting, Cross gender casting, Reduced casting (Doubling Possible), Expandable casting, Features Teens, Flexible casting, Local Celebrity Cameo, Multicultural casting, Roles for Children, Room for Extras, Parts for Senior Actors


The cast of characters is very flexible, allowing for a cast of all ages or a cast of students. It also allows for many characters to be added if desired ...to play pirates or people in King Tut's court. (Before the magic pebble whisks them to a pirate ship, they also have a brief visit to King Tut. One production even included break dancers from a local dance troupe!) There is much room for the director's disgresson.The central group of four can be played as students of any age but were written with approximate ages between 10 and 13 in mind.


No Chorus

BECKY, HATTIE, JONESY, DENNIS - four students who comprise "the magic pebble gang," the youths who discover a magic pebble and visit King Tut's Court and then a pirate ship.
MISS FIGARO - Called "old Lady Figaro" by the children, she is an ill-natured neighbor and is a wonderful comedy role.  Her transformation is fun.
CAPTAIN CRIMSON - A loveable bumbler who prides himself in his nastiness and meanness.  He is astounded when he is transported to present time in America.
SHANGHAI SAM, STORMY, SAD JIM, LUCKY, JAKE - Crew members of the pirate ship.
KING TUT - Good role for younger actor.
AY - King Tut's Visier.  Good role for an older actor.

Rental Materials


Piano Only


Classic Broadway



16 Piano/Vocal Scores

Nancy Kierspe Carlson

Nancy Kierspe Carlson is a graduate of Indiana University and has been active in community theatre since then, having received numerous acting awards in both Colorado and Indiana. Samuel French has published her children's musical The Magic Pebble, and she has written three other musicals for children. In 2010, her comedy The Ladies in Cabin 10 won the first Northeastern Indiana Playwrighting ... view full profile

Now Playing
Andrea Cooley 5/29/2014 1:20 PM
This play has the rare capacity to appeal to both adults and children. The story itself is timeless - a classic dilemma of four bored youths who can't figure out how to entertain themselves. After discovering what seems to be a "magic pebble", their wishes for adventure turn out to be more than they ever dared imaginable. From classic tales of pirates to historical journeys to the pyramids, this play is riveting with adventure, comedy and delight. The music is contagious and the lyrics witty - I dare you not to sing along! Just when you think the next wish is predictable and you have it all figured out, guess again! This clever play is a well-written story thanks to the thoughtful story-telling of Nancy Kierspe Carlson who weaves her own magic into this rich tale worth telling. It is just as suitable a production today in 2014 as it was when written in 1981.  

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