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Dusty and the Big Bad World - Full Length Play, Comedy

Dusty and the Big Bad World

Cusi Cram

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Full Length Play, Comedy

1m, 3f, 1girl(s)

ISBN: 9780573696916

Based on an actual incident that happened in 2005, Dusty and the Big Bad World is a very funny, no-holds-barred yet even-handed look at PBS, government bias, gay marriage, the right to privacy, children's allergies and the ability to survive in a small-minded world.

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Description | Characters | Media | Author | Reviews | Related Products
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play



120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - New Millennium/21st Century

Settings Of Play - Jessica's office for PBS, Marianne's office for the Department of Education, an Au Bon Pain in Union Square


Interior Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


Mild Adult Themes




College Theatre / Student, Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Dusty and his animated friends hold a competition to find a model family based on letters written by children. The winning family will receive a visit from Dusty and will be filmed for an upcoming episode. Out of the 15,000 letters received, the producers pick Lizzie Goldberg-Jones and her family to be featured on the most popular animated PBS show in America. Her parents are exemplary role models – and they are two men. When word of that selection and the resulting episode reaches Marianne, Secretary of Education, she exercises her authority, deciding that the program should not be aired on public television because of its possible influence on children. Her decision, calling the episode "special interest TV", is a blow to Jessica and Nathan, the producers/writers of the show and to Karen, Marianne's secretary. Karen admires her boss' tenacity in overcoming a self-destructive past, but feels her decision to cancel the episode is definitely wrong. She secretly reveals that self-destructive past to Nathan and almost brings Marianne down, but not quite. Based on an actual incident that happened in 2005, Dusty and the Big Bad World is a very funny, no-holds-barred yet even-handed look at PBS, government bias, gay marriage, the right to privacy, children's allergies and the ability to survive in a small-minded world.


"Dusty raises passionate and polarizing questions about the role of public TV in the education of our children. That's a battle for both hearts and minds. And in this country, a battle that will never end." - Denver Post, Read More

"Though titled after a fictitious dustball, it is one of the more human plays I’ve seen in quite a while. Credit Cusi Cram for crafting a story replete with tiny moments of authenticity...Dusty and the Big Bad World will have you laughing and thinking out loud." - Boulder Weekly, Read More

Dusty and the Big Bad World premiered at the Denver Center Theatre Company in Denver, CO in January 2009 under the direction of Kent Thompson.



1m, 3f, 1girl(s)


Features Children

JESSICA - Early forties, driven, focused, a TV producer. Seemingly hard as nails but has a vulnerable side.
KAREN - Twenties, edgy, neurotic, was an addict, is barely keeping it together, is deeply self interested because she has to be – smarter than she lets on.
MARIANNE - Late-forties, early-fifties, Southern, very Christian, driven, seemingly soft but secretly hard as nails – has a super maternal side.
NATHAN - Late-thirties, early-forties, neurotic, wants to be heroic but it’s not easy for him – becomes monomaniacal as the play progresses.
LIZZIE GOLDBERG-JONES - An honest, somewhat precocious 11 year old – not an annoying kid. She speaks the truth more than anyone else in the play.
  • Cusi Cram on the true story behind Dusty and the Big Bad World

Cusi Cram

Cusi Cram

Cusi Cram's plays include: Dusty and the Big Bad World (Denver Theater Center), Lucy and the Conquest (Williamstown Theater Festival), All the Bad Things (LAByrinth Theater Company at the Public Theater), Fuente (Barrington Stage, and O'Neill Playwrights Conference), and The End of it All (South Coast Repertory), Landlocked (Miranda Theater) and A Lifetime Burning, which was a part of Primary ... view full profile

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Kevin Heath 4/21/2016 2:32 PM
I was really excited about the description of the show, but lost the excitement when I read the script. That said, just because it is not right for our theater, doesn't mean it won't work at another.

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