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Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens - Full Length Musical, Drama

Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

Bill Russell, Janet Hood

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Full Length Musical, Drama

20m, 11f

ISBN: 9780573695698

Book and Lyrics by Bill Russell
Music by Janet Hood

A celebration of lives lost to AIDS told in free verse monologues with a blues, jazz and rock score.

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: Acting Edition
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Full Length Musical


90 minutes

Time Period - Contemporary

Settings Of Play - Basic bleachers have proven very effective as a setting. Cast members who appear early on can move around on them and then take a seat (at the end of "And the Rain Keeps Falling Down" for everyone up to that point and one-by-one thereafter) - until the bleachers are filled with the characters we've met. Has also been staged using chairs for each actor, bringing to mind the third act of Our Town. The piece has been performed everywhere from small discos to grand theaters, but whatever the situation - simple is best.


Local Celebrity Cameo, No intermission

Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


Drugs, Strong Language, Mild Adult Themes


Adult, Senior, Teen (Age 14 - 18)


College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Large Stage, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


From West End

A celebration of lives lost to AIDS told in free verse monologues with a blues, jazz and rock score, this piece is designed to include the community in a theatrical response to the AIDS crisis. It is often performed as a benefit for fund raising and consciousness raising.

Please not that in the U.K. this is a print-on-demand title and two to three days extra should be allowed for supply.


"Generates a feeling of love, humanity and common cause that sends you out glowing."
 - Glasgow Herald
"Dramatic." - Spectator

"Immensely powerful.... The songs are uniformly good; the final song is sensational." - Financial Times

"Bursts with humor, rage and hope." - Backstage

The first full staging of Elegies for Angles, Punks and Raging Queens was presented by T.W.E.E.D. in association with Justin Ross as part of the Sixth Annual New Works Festival at the Ohio Theater in New York City on May 18, 1989. The musical was subsequently presented at the RAPP Arts Center in New York on February 21, 1990. The musical's first London fringe production was first presented by The King's Head Theatre and Giacomo Capizzano on November 10, 1992. The musical was subsequently presented on the West End by Giacomo Capizzano, Ltd. at the Criterion Theater in London on June 28, 1993. All original productions were directed by Bill Russell.


20m, 11f


Non-Traditional casting, Expandable casting, Features Children, Flexible casting, Local Celebrity Cameo, Multicultural casting, Room for Extras, Parts for Senior Actors


Cast can expand up to 25 males and 16 females. It is the author's intent that actors from ethnic minorities are cast whenever possible. 


No Chorus

SINGERS - Wide open but a few considerations follow. All should be comfortable performing in pop styles. This version indicates 4 SINGERS. The piece has been performed with a different singer or group performing each song, making for a total of 18.
JUDITH - Soprano. BUD's sister, so those roles need to be co-ordinated.
DOUG - Baritone. Has traditionally been black.
BRIAN - Tenor. Should be believable as RAY's friend.
ANGELA - Alto. CLAUDIA's secretary. Has often been black.
PATRICK - A man in his 30s or 40s (old enough to have achieved success as a designer). Important that the actor can find the humor in the monologue.
BILLY - Young, early 20s, a typical all-American mid-Western boy.
MITCH - Any type, traditionally has been costumed in leather.
JOSH - A clown and ring-leader of the group of friends (the first four characters plus DOUG).
TIM - A teenager who can find the laughs in this. The younger and more energetic the better.
TRACEY - Young, gorgeous, sexy and spoiled. She should find the laughs and stay away from pathos.
CHARLOTTE - A young, tough drug-abuser.
FRANCIS - A gentleman of a certain age. Outrageous.
RAY - A regular guy, party animal, athletic. His friendship with BRIAN should be easily accepted.
PACO - An hispanic teenager, the younger the better.
SALLY - Many possibilities as long as she's not too old to have recently given birth.
ORVILLE - Middle-age, middle-class, "an ordinary Joe."
NICK - Drop-dead gorgeous, traditionally costumed in a towel, so a great body is a plus. The audience should be seduced by his charm and beauty.
PATRICK - Could be any type who can play comedy.
DWIGHT - A typical, young, Broadway-chorus-boy type, Southern accent can work.
REBECCA - Mid-Western, typical housewife.
CLAUDIA - A high-power corporate executive. A contrast to her secretary, ANGELA, is helpful. British accent can work.
ROSCOE - A big old drag queen.
HELEN - A typical grandmother.
WALTER - Old enough to attend a high school reunion, different somehow (ethnic? heavy? off-beat?) so we can see why he was something of an outcast.
LAMAR - A black, street-hangin', story-tellin' drug abuser. Essential that the actor find the humor here.
RAFAELLA - A very young hispanic mother.
NANCY - Wide open as to age and type, but a no-nonsense kind of woman.
KHADIJA - Experience has proven that small, eight-year-old girls work best. Younger is heart-breaking but often includes projection problems. An ethnic minority is highly preferable.
PAUL - A strong, leading man type with a great speaking voice. Old enough to have served in Vietnam (though he could have died from AIDS in the early 80s. He should be at least in his 30s).
NAT - A fire and brimstone orator, traditionally costumed as a priest or minister. Should be at least 50 or preferably even older.
JOANNE - Best comedienne available.
BERTHA - Preferably black, middle-aged.
BUD - Believable as JUDITH's brother.
JOE - A comedian of any type or age, as long as he can get the laughs.
GRACE - A professor type, strong dramatic actor. Often played by a man (GRANT), but now prefer a woman.
MILES - Should be believable as DOUG's lover. Often cast with a black actor.
Rental Materials




Pop/Rock, Jazz



5 Piano/Vocal Scores

Song Samples

Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens

I'm Holding On to You

And the Rain Keeps Falling Down

I Don't Do That Anymore

I Don't Know How to Help You


Heroes All Around

Spend It While You Can

My Brother Lived in San Francisco

Learning to Let Go

Bill Russell

Bill Russell

Bill Russell wrote the book and lyrics for the critically acclaimed Broadway musical Side Show, receiving a Tony nomination for book and sharing a nomination with composer Henry Krieger for score. He also directed that show at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul and Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. Mr. Russell co-wrote the book and lyrics for Off-Broadway’s long-running musical Pageant ... view full profile

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James Usher 1/9/2014 11:18 AM
Amazing piece of musical theatre; designed to teach thru entertainment; perhaps the best kind of theatre. The AIDS crisis is far from over even though there may be a "cure" around the corner, this piece makes you remember through song, laughter, and yes tears that AIDS is still a real crisis for many.

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