The Ballad of Soapy Smith

by  Michael Weller

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  24m, 9f

"Michael Weller deserves praise for a play with contemporary relevance, daring to accost a large canvas. The protagonist is a complex and absorbing creation. I left the theatre, for once, thinking rather than trying to forget." - New York Magazine

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The Ballad of Soapy Smith

by  Michael Weller

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    24m, 9f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Adventure, Biography, Fables/Folktales
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Col. Jefferson Randolph Smith, known as "Soapy" to friends and foes, is a notorious con man whose reputation has, alas, preceded him to the Alaska Gold Rush town of Skagway in 1897. Still, this charming gentleman starts a protection racket that brings law and order, a church, and an infirmary to the town. Soapy, the criminal, becomes a force for moral good until the town's hypocrisy and vicious self-interest bring him down.  He falls, a victim of the cardinal sin of believing in his own con.
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Reviews

REVIEWS

"Michael Weller deserves praise for a historical play with contemporary relevance, daring to accost a large canvas. The protagonist is a complex and absorbing creation. I left the theatre, for once, thinking rather than trying to forget." - New York Magazine

"A rousing epic." - The Associated Press

Keywords

Betrayal, Memory

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Wild West, 19th Century
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Alaska, 1897
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Song Samples

Michael Weller's interview for Dave's Gone By
0:00

Casting

24m, 9f
PAUL ANTHONY McALEER
TRIPOD SCHULTZ
JEFFERSON RANDOLPH (SOAPY) SMITH
GEORGE WILDER
FRENCHIE VILLIERS
MAJOR JAMES STRONG
FRANK REID
MICHAEL C. SHERPY
WILLIAM WHITMORE
CALVIN BARKDULL
KITTY CHASE
MATTIE SILKS
BURKE GALLAGHER
CHARLIE (THE REVEREND) BOWERS
WILLIAM H. (DOC) JACKSON
SYD DIXON
RED GIBBS
REVEREND DICKEY
FRITZ
TAGISH SAM
JENSEN
MOLLIE FEWCLOTHES
CORPORAL EGAN
COMMISSIONER CHARLES A. SEHLBREDE
GOVERNOR BRADY OF ALASKA

TOWNSPEAOPLE, PROSTITUTES, DANCE HALL GIRLS, MILITIAMEN, OTHER VIGILANTES, MRS. DICKEY, MRS. WHITMORE, MRS. BARKDULL, FRANK CLANCY, OTHERS.
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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

With proper doubling, this play can be (and has been) performed with a cast of 22.

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Authors

Michael Weller

Michael Weller studied music composition at Brandeis University, then worked as a jazz pianist before taking his graduate degree in theater at the University of Manchester, England. His best-known plays are Moonchildren, Fishing, Loose Ends and Spoils Of War. His films include Hair and Ragtime and a teleplay of Spoils ...

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The Ballad of Soapy Smith was first presented at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, in Seattle, Washington, in 1983.  The production was directed by Robert Egan.

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