The Great Gilly Hopkins

by  Steve Liebman, Katherine Paterson, David L. Paterson

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  1m, 4f, 1boy(s), 2girl(s)

"A rare piece of children's theatre that doesn't wear a sugar coat [...] Rewards in abundance await audiences [of this] excellent, bittersweet play." - The New York Times

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 4f, 1boy(s), 2girl(s)
  • Duration


    75 Minutes
  • SubGenre


    Adaptations (Literature), Theatre for Young Audiences
  • Accolades


    From Broadway, From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

A spirited musical about the adventures of a feisty foster child in search of love and her real mother. The tale is drawn from one of the most popular novels of all time for young people. Rich with humor, emotion, and memorable songs, it hits home with every child and parent.
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"A rare piece of children's theatre that doesn't wear a sugar coat [...] Rewards in abundance await audiences [of this] excellent, bittersweet play." - The New York Times

"Irresistible [...] Go - take your parents." - New York Post


  • The Great Gilly Hopkins film trailer
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Performing Groups

  • Jr High/Primary
  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Youth/Camp Programs


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: Present Day
  • Duration: 75 Minutes
  • Setting:

    Washington DC

  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Piano Only

Song Samples

No Big Deal
Big Mouth


1m, 4f, 1boy(s), 2girl(s)

GILLY HOPKINS - an eleven-year-old terror going on thirty
MISS ELLIS - Gilly's social worker (role may also be cast as a male)
MAIME TROTTER - Gilly's new foster mother; very overweight
WILLIAM ERNEST - Trotter's foster son; shy and withdrawn
MR. RANDOLPH - Trotter's neighbor; an elderly blind black man
MISS HARRIS - Gilly's new teacher; an attractive young black woman
AGNES STOKES - Gilly's loud-mouthed classmate
NONNIE - Gilly's grandmother
COURTNEY - Gilly's mother

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Cast Attributes

  • Role(s) for Black Actor(s)
  • Ensemble cast
  • Expandable casting
  • Features Children
  • Flexible casting
  • Multicultural casting
  • Roles for Children
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

Parts for up to two men, five women, and three children; plus extras


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

9 Piano/Vocal Scores

Available Services



Steve Liebman

Steve Liebman

Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson is the author of more than 30 books including16 novels for children and young people. She has twice won the Newbery Medal, for Bridge to Terabithia in 1978 and Jacob Have I Loved in 1981. The Master Puppeteer won the National Book Award in 1977 and The ...

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David L. Paterson

An Award-winning playwright and screenwriter, David has penned over two-dozen plays, 15 of which are published through Samuel French, Inc. His works have been performed on Broadway, Off Broadway and throughout the world. He is the only playwright ever to have three plays premiere on the New York City stage in one mont ...

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The Great Gilly Hopkins premiered at Stage One in Louisville, KY in October 1996 under the direction of J. Daniel Herring

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