Barbara's Blue Kitchen
by Lori Fischer
Full Length Musical, Comedy / 1m, 1f
"Winsome and winning... alive with homespun charm. In short, this countrified pocket musical is a l…
Set in a small town just outside of Nashville, this slice-of-life comedic play with music is a genuine look into the hearts of everyday people. As the proprietor, Barbara Jean, tries to figure out "When is it courageous and when is it just plain crazy to hang on to love," her customers come in and take a load off by sharing their funny, heartbreaking humanity. There's Miss Morris a nurse who's planning a Pyramid prayer-time, Miss Tessie, a senior citizen who's gonna make you laugh and steal your heart, a Tupperware brandishing, plate-dropping waitress named Jeanette, Lombardo—a country-singing hairdresser, Tommy Lee, who is recovering from a dog-bite and Melissa a mixed-up Mother of three. Throughout it all, the wacky DJ from WATR, the local radio station, breaks in with local news, commercials about baldness and whole slew of quirky, unforgettable toe-tapping songs.
"In fact, it's a perfectly judged balance of flavors—exactly what you'd hope for in theatrical comfort food." - Time Out New York
"Winsome and winning... alive with homespun charm. In short, this countrified pocket musical is a little miracle of art and heart." - TheatreMania
"Funny stuff! Wonderful! You got to go see this show!" - WOR Radio
"A slice of theatre as tasty and tangy as a piece of peach pie... Barbara's Blue Kitchen: this is a place where people actually eat together in community, rather than in their own separate worlds." - Show Business
"Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, it's a pleasure to spend time in Barbara's Blue Kitchen." - Traveler's USA Notebook "It's a tasty down-home dish..." - Backstage
"Like Greater Tuna and Steel Magnolias, Barbara's Blue Kitchen, a play with music by and starring Lori Fischer, echoes the eccentric humor and pathos of former explorations into the human and humorous southern gothic landscape... a lovely variety of moods ranging from rueful to toe-tapping..." - New York News
"Ms. Fischer has a lot of strengths, chief among them the truth that rings through... her monologues... She also has a sure ear for a down-home truism." - The Cincinnati Enquirer
"...Wonderful, reminiscent of Garrison Keillor's weekly monologue on A Prairie Home Companion. It's tinged with gentle humor, affection and wisdom." - The Daily Gazette
"Perfection... Great theatre..." - East Side Life
"The playwright and actress herself is the intersection of seven memorable characters... it's easy to see why people would want to hang out in her diner." - Cincinnati City Beat
"You needn't hail from the south to appreciate Barbara's Blue Kitchen. Mixing humor with heartbreak, this engaging piece offers universal appeal and an enjoyable evening of theater." - The Tenessean
"Fischer's small-town-slice-of-life comedy offers a sincere look into the hearts of everyday people...virtual tour de force." Critics' Pick, Nashville Scene
KeywordsAging, Betrayal, Christianity, Death, Friendship, Love, Marriage, Parenting/Family, Religion, Women's Issues
- No Special Cautions
- Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.
- Time Period: 1990s
- Duration: 90 minutes
- Setting: One day from open to close in Summer 1997. A diner in Watertown, TN with the WATR radio Station visible, but not as prominent as the diner.
- Additional Features: Audience Participation/Interactive, No intermission, Play w/ Music
- Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
- Musical Style: Country/Western, Folk
- Vocal Demands: Moderate
- Orchestra Size: Small/Combo
- Chorus Size: Small
BARBARA JEAN - She runs Barbara’s Blue Kitchen and is in love with Lombardo, comedic, strong singer. 40’s.
JEANETTE - Barbara Jean’s long time pen pal. A somewhat inept waitress whose real love and talent lies in being a mother and selling Tupperware, full of heart, quirky, 40’s.
MELISSA - (Mel) Barbara Jean’s younger sister. Has recently been left by her husband. She is a struggling mother of three who is especially hard on her son Tommy Lee. Mid 40’s.
TESSIE - Senior citizen from the Happiness Home, hilarious and heartbreaking, 83.
MISS MORRIS - A 52 year old nurse who comes to the diner every night in order to see Tommy Lee, full of faith, loves to pray, gospel singer.
TOMMY LEE - Child of 8, recently bitten in the stomach by his Mother’s dog Killer, innocent, strong singer.
LOMBARDO - Runs Lombardo’s Beauty Emporium, sings country music, in love with Barbara Jean, but has difficulty saying no to other women, hilarious, 40.
DISC JOCKEY - Does the radio spots, funny, plays guitar and sings.
(Unless expandable casting is used, all roles are played by the same actress with the exception of Dickie Brian Hull the Disc Jockey.)
- Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
- Expandable casting
- Flexible casting
- Local Celebrity Cameo
- Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
- Parts for Senior Actors
Barbara’s Blue Kitchen can be performed in numerous configurations. It was primarily written as a tour de force for a strong actress/singer/comedienne to play the Diner Characters and an equally strong comic/singer/guitarist to play the DJ.
The show may also be cast with different actresses/actors playing every part or with two actresses playing all of the female roles and one actor playing all of the male roles.
Or it may be done (as it was in the highly successful production at Cumberland County Playhouse) with an actress playing three of the diner characters, an actor playing four of the diner characters and an actor playing the DJ role.
Also, in line with the country flavor of the show, the arrangements are written for guitar, fiddle and bass. But, if need be, the show works fine with just guitar or piano.
Music Material Rental Packages
7 Full Scores
Barbara’s Blue Kitchen was originally developed and produced (featuring Lori Fischer as the Characters in the Diner) in the summer of 2000 at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, Glens Falls, New York. Martha Banta, Artistic Director; David Turner, Producing Director.
Barbara’s Blue Kitchen was subsequently produced (featuring Lori Fischer as the Characters in the Diner) in the spring of 2002 at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Barbara’s Blue Kitchen opened Off-Broadway (featuring Lori Fischer as the Characters in the Diner) on August 3, 2006 at The Lamb’s Theatre, 130 West 44th Street, New York, New York.