Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens

by  Bill Russell, Janet Hood

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  20m, 11f

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

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Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens

by  Bill Russell Janet Hood

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Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    20m, 11f
  • Duration

    Duration

    90 minutes
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Not Applicable
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    From West End
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

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 fundraising 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.

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Reviews


REVIEWS:

"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

Considerations

Performing Groups

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

Cautions

  • Caution Drugs Drugs
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: 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.
  • Additional Features: Local Celebrity Cameo, No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes

Music

  • Musical Style: Pop/Rock, Jazz
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo
  • Chorus Size: No Chorus

Song Samples

Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens
0:00
I'm Holding On to You
0:00
And the Rain Keeps Falling Down
0:00
I Don't Do That Anymore
0:00
I Don't Know How to Help You
0:00
Celebrate
0:00
Heroes All Around
0:00
Spend It While You Can
0:00
My Brother Lived in San Francisco
0:00
Learning to Let Go
0:00

Casting

20m, 11f
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.
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Cast Attributes

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

Casting Notes

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. 

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

11 Piano/Vocal Scores

Harp
Cello

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Authors

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. Russel ...

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Janet Hood

Janet Hood

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.

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