Shine!: The Horatio Alger Musical

by  Roger Anderson, Lee Goldsmith, Richard Seff

Full Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy  /  13m, 6f

Winner! 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Excellence
Winner! National Music Theatre Network Award

"A charming, feel-good musical. The work's tremendous heart and unabashed celebration of Alger's popular stories are in ample evidence in this appealing musical about the rise from rags to riches." - Meredith Lee, Theatermania

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    13m, 6f
  • Duration


    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Adaptations (Literature), Fables/Folktales, Period
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

Lower Manhattan, 1876. Join Dick as he rises from penniless bootblack to budding entrepreneur with a little bit of luck, a little bit of charm, and a whole lot of hard work. Based on Horatio Alger’s beloved tale, Dick’s adventures bring him face to face with scheming ex-convicts, vicious comic villains, kind benefactors, and a host of colorful characters in this rags-to-riches romp for the whole family.
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  • Winner! 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival Award for Excellence
    Winner! National Music Theatre Network Award!


"A charming, feel-good musical. The work's tremendous heart and unabashed celebration of Alger's popular stories are in ample evidence in this appealing musical about the rise from rags to riches." - Meredith Lee, Theatermania

"Shine! is one of those wonderful musicals where an audience cares deeply for the hero. Richard Seff's book and Lee Goldsmith's lyrics perfectly capture the Horatio Alger spirit ...Composer Roger Anderson's ballads are strikingly beautiful. As for his up-tempo songs, to call each a toe-tapper would only be 10% accurate ..." - Peter Filichia, The Star-Ledger

"Solidly constructed, tuneful, consistently diverting. It's awfully close to the sort of musical that made the form nationally beloved in the Rodgers and Hammerstein era." - Marc Miller, Backstage

"Highly tuneful...A friendly show of considerable good humor." - Playbill

"There's a lot of love here, and the best qualities of 'Shine!' shine through. Go give it a go; at its best it's refreshing and, dare I say it, even inspiring." - Rob Lester, Nightlife Exchange 

"There was a stampede for 'Shine!' Who knew Horatio Alger fans had grown up in Manhattan? Onward and upward from rags to riches, one nickel at a time. Lots of jolly singing and a happy ending, Horatio Alger style. Well, it's a nice thing to be cheerful these days, isn't it? Or in 1876." - Eugene Paul, Theater Scene

"The 'Shine!' songs glow - exactly and literally the right notes and the right arrangements for Horatio Alger. I am certain that 'Shine!' will be presented all over the U.S. Bravo." - Stefan Kanfer 

"The Golden Age of Musicals is back with Shine!" - Susan Haskins, Theater Talk


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.



  • Time Period: 18th Century, 19th Century
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Additional Features: Not Applicable
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


  • Musical Style: Classic Broadway
  • Vocal Demands: Moderate
  • Orchestra Size: Medium
  • Chorus Size: Medium

Song Samples

Put Your Money In
Maybe Today


13m, 6f

3 BUSINESSMEN - ensemble roles)
A STREET VENDOR - ensemble role)
OFFICER FOY – a Policeman (ensemble role)
RICHARD HUNTER – “Ragged Dick,” age 16-18. Brash and confident with much charm. Must be exceptional singer-actor.
MICKEY MCGUIRE – Age 15-19. A street kid, tough. Clever, selfish, a wise-guy.
HENRY FOSWELL – Age 15-17. Hunter’s friend and opposite. Bookish and intelligent, but with no street smarts.
GIDEON CHAPIN – 40s. Uptight and mean-spirited clerk in charge at Snobden’s store. Conniving and unpleasant. A comic villain.
ALLEN CARLISLE – early 40s. Handsome, likable. A diamond in the rough; very wealthy now, was once poor.
HERBERT HIGGINS – 20s-30s. Ambitious but weak underling to Chapin. Slightly hysterical at times. Actor should be up to low comedy.
SILAS SNOBDEN – 50s-60s. Proprietor of Snobden, Inc. a haberdashery. Precise and demanding, but fair and not unkind. Could be plump, bald or both. Needs good character singing voice.
LUKE GERRISH – Late 30s, early 40s. Amoral, cynical, cunning and dangerous. Attractive to women and knows it. Baritone.
TWO CRONIES – male acquaintances of Luke Gerrish, ensemble roles
STACIA-JANE HAUSER – Late 20s-early 30s. Attractive, but not necessarily beautiful. Working class background. Intelligent though not well educated. Soprano or chest.
MARY McHUGH – 50s. Irish landlady. Addled, disheveled, ditzy. We like her. Sings in a beery way. Ensemble role.
FINOLA MAY MOONEY – Late 40s or 50s. Hearty, good-natured, shrewd. And very Irish.
ROB CARLISLE – Age 8, Carlisle’s son. Bright and self confident, not a brat.
MRS. O’MALLEY, MRS. CASSIDY, MRS. O’LEARY – Neighborhood women, friends of Mrs. Mooney. Ensemble roles.
MRS. HALLIWELL – Stylish woman of 40, oozes charm, is a bit of a snob. Ensemble role.
MALE ENSEMBLE – Man #1, Man #2, Man #3, Man #4
FEMALE ENSEMBLE – Woman #1, Woman #2, Woman #3, Woman #4

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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Features Children
  • Roles for Teens
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Multicultural casting
  • Roles for Children
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors


Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

20 Conductor/Piano 1 scores
Piano 2

Shared Percussion-
Piano 1: Wood block, triangle
Piano 2: Glockenspiel, crotales, bell tree, key tree, triangle, wood block, cabasa, suspended cymbal
Violin: Castanets, cabasa, triangle, wood block, tambourine, splash cymbal
Cello: Bell plate, triangle, wood block
Shared between Violin and Cello: Bell tree, suspended cymbal



Roger Anderson

Born and raised in Louisiana, Roger was encouraged as a pianist, songwriter and singer from an early age. His mother was a pioneering and flamboyant minister and piano player, his two brothers were R&B recording artists and country & gospel music was an integral part of his childhood. But drawn more to Hindemith and Ba ...

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Lee Goldsmith

Lee Goldsmith

Richard Seff

Richard Seff has been fortunate to be allowed to spend his entire working life in a field he discovered professionally when he was 19, but to which he'd been exposed as a boy of 6 when he said his first words onstage and later at 11, when he saw his first play on Broadway. Those early 11 years were spe ...

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Shine!: The Horatio Alger Musical was first presented in association with Other Side Productions at Theatre at St. Clement's as part of the 2010 New York Musical Theatre Festival in New York City.

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