To the Top

by  Kathleen Warnock

Full Length Play, Drama  /  8f

Winner! South Carolina Playwrights Festival

"Explores the undue pressures of college athletics on the children involved, the added concerns of the second class status of women's athletics and, as such, the status of women forced to compete in any field typically dominated by men." - Free Times

Read more +
License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Scene work
    • Competition or audition material

Additional Info

The Lady Bulldogs, a college basketball team, is shooting for the national championship. From the locker room before, during and after games, we follow their triumphs and heartbreaks, betrayals and friendships.
Read more +


  • Winner! South Carolina Playwrights Festival



"Explores the undue pressures of college athletics on the children involved, the added concerns of the second class status of women's athletics and, as such, the status of women forced to compete in any field typically dominated by men." - Free Times

"A grim portrait of an American institution caught with its institutional pants down." - The State




Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Professional Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Intense Adult Intense Adult Themes
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Setting: A locker room
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


PATRICIA "NORRIE" NORRIS - The head coach of the Lady Bulldogs, a Division I, nationally ranked, women's basketball team at a large Southern University. Mid-30s, impeccably tailored, sometimes flamboyant. She demands absolute loyalty from those around her, and. gets rid of those who do not provide it. She wields much power and is not afraid to use it. 
ALICE FARRELL - The head trainer of the Lady Bulldogs. Late 20s. A tall former player who moves with the lope of a lifetime jock. She always looks uncomfortable in street clothes, prefers sweats and t-shirts whenever she can get away with them. She is a timid sort, who lacked a killer instinct on the court, but has always worked long, hard and uncomplainingly. 
MARY ELLEN DONOHUE - A freshman guard on the Lady Bulldogs. She had just turned eighteen, and emotionally, is much younger than that. She lives in her own world. Basketball is her life. She is still growing into her body, and her womanhood. She is intelligent, but sometimes has trouble articulating what she wants to say. 
FAITH PEAVY - A freshman center on the Lady Bulldogs. Very tall. From an extremely poor rural background. Would not be in college except for her athletic ability. She is not stupid, but basically disadvantaged, both educationally and psychologically. She has a hearing loss and/or a slight speech defect. She is not very healthy. She has complete confidence in Norrie and worships her.
JULIE STANKAVAGE - Senior guard on the Lady Bulldogs. Plain, serious, twenty-three years old. Loyal as a real bulldog and too sman-and honest-for her own good. Has an incredible hatred of losing. 
CASEY CARTER - Early /mid-twenties. Sportswriter for local paper. She doesn't trust much, and would love to break a big story that would get her out of this town. She does have a sense of decency and honor that keeps her from getting too vicious-most of the time. She wonders how useful that is.
NANCY "SPIDER" WEBB - Assistant coach of the Lady Bulldogs. Late 20s. Used to be a point guard when she was a player, and is always looking for the opening. She likes to direct her own and other people's lives as she used to direct the flow of action on the court. Incredibly ambitious. Has the proverbial killer instinct, and can sense who is on the rise, moving quickly to grab coattails. 
MEREDITII ROSEN - Mary Ellen's mother. Hard to tell how old she is-the sort of woman you don't expect to have a teenage daughter. She is a wealthy, successful businesswoman. Frequently referred to as a ballbiter. She is no longer married to Mary Ellen's father, nor to her other two husbands. She both loves and resents her daughter.
THE LADY BULLDOGS - Budget permitting, there should be at least six other players, staff members, student assistants and trainers.
See all +

Cast Attributes

  • All Female
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Flexible casting
  • Room for Extras



Kathleen Warnock

Kathleen Warnock is a New York City-based playwright and editor. Her work has been produced in NYC, London, Dublin (Ireland and Georgia) and regionally. Full-length plays include "Outlook," "Rock the Line," "Grieving for Genevieve" (John Golden Prize) and "To the Top" (Winner, South Carolina Playwrights Festival.) O ...

View full profile

To the Top premiered at the South Carolina Playwrights Festival at the Trustus Theater in Columbia, SC in August 1990 under the direction of Jim Thigpen.

Now Playing

Community Experiences