Babes on Farms

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Description

A rag-tag group of actors have to put on a show and save a farm, all in one short summer. Inspired by the Mickey and Judy films and Summer Stock.

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Babes on Farms

place: New York City
time: 1950s

Characters:
Victoria Bloom
Producer
Faye
Tyler
Cook
Assistant
Katie Owens
Mickey
Tessa

This play is an homage to the Mickey and Judy backyard musicals. There are multiple opportunities to play/write your own songs.

VICTORIA BLOOM is at an audition. She is in her best outfit with her hair freshly done. She belts out her audition song and ends big. She pauses, waiting for a response that could change her life.

PRODUCER

Next!

Blackout. Lights up. Victoria enters the drugstore and takes a seat. The waitress, Faye, spots her.

FAYE

Hi, there. What can I get you?

VICTORIA

Oh hi. Is Jenny here?

FAYE

Nope, she got a job and is now in rehearsals over on 43rd.

VICTORIA

Really? That’s great, except now I can’t complain to her about me not being able to get a job.

FAYE

You can complain to me. I am Faye, after all. It’s my job to help you.

VICTORIA

I don’t know. I don’t want to bother you.

FAYE

That’s fine, I have plenty of tables I could be-

VICTORIA

It’s just that I go out day after day and sing my heart out day after day, and I can never book a job.

FAYE

You’re a singer?

VICTORIA

The best.

FAYE

You’re pretty confident.

VICTORIA

Aren’t we all? You can’t face this kind of rejection without knowing in your heart of hearts that you’re the best.

FAYE

I suppose that’s true.

VICTORIA

I’m not saying I should get a big lead on Broadway right away. I want to pay my dues, but no one will give me the chance. I also want to pay my rent, but pretty soon that is going to be impossible as well.

FAYE

Where are you living?

VICTORIA

Over at Miss Porter’s House for Girls. It’s a wonderful establishment, but it just makes you realize how many actresses there really are. When you grow up in a small town with more trees than people, it seems like New York is going to be yours. There are a million other girls just like me and we’re all trying to get the same parts. I just don’t know what to do anymore.

FAYE

Why don’t you figure it out over a nice cup of coffee and a good slice of pie.

VICTORIA

I’ve only got a dime.

FAYE

So just the coffee, then. I’ll be right back with that.

Victoria studies her dime when she hears Tyler directing the Cook behind the counter.

TYLER

No no no, that’s not how you do it.

COOK

I’ve been making eggs and toast and everything else you can imagine for forty years now. I think I know what I’m doing.

TYLER

Yes, congratulations, you’re old, but that’s not what I asked for. I said specifically, sunny side up with sausage, beans, tomato, and toast. This will be my only meal until I sing for my supper and I would like it to be a good one.

COOK

If you wanted a good meal, you shouldn’t have come here.

Cook slops the food on a plate and pushes it across the counter. Tyler takes it and starts to eat. Faye walks by Victoria.

VICTORIA

Excuse me-

FAYE

You change your mind about that pie?

VICTORIA

No, I’m still poor. Who’s that boy? The one at the counter.

FAYE

Oh that’s Tyler. Thinks he’s a great director but really just likes to boss everyone around. Maybe if he had an actual show he could be useful but as such- meh. He also sings on the street corners, pays us all in pennies most nights. He’s a great tipper, though, so we put up with him.

Faye continues her work as Victoria looks at her watch. She hears crying and approaches Katie Owens, sniffling behind her newspaper.

VICTORIA

Hey, why are you crying?

Katie ignores her.

VICTORIA (CONT’D)

Is there something upsetting in the newspaper? Was it your coffee? Please tell me it wasn’t your coffee since I just spent my last ten cents on a cup of my own.

KATIE

I’m going home.

VICTORIA

And you don’t like home?

KATIE

Home doesn’t have Broadway. Home has cows, pig feed, and chickens. Home doesn’t have the lights, the action, the excitement. Home has chores, tractors, and Tessa.

VICTORIA

Well, if you hate it so much, why are you going back?

KATIE

Because no one will let me write.

VICTORIA

Oh, so you’re a writer.

KATIE

The best. But no one’s hiring anyone right now. I came here to be an assistant, or a coffee girl, or an anything - I know I could work my way up from anything. But I can’t even get near Broadway, let alone work on it.

VICTORIA

You know, I’m having the same problem. Nobody wants what’s new, just what’s old and what they know will sell. They’re a bunch of cowards who wouldn’t know a real talent if it came up and hit them in the face.

KATIE

I don’t think they’d hire someone who hit them in the face.

VICTORIA

I guess not. But how else would you show them how good you are?

KATIE

I just need someone great to sing my songs. That’s all I want. That and some pie.

VICTORIA

I’ll go get us some. My tab is already impossible to pay, might as well add another five cents.

Victoria goes to the counter and waits behind Producer, who is raving to his Assistant.

PRODUCER

I’m telling you, Rollerman, there’s just nothing out there. Day after day we’ve been working on this show and it’s just awful. Never gets any better no matter what I do. I fired the director and hired a new one. I fired the writer and hired a new one. I fired the composers, the musicians, the actors, and the stage hands and hired all new ones. The show is still a big stinking flop! How am I supposed to put on the next big Broadway show if I’ve got no big Broadway show?

Assistant is scribbling notes.

PRODUCER (CONT’D)

What are you writing down? Are you just writing what I’m saying? Stop it. Stop it. No, don’t write me saying stop it, just stop it. You know, I have a right mind to stop paying you $15 a week. Argh, let’s just go back. It’s useless talking to you.

He bumps into Victoria.

PRODUCER (CONT’D)

Oh, sorry, sweetheart. Sometimes I can’t see what’s right in front of my nose. Carry on.

VICTORIA

is about to order her pie, when she gets an idea. She runs back to Katie.

VICTORIA

We wanna be in the next big Broadway show, right?

KATIE

Right.

VICTORIA

So why not just put it on ourselves?

KATIE

Because a Broadway show requires performers, money, and a Broadway theater. Do you know how much it costs to rent a Broadway theater?

VICTORIA

But what if we didn’t have to rent it? What if we created a great show and got other people to put it on Broadway?

KATIE

How are we supposed to do that? No one will hire us.

VICTORIA

You can write songs and a script, right?

KATIE

Of course.

VICTORIA

And I can sing, and look around, we’re surrounded by performers and musicians just begging for a job.

KATIE

We need a star dancer, though. You can’t have a big Broadway show without a star dancer.

Faye pirouettes by.

VICTORIA

Hey, hey you.

FAYE

Oh I’m sorry, I forgot your coffee. I’ll be right back.

VICTORIA

No no no, what was that? What were you just doing? Are you a dancer?

FAYE

The best.

VICTORIA

How would you like to be in the next big Broadway show?

FAYE

Are you a producer?

VICTORIA

No, but we’re gonna put on a show so great that the producers are gonna come a-runnin’ to us.

FAYE

So you’re a director too?

VICTORIA

Shoot. I can’t star and direct, I’m not Ben Affleck, amiright?!

FAYE

Who?

Victoria spots Tyler at the counter.

TYLER

This pie is horrible. Too much blueberry, not enough butter, and the ice cream is melty. I’ll have a second piece, please.

VICTORIA

Hey, bossypants.

TYLER

Excuse me?

VICTORIA

You’re a director, right?

TYLER

Yes, how’d you know? Did you see my beloved production of the Passion in my Iowa City church? It was a big hit there.

VICTORIA

No, I mostly saw you being really annoying with the cook. But then I asked and heard you were a director.

TYLER

One hundred percent. What do you need?

VICTORIA

We need you to direct. Not to boss us around, but actually direct us. We’re going to put on a new show that’ll bring in investors and producers and that will be so good that they will have absolutely no choice but to put it on Broadway.

TYLER

Will I get a share of the backend?

VICTORIA

What? No, this isn’t an international action franchise. You’ll get what we all get.

Victoria gets up on a stool in the front.

VICTORIA (CONT’D)

Kids, kids! Anyone who wants to be in the next big Broadway show, meet me-

Realizes her problem.

VICTORIA (CONT’D)

Oh no, we don’t have anywhere to meet. If we can’t rehearse, we can’t put on the show.

Katie gets up.

KATIE

Everybody meet tomorrow morning at Owens Farms. That’s where we’ll rehearse and that’s where we’ll show everyone what we’re made of.

VICTORIA

All right, everyone, you heard the girl. Owens Farms tomorrow morning, 6am sharp!

Blackout. Lights up. We’re at Owens Farms. Katie surveys the actors, who are all gathering around next to the barn.

TYLER

Good turnout. Looks like we’ve got dancers, singers, actors.

FAYE

Yeah, I can’t wait to choreograph this thing.

KATIE

I’ve already got a bunch of great ideas.

VICTORIA

Oh, this is all so exciting.

Victoria climbs up onto a tractor.

VICTORIA (CONT’D)

All right, everyone. I’m Victoria Bloom and these are my friends, Tyler McFixin, Faye Falloway, and Katie Owens. We’ll be writing, directing, choreographing, and leading this show.

KATIE

Wait, where are the musicians? I need at least one person to play with me, I can only do piano.

MICKEY

raises his hand and moves to the front.

MICKEY

I’m a musician. I can play pretty much every instrument, but the drums and the trumpet are my favorites.

KATIE

Perfect.

FAYE

So wait- what’s this play about?

TYLER

Yeah, I can’t start directing until I have something to direct.

Everyone looks at Katie.

KATIE Um. It’s about-

MICKEY

We can’t hear you!

Katie trades places with Victoria on the tractor.

KATIE

It’s um...it’s about uhhh...

The crowd grows restless.

KATIE (CONT’D)

It’s about a tiger! No, I mean, it’s about a zookeeper! No...It’s about a farmer! It’s about a farmer’s daughter, and she meets this great guy, but he’s a city boy, and he’s a reporter and they meet and it’s all about whether she’ll stay and take over the family farm or if she’ll go into the city with the boy and live there.

MICKEY

Do you have a song yet? If you just have a melody, I can play along.

Katie moves into the barn, followed by everyone. She sits at the piano.

KATIE

This is a song I’ve been working on. It’s when the reporter and the farmer’s daughter talk about getting married, but before they’ve talked about where they’ll live.

VICTORIA

Why don’t we all sing along? That way we’ll all learn it.

KATIE

One, two, one two three four-

She plays a song, with everyone singing along.

TYLER

That’s fantastic. I can see it now. Victoria, the farm girl who has always been yearning for more, meets the big city boy, played by Mickey. They meet cute and get along, but then Victoria’s sisters, Faye and Katie, see their future threatened. Their dad is old and weak, and if they don’t have all three girls working then they’ll lose the farm. Will Victoria stay and keep her family intact, keep them from losing the farm, or will she run off to New York and live with the city boy? Hot diggity, this is gonna be one great show.

FAYE

And I’ll be a dancer, who’s given up my own dreams for the sake of my family. That would make me extra mad if she tried to run off. And all our dancers and singers can play the farm animals and I can choreograph great routines to really bring this place to life.

MICKEY

And I can get some of my musician friends to come here and be the band. I know some drummers, some guitar players, some really swell harmonica players- it’ll be amazing.

VICTORIA

Yeah, we’ll be able to work all day and all night on this show, rehearsing until we’re about to drop!

KATIE

Actually...we’ll need to spend about half our time working.

VICTORIA

I know, we’ll be working around the clock.

KATIE

No, I mean...this is a working farm. Which means that if we all want to sleep here and eat here, we’re all going to have to work here.

TYLER

What are you talking about? Do you own a shop or something?

KATIE

Well, we have cows, chickens, pigs, and crops. We have to feed the animals, milk the cows, take the eggs from the chickens, farm the crops.

MICKEY

How do you feed the pigs?

KATIE

You have to take the slop to the trough.

FAYE

The what to the what?

KATIE

You need to pour a bucket of slop into those things next to the fence. You’ll need to get at least a quart of milk out of each cow every morning. And you’ll have to take at least six eggs from the chickens every day. You’ll also have to clean the coop, the barn, and the pig pen. Does anyone know how to drive a tractor?

MICKEY

I can’t even drive a Ford.

The crowds grows restless and doubtful.

FAYE

Hey hey hey, quit complaining, everyone. I don’t wanna see those sour faces, I don’t wanna hear those boring complaints. We’ve got the chance to put on a great show. Who cares if we’re cleaning up muddy pigs, or sticking our hands in a dirty chicken coop, or milking a giant cow that wants none of it. We’ve got our shot right now.

MICKEY

But we’re gonna look so bad. I can’t wear overalls and a straw hat, I just can’t.

TYLER

Yeah, I don’t want to give up my sharp three piece suits. I don’t wanna look like a farmer!

MICKEY

All the other actors in the city are gonna be looking so much better than us.

FAYE

Who cares what they’re wearing on Main Street or Saville Row?

KATIE

Yeah, it’s what you wear from ear to ear and not from head to toe.

TYLER

All right, we’ll do it. But only if we can at least make some butter and cheese and grind some bread. I’m seriously hungry.

KATIE

Do you know how to make bread, butter, and cheese?

TYLER

No?

KATIE

Then no.

VICTORIA

All right, everyone. Dancers go with Faye, singers with me, and Katie will finish writing the show. Keep your chins up, folks, because I think this is gonna be pretty terrific. Let’s go!

Blackout. Lights up. Katie is at the piano with Tyler and Mickey, writing, when her sister, Tessa, stomps in.

TESSA

Kaitlin Elizabeth Owens, why are there hoofers and songstresses all over my farm? Did you know that they’re milking the cows and making facial masks with the pig mud? What in this crazy World War II era world is going on?

KATIE

We’re putting on a show.

TESSA

This again? I don’t understand why you insist on being a songwriter when you’ve got family right here. We need you, Katie.

KATIE

Well I need to write. I’m sorry I don’t love milking the cows, collecting the eggs, and slaughtering the pigs for bacon. It’s just not who I am.

TYLER

You guys have bacon? Where can I get in on that action?

MICKEY

Tyler, we have to work on these songs, not dream about those delicious slices of the best smelling food in the world. Actually, maybe having some bacon isn’t such a bad idea.

Tyler pops open the fridge.

TYLER

Is there any apple cider in here? I could really go for a cold cup.

TESSA

What? Who are you people? No free bacon. Katie, we grew up here. Being a farmer is absolutely who you are. Nobody can get milk from Betsy like you can. She just listens to you.

TYLER

Cows can hear us? Do you think she got offended today when I called her a stubborn old cow and said her spots were ugly?

MICKEY

Do the cows ever talk back? I know that’s a silly question...but do they? Because it would be much easier to get the eggs if I could just ask the chickens for them.

TESSA

Ugh, actors. Kaitlin, I have only been able to make $15 dollars a week off that cow. If you came back we’d be making at least $30.

KATIE

Really? Don’t you think you’re being a bit dramatic? You’re a great farmer. Why don’t you just hire someone?

TESSA

Because people cost money.

TYLER

You’re going to buy people?!

MICKEY

That ain’t right.

TESSA

Why am I suddenly in a vaudeville routine?! Katie!

KATIE

Look, Tessa. I know things have been hard around here. I haven’t exactly been living it up in New York. Believe me, if I were making anything I would send it home. But for now, you are on your own. But you need to hire someone. If you get a worker, you will get more done. If you get more done, you will make more money.

TESSA

Oh I’m sorry, I forgot about that time you studied agricultural economics at the school of j’enough! We can’t get a worker because we still need a new tractor. I can only borrow so much money from the bank. Which reminds me...If we don’t make enough in the next few months, or at least show that we can make enough, they’ll take the farm away.

TYLER

Is this because you plowed under your corn and built a baseball field?

TESSA

Why are you still standing here?

Mickey takes out a glass jug of milk.

MICKEY

Is this one percent?

KATIE

Maybe we could invite the bank to come here and see our show. Maybe we can split the profit. We, the Farm Town Players, can take half to pay for everyone’s work, and the farm can take the other half.

TESSA

Who is going to come to see this show? We are in the middle of nowhere.

KATIE

We’re only an hour away from the city.

TESSA

It might as well be a day for all the rich city folk. You know how they feel about us upstate people. We might as well be invisible.

TYLER

We could bus everyone in.

MICKEY

Road trip!

TYLER

No, I’m serious. We can perform a number on a street corner and tell people all about our show. Then we can sell tickets for a bus ride and a show and get them all there. Look how many actors are here now. And think about what people will see. People who come to see this show will like the farm. They will see all the space to put on a show. They will see that the barn can fit all the actors. They will see that the farm can feed all the actors.

MICKEY

Yeah, I see where you’re going. They will see that they do not have to pay the actors that much, because they will get their food and their drinks from here. And they will not have to pay much for the farm, because the actors will do the work to help out. Producers will be itching to get their hands on this place.

KATIE

We would make more money off one show than we could in one month of Betsy and the rest of the animals.

TESSA

I don’t know. It sounds like a big risk. If this blows up in our faces, if nobody shows up and we’ve wasted our time, I’ll be left with no money and no way of hiring anyone, and thus I will lose the farm.

TYLER

This is going to be a hit because I am directing it. And Katie is writing the music. And because everyone who is in this show is just terrific and will be wonderful on stage.

MICKEY

I know you don’t know us. And I know you don’t like us. But please. Let us stay and we will show you how great it is going to be.

TESSA

Hmm. I suppose, that maybe, perhaps, possibly...you can stay.

Katie, Mickey, and Tyler cheer.

TESSA(CONT'D)

But you need to pack this barn with people and you need to put this show on fast. I can only support so many people in this place.

TYLER

Oh, thank you, Tessa, thank you so much.

MICKEY

Yeah, you’re a real lifesaver.

TYLER

A real peach!

TESSA

All right, all right. I get it. I’m fabulous. What’s new.

KATIE

Thanks, Tessa. I really appreciate it. And don’t worry, I’m going to make this family proud.

TESSA

You’d better, or else this family is over.

Blackout. Lights up. Faye is backstage with her dancers when Tyler storms in.

TYLER

All right people. We have been working for three straight weeks and we barely have a show.

FAYE

Actually, we just have this one number left.

TYLER

Well it might as well be fifty, Faye. Am I the only one who cares about this show?

FAYE

How dare you, sir. I know you’ve been working really hard, but we’ve all been working really hard. These kids have been up until three a.m. every night just to get this choreography correct. Judy there is dancing on a broken toe, Daniel pulled every leg muscle, and Mary Beth broke both her shoulders but you don’t see them coming in here and complaining. No. They’re here, doing their job. I haven’t even seen you in the last three weeks.

TYLER

That is because I have been busy directing.

FAYE

Oh really. Because all I’ve seen you do is hang out with cows and eat bacon.

TYLER

Those cows are my friends!

Mickey busts in.

MICKEY

Hey, what’s all the shouting for?

FAYE

This joker thinks we haven’t been working just as hard as he has and he’s upset that we’re only nearly done and not completely done.

TYLER

Well I’m sorry your dainty feelings have been hurt, but we open in ten minutes!

FAYE

And we will be ready.

MICKEY

Faye, what dance are you working on right now?

FAYE

Just the last number. I only have the first verse, though.

Katie and Victoria run in.

KATIE

We finished! We finished.

TYLER

You have the last song?

KATIE

Almost.

TYLER

You just said you were finished.

KATIE

We are, but the song’s not done.

TYLER

Do we not have the same definition of that word?

KATIE

I’m done with my part, but now we need Mickey to help us.

MICKEY

You want me to help you write?

KATIE

You’re the only one who plays all these different instruments. You can add the finishing touches. As long as you don’t change anything I’ve written or add anything new.

MICKEY

Okay.

Looks at the sheet paper.

MICKEY(CONT'D)

This looks really terrific. How about if we did this...and this...and ooh, let’s add a couple notes here...this is really great. This is really going knock their socks off. We’ll have that producer’s section in no time.

TYLER

All right, Victoria. You really think you can sing this?

VICTORIA

Of course.

TYLER

And Faye, you can definitely dance this?

FAYE

Um, duh.

TYLER

Katie and Mickey, you guys can play this?

KATIE

Are you really asking me that?

MICKEY

Yeah, Tyler. Stop wasting our time with useless questions. We’ve got a show to put on.

They look out at the audience and spot the producer.

FAYE

There he is! Wow. He looks exactly like you, Mickey.

MICKEY

He should be so lucky.

TYLER

All right, kids. I know these past few weeks have been crazy. We’ve been milking cows, mucking up stalls, and trying not to get bitten by those darn chickens that I’m pretty sure hate me. But we’re here now, about to start the show. This is our one chance, the one shot to impress that producer and make ‘em see why they need us. Come on kids, let’s put on a show!

The actors and musicians take their places as Tyler stands back. The overture begins and the curtain parts. Blackout. Lights up. We are backstage. The actors have just finished the penultimate scene. They run backstage as the crew adjusts the stage.

FAYE

That was amazing. Just one more number and we’ve done it!

VICTORIA

I don’t think I can do it.

FAYE

What say you?

VICTORIA

I can see the producer from the stage, and I just keep thinking about how important this is. How everything depends on my performance.

FAYE

Remember back in that diner? You told me you were the best singer.

VICTORIA

But what if I’m not? What if I’m just really really good?

FAYE

I’ll have none of that talk. The show has to finish and we’re not going to do it without you. Just sing it like we’re back in rehearsal. Who cares what the producer thinks? We just put on a show of our very own.

TYLER

Places, people! Places!

FAYE

You got this, girl.

They go onto the stage and Victoria freezes. Once the music begins, though, she relaxes and gives a rousing rendition of her song. The cast dances and their performance garners a standing ovation. They exit the stage.

KATIE

We did it guys!

TESSA

Yeah, you actually pulled that off. There goes fifty bucks to farmer Fred.

The Producer enters.

PRODUCER

Who’s in charge of this place?

TYLER

I’m the director, sir.

PRODUCER

Hmph. A little young to be a director, aren’t you? But then again, today seems to be all about youth. Quite a production you got here. And in a barn no less. How American.

TYLER

Thank you, sir.

PRODUCER

You kids put this together all by yourselves?

TYLER

Katie did the music with some help from Mickey and Faye did the choreography.

PRODUCER

Hmm, interesting. Very interesting. You know, I’ve been looking for something fresh, something new. I’m not saying you’re it, but perhaps, maybe, possibly, I guess it could be you. Would you people be ready to perform this eight times a week on Broadway?

TYLER

Yes! Absolutely, sir.

PRODUCER

Hmph.

TYLER

Gosh sir, that would be just terrific.

PRODUCER

Hmph. Meet me at the St. James on Tuesday. Three p.m. sharp, if you want to start your show at seven. I’ll be selling a lot of tickets so you’d better be good. Hmph.

Producer leaves.

KATIE

Gee whiz. I can’t believe it. We’re going to Broadway.

FAYE

Of course we did it, we’re all really great at what we do. But yeah, it is pretty cool.

TESSA

So when are you guys gonna give me my money?

VICTORIA

Let’s go celebrate. Tonight we can go crazy, but tomorrow we get back to work. Because come Tuesday, we’re going to put on the best show Broadway has ever seen!

They cheer. Blackout. End of play.