Happy National Best Friend’s Day to our number one pals, buddies, mates, chums and sidekicks! Best friendship is complex and diverse yet universal. From the page to the stage, we have seen best friends on the bleachers at Rydell High to under the sea.
Check out these plays and musicals that feature the best of friends.
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 1m)
After suffering a major loss while he was on a cross-country bike trip, 21 year-old Leo seeks solace from his feisty 91-year-old grandmother Vera in her West Village apartment. Over the course of a single month, these unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder, and ultimately reach each other. 4000 Miles looks at how two outsiders find their way in today’s world.
Angry Fags by Topher Payne (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dark Comedy / 4f, 3m)
Bennett is really trying to keep it together right now. He broke up with his boyfriend and moved in with his best friend Cooper. It’s election season, and he’s the speechwriter for Georgia’s only gay state senator, who’s engaged in a bloody campaign against a conservative darling. Then Bennett’s ex is attacked in the parking lot of a gay bar. Bennett and Cooper are informed by a police detective that the assault can’t be classified as a hate crime. Because in Georgia, hate crimes against homosexuals don’t legally exist. Their frustration and fear eventually turns to rage, as they realize that “acceptance” simply isn’t enough. They’re still living in a society that relegates them to second-class status. They’re not respected. They’re not feared. It’s time for that to change.
Antlia Pneumatica by Anne Washburn (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 4f, 2m)
A group gathers at a remote ranch in the Texas Hill country to mourn the loss of a friend they haven’t seen in years. As the group mines through their pasts, it may be more than just the loss of a friend that binds them. The past and present begin to blur in Anne Washburn’s haunting exploration of friendship and loss.
Be More Chill Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis / Book by Joe Tracz / Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy)
Jeremy Heere is just an average teenager. That is, until he finds out about “The Squip,” a tiny supercomputer that promises to bring him everything he desires most: a date with Christine, an invite to the raddest party of the year and a chance to survive life in his suburban New Jersey high school. But is being the most popular guy in school worth the risk?
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson (US/UK)
Music/ Lyrics by Carol Hall/ Based on a story by Larry L. King
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 14f, 13m)
This happy-go-lucky view of small town vice and statewide political sidestepping recounts the good times and the demise of the Chicken Ranch, known since the 1850s as one of the better pleasure palaces in all of Texas. Governors, senators, mayors, and even victorious college football teams frequent Miss Mona’s cozy bordello until that puritan nemesis Watchdog focuses his television cameras and his righteous indignation on the institution.
A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking by John Ford Noonan (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f)
This two-character comedy takes place in suburban Westchester County, New York kitchen of Maude Mix, who is having a tough day: her husband is off on a weekend spree with his secretary and she can’t get rid of the pesky neighbor who has just moved up from Texas. Hannah Mae Bindler badgers Maude into friendship and the two eventually join forces against their errant and erring husbands.
Extinction by Gabe McKinley (US)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2f, 2m)
Two college buddies whose annual outing of male bonding and debauchery veers precipitously off-course when unmet expectations spiral into a volatile showdown. A darkly funny drama exploring the evolution of friendships – and the lengths to which we go to save them from falling into extinction.
Friend Art by Sofia Alvarez (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 2m)
Molly and Kevin are engaged; they have “normal” jobs. Kevin and Nate have known each other since they were kids. Nate used to be famous once. He just broke up with Lil, who does performance art, and she used to work with Molly, who wanted to be an actress a long time ago. These relationships come to a head when Kevin decides he no longer wants the regular life he convinced Molly to live with him. Friend Art asks how late is too late to give up on your dreams, when are you really a grownup, and what the hell are you supposed to say when walking out of friend’s truly terrible performance?
Geek! by Crystal Skillman (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 4f, 2m)
With pissed-off Pikachus, steam punk armies, stood-up Sailor Moons and rollerblading monsters on the prowl, it’s easy to get lost in the Inferno-esque anime convention where the fans, the otakus, and the geeks prowl. But to score a rare meeting with their comic book idol, teenage outcasts Dayna and Honey will take on obsessive magic players, Jedis and elfs, cosplayers and convention guards – through all nine flights of Ohio’s Dante’s Fire-Con. But when the dark nature of their quest breaks through the fantasy of these girls cos-playing, they find that no game can mask the deep loss they’ve recently shared… unless they truly discover who they are.
Grease </stron g>Book, Music and Lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 8f, 9m)
Here is Rydell High’s senior class of 1959: duck-tailed, hot-rodding “Burger Palace Boys” and their gum-snapping, hip-shaking “Pink Ladies” in bobby sox and pedal pushers, evoking the look and sound of the 1950s in this rollicking musical. Head “greaser” Danny Zuko and new (good) girl Sandy Dumbrowski try to relive the high romance of their “Summer Nights” as the rest of the gang sings and dances its way through such songs as “Greased Lightnin’,” “It’s Raining on Prom Night,” and “Alone at the Drive-In Movie,” recalling the music of Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley that became the soundtrack of a generation.
Heathers The Musical Book, Music & Lyrics by Kevin Murphy & Laurence O’Keefe / Based on the film written by Daniel Waters (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy / 9f, 8m)
Based on the classic 1989 film! Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather, and Heather, the hottest and cruelest girls in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under.
Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn Based on the Film from Universal Pictures / Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin / Book by Gordon Greenberg and Chad Hodge (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 3f, 3m, 1boy)
Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn tells the story of Jim, who leaves the bright lights of show business behind to settle down on his farmhouse in Connecticut… but life just isn’t the same without a bit of song and dance. Jim’s luck takes a spectacular turn when he meets Linda, a spirited schoolteacher with talent to spare. Together they turn the farmhouse into a fabulous inn with dazzling performances to celebrate each holiday, from Thanksgiving to the Fourth of July. But when Jim’s best friend Ted tries to lure Linda to Hollywood to be his new dance partner, will Jim be able to salvage his latest chance at love?
Imaginary Friends Music and Lyrics by Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia / Book by Nora Ephron (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 6f, 3m)
Novelist Mary McCarthy’s notorious statement on the Dick Cavett Show calling playwright Lillian Hellman a liar exploded into one of the most famous of all literary feuds. This surreal farce portrays these two literary lionesses battling it out in hell. It chronicles a compelling story of two women shaped by their different but equally unsettled childhoods, their looks (one was a beauty, one was not) and the men in their lives while it brilliantly examines to great comic effect the concept of truth in fiction: Who can you believe? Interspersed throughout are witty songs that enable the ensemble to comment on the action.
Jasper in Deadland by Hunter Foster and Ryan Scott Oliver (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy / 4f, 5m)
Jasper is lost in the living world. When you’re failing classes, kicked off the swim team, and your family is on the skids, life can feel like it’s going to hell. Yet, in all the disappointment, Jasper has his best friend, Agnes. In one night of teenage passion, Jasper and Agnes consummate a years-long friendship. But in the morning Agnes is gone, telling Jasper to meet her at their cliff. When he arrives there’s no sign of his best friend, only a swirling vortex to another world in the water below. Jasper dives into Deadland.
The Mystery of Love & Sex by Bathsheba Doran (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 2f, 3m)
Deep in the American South, Charlotte and Jonny have been best friends since they were nine. She’s Jewish, he’s Christian, he’s Black, she’s white. Their differences intensify their connection until sexual desire complicates everything in surprising, compulsive ways. An unexpected love story about where souls meet and the consequences of growing up.
Nice Fish by Louis Jenkins and Mark Rylance (US)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 1f, 4m)
On a frozen Minnesota lake, the ice is beginning to creak and groan. It’s the end of the fishing season, and two old friends are out on the ice, angling for something big; something down there that is pure need. Something that might just swallow them whole.
The Odd Couple by Neil Simon (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 6m)
This classic comedy opens as a group of the guys assemble for cards in the apartment of divorced Oscar Madison. And if the mess is any indication, it’s no wonder that his wife left him. Late to arrive is Felix Unger, who has just been separated from his wife. Fastidious, depressed, and none too tense, Felix seems suicidal, but as the action unfolds, Oscar becomes the one with murder on his mind when the clean freak and the slob ultimately decide to room together with hilarious results as “The Odd Couple” is born.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 2f, 14m)
Acclaimed as a modern dramatic masterpiece, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is the fabulously inventive tale of Hamlet as told from the worm’s-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play. In Tom Stoppard’s best-known work, this Shakespearean Laurel and Hardy finally get a chance to take the lead role, but do so in a world where echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, where reality and illusion intermix, and where fate leads our two heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.
School of Rock Based on the Paramount movie by Mike White / Book by Julian Fellowes / Lyrics by Glenn Slater / New Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber (US)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 6f,
9m, 6girls, 5boys)
Rock got no reason, rock got no rhyme…You better get me to school on time! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock – The Musical is a two-hour, two-act show (plus intermission), based on the hit movie. The tuner follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn an extra bit of cash by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight–A pupils into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. But can he get them to the Battle of the Bands without their parents and the school’s headmistress finding out?
Significant Other by Joshua Harmon (US)
(Full-Length Play, Comedy / 4f, 3m)
Jordan is single, and finding Mr. Right is much easier said than done. While surrounding himself with his close group of girlfriends it comes to pass that the only thing harder than looking for love is supporting the loved ones around you.
The Spongebob Musical by Stephen Hillenburg, Kyle Jarrow, Tina Landau and Various Musical Artists (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 16 any gender)
The stakes are higher than ever in this dynamic stage musical, as SpongeBob and all of Bikini Bottom face the total annihilation of their undersea world. Chaos erupts. Lives hang in the balance. And just when all hope seems lost, a most unexpected hero rises up and takes center stage. The power of optimism really can save the world!
A Steady Rain by Keith Huff (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Drama / 2m)
Joey and Denny have been best friends since kindergarten, and after working together for several years as policemen in Chicago, they are practically family: Joey helps out with Denny’s wife and kids; Denny keeps Joey away from the bottle. But when a domestic disturbance call takes a turn for the worse, their friendship is put on the line. The result is a harrowing journey into a moral gray area where trust and loyalty struggle for survival against a sobering backdrop of pimps, prostitutes, and criminal lowlifes.
Taking Flight by Adriana Sevahn Nichols (US)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 1f)
First there was Mary and Rhoda, then Thelma and Louise, and now Adriana and Rhonda, two lovable and unforgettable friends. One, searching for the goddess and her shamanic roots, the other, planning her epic “Godfather meets the Mists of Avalon” wedding, until 9/11 changes everything, leaving one in a hospital bed and the other intent on doing whatever it takes to save her friend.
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 4m, 1boy)
Two wandering tramps, Vladimir and Estragon, wait by a lonely tree, to meet up with Mr. Godot, an enigmatic figure in a world where time, place and memory are blurred and meaning is where you find it. The tramps hope that Godot will change their lives for the better. Instead, two eccentric travelers arrive, one man on the end of the other’s rope. The results are both funny and dangerous in this existential masterpiece.
The Wizard of Oz By L. Frank Baum / With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg / Background Music by Herbert Stothart (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Dramatic Comedy / 3f, 5m, 16 any gender)
Follow the yellow brick road in this delightful stage adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s beloved tale, featuring the iconic musical score from the MGM film. The timeless tale, in which young Dorothy Gale travels from Kansas over the rainbow to the magical Land of Oz, continues to thrill audiences worldwide.
The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe (US/UK)
(Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy / 10f)
Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girls’ indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vim and vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. A portrait of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nine American girls who just want to score some goals.
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown Based on The Comic Strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz / Book, Music and Lyrics by Clark Gesner / Additional Dialogue by Michael Mayer / Additional Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa (US/UK)
(Full-Length Musical, Comedy / 2f, 4m)
With charm, wit, and heart, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown explores life through the eyes of Charlie Brown and his friends in the Peanuts gang. This revue of songs and vignettes, based on the beloved Charles Schulz comic strip, is the ideal first show for those who would like to do a musical. Musical numbers include “My Blanket and Me,” “The Kite,” “The Baseball Game,” “Little Known Facts,” “Suppertime,” and “Happiness.” Guaranteed to please audiences of all ages!
Header Image: 2017 Broadway production of Significant Other (Joan Marcus)