The Big One-Oh! JR.
The Broadway Junior adaptation of the family favorite book and musical!
Show Essentials
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Full Synopsis

Screams! Sirens! Flashing lights! It's Charley Maplewood's tenth birthday, and he's made a terrible mess of everything.

Charley explains that it all began one month ago when he arrived home from school to be greeted by Boing Boing, his very vocal dog. Mrs. Cleveland, Charley's nosy neighbor, suggests that he check his mailbox, where a package is waiting from Charley's Dad. It's a birthday greeting, and, as usual, Dad has gotten Charley's birth date wrong ("Happy Birthday From Scotland"). But even though the gift is a month early, Charley is excited to receive two issues of his favorite comic book ("Monsters & Maniacs - Part 1"). Charley introduces his imaginary Monster friends - Zombie,King, Alien, and Swampy -- but is interrupted when his neighbor Garry Quarky rushes across the stage, screaming and juggling a smoking test tube. Charley explains that his Mom labeled Garry 'odd' ever since she baked him cookies when he first moved to the neighborhood and he never thanked her. Charley then reveals that, though he has his Monsters for company, he doesn't really have any friends at school ("Monsters & Maniacs - Part 2"). In Dad's package Charley also finds a card ("The Birthday Card") with a question that triggers Charley's subsequent adventures: "What are you going to do for your big day?" Charley contemplates what he might want to do for his birthday and the awesome significance of turning ten ("Some Sort of Celebration").

In the kitchen, Charley preps dinner. When Mom gets home, Zombie King noodges him to ask her what ideas she has for his 'big day.' Mom assures Charley that his birthday is a month away, and they still have plenty of time to plan. But his big sister Lorena, along with her friends Lilith, Lillian, and Leilani, mock Charley for his exuberance ("So Lame"). Seeing Charley cooking, Mom regretfully reminds him that she has dinner plans with Vince Champagne, her loud-mouthed party-planner boyfriend. On her way out to her job at the Chick-A-Dee, a fast food restaurant, Lorena wonders who Charley would invite to a birthday party because he has no friends. Concerned, Mom asks Charley if he has friends, and Charley replies, "Doesn't everybody?" After Mom leaves, Charley wistfully reminisces about spending time in the kitchen with the last person he truly considered a friend - his dad ("Delicious").

Swampy, Zombie King, and Alien help Charley as he attempts to compile a list of friends to invite to his party ("Can You Call This Person A Friend?"). But Donna Pointer, the most popular girl in school, can't even remember his name. Darryl Egbert, the smartest kid in fourth grade, is too busy to stop and talk. Cougar and Scottie, Fresno Elementary's resident "tough guys," regularly demand Charley's lunch money. And Jennifer Mobley, talkative and exhausting, only wants to blab about Monsters & Maniacs. Charley's list is blank, and he returns home disappointed and unsure whether he even wants a party.

Outside Charley's house, Boing Boing greets him with a human foot in his mouth! Running after Boing Boing is Garry, who explains that the foot isn't real but, rather, a "special effect," a prop he's made for a show at a local community theatre. When Charley goes inside, he finds Vince Champagne waiting to tell him what he has to do for his upcoming birthday ("The Perfect Party"). As Vince lists the three things he'll need -- friends, a party theme, and a cake-- Charley chops onions, which make him tear up. Thinking he's crying, Vince calls Charley a "freak!," and Mom asks Vince to leave - forever.

That night as Charley walks Boing Boing, he witnesses Stacy, Garry's girlfriend, break up with him after calling him a "freak!" Charley is disturbed by the symmetry between him and Garry and decides that now he's got to have a birthday party. So now he'll need a theme.

The next day at school, Jennifer relates the events of her own ill-fated, theatre-themed ninth birthday party ("Jennifer Is Gonna Have A Birthday").

On his way home, Charley is still worrying about his party when he runs into Garry, knocking grocery bags out of his arms. Seeing that Garry has only bought dozens of bags of potato chips, Charley offers to help him change his diet. Garry is so grateful that he shows Charley the workshop where he makes his "special effects."

They discover that they share a love of Monsters & Maniacs, and Charley is very impressed that Garry scares people for a living. Charley admits he can only scare Lorena by sneaking
up on her and yelling 'boo!' (So Lame - Reprise 1). But Garry explains to Charley how to make scary props out of latex, a flammable goo (Better Than A "Boo!"), which gives Charley - finally! - the inspiration for his own birthday theme: "Charley Maplewood's House of Horrors Birthday Celebration!"

Mom isn't happy when she finds Charley in Garry's spooky workshop and threatens to call off Charley's party unless he promises to stop speaking to Garry. Charley reluctantly agrees, although he'd been counting on Garry to help him make effects for his party. What's he supposed to do now?

Undeterred, Charley and his Monsters make invitations for the party ("Making Invitations"). Later, Mom comes to Charley's room after finding his Dad's mis-dated birthday card. Hoping to lift his spirits, she invites Charley to join her in singing his favorite lullaby, but he claims he is too old for that now ("Lullaby").

The next day at school, Charley hands out his invitations ("The Invitation"), but because Cougar and Scottie snatch the last two, Charley hasn't got one for Jennifer.

Back at home, Mrs. Cleveland asks Charley to hold onto a package marked FLAMMABLE that was left on Garry's porch until Garry can pick it up. Charley realizes the box is full of latex and decides that - if he can't count on Garry's help for his party-- he'll make his own special effects ("Making Special Effects"). Lorena, as usual, scoffs at his plans ("So Lame - Reprise 2"). Charley opts to dry the latex effects he creates by using the space heater in the garage. When Garry comes to the door asking for his package, Charley lies and says it was lost. But when smoke starts pouring from the garage, Garry springs into action, rescuing Boing Boing and putting out the fire Charley started with the latex and the space heater. Hurt that Charley lied to him, Garry says, "I thought we were friends," before turning and leaving. On top of that, Mom, upset by Charley's fire, announces that his party is cancelled.

The next day at school, Charley tells everyone that the party is off - but they won't accept his decision and try to impress upon Charley the importance of this specific birthday ("This Is Big - Encore"). They almost persuade him to defy his mom's order, but when Jennifer is crushed to learn that there is no invitation for her, Charley feels so awful he resolves to cancel his party once and for all. But then Jennifer convinces him not to ("That Could Be Me"), and Charley winds up inviting her to his party -- a party he'll now have to throw all by himself.

On the street in front of his house, Charley apologizes to Garry and invites him to his secret party ("Better Than A "Boo!" - Reprise"). But Garry declines, explaining that he has an appointment at the same time to audition his "effects" for the local community theatre.

The next morning, Mom and Lorena wake Charley with a birthday cupcake before Mom leaves for work. Lorena presents Charley with a bunch of balloons that Dad had ordered delivered, along with a note apologizing for initially getting the date wrong, But Charley is so upset about how badly everything's going that - in a burst of hurt and anger - he pops all the balloons. For the first time, Lorena behaves like a big sister, calming him down and reminding her brother of all that they share ("We've Got Each Other"). Charley confesses to Lorena that kids from school are coming to the house for a party that he's throwing without Mom's permission. Lorena is so impressed by Charley's moxie that she offers to help by making the cake. Which she promptly ruins.

The kids arrive and are disappointed to find that nothing about Charley's party is scary - until the lights go out and, in the dark, they realize the ghosts they're seeing all around them aren't Lorena! Chaos ensues until Mom and Garry reveal themselves! Garry explains he was so moved by Charley's apology that he brought the Community Theatre Folks and dressed them as ghosts to make Charley's party truly spooky. ("Better Than A "Boo!" - Reprise 2"). Garry presents Charley with an impressive horror-themed birthday cake he made himself, and Charley blows out all the candles before making his wish.

And the capper to this very awful, very eventful, very amazing day comes when Charley finally trades his imaginary friends... for real ones ("This Is Big - Finale")!

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Cast Size: Large (21 or more performers)
Cast Type: Children

Character Breakdown

Charley Maplewood

The hero of our story. he’s a nine-year-old about to turn ten with no clue about how to celebrate his upcoming birthday. His family has recently moved, so he’s in a new school where he feels friendless. To cope with his loneliness, Charley has conjured up three imaginary friends – his Monsters – from the pages of his favorite comic book series, Monsters & Maniacs. Cast an actor who can sing, move, and act very well. The single most important quality to look for in an actor, however, is likeability. You want a Charley with whom your audience will fall in love and cheer for from the start.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Boing Boing

Charley’s dog, his most patient and supportive friend. Without words, Boing Boing communicates with a whimper or a bark, a turn of the head, a scowl, the lifting of a paw, or the raising of an eyebrow. Cast an actor with good physicality and a sense of playfulness. A clever and agile performer can improvise moments beyond those in the script.

Mrs. Cleveland

Fresno’s biggest snoop and the neighborhood busybody. Cast an actress with a BIG speaking voice who’s unafraid to overact – someone who can dominate the stage whenever she enters. She has no solos but should be able to contribute to ensemble numbers.

Gender: female

Charley’s father, lives in Scotland but pops up whenever Charley refers to him. He’s big-hearted and upbeat, even though he never seems to get the date of Charley’s birthday right. He’s a chef – a really good one, according to Charley. Look for an actor with a good voice, a strong sense of rhythm, and a big smile.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: F5
Vocal range bottom: C4
Zombie King, Swampy, and Alien

Charley’s imaginary friends – his 3 Monsters. When Charley is feeling frazzled or friendless, his Monsters appear to talk him through any dilemma. To play these fantastical creations, cast actors who can give their own special spin to these characters, starting with quirky speaking voices that will differentiate them. Look for actors who are physically adept, since these ‘creatures’ might squat or slither or jump or roll as they weave their way around Charley. They sing together a lot, so be sure your actors are good with harmonies.

Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Garry Quarky

Charley’s puzzling next- door neighbor. He starts out seeming like a scatterbrained mad scientist, but eventually reveals himself to be a talented creator of special effects who shares many of Charley’s interests – not only in Monsters & Maniacs but in all sorts of scary and ooky stuff as well. Their friendship is one of the most surprising in Charley’s young life. Cast an excellent actor and singer with improvisational and comedic skills who is also able to handle props with ease.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: G5
Vocal range bottom: C4

A nurse with a challenging work schedule, patient and supportive of both her children, always trying to figure them out as best she can. She goes out of her way to say good things about her ex-husband (Dad) whenever he comes up. Cast a steadfast actress with a calm demeanor and a ready smile whom we’ll believe can weather the obstacles facing a single mother of two. She has a very small solo (“Lullaby”), but sings in group numbers.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: C#5
Vocal range bottom: A3

Charley’s eye-rolling older sister who works at a fast-food restaurant. Because she is always tossing her hair and scoffing in exasperation, look for an actress who’s not afraid to be funny. Lorena carries one number (“So Lame”), which is deceptive in its difficulty. Cast an actress with a good sense of timing who can hold her own when singing harmonies with others.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: C#5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Lillian, Lilith, and Leilani (The 3 L’s)

Lorena’s friends who sing backup for her during “So Lame.” Cast performers who can match Lorena’s teenage attitude and are comfortable singing tight harmonies.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: F#4
Donna Pointer

The most popular girl in school. She’s a bouncy social butterfly who has lots of friends and a very full calendar. She has important solo lines in several numbers, so cast someone with a solid singing voice who can exude effervescent enthusiasm.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: A3
Dina and Dana

Donna’s best friends. These three go everywhere together, so cast actors who can match Donna’s high energy.

Gender: female
Vocal range top: Bb4
Vocal range bottom: F4
Darryl Egbert

The smartest boy in fourth grade. He’s also a bit of a mess. His brain – and his mouth – are constantly running at a hundred miles an hour as he obsesses and processes every little thing. The role requires an actor who can explode with energy while also accurately delivering some challenging

Gender: male
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: D4

Together with Scottie – Fresno Elementary School’s resident bad guys. Cougar (whose real name is Leland, but don’t call them that!) enjoys swaggering through the school hallways, acting tough but never following through on their threats. Cast any actor with an imposing physicality – someone with a lot of bark but no bite. Like all of Charley’s classmates, Cougar must sing with conviction and power and be able to harmonize

Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: A3

Cougar’s sidekick – a bully without a mean bone in their body. Scottie, lacking Cougar’s inventiveness, is always ready to go along with whatever shenanigans Cougar suggests. Cougar and Scottie together form a comedy duo, so cast two actors with strong voices who can make us (and each other) laugh!

Vocal range top: C5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Jennifer Mobley

New to Fresno Elementary School and having trouble making friends. But because they both share an interest in Monsters & Maniacs, Jennifer has targeted Charley with her aggressive excitement, dashing into every scene she’s a part of and interrupting whatever else is going on. Her indomitable high spirits seem indestructible... until Charley fails to invite her to his birthday party. She carries one of the most important songs in the show – the only ballad! – so cast an actress with a strong voice and a good vocal range who can portray manic energy as well as wounded introspection

Gender: female
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: A3
Vince Champagne

A back-slapping, loud- talking party planner who’s unafraid to speak his mind, no matter whom he offends in the process. Vince is dating Mom, which is how he comes to offer Charley “Vince Champagne’s three basics of a good birthday party.” Cast an actor who – with his voice, personality, and physicality – can fill up a stage and mow down anyone who gets in his way.

Gender: male
Vocal range top: D5
Vocal range bottom: B3
Assistant Andy and Assistant Annie

Vince Champagne’s assistants in “A Perfect Party.” They each have brief featured solo lines in the song and sing with small groups too. These are great roles for young performers who are newer to the stage.

Vocal range top: B4
Vocal range bottom: B3

Garry’s ex-girlfriend. She has no sung solos but can shine during her brief breakup scene with Garry. This is a good role for a fantastic actor who can do a lot with a cameo.

Gender: female

Consists of Company, Monster Chorus, Students (Popular Kids, Bullies, Nerd Herd), Lion King Performers, Lion King Soloist, Jennifer’s Mom, Jeffrey Stovall, Motorcycle Cop, and Garry's Community Theater Friends. These are great spots for anyone who’d like to be involved in your show! Note that Jennifer’s Mom, Jeffrey Stovall, and Motorcycle Cop are non-singing

Full Song List
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Happy Birthday From Scotland
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Monsters & Maniacs (Part 1)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Monsters & Maniacs (Part 2)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: The Birthday Card
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Some Sort Of Celebration
The Big One-Oh! JR.: So Lame (Part 1)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: So Lame (Part 2)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: So Lame (Part 3)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Delicious
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Can You Call This Person A Friend? (Part 1)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Can You Call This Person A Friend? (Part 2)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: A Perfect Party
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Jennifer Is Gonna Have A Birthday
The Big One-Oh! JR.: So Lame (Reprise 1)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Better Than A “Boo!”
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Making Invitations
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Lullaby
The Big One-Oh! JR.: The Invitation
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Making Special Effects
The Big One-Oh! JR.: So Lame (Reprise 2)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: This Is Big
The Big One-Oh! JR.: That Could Be Me
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Better Than A “Boo!”(Reprise 1)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: We’ve Got Each Other
The Big One-Oh! JR.: House Of Horrors
The Big One-Oh! JR.: Better Than A “Boo!” (Reprise 2)
The Big One-Oh! JR.: This Is Big Finale

Curriculum Connection

  • Math
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Comic Art
  • Science & Technology of Special Effects



Under the terms and conditions of your organisation’s Performance Agreement, the following credits must appear on all advertising (including websites) relating to the production. Credits must be reproduced faithfully in accordance with the following layout. No alterations or deletions can be permitted unless stated below.
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Music by 

Doug Besterman

Lyrics by

Dean Pitchford

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Libretto by
Timothy Allen McDonald


Based on the novel The Big One-Oh by Dean Pitchford
Vocal Arrangements and Incidental Music by
Britt Bonney and Daniel J. Mertzlufft
Orchestrations by
Michael Starobin
Originally directed and choreographed by MK Lawson

World Premiere Presented by
Atlantic Theater Company, Atlantic for Kids New York City, September 28, 2019


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