Little Miss Dreamer (A Nite in the Life of Bessie Smith) by Ed Shockley

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About The Play

Comedy.  About 50 minutes.  Flexible cast of 9-40.  Suitable for high school and older.  

Now a classic work of Afro-American theatre, the premiere production starring Ebony Jo-Ann, Brel Barbara Clarke and Clebert Ford set a box office record at New York's Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop and won the coveted Audelco awards for Best Musical Production, Best Actress and Best Director. The two subsequent box office record setting Chicago runs are a literal who's who of contemporary jazz and blues greats. Odetta, Jean DuShon (Bubbling Brown Sugar), Jefferson Award winner Sasha Dalton and current blues sensation Valerie Wellington in her stage debut, Little Brother Montgomery, and former Miles Davis musical director Bobby Irving.

Digital Perusal Script: $5.95.   Performance Royalties: $35.00/performance.  Production Photocopy License:  $35.00 (PDF file that may be printed/copied for your cast/crew; must be purchased in conjunction with Performance Royalties)Classroom Photocopy License:  $50.00 (PDF file that may be printed/copied for closed classroom study only).  Limited Video License:  $35.00 (permission to record your production with limited distribution; must be purchased in conjunction with Performance Royalties).  Professional rights should be negotiated directly with YouthPLAYS at  Need detailed help?  Click on Place an Order and then look for the blue What Do I Order? button!


Young Bessie Smith is facing her first audience north of the Mason-Dixon line. She has already seen them heckle a performer from the stage earlier. She tries to find courage in a jar of moonshine but instead animates the furniture of her dressing room and it leads her back through the challenges and triumphs of her difficult childhood that have destined her for stardom.

Did You Know?

One of Tara Meddaugh’s monologues was included in the Oxford Press 9th Grade Language Arts textbook in South Africa.