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Broadbend, Arkansas


Broadbend, Arkansas
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An African-American family grapples with decades of inequality, violence, and suppression in the South.  Benny, an orderly at a nursing home, delicately balances his role as a caregiver to an ornery white resident who shares a contentious past with his white boss, while at the same time caring for his own family as the fight for equality grips the nation in the midst of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Twenty-seven years later, his daughter, Ruby, struggles to understand an incident of police brutality against her 15-year-old son. This unique musical, spanning three decades and three generations, asks us to contemplate the cycle of violence in this country and how we will find hope and create change against the backdrop of hate that plagues America.   

Also available for separate licensing: JUST ONE Q (Act One of Broadbend, Arkansas)

Libretto by Ellen Fitzhugh, Music by Ted Shen


A beautifully realized two-person chamber musical.



Benny:  an African-American nursing home orderly in his 30’s

Ruby:  a 30-year-old African-American single mother

Setting: Broadbend, Arkansas 1961 and 1988

Performance Royalties are based on theater particulars. Please fill out an application for a personalized quote. 


Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“A beautiful, urgent exploration of race and activism alongside the family and the deep ties that bind them.”–The Public Theater

“A gripping meditation on identity and parenthood.” –Slant Magazine

“Shen's music, which manages to be both jazzy and contemplative, employs a kind of enhanced recitative approach, being tailored seamlessly to the text's progression of thought and providing brief, but powerful, bursts of melody for moments of emotional outpouring.” –Lighting and Sound America

Broadbend, Arkansas is stunning.” –New York Stage Review

“What distinguishes Broadbend, Arkansas—and make no mistake, it’s distinguished, all right—is its trenchant handling of one of today’s most pressing and most visible headline grabbers: racism.” –New York Stage Review

Broadbend, Arkansas is a little masterpiece that should have a long life on the concert stage.” –Theaterscene.net

Broadbend, Arkansas was for me what I always hope from musical theater and only rarely is . . . thoroughly rewarding.” –CurtainUp

“Grab a seat and buckle in for the emotionally charged journey through the complicated past and challenging present.” –front mezz junkies

Materials: your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production and can be ordered in Printed or Digital format. Printed Materials are provided on unbound three-hole punched loose-leaf paper while digital Materials are provided via email as downloadable PDF files for you to print in-house. All materials are yours to keep! No deposits, no returns.

The Authorized Materials/Rehearsal Package for Broadbend, Arkansas includes:

  • Production Scripts


  •        Piano/Conductor
  •        Bass
  •        Violin
  •        Cello
  •        Reed 1
  •        Reed 2

Official Logo Pack Now Included! To help you promote your show, Stage Rights now includes a logo pack with your license. The logo pack includes high resolution versions (both color and black and white) of our show logo. The logo is the portion of the artwork with the title of the show. The surrounding artwork is also available for an additional fee. 

Optional Materials: 

  • Stage Manager’s Script – Printed on standard 8.5” x 11” 3-hole-punched paper, with the same page numbers and text as the Production Scripts, but with more space on the page for notes and cues.