Connie, Diane, and Brenda are determined to rise above their rough-and-tumble Queens, NY neighborhood by topping the pop music charts with their girl group, The Queen Bees. They soon realize that their meteoric rise comes with a price, as relationships strain and their rebellious music falls quickly out of fashion. Featuring hit songs from the '60s such as “Leader of the Pack,” “My Boyfriend’s Back,” and “The Boy From New York City,” The Queen Bees revs up audiences with its high-octane musical score.
A Clean Version of this show is also available for your group! Notes on these approved changes are included in the perusal script and production script.
In the early 1960s, three girls from a working-class neighborhood in Queens form a girl group, determined to make their way out of the “hood.” Brenda is rebellious, Diane, her older sister, is conservative, and Connie is determined to be a star. They perform at a Bar Mitzvah to hone their skills.
In a room in Brenda and Diane’s tenement apartment, Connie, the driving force behind the group, insists that the girls need to decide which songs to sing at the Rock ‘n Hop, coming up soon at their high school. Their manager promised her that a record producer named Flash will be coming to see their act, and Connie believes this is their big chance. Diane is offended by Brenda’s provocative sexual behavior, which even informs her understanding of popular song lyrics. Just when they decide which songs to sing and begin to rehearse, Diane’s boyfriend drives by on a motorcycle and crashes.
Diane is in mourning for her boyfriend and afraid to perform, as their appearance at Rock ‘n Hop is about to start. Connie encourages her— then forces her. At the Rock ‘n Hop, the girls each sing a solo, and the high school crowd goes wild.
Flash invites the girls to record a few songs at a studio in Manhattan. Brenda reveals that she had a fling with Flash after the Rock ‘n Hop. At the studio, Connie develops a crush on Gerry, one of the co-writers. Diane is now dating Joey, who was her first boyfriend. The girls’ distinct style, which involves talking before and during the songs, develops under Flash’s guidance. Despite Flash’s strange ideas such as including sound effects in the songs, Connie is convinced they will have a hit. She decides that the girls need a “look,” and one that will best suit the new songs is a tough-girl image, with boots and leather.
Just as they hoped, one of the songs they recorded with Flash makes it to #1, and the girls are the headliners on “Shindig!,” the music variety show for teenagers.
The most popular girl group in the country, the Queen Bees are in demand, and enjoying their success. They record commercials for beauty products, buy expensive clothes, and dine at fancy restaurants. Connie also tries her hand at writing songs. The Queen Bees are excited about their upcoming appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
But not long after, the British Invasion bumps the girls from the charts. In the “Shindig!” dressing room, Connie and Diane lament that they are no longer headliners. Brenda, becoming more rebellious, arrives late and unkempt. It’s clear that the group’s best days are behind them. Brenda and Diane complain about how hard they’ve been working, and the second-rate songs they’ve been given, but Connie tries to convince them to stick with it. They reminisce about the old days when they were in high school, before they had to worry about the pressure and unpredictability of the music business.
Onstage at the Brooklyn Fox, the Queen Bees are in peak form, even though they haven’t had a hit record in a while. Without warning, Brenda tells the audience that Connie is secretly married to Gerry, which is a violation of the contract they signed with their record label. Then she suddenly announces that she’s leaving the group. As always, they discuss their personal lives in front of the audience, and come to the conclusion that all three will be happier if they go their separate ways. Brenda plans to head to California, Diane wants to go back to Queens and wait for Joey to return from Vietnam, and Connie is determined to stay in the business, writing songs, and maybe going solo.
The Queen Bees is a slice of jukebox heaven.
Diane – 16-19. A simple girl who expresses the full rage of teenage joy and anguish. Her values are rooted in the 1950s. Less confident and more conservative than her younger sister.
Brenda – 15-18. Diane’s sister. Exploring her sexuality. She takes risks, and there’s both danger and vulnerability in her swagger. She anticipates the social revolutions of the later 1960s.
Connie – 16-19. Their friend. A bundle of energy and determination. Better off financially than Diane and Brenda, she’s had some musical training. She’s serious and savvy about getting ahead in the music business.
Note: The girls speak with thick Queens accents.
Inclusive Casting Note: As written, The Queen Bees is loosely based on the '60s girl-group The Shangri-Las, who were Caucasian. You are welcome to perform the show with a multi-racial or minority cast. Please contact Stage Rights with your casting questions and to request revisions. Please do not make any unauthorized changes. The playwright is happy to make any necessary revisions for race-specific language in the script.
Setting: The Queen Bees takes place in the 1960s at various locations in New York City and Los Angeles.
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Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement. To download the show rider for The Queen Bees, click here.
“This is a fun, light-hearted show that will be enjoyed by folks who remember the songs from when they first came out, and by younger people who grew to love them because of their timeless appeal.” –Queens Gazette
“All in all, The Queen Bees is a fun night out. It’s sure to rekindle your affection for some great songs from years past.” –Queens Gazette
“The Queen Bees is an enthusiastic and impressive illustration of nostalgia which electrifies audiences.” –The Queens Courier
"The Queen Bees is a confection.” –Newsday
Materials: Your materials will be sent to you two months prior to your opening date and will include everything necessary for your production. They 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 The Queen Bees includes: