Withering Heights


Withering Heights
Apply for:
  • Share This Show

Heathcliff and Catherine as you’ve never seen them before. Based on Emily Brontë’s famous romantic novel Wuthering Heights, this is a comic tour de force featuring revenge, sock puppets, death by arachnids, and an undying search for love.


A desolate Moor. An elderly woman churns butter. This is Nellie Frontbush— I mean Forbush, once the all-knowing housekeeper at Withering Heights. What— you’ve never heard of the foreboding-looking house or the sordid but passionate tale of Heathcliff and Catherine? Well, Nellie will tell everything you need to know.

We are transported back to happier times. Young juveniles Catherine and her slightly sadistic brother Hindley play “hide and seek”and “torture the insects” with magnifying glasses. Both are eager for their father, Mr. Earnshaw, to return home. And hopefully with much promised presents! Mr. Earnshaw makes his entrance, but alas there is no bear trap for Hindley or a new dress for Catherine. Instead, he gifts them a new brother: a sad, Gypsy youth called Heathcliff. Catherine is automatically intrigued, but Hindley is repulsed and vows to never accept Heathcliff as his kin. Mr. Earnshaw sends Hindley off to boarding school and contemplates his newfound family but unfortunately meets the jaws of death, crushed by one of Hindley’s many collectible bear traps.

The years pass, and we discover Catherine and Heathcliff frolicking in the heather and taking forbidden swims in Pennyston Crag. Is it lust? Is it love? Time will tell. Hindley returns home to take his place as head of the household, with his somewhat horsey wife Frances, and immediately demotes Heathcliff to a servant position. In an attempt to lift his spirits, Catherine suggest that she and Heathcliff venture to Thrushcross Grange and spy on their next-door neighbors, the toothsome twits, Edgar and Isabella Linton. In the garden, Catherine is mauled by a ferocious canine and sends Heathcliff off for help. Catherine is discovered by Edgar and is invited to heal and recuperate in the house. Isabella punishes the dog with a trio of bullets.

Several weeks pass, and Catherine returns home. But Heathcliff senses a change in her. She is no longer the wild and carefree spirit she once was. She is now a self-proclaimed lady. Catherine dismisses Heathcliff’s concerns and is eager for him to acquaint himself with her newfound friends. The Lintons arrive for tea. Edgar manages to offend Heathcliff, and after a tussle with apple sauce, the Lintons depart. Catherine is mortified and admonishes Heathcliff. Heathcliff manages to renew her affections, but is offended when she mentions Edgar again.

Catherine is confronted by an agitated Nellie. Nellie insists that Catherine choose which man to give her heart to. Heathcliff overhears Catherine’s dilemma and, angered at her possible love for Edgar, vows revenge and runs away. Frances dies giving birth to Hareton, leaving Hindley to wallow in despair.

A few years pass. Catherine and Edgar are married. Heathcliff returns home, with acquired wealth and status. His quest for vengeance begins. Firstly, he seduces Isabella. Then followed by a passionate reunion with his old fling, Catherine. Heathcliff returns to Withering Heights, where he proceeds to win the property from Hindley in a card game. Hindley dies from alcohol poisoning and a ruptured liver. Heathcliff once again woos a smitten Isabella, but she is tossed into the creek for a dalliance with Catherine. Heathcliff and Catherine consummate their love. They are interrupted by an angry Edgar and a confused Isabella, and a fight ensues. Catherine of course refuses to leave Edgar, so Heathcliff returns to the city stealing Isabella away with him. Catherine is pregnant. She receives news that Isabella and Heathcliff have married. While in her despair and anguish, Catherine dies in childbirth, leaving Edgar to raise their newborn daughter, Katherine.

More years pass. Isabella has given birth to a sickly son, Linton. Heathcliff tosses her into the streets. Edgar refuses for her to return home. A downtrodden Isabella perishes while choking on a cracker smeared with fish paste. Young Katherine is now almost a woman. On a solitary walk, she meets her cousin Linton. He explains that he and his father have moved into Withering Heights. They quickly become friends. Heathcliff insists on Linton seducing the young woman, much to his dismay, as he’d rather watch his cousin Hareton take his morning baths. Heathcliff forces them to marry, but not until Edgar dies from a giant arachnid attack. After the marriage, Katherine accidentally suffocates Linton with a pillow. Heathcliff drags the corpse to the graveyard, where he encounters a multitude of ghosts including the spirit of his long-dead love, Catherine. He dies in her arms.

We return to the present, where we are informed of Katherine’s marriage to Hareton. All is happy and well until Nellie coughs blood into her handkerchief.

The End


An enjoyably ridiculous parody. Whether you love, hate, or haven’t read the book, you can still get a lot of laughs!

– SanDiegoStory.com

Deliciously and decidedly coocoo. Enjoy this Pièce de Résistance!

–Theatre Critic


Actor 1

  • Nelly, the maid – The narrator of the piece. A slightly befuddled housekeeper.
  • Heathcliff – Our unlikely hero. Tormented and hell bent on revenge.
  • Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine’s brother – The eventual owner of Withering Heights. Cruel and jealous of Heathcliff. Also an alcoholic.
  • A rabid dog
  • Edgar Linton, Catherine’s neighbor – Genteel and slightly effeminate. All teeth and manners.
  • Catherine Linton, Edgar and Catherine’s whimsical daughter – Innocent and eager to help.

Actor 2

  • Joseph – The unintelligible servant of the Heights.
  • Catherine/Cathy Earnshaw – The lovely but manic heroine. In love with Heatchcliff, but ultimately chooses position over love.
  • Mr. Earnshaw, owner of Withering Heights – Jovial and caring.
  • Frances Earnshaw – Hindley’s horsey wife.
  • Isabella Linton, Edgar’s snooty sister – Jealous of Catherine and eventually marries Heathcliff.
  • Linton – Heathcliff and Isabella’s sickly son.
  • Hareton – Hindley’s gruff and manly son.

Setting: England. The Yorkshire Moors. 1776-1802.

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups, please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials).

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

“If you come in expecting plenty of good (guilty) laughs, Withering Heights might be just your ticket— and you have to admire the sheer comic energy of its two writer-performers.” –The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Mayhem, delirious mania, split-second character changes and two tour de force performances… you’ve got to marvel at Schein’s insanely gifted malleability of face, voice, accent and gender, not to mention his agile physicality. And Johnson’s inherent wackiness and mastery of humor, anger and canine impersonation.” - Pat Launer, Times of San Diego

“…Bold performances in a sweet tribute to the characters you love. Johnson and Schein excel in over-the-top melodramatic comedy, giving all of their characters distinctive physicalities to help tell them apart. Cross-dressing, exaggerated voices, and physical idiosyncrasies add to the fun and help elucidate plot.” –Stage and Cinema

"Just at the 'edge of crazy' is one of the funniest, liveliest shows currently running in San Diego. Fall-out-of-your-seat hilarious. Withering Heights brings Emily Brontë’s novel Wuthering Heights to life like never before! It is a hoot! Exercising expertly crafted comic change ups, impeccable timing, razor sharp wit— with fall on your face English farce— this two man/woman show is a non-stop laugh fest." –Village News

“Don’t miss the wild and crazy show.” –SDGLN

“Suffice to say, both men are deliciously and decidedly coo coo. For some summer madness this one might just end up being the Pièce de Résistance. Enjoy!” –Theatre Critic

“An enjoyably ridiculous parody. Whether you love, hate or haven’t read the book, you can still get a lot of laughs from Johnson and Schein." –SanDiegoStory.com

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative.

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for Withering Heights are all fulfilled digitally and consist of:

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script