an original, dark musical comedy
Lyrics by Sara Wordsworth, Music by Russ Kaplan, Book by Daniel John Kelley
Minnesota. March, 1999. Young mother Bethany Clearwater has just inherited a house in the dilapidated factory town of Oak Pines, where she moves with her troubled teenage daughter Belinda. Bethany plans to finally escape their nomadic past and make a fresh start. But when Belinda - just two months away from graduating high school - runs away on her first day of school, Bethany turns to desperate and ridiculous measures to ensure a bright future for her daughter... and maybe a second chance for herself.
With a score that draws upon Midwestern America's unique melting pot of Americana, punk, funk and alternative rock, The Clearwaters is a hilarious and thoughtful exploration into the myth of the American Dream, stolen identity, and a mother and daughter finding their best selves in the unlikeliest of places.
"Oak Pines, MN"
Nighttime on the road between Wisconsin and Minnesota. Single mom/TV repairwoman Bethany Clearwater (34, looks 17) is driving. Her teenage daughter Belinda (actually 17) is in the seat beside her.
"Little Picture Person"
Bethany and Belinda step into their new house, and it's a total nightmare disaster. But Bethany has some motherly advice on dealing with adversity...
"Hittin' the Road"
Teenager Belinda Clearwater hates the new town her mom moved them to, and so she prepares to totally run away…for like, forever.
Belinda has just run away and taken the car. Bethany, desperate to keep Belinda's attendance record clean, has impulsively thrown on her daughter's hoodie and gone to school in her place. She tries to keep her head down and simply check in at each class, but the bored and despondent students find the new girl a little too fascinating.
Oak Pines Minnesota's medical equipment factory was once the lifeblood of the town, but it's been shut down and uninhabited for years. Or has it?
"Here to Guide"
Oak Pines High School Guidance Counselor Leslie Higgins prepares to meet senior transfer student Belinda Clearwater. She looks over her file, grimly.
Thirty-four year old TV repairwoman/single mom Bethany Clearwater, posing as her teenage daughter, visits the high school guidance counselor and is asked, "Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?"
"The Best Thing I Can Do"
Belinda has returned home, and freaks out when she learns that her mom spent the day impersonating her. Bethany assures her that she has the situation under control, and that a family heirloom in the basement will help explain her actions.
"I Smash You"
Belinda has spent two months living in the (very nice) basement bomb shelter, where she's discovered her genetically inherited knack for fixing electronics. She's not terribly proud of this, however, and has gotten into a bit of a vicious cycle...
Belinda has found some mysterious pictures from her mother's past. She confronts Bethany about them through the basement door.
Guitar - Chris Murphy, Wayan Zoey & Charlie Pollock
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About the writers...
Russ Kaplan (Music) Broadway: In Transit (also Off Broadway at Primary Stages, O’Neill NMTC, NYC Fringe). Co-producer, In Transit Original Broadway Cast Recording (Hollywood Records). Other work with Sara Wordsworth includes The Elf on the Shelf (US Tour, Mills Entertainment), Dory Fantasmagory (NYC Children's Theater), Dear Albert Einstein (Dramatic Publishing; NYC Children's Theater; Off Broadway Alliance nominee “Best Family Show”), Shortstack (York Theatre’s 4@15 series), and High School Confidential (Dramatic Publishing). He has composed instrumental music for Prospect Theatre Company and immersive dance-theatre company Third Rail Projects. His albums The Ulysses Cycle and Lake Songs are available on Ropeadope Records. Member DGA, BFA Carnegie Mellon University. He lives with his wife and daughter in Minneapolis.
Sara Wordsworth (Lyrics) Broadway: In Transit (also Off Broadway at Primary Stages, O’Neill NMTC, NYC Fringe). Co-producer, In Transit Original Broadway Cast Recording (Hollywood Records). The Elf on the Shelf (US Tour, Mills Entertainment), Frozen, A Musical Spectacular, Beauty and the Beast (Disney Cruise Line), Dear Albert Einstein, High School Confidential (Dramatic Publishing). In development: two new projects for young performers (Disney Theatrical/MTI), Dory Fantasmagory (NYC Children’s Theatre). Awards: Edgerton Foundation, BMI Harrington. Nominations: Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle, Off Broadway Alliance, Lucille Lortel. BMI Workshop, AEA, DGA. Sara lives in New York City with her wonderful husband and young daughter.
Daniel John Kelley (Book) is a playwright, opera nerd and Brooklyn native. His plays and musicals have been seen in the NY Fringe, and developed by MCC, Resonance Ensemble, Open Gate Theatre, Northwoods Ramah Theatre, the Gallery Players, the Irondale Center, the Brooklyn Lyceum and others. His work has also been seen in Ireland, Australia and Nepal. He received his BA from Sarah Lawrence, and his MFA from Hunter College where he studied with Tina Howe.