11 Stellar Plays with Small Casts

Small-cast plays often lend themselves to some of the most powerful and impactful stage performances, and we have so many to choose from! Whether you’re limited by the number of actors you have available, or just looking to put on a more intimate show, these plays boast all the drama, heartbreak, and laughs with five characters or fewer.

The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew López

He’s young, he’s broke, his landlord’s knocking at the door, and he’s just found out his wife is going to have a baby. To make matters even more desperate, Casey is fired from his gig as an Elvis impersonator in a run-down, small-town Florida bar. When the bar owner brings in a B-level drag show to replace his act, Casey finds that he has a whole lot to learn about show business—and himself.


Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson

When Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love. The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

Morning Sun by Simon Stephens

In Greenwich Village a generation or so ago, the city is alive. Joni Mitchell sings, friends and lovers come and go, and the regulars change at the White Horse Tavern. As fifty years pass, one woman’s life is revealed in all its complexity, mystery, and possibility in this enthralling piece about mothers and daughters.


Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous by Pearl Cleage

A lifetime ago, actress Anna Campbell and manager Betty Samson ignited a major theatrical controversy with a performance of monologues from August Wilson’s Fences that came to be known forever as Naked Wilson. After decades of self-imposed exile in Amsterdam to escape the critics, they receive an invitation to perform the show at a women’s theatre festival promising to be “angry, raucous, and shamelessly gorgeous.” Uncertain of what kind of reception she will get, and unmoved by Betty’s reassurances, Anna’s insecurity grows when she meets Pete Watson, the ambitious young performer who has been chosen to replace Anna in the role but whose theatrical experience is so far limited to the adult entertainment industry. Searching for common ground, Anna and Pete must confront their ideas about themselves and each other as they reconcile two vastly different worldviews. With humor and grace, Pearl Cleage finds a meeting place where both women can not only find each other, but make peace with a few lingering ghosts just in time for opening night.

The Wanderers by Anna Ziegler

Two marriages have seemingly little in common: Esther and Schmuli are Orthodox Jews navigating strictly defined rules and roles, while Sophie and Abe are secular and free to make their own choices. But both couples are growing apart as they strive to balance their individual identities with the families they’ve created. As Esther tests the boundaries of her personal freedom, Abe falls into a correspondence with a movie star that will shake the foundations of his marriage and career. Anna Ziegler’s funny, moving, and thoughtful play asks if following one’s truth is worth it, no matter the cost.

Tambo & Bones by Dave Harris

Tambo and Bones are two characters trapped in a minstrel show. It’s mad hard to feel like a real person when you’re trapped in a minstrel show. Their escape plan: get out, get bank, get even. A rags-to-riches hip-hop journey, this comedy roasts America’s racist past, wrestles with America’s racist present, and explodes America’s post-racial future—where what’s at stake, for those deemed less than human, is the fate of humanity itself.


Fireflies by Matthew Barber

From the novel Eleanor and Abel by Annette Sanford. Retired schoolteacher Eleanor Bannister lives a quiet life alone in tiny Groverdell, Texas, set in her routines and secure in her position as the town’s most respected woman—until a hole in her roof draws the attention of Abel Brown, a smooth-talking drifter intent on renovating Eleanor’s house, and possibly her life. Can the unexpected sparks of late-life romance be trusted, or is there truth in the gossip that Abel isn’t all that he seems to be? Either way, the whole town is talking.

The Remains by Ken Urban

It’s just another dinner with the in-laws. Just another lasagna, another bottle of wine, maybe even some whiskey if the mood is right—or wrong. Kevin and Theo have been married for ten years, and they have decided it’s time to tell their nearest and dearest about their life-changing news. Balancing bitter and sweet with a deep sense of love, honesty, and irony, The Remains is a story of moving forward together yet apart, wherever the heart may take you.


The Savannah Sipping Society by Jones Hope Wooten

In this delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy, four unique Southern women, all needing to escape the sameness of their day-to-day routines, are drawn together by Fate—and an impromptu happy hour—and decide it’s high time to reclaim the enthusiasm for life they’ve lost through the years. Randa, a perfectionist and workaholic, is struggling to cope with a surprise career derailment that, unfortunately, reveals that she has no life and no idea how to get one. Dot, still reeling from her husband’s recent demise and the loss of their plans for an idyllic retirement, faces the unsettling prospect of starting a new life from scratch—and all alone. Earthy and boisterous Marlafaye, a good ol’ Texas gal, has blasted into Savannah in the wake of losing her tom-cattin’ husband to a twenty-three-year-old dental hygienist. The strength of her desire to establish a new life is equaled only by her desire to wreak a righteous revenge on her ex. Also new to town, Jinx, a spunky ball of fire, offers her services as a much-needed life coach for these women. However, blinded by her determination and efforts to get their lives on track, she over-looks the fact that she’s the one most in need of sage advice. Over the course of six months, filled with laughter, hilarious misadventures, and the occasional liquid refreshment, these middle-aged women successfully bond and find the confidence to jumpstart their new lives. Together, they discover lasting friendships and a renewed determination to live in the moment—and most importantly, realize it’s never too late to make new old friends.

Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies

Time Stands Still focuses on Sarah and James, a photojournalist and a foreign correspondent trying to find happiness in a world that seems to have gone crazy. Theirs is a partnership based on telling the toughest stories, and together, making a difference. But when their own story takes a sudden turn, the adventurous couple confronts the prospect of a more conventional life.


Kings by Sarah Burgess

Kate is a sharp-witted lobbyist who doesn’t waste her time on candidates who can’t get elected, stay elected, and, above all, remain loyal to her clientele. Representative Sydney Millsap has a more idealistic approach to politics, which Kate fears may cost Millsap a prosperous political career. But when Millsap’s high-minded principles prove surprisingly resilient in Washington, Kate faces an unexpected dilemma: back the system or what she actually believes in?


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