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ANNABELLE BROOM, THE UNHAPPY WITCH

Book by: Eleanor Harder and Ray Harder
Lyrics by: Eleanor Harder and Ray Harder
Music by: Eleanor Harder

A musical especially designed for children which blends charm and wit with clever catchy songs.

Annabelle Broom is a non-conformist witch who would rather help than hinder. Her good deeds bring her into dispute with her superior witches and she nearly loses her union card through helping two lost children. But Annabelle and virtue triumph over the forces of darkness proving that chicanery doesn't pay.

STORY

ACT ONE - Forest, early evening.

There is an air of sadness about this spot. A circle of ghostly trees wail and bend under their leafy burdens. It is here that Annabelle, the unhappy witch, has come to brood. She enters, weeping, dressed head to toe in her old, black, ill-fitting witch's uniform. Under her arm she carries a gaily-coloured fashion magazine and a flowing pink handkerchief. Looking at the magazine, she cries that she is "last year's cobweb." She has nothing new and fashionable to wear. She is delighted when she sees the audience and tells them all about herself. She discloses that she is really a very nice witch who is forced to wear a terrible black outfit all the time. She wishes more than anything that she could wear a nice new pink outfit designed in the latest fashion.

Suddenly, thunder is heard and Mabel, president of the witches’ union, appears. Annabelle knows that Mabel won't be happy with her since she is supposed to be home practising her evil eye. Mable is a large woman dressed in an impressive steel-grey witch's uniform. She loves practising her favourite stunt - yelling, "silence" and listening appreciatively to the thunder that follows. She sees Annabelle and reprimands her. Mabel presents a list of Annabelle's faults and demerits for the week: she slept all night in a barn which she was told to burn down; she asked Mrs. Jones the place where she bought her shoes instead of putting a hex and evil eye on her, and so on. She finally pulls Annabelle's report card out of her pocket and gives it to the troubled witch. It appears that Annabelle has failed virtually all of her witch classes - everything from spell making to general meanness. The only A+ she got was in Toadstool Turning. Before Mabel leaves, she gives Annabelle a list of work for the evening.

No sooner is Mabel gone, than another witch, Lydia, enters dressed in a dark green uniform. She is elated at finding Annabelle with her long instruction list. Lydia is the assigned treasurer for the witches' union and has come to collect the full moon dues - thirteen dragon's teeth. Annabelle gives her the dues and then looks at her assignment list. Her evening assignment is to frighten two lost children. She thinks about it for a moment and then realises that this assignment could be fun.

In another part of the forest, a much happier and brighter part, Peter and Judy enter, singing and playing follow-the-leader. Peter is about nine years old and his sister, Judy, is about eight. They are well-scrubbed, happy, delightful children. They hop through the forest having a delightful time and dissolve into a fit of laughter. When they recover, they realise that they are lost. Peter can't quite figure out the way home because bramble bushes cover the path that should lead them home. He tells Judy that he once heard that witches put bramble bushes in the path of anyone lost in the forest. Judy gets scared, but Peter calms her down, telling her that they must be brave. They try calling to someone for help, but no one answers them. They go over to a large tree, lie down beneath it, and fall asleep.

Annabelle enters reading her instruction sheet and finds the children. Judy and Peter wake up, but stay very still, pretending to sleep. Annabelle's first job is to sprinkle them with some enchanted powder, which will fill their dreams with monstrous nightmares; however, before she is able to do this, she notices what a fresh and lovely complexion Judy has. She wonders just how Judy keeps her skin so soft and fresh. Seeing a jug of milk in the children's basket, Annabelle takes the milk and rubs it on her skin hoping that this is what Judy also does. Maybe now her wrinkles will go away, and she'll look as fresh as Judy. Seeing this, the children laugh, and Annabelle is embarrassed and a bit angry at being caught. The children stop laughing, but they are no longer afraid of Annabelle. In fact, she reminds them of their grandmother who plays games with them all the time. Annabelle tries to conjure up some spells, but nothing seems to scare the children. Even showing them her witches' union card only makes them laugh.

In fact, Annabelle isn't like any other witch they know. She's not really old and ugly. She wears flowers in her hair. Most witches only come out after midnight, and here it is just a little after the children's bedtime. Lastly, her hair isn't grey and everyone knows that all real witches have grey hair. She tells the children that by using a squeeze of loganberry here and a squirt of boysenberry there, she is able to tint her hair and keep herself younger looking. Her clothes, however, are another story and she cannot change them. She asks Judy if she'll tell her how she keeps her skin so soft and smooth, and the children agree to tell her in exchange for her showing them the way out of the forest. At first, Annabelle hesitates since it goes against all the orders that have been handed down to her, but after reconsidering it a bit, she realises that she should take the children home in exchange for some beauty secrets. Before they depart, however, Annabelle must fly off on her broom and get her maps and tooth brush. She tells the children to wait for her until she returns. They sing and dance for joy at the thought of going home. Unfortunately, Lydia has been listening and watching Annabella and the children all along. As the children celebrate, she emerges and sneaks off in the opposite direction from Annabelle.

Deep in the forest, the other witches - Mabel, Esther and Maud - are dancing and chanting around a steaming cauldron. Lydia enters breathlessly and informs the other witches that she caught Annabelle promising to lead the children safely home. They are horrified at the thought of this - especially Mabel who strictly ordered Annabelle to terrorise the children. What is even worse is that if Annabelle isn't stopped, her good deeds could actually make it so all the witches' powers are destroyed. The only way to stop it is to bring Annabelle back and boil her in oil. Annabelle must be destroyed to insure the other witches' powers live on. Mabel orders the other witches to bring Annabelle to her. They depart.

ACT TWO

Half-an-hour later Annabelle and the children appear to be very happy as they make their journey out of the forest. Annabelle grows tired and stops for a moment, telling the children they should take a short nap before moving on. At first, the children resist, but Judy admits she is tired and would like a short nap. Peter fears that the other witches will find them, but Annabelle assures him that as long as they have the magic book she is carrying, they can outsmart them at every turn. Annabelle reads from her book and shows the children several magic tricks, which are quite entertaining. The one trick she can't seem to master is the getting the thunder to clap after she yells "silence." However, after a bit of practice, and a little help from Judy who reads the book, Annabelle is able to make thunder sound ever so faintly, and she is delighted with herself.

The children are now very tired and want to go to sleep. They ask Annabelle to sing them a lullaby, but she doesn't know how to do it. The children lay Annabelle down, say a prayer with her and sing Annabelle (and themselves) to sleep.

A few minutes later, after Annabelle and the children are fast asleep, Mabel, Lydia, Esther, and Maud enter and find them. Lydia rushes to capture them, but Mabel stops her, saying that they must first cast a spell over them. Mabel has the other witches stand guard over the sleeping bodies while she conjures a spell to prepare them for boiling in a pot for eighteen months. If one gets away from them before the spell is put into place, the entire sisterhood of witches could be destroyed. Mabel conjures the spell and one of the witches prepares to throw Annabelle and the children into a boiling pot.

The witches shriek with laughter and this wakes up Annabelle and the children. Annabelle confronts the other witches and they tell her that it is all over for her. They explain that for a long time she has gone against the rules of the sisterhood of witches, but that by "being kind to children" she has gone too far! For that alone, she will be boiled in oil for a year. The children are terribly frightened, but Annabelle assures them that the other witches would never do anything to harm a fellow sister. She shows them her witches' union card, but Mabel doesn't care. She takes the card and boils it in the cauldron, ending Annabelle's term as a witch for good. Annabelle is then dragged off by Maud and Esther. But as she struggles, she tells the children to get her book and look on the last page. Peter grabs the book and frantically leafs through it, but the witches chase after the children as the book is tossed back and forth. Peter finally gets the book back and is able to read it. As the witches pounce on him, he starts to laugh hysterically. The witches try to put a curse on him, but he informs them what he just learned from the book; witches don't exist unless you believe in them. Mabel is horrified that the children know the secret and orders the rest of her sisters to run for their lives.

The witches are gone, and Peter and Judy celebrate. They look for Annabelle but only find a pink book on the ground with the same words as the last black book. They wonder why this is the case. No sooner has this happened then a groan is heard and a dazed Annabelle enters dressed head to toe in a beautiful pink outfit which is elaborately sprinkled with bows, lace, ribbons, flowers, etc. The children are awestruck by her appearance: Annabelle is oblivious to the change in her attire. After a bit, she looks down and sees that a transformation that has occurred. It must have been because of what was in her witches' book: "Evil witches are like spooks and nightmares. Anyone who stands up and laughs at them, destroys their evil powers." Also printed in there is "Good deeds return upon the one who gives ten times and more." Annabelle's good deed has brought about her transformation. Annabelle offers an arm to each of the children and they skip off together to return to their home.

Principals:

1 Male, 6 Female

MUSICAL NUMBERS

  1. Pink Is My Color - Annabelle
  2. Hop 'Round The Trees - Judy, Peter
  3. Yoo Hoo, You Hoo! - Judy, Peter
  4. I Tint My Hair - Annabelle, Judy, Peter
  5. Home, Home - Judy, Peter
  6. Windershin - Mabel, Esther, Maud
  7. We'll Boil Her In Oil - Mabel, Esther, Maud, Lydia
  8. Think One Happy Thought - Judy, Peter, Annabelle
  9. The Prayer - Judy, Peter
  10. Lullaby - Judy, Peter
  11. Witch Chant - Mabel, Witches
  12. Laugh And Dance And Sing - Judy, Peter