powered by FreeFind


Dear Edwina

A Musical in 1 Act. Book by: Marcy Heisler; Lyrics by: Marcy Heisler; Music by: Zina Goldrich

The Premiere of this musical was produced by the Orange County High School of the Arts in 2002
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater - July 2006
DR2 Theatre - Off Broadway - 14 November, 2008 - 19 April, 2009 (197 perfs)


Thirteen year-old Edwina Spoonapple would do just about anything to be a part of the Kalamazoo Advice-a-palooza Festival. While her siblings both have proof “up on the fridge” of their accomplishments, poor Edwina has nothing. When a talent scout from the convention visits her hometown of Paw Paw, Michigan, she trots out her musical advice giving shows live from the family garage in hopes of finding her place in the spotlight.

She is assisted by her older siblings (on piano and drums) and a host of quirky friends and neighbors: Becky, the perky cheerleader; Kelli, the cool, sophisticated ballerina; Annie, the girl-scout cookie-selling champion; the Vanderploonk triplets; Bobby, the befuddled new kid on the block; and Scott, who is helplessly and hopelessly in love with Edwina. Together they set out to tackle the world’s problems, in number after hysterical number about everything from birthday party etiquette to the proper way to set a table (“salad fork, fork, plate, knife, spoon”).

This beguiling one-act charmer can be played anywhere, with extremely modest sets and costumes. Sweet, smart and tuneful, it appeals to audiences of all ages, as Edwina doles out advice, and finally learns to listen to some of it herself.


In sunny Paw Paw, Michigan, 13-year-old Edwina, advice-giver extraordinaire and director of the Spoonapple Repertory theatre, is taking her company through their final rehearsal in her parent’s garage. As the kids run through their paces, there is huge excitement, for rumour has it that the talent scout from the Kalamazoo Advice-a-palooza Festival will be in the Paw Paw audience tonight, looking to fill a final festival spot!

When one of the kids suddenly breaks his ankle just before show-time, Edwina tries to convince her new next-door neighbour, Bobby, to join their troupe as a last-minute replacement. She sadly reveals to a reluctant Bobby that while her siblings Katie, Myra and Joe all have prizes for their various achievements tacked up on the family fridge, Edwina has nothing to show for her own talent of giving advice. However, if she can get an invitation to the Kalamazoo festival, she will finally have something of her own to be proud of. Bobby is persuaded to help out, and Edwina hugs Bobby in relief, causing Scott, a troupe member, to wish his unrequited crush on Edwina could be returned.

Edwina makes her show entrance in a wheelbarrow filled to the brim with letters. In the first letter, written by Aphrodite (played with gusto by Annie, a troupe member), Edwina is asked what to do about Aphrodite’s little brother, who constantly refuses to eat the delicious foods his mother serves him. Edwina, with help from that fabulous rock group, Susie and the Napkins (a.k.a. Becky and the rest of the kids), demonstrates how a similar little boy named Johnny learned the trick to being polite.

Edwina cues Scott to bring out the next letter, interrupting Becky’s attempt to demonstrate her cheerleading routine. As he hands her the letter, however, Edwina immediately notices that it isn’t the one they rehearsed. Over Scott’s protests, Edwina reads the audience a letter by Abigail instead, who wants to know how to make her brother stop acting like an ‘obnock’ before her upcoming birthday party. The answer is given by Edwina’s scary uncle Vladimir (a.k.a. Cordell) of Transylvania, who tells the story of the rudest, most rambunctious guest in the world, who was finally cured when everyone stopped paying him any attention.

As troupe members Billy, Cordell, Kelli and Annie vie for the audience’s attention, Scott again tries to substitute his own letter for the next one they have rehearsed. He is foiled by Kelli, who brings Edwina a postcard from her across-the-street-neighbour Carrie (a.k.a. Becky). Carrie has a serious problem: she was asked by her grandmother to set the table, but unfortunately, she has no idea where each utensil should go. Luckily, Edwina has the answer – in fact, she has composed a whole opera on the dos and don’ts of setting the table!

As intermission is announced, the audience is invited to Kelli’s lemonade stand as Scott pleads with Edwina to read his letter. However, Edwina, along with the rest of the kids, is more interested in finding the talent scout. After searching through the crowd, they soon notice a woman with the Kalamazoo Advice-a-palooza baseball cap – and she’s sleeping! Alarmed, they change the second act program, adding a sneak peak at a number in progress about Lola, the shy girl from Peru who learns the importance of saying hello. When this fails to wake the talent scout up, Becky starts another cheer directed expressly at the sleeping woman as Edwina hurriedly pushes her off to begin the next number, hoping this will succeed.

Edwina reads a letter from the Harrison quadruplets, who, it seems, need a little lesson in sharing. To answer, Edwina transforms herself into Aunt Aretha Spoonapple, the woman who knows it all, and tells the story of the greedy Arabella, who was turned into a parrot until she learned how to say the word “please” . As the number finishes, Becky starts a cheer about R-E-S-P-E-C-T which is promptly quashed by Edwina, who instead pulls out a letter from Seamus McQuackenflacken, the Scottish exchange student. Seamus, played by Cordell, asks Edwina to explain the meaning behind the phrase “RSVP” in an invitation. For the answer, Edwina consults with her cousin, Jean-Pierre Fromage de la Croissant (also Cordell) who humorously demonstrates the polite way to ‘repondez s’il vous plait’.

As Scott again tries in vain to give Edwina his letter, Billy interrupts him with a calypso yell, pulling him into the next scene. They are transformed into the steel drum section of the Paw Paw marching band, hoping to participate in the big steel drum parade happening in Jamaica. Ziggy (played by Billy) tells Edwina that while they worked hard to raise money for their trip, holding bake sales, car washes, etc., they then spent every cent at a sale down at the mall. What to do? Edwina advises them on the importance of saving for a rainy day as her cousin, Mary Sue Betty Bob (a.k.a. Annie), demonstrates how to be careful with your nickels.

Edwina tries to bring the show to a close but Scott refuses to end it, insisting upon reading his letter. Before Edwina can stop him, Scott begins to sing about the girl he loves, whose name he has carved into a heart in his dad’s woodshop; the lovely Edwina herself. Edwina begs Scott not to embarrass himself, but Scott insists that he will not be denied. The kids, impressed with Scott’s persistence, sing back up as he waxes poetic about his beloved. Finally, full of new-found bravado, Scott throws Edwina over his shoulder, uttering the four winning words: “You! Me! Dairy Queen!”

As the kids end the show and congratulate Scott, the phone rings: it is Ann Van Buren from the Kalamazoo Advice-a-palooza Festival! The talent scout announces that after what she just heard, there is a definite spot in the festival – for Scott! Edwina is crushed and wonders if she’ll ever have something up on the family fridge when suddenly, her little sister Katie enters, crying. Katie tells Edwina that she has run away from the Summer Math Olympics because when she finished her equations first, two of her competitors made fun of her. Edwina comforts her sister, advising her that she must always remember to do her own thing and be unafraid of achieving her dreams. Katie agrees to go back to the Olympic Village, but not before telling Edwina that since her advice is always so good, perhaps she should follow it herself! As Katie exits, Edwina happily realises that while she may not have an invitation to put up on the fridge, a hug from her sister is a better reward, and that if you do what you love, that’s the best thing of all.

Musical Numbers


            1. The Rehearsal - Edwina
            2. Up On The Fridge - Edwina
            3. Dear Edwina - Company
            4. Here Comes A Letter - Company
            5. Aphrodite - Annie
            6. Say "No Thank You" - Becky, Bobby, Kelli, Scott, Annie, Edwina
            7. Another Letter - Company
            8. Abigail - Kelli
            9. Frankenguest - Cordell, Billy, Annie, Company
            10. Carrie - Becky
            11. Fork Knife Spoon - Annie, Edwina, Cordell, Billy, Kelli
            12. Time For Intermission - Company
            13. Here Come More Letters - Company
            14. Hola Lola - Edwina, Scott, Kelli, Company
            15. Quads - Annie, Billy, Kelli, Scott
            16. Gimme Gimme I Want - Edwina, Becky, Boys, Girls
            17. Seamus - Cordell
            18. R.S.V.P. - Cordell, Edwina, Annie, Company
            19. Ziggy - Billy, Cordell, Scott, Bobby
            20. Put It In The Piggy - Annie, Edwina, Kelli, Becky, Bobby, Cordell, Billy
            21. Thanks For Coming - Company
            22. Edwina - Scott, Boys, Girls
            23. Sing Your Own Song - Edwina

Cast of Characters