Join Uncle Billy and his traveling tent show on a Wild West adventure in this pioneering musical.
Show Essentials

Full Synopsis

Act One

We open on an old-fashioned traveling tent show. Uncle Billy commands the stage and prepares us for the impending story, a tale of the Old West. He introduces himself and the cast: Hannie, a beautiful young woman who plays his daughter; The Marshal who represents the Law; Amos K. "Buzzey" Hale, hopelessly in love with Hannie; Red Ike and Black Ike, the county comics; and Neb and Miz Foster, the stern citizens of Verdigree ("Uncle Billy's Travellin' Show").

Uncle Billy then assumes the role of Pap, Hannie's father, and mounts a covered wagon to drive his horses on the road heading West ("Roadside"). Buzzey has been following their wagon on foot in hopes of getting Hannie to marry him. When Pap leaves to steal oats from the neighbors for his horses, Buzzey tries to woo Hannie to come live on his farm. She does long for a life off of the road; however, she also longs for a husband other than Buzzey ("Here I Am"). Buzzey again begs her to marry him.

Just as she is about to answer, they are interrupted by the Ikes and Pap. The Ikes heatedly tell the story of a crazy, big cowboy named Texas who beat up a judge and broke out of jail in the nearby town of Verdigree. Texas arrives, and everyone finds a place in the campsite to hide ("I Don't Want to Bother Nobody"). Despite Texas' reputation, Texas and Pap find a kindship. Hannie reappears from the wagon, primped, pretty and ready to catch Texas' eye. Pap makes sure that Texas and Hannie are alone. She flirts with him ("Smellagoody Perfume") as Buzzey reenters to try to distract their courtship, with little success. Texas boasts about his fighting prowess, and Pap reenters to ask if Texas will stay for the night. He will. Hannie and Pap exit, and Texas calls for the Ikes to keep a lookout for the Verdigree Marshall, who is still after him.

All settle down for the night ("Looking at the Moon") with Pap, Texas and the Ikes on the ground around the campfire. Morning comes with Buzzey and the Marshall arriving to arrest Texas, Pap and the Ikes. Hannie tries to incite Texas into action. All that the hungover Texas can do is heave into a stewpot. Hannie claims that he's not the big man that he boasted to be, and she wants nothing to do with him anymore. He claims to be equally disillusioned with her ( "I'm through with You"). That makes Hannie so mad that she considers marrying Buzzey.

Texas is arrested. As the Marshall brings the defeated Texas into Verdigree, his deputy, Neb, and Miz Foster celebrate Texas' recapture ("Peaceful Little Town"). In the courtroom, the Marshall and the judge try to convince Texas that he should settle down; the West is no longer wild... and nor should he be. Texas is close to conceding when Pap and the Ikes burst in to rescue him. Now Texas is back to his ornery, lawless self. As he makes his escape, he runs smack into Hattie and Buzzey. Texas and Hannie restate their mutual distaste ("Through with You – Reprise"), ending up with Hattie socking Texas in the jaw and dragging Buzzey off to find a preacher.

Act Two

Uncle Billy speaks out to the audience and introduces the band members, one by one. He then draws us back into the story ("Back to the Story"), where Buzzey's dressing in new duds for his wedding to Hannie ("Personality Plus").

Meanwhile, Texas sits chained in jail. Neb taunts him about being clobbered by a woman. Texas feels defeated. He has big dreams for freedom, which he's only brave enough to feel when he's drunk. ("Another Drunken Cowboy"). Pap arrives to tell Texas that Hannie is marrying Buzzey. Neither wants this to happen but neither can stop it. Pap tells Texas of his happy days with Hannie's mother, when they traveled together in the covered wagon ("The Way It Should Be"). He inspires Texas to throw away his whiskey bottle and reclaim Hannie. Texas breaks his chains and busts out of jail.

The Ikes command the stage to express Texas' revelation of feeling ("My Little Prairie Flower"), leading us to Hannie, in a foul mood, wanting to pack up the wagon and leave. The Ikes remind her that she's completely forgotten about her impending marriage to Buzzey, but, in fact, she's not too happy with men in general ("All Men Are Crazy"). She sends the Ikes to find Pap. Texas arrives. He expounds that they are two of a kind and belong together ("Ain't No Womern but You"). They have a fiery battle of words that ends with a kiss of passion.

Pap interrupts them with news that the Marshall, Buzzey and the townspeople are on their way to arrest Texas. Texas wants Pap and Hannie to find safety, but Hannie won't leave without her man. The Marshall arrives, ready to hang Texas on the spot. For his "last words," Texas tells the tale of his miraculous origins ("Borned in Texas") and shows the Marshall and the townspeople that he is made of the same stuff as they are ("Wild and Reckless"). The Marshall is convinced, not only to set Texas free but, to marry Hannie and him. Hannie rushes to change, Pap cleans up Texas for his wedding and the Marshall and townspeople celebrate the couple leaving town ("Peaceful Little Town – Reprise").

Texas and Hannie are joined in matrimony ("The Way It Should Be – Reprise"), and Uncle Billy/Pap bids farewell to the audience ("Roadside – Reprise").

← Back to Roadside
Cast Size: Small (Up to 10 performers)
Cast Type: Ensemble Cast
Dance Requirements: None

Character Breakdown

Pap Raider / Uncle Billy
The narrator and leader in the family music show. An energetic showman as Uncle Billy, but a rough and tough man as Pap. A widower who finds a kindred spirit in Texas.
Gender: male
Age: 50 to 65
Vocal range top: Ab4
Vocal range bottom: F2
Amos K. "buzzey" Hale
A dancing comic in the family music show. In love with Hannie, and determined to have her. He schemes to get Texas arrested.
Gender: male
Age: 20 to 35
Vocal range top: Bb4
Vocal range bottom: E2
Hannie Raider
The leading lady in the family music show. A strapping, feisty woman with an easy smile and provocative sense of humor. Dreams of a life off the road with a loving husband.
Gender: female
Age: 20 to 30
Vocal range top: Eb5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Red Ike
One of the country comics and olio performer in the family music show with a strong falsetto. Partners in crime with Black Ike. Elf-like and spry in his movement, but not the brightest person.
Gender: male
Age: 18 to 35
Vocal range top: E5
Vocal range bottom: B2
Black Ike
One of the country comics and olio performer in the family music show. Partners in crime with Red Ike. Elf-like and spry in his movement, but not the brightest person.
Gender: male
Age: 18 to 35
Vocal range top: A#4
Vocal range bottom: B2
A cowboy with a giant personality. Unshaven and smarmy at times, he finds himself constantly getting chased out of town. Develops a serious attraction to Hannie.
Gender: male
Age: 25 to 35
Vocal range top: G4
Vocal range bottom: F2
The Verdigree Marshal
The Marshal sent by the judge to apprehend runaway Texas. A conservative man who believes abiding by the law is always the best solution.
Gender: male
Age: 45 to 65
Vocal range top: Ab4
Vocal range bottom: F#2
Miz Foster
A citizen of Verdigree. Sweet on the surface, but a stark supporter of keeping the peace.
Gender: female
Age: 18 to 25
Vocal range top: B5
Vocal range bottom: G3
Full Song List
Roadside: Overture
Roadside: Uncle Billy's Travellin' Family Show
Roadside: Roadside
Roadside: Here Am I
Roadside: I Don't Want To Bother Nobody
Roadside: Smellamagoody Perfume
Roadside: Lookin' at the Moon
Roadside: I'm Through With You
Roadside: I Toe The Line
Roadside: Back to Our Story
Roadside: Another Drunken Cowboy
Roadside: The Way It Should Be
Roadside: My Little Prairie Flower
Roadside: All Men Is Crazy
Roadside: Ain't No Womern But You
Roadside: Borned
Roadside: Wild & Reckless

Critical Reaction

"Roadside boasts a handsome pedigree and several pleasingly familiar elements. ...Within five minutes, Roadside has evoked not only Oklahoma! and The Fantasticks but also Paint Your Wagon, Carnival, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Barnum. [Harvey Schmidt]... can write an attractive tune like nobody's business, then underpin it with the most beguiling harmonies this side of Richard Rodgers. ...Its music caresses, teases, smiles, often kicks up its cowboy boots and dances all over the stage."
– TheaterMania

"Roadside is sweet but not saccarine, hokey but with the portion of corn kept palatable. ...The characters are archetypes encountered in countless B-Movies, but likeable and feisty, with just enough of an undercurrent of sad yearning to tap into our own nostalgia for connections that seem to have eluded us and times that can only be retained in our memories. The songs have a country-flavored Texas twang and catchy lyrics that build character and move the story forward."
– CurtainUp

"Jones and Schmidt have written two first-rate country tunes, the conditional love song 'Here I Am' and 'All Men Is Crazy.'"
– Variety

"Displays the same quiet charm that The Fantasticks has used to captivate audiences for more than 40 years. It's hard not to smile at the title number.... This is the type of wistful ballad, in which nostalgia is tempered with regret, that Schmidt and Jones have made their signature."
– Billboard Magazine



Based on the play, Roadside by Lynn Riggs


You must give the authors/creators billing credits, as specified in the Production Contract, in a conspicuous manner on the first page of credits in all programs and on houseboards, displays and in all other advertising announcements of any kind.
Percentages listed indicate required type size in relation to title size.
Book and Lyrics by Music by
Based on the Play "Roadside" by Lynn Riggs
Originally Produced in New York by
The York Theatre Company, James Morgan, Artistic Director
Dan Shaheen, Associate Producer

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