Book & Lyrics by Karen Zacarías
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
The year: 1972. The place: Pittsburgh, where legendary baseball player Roberto Clemente is at the top of his game. Sam Kowalski and the neighborhood baseball-playing kids are in an intense competition to win the chance to meet Clemente in person. But it is their hero’s fateful off-field actions while aiding natural disaster victims in Nicaragua that teach the kids what is more important than winning.
Writer Karen Zacarías and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma turn a funny, crackerjack tale about baseball-obsessed kids into a terrific new children’s musical.” – Celia Wren, Washington Post
Looking for Roberto Clemente was commissioned by Imagination Stage, Bethesda, MD, and premiered there in 2008 under the direction of Kate Bryer. It received the DC Theatre Scene Award for Best Family Show of the Year.
Looking for Roberto Clemente is published by the Dramatic Publishing Company.
With its shimmering chord changes regularly ceding to cheerfully thumping pop-tinged-showtune sounds, La Puma’s music seems to mirror the thematic tug-of-war between idealism and ambition. In her book and lyrics, Zacarías draws her lesson so delicately, and girds it with so much wit and characterization, that the show never feels schoolmarmish — it’s purely exuberant.” – Celia Wren, Washington Post
1. OPENING POEM – All
2. PITS IN PITTSBURGH – Kids
3. HOMERUN, GRANDSLAM PROMISE – Sam, Charlie, Peter
4. WINNING IS BALL – Joe, Kids
5. BASEBALL FUNK – Kids
6. DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH – Clemente, Sam
7. FINAL POEM – All
This world-premiere children’s musical features a buoyant rock score that harkens back to the days of the Jackson Five and 1970s supergroups with tuneful lessons that delve into the nature of heroism. Baseball lovers will find this show irresistible, and the music and engaging and effervescent performances will captivate even the sports-shy.” – Washington Times
Cast: 1 Woman, 5 Men
CHARLIE GUNSTON – An 11 year-old tomboy and excellent hitter. Sam’s best friend forever. (Alto belt)
SAM KOWALSKI – An 11 year-old dreamer with confidence problems. A fervent Clemente fan. A hopeful pitcher. (Baritone/Tenor)
PETER – An 11 year-old lover of sports statistics and baseball cards. Not a natural athlete. Sam’s other best friend. (High Tenor)
CAPTAIN JOE – The super-cool 11 year-old captain of the Barracuda little league team. (Rock Tenor)
NOAH – Joe’s right hand guy. A natural athlete and Barracuda teammate. Tommy’s younger brother. (Baritone)
TOMMY – A 12 year-old with special needs. Lives in his own world. The Barracuda’s bat boy who really wants to play ball. (Non-singing)
ROBERTO CLEMENTE – Charismatic athlete at the pinnacle of his career. (Baritone)
Music: 70’s-flavored Rock score for Piano, Keyboard, Bass, Drums, and optional Guitar. Accompaniment tracks available.
Musical Difficulty: Moderate
Technical Requirements: Minimal
Suggested Audience: Young Audiences/Families
Writer Karen Zacarias has done an excellent job in creating a simple but touching script…Composer Deborah Wicks La Puma creates a fun rock score that complements the simple story. Universal themes such as love of sports, friendship, hero worship and coping with tragedy make this show appealing to everyone.” – Ted Ying, DC Theatre Scene
KAREN ZACARÍAS (Book & Lyrics) was recently hailed by American Theatre magazine as one of the most produced playwrights in the United States. Her plays include Destiny of Desire, Native Gardens, Mariela in the Desert, Legacy of Light, The Book Club Play and The Sins of Sor Juana; adaptations include Into the Beautiful North, Just Like Us and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. Zacarías has written 10 TYA musicals with composer Debbie Wicks La Puma including Oliverio: A Brazilian Twist, Ella Enchanted: The Musical, Chasing George Washington: A White House Adventure, Einstein Is a Dummy, Looking for Roberto Clemente, Frida Libre, Jane of the Jungle, Cinderella Eats Rice and Beans, Ferdinand the Bull and The Magical Piñata. She collaborated on the libretto for Sleepy Hollow and Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises for the Washington Ballet at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her plays have been produced at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Goodman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, the Guthrie Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Round House Theatre, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Dallas Theater Center and many more. Zacarías is a core founder of the Latino Theater Commons, a national network that strives to update the American narrative to including the stories of Latinos. She is the founder of Young Playwrights’ Theater, an award-winning theatre company that teaches playwriting in local public schools in Washington, D.C., and she is proud to be Arena Stage’s first resident playwright. Zacarías lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and three children. www.karenzacarias.com
DEBORAH WICKS LA PUMA (Music) – see her bio page
To hear a full demo of Looking for Roberto Clemente contact us directly via our contact page.