Looking for Roberto Clemente

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


The original cast sings the national anthem during opening week at the Washington National’s Ballpark.

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

Musical Numbers




4. WINNING IS BALL - Joe, Kids


6. DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH - Clemente, Sam
6. DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH - Clemente, Sam


Erika Rose, Derek Manson and Zack Colonna at Imagination Stage. Photo Credit: Scott Suchman
Imagination Stage Original Cast. Erika Rose, Derek Manson and Zack Colonna. Photo Credit: Scott Suchman.

Audio demo features the voice talents of Ryan Amador (Sam), Danny Bolero (Clemente), John Krause (Joe), Jimmy Lambert (Peter) and Angela Wildflower (Charlie)

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

Production Elements

Cast: 1 Woman, 5 Men

Imagination Stage 2016 Cast. Eben K. Logan, David Landstrom, Philip da Costa. Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

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)

Imagination Stage, Bethesda, MD

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 DesireNative GardensMariela in the DesertLegacy of LightThe Book Club Play and The Sins of Sor Juana; adaptations include Into the Beautiful NorthJust 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 TwistElla Enchanted: The MusicalChasing George Washington: A White House AdventureEinstein Is a DummyLooking for Roberto ClementeFrida LibreJane of the JungleCinderella Eats Rice and BeansFerdinand 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.

Meanwhile, visit Crunchynotes on Bandcamp to purchase other show tunes!

Imagination Stage 2016 Cast. Photo Credit: Margot Schulman

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