Holly Beardsley Plays
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Photo by James Richardson Photography. 

Photo by James Richardson Photography. 

The Pauper Princess

It’s a classic story. (No, literally. It’s a classic—)

Two strangely identical people from different backgrounds, one rich and one poor, meet, and switch places. Hijinks ensue! The Prince and the Pauper? No! It’s The Pauper Princess.  Okay. You’re right. Based off Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, The Pauper Princess steps away from the Prince and moves down the line of ascension to Princess Elizabeth. 

That’s right. THE Elizabeth, with a capital E.  The future Queen Elizabeth! (Queen of the Golden Age? The Woman behind Shakespeare? The mother of English theatre? The redhead with the collar? Yeah, that’s her.) But before Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne, she was just Princess Elizabeth, fending off suitors too old and too fat. Dreaming of a non-royal life. Wishing for just one minute alone.

Meanwhile, Theresa wears rags and scrounges for food. She’s so desperate, she pretends to be a boy, so she can be in a play and earn dinner for herself, and her sister. (Only boys can be in plays, you know.)  

When Princess and Pauper come face-to-face, when one becomes the other, when King Henry VIII dies and everyone is vying for the Great Seal of England (and we don’t mean the mammal,) who knows what will happen? Maybe Shakespeare has a clue…

Hilarious characters, fun costumes, it’s Elizabethan England like you've never seen it before. It’s time to Huzzah! And Par-tay!

The Pauper Princess is a Theatrefolk exclusive. Click here for more information. 

Photo by Erin Reed Photography

Photo by Erin Reed Photography


The Nutcracker

Clara & the White City  

Clara is delusional, crazy, insane, a nut-job. Whatever you might call it, Clara is special.  And this special girl wants only one thing for Christmas. More than toys or sweets, Clara wants freedom. For just one night, she wants to step outside the padded walls of the nuthouse and see the World’s Fair.  This Christmas, she wants to see The White City—the city of her dreams.

Set in Chicago, Christmas Eve, 1893, The Nutcracker: Clara and the White City explores the mad dream behind Tchaikovsky’s holiday ballet. Starting inside an insane asylum and into the real life 1893 World’s Fair, we meet all kinds of characters from Dr Sigmund Freud, Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, to Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky himself!  

You’ll laugh, and you’ll cry, and you’ll laugh again as Clara dances her way out of the madness. Clara and the White City will leave you wishing you could stay crazy, if only for a little while longer.

Large Cast 15M, 17F, 43 Either

Approx. Running time 105 min.

An Important Note: While most Holly Beardsley plays involve some dancing and music, The Nutcracker: Clara and the White City, is hybrid mix of both ballet and play. This gives not just young actors a lot of interesting opportunities, but dancers as well.  Making The Nutcracker not only one of the most challenging shows we offer, but also the most beautiful.      


Photo by James Richardson Photography

Photo by James Richardson Photography


Pirates VS Zombies

Choose a side and join in the feast—er, fun! 

Pirates vs. Zombies tells the tale of Captain Harrow and his crew of pirate captains, all marooned on the same tropical island.

 But this jungle island is no Caribbean paradise. 

Behind the swaying palm trees lie unimaginable dangers. Harrow's beleaguered band must survive marauding cursed pirates, hungry zombies, sneaky ninjas, a maniacal robot, and the most dangerous creatures of all…women! Join the crew as they meet the intrepid daughters of Admiral General, in pursuit of the cursed pirate treasure that could set them all free.

Pirates vs. Zombies is a swashbuckling comedic adventure that brings Gilbert and Sullivan and Night of the Living Dead together for action, romance, and nonstop laughs.

Oh, and don't forget the lawyers... They're absolute sharks! 

Large Cast 14M, 27F, 12 Either

Approx. Running Time: 100 mins


Photo by Erin Reed Photography

Photo by Erin Reed Photography


The Kankakee Cowboy in King Arthur's Court

Hank is your average 19th century cowboy, a bit bumbling perhaps, but a cowboy still.  (Today, we might call him a nerd.) But this average bumbling cowboy’s life is turned upside down when he falls through a gopher hole and lands in the middle of medieval times. And he’s not the only one.  Just like Hank, Mark Twain, “the great American Novelist,” has been transported through time to a place of dirty peasants, witch burnings, and coconuts.  Wait— coconuts?

With showgirl Knights of the Round Table from Las Vegas, a silly king, and an insecure sorcerer— what else could go wrong?

Based on the novel by Mark Twain, (and other bits of silliness,) The Kankakee Cowboy in King Arthur’s Court is galloping good fun with quests, duels, dancing, and a scary beast with big pointy teeth.

Large Cast  5M, 15F, 30 Either

Approx. Running Time: 90mins




photo by Erin Reed Photography

photo by Erin Reed Photography

Alice in Wonderland

We open with a ballet laugh, as the curious characters of Wonderland introduce themselves.

From there we are whisked back to “reality,” a sunny afternoon in Victorian England where Alice is sitting for a lesson from her big sister Ada. It is very hot, and very boring, until...Alice spots a White Rabbit. And not just any white rabbit, a White Rabbit with a waistcoat, and a pocket watch! Being a completely reasonable Victorian young lady, Alice decides to chase the tailored rabbit. Down the rabbit hole, and into Wonderland!

Only the door to Wonderland... is locked. 

Filled with the best of characters from Lewis Carrol's novels, Alice in Wonderland explores what it means to be a girl, now, and in the past.  It's empowering message of girl power is backed up by a large percentage of female characters including half a dozen Queens, dancing flowers, a wise woman caterpillar, and Alice's adorably spunky kitten, Dinah. (Don't worry, boys, you got the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the galloping White Knight. Oh, and we can't forget Tweedle dum and Tweedle dee! Or is Tweedle Dee and and Tweedle Dum? I forget.) 

Charmed with anachronistic wit (and tacky audience participation) this Alice in Wonderland will leave you wondering, "So, when is tea time?" 


Large Cast M11, F30, 34-58 Either

Approx. Running Time: 75min


Photo by James Richardson

Photo by James Richardson


The Three Musketeers 

All for one and one for all!

The Musketeers motto of friendship and loyalty has spurred the French into action for centuries, but none more so than our young hero D’Artagnan, a country boy come to Paris to become a Musketeer. Along the way, he befriends three of the Musketeers most brave, cunning, and hilarious swordsmen, Athos, Porthos, Aramis. Together they defend the honor of king and country while charming the wenches and ladies of Paris. But under the swoons and sword clanking, there are hushed whispers of a conspiracy--a plot to kill the king, destroy the queen and dispatch the Musketeers forever!

Based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers,  is an adventure that storms the stage with blades flashing. Swashbuckling, romance and laughs, The Three Musketeers will inspire love and loyalty from the audience to the stage.

Large Cast 19M, 22F, 30 Either

Approx. Running Time: 105 min

photo by Erin Reed Photography

photo by Erin Reed Photography

Little Boy Blue 

What happens when the sleeping shepherd...is woke 

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn—

The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn—

Where is the boy who looks after the sheep?

He’s not under the haystack, and he’s not fast asleep. Quite the opposite. He’s roaming the countryside, blowing the horn of revolution. Telling all storybook characters, both Heroes and Villains alike, about a dream he had under the haystack.

A dream that said all storybook people were created equal. From the troll beneath his bridge to the giant on his beanstalk, all free to lead a story of their choosing. Free to see beyond Once upon a time and into the future. Free to look away from a land far, far away and see their fellow storybook people beside them. The dish and the spoon could love one another without fear. The cow leaps over the moon right into the stars.

One part comedy, and one part civil rights treatise, Little Boy Blue is full of laughs and enlightenment-- for instance-- did you know that not all Billy Goats are named Bill. Some prefer William, Mac, or Buddy. Even Bob. 

Large Cast 10M, 15F, 22 Either

Approx Running Time: 90 mins