Ladies Choice! Large Cast Suggestions for Female Heavy Plays (Part 2)

Written by Tiffany Wilkie

November 21, 2017

Sometimes the number of girls and women significantly outweighs the number of boys and men in a theatre department. That’s when it’s time to start looking for female-heavy plays. Check out our Part 2 list below. (And read Part 1 here!)

1. As it is in Heaven by Arlene Hutton (9 women)

A religious community is changed when a non-believer has an ecstatic experience. The 1830’s Shaker society of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, is set in ordered ways. Their once dramatic form of worship has by now developed into routine. The arrival of Fanny upsets the harmony; the Sisters suspect her to be a “winter Shaker,” one who suddenly converts when life gets too hard on the farm. Fanny sees angels in the meadow, and soon all the young women are receiving spiritual “gifts” of songs, drawings, ideas and giggles, completely upsetting the community. The leaders question Fanny’s intentions and honesty: Is this a resurgence of the original Shaker celebration or something manufactured by Fanny so that she can remain with the Shakers? Eldress Hannah is jealous that she, the most devout of Shakers, has not been privileged to see the visions. But only the ones who question need visual proof. Whether they were heavenly or earthly, the angels were there. “Hands to Work, Hearts to God” is their motto, and in each scene the Sisters are always at tasks. The set is as simple as the Shakers: benches, baskets and laundry. Hymns sung a cappella punctuate the scenes of the play, which ends with a joyful explosion of Shaker singing and ecstatic dance.

Get the play here.

2. 10 Virgins by Laura Jacqmin (11 women)

After their mother’s disappearance, Marchen and her nine sisters grow up in a swamp with only a trunk full of old stories to teach them about the world. But under the influence of a cryptic witch, Jenny Greenteeth, Marchen begins to wonder if her destiny lies beyond her books and her isolated life with her siblings. Is she willing to leave her life behind — even betray her sisters — to find her own freedom? When the littlest sister disappears, it’s up to Marchen to uncover the truth. Inspired by classic fairy tales and folklore, 10 Virgins deftly explores what it means to find our way in the world and what consequences come from the paths we choose.

Get the play here.

3. Nine Girls by W. Pettitt (9 women)

The holiday chatter in their mountain clubhouse is silenced as a radio announces the news of Paula’s death. Alice has just received a letter from Paula that contains an important clue. She confides this to only one of the girls, who instantly snatches the letter and burns it! Alice may have made a fatal error in choosing her confidante. Then the killer strikes at Alice, cleverly making her death seem like a suicide. Only shrewd Eve rejects the suicide theory, but then she, too, errs in her choice of a confidante.

Get the play here.

4. If We Were Birds by Erin Shields (7 women, 2 men)

When King Pandion marries his daughter Procne off to war hero King Tereus, she must leave her beloved sister Philomela behind. After years of isolation in a foreign land, Procne begs Tereus to collect her sister for a visit. But when Tereus is confronted with Philomela’s beauty, his desire triumphs over reason, igniting a chain of horrific events. A harrowing exploration of violence and revenge, this adaptation features a chorus of ravaged women, each a survivor of a twentieth-century conflict: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Nanking, and Berlin.

Get the play here.

5. The Rez Sisters by Thomson Highway (7 women, 1 man)

This award-winning play by Native playwright Tomson Highway is a powerful and moving portrayal of seven women from a reserve attempting to beat the odds by winning at bingo. And not just any bingo. It is THE BIGGEST BINGO IN THE WORLD and a chance to win a way out of a tortured life.

Get the play here.

6. Trojan Barbie by Christine Evans (7 women, 4 men)

A Car-Crash Encounter with Euripides’ Trojan Women. Past and present violently collide when Lotte, an English tourist who repairs dolls, is captured while on a tour of current-day Troy and flung back into the ancient camp of Euripides’ Trojan Women. Part contemporary drama, part homage to Euripides’ Trojan Women, Trojan Barbie recasts the legendary fall of the city of Troy against the vivid reality of modern warfare. Poetic, compassionate, and tinged with great warmth and humor, Trojan Barbie is an epic war story with a most unlikely heroine, who always looks on the bright side even as past and present collide about her.

Get the play here.

7. Off a Broken Road by Stephen Spotswood (12w, 4m)

In a country coming out of a long war, there’s a small town: isolated, battered, and on the losing side. Here, courage does not come from the heart, but is picked and processed and sold by the ounce. But this town’s Courage ran out long ago. And now its citizens are being forced to take refugees into their homes–people whose country their soldiers were fighting just a few months ago. Winners and losers–the dead, the living, and the lost–will be forced to overcome their fears. Or let the war begin again.

Get the play here.

8. The Friendly Hour by Tom Jacobson (5-13 women)

Tom Jacobson’s lovely new play chronicles the rituals of a women’s club in rural South Dakota from the late ’30s to 2007, and we watch the women with whom we grow increasingly familiar age and engage in theological disputes that are really at the heart of the matter. God’s purpose, and the purpose of community, interweave and clash through the decades. …an impressionistic landscape that straddles the literary worlds of Anton Chekhov and Thornton Wilder.

Get the play here.

9. Shiloh Rules by Doris Baizley (6 women)

A dedicated Union nurse and a mysterious Confederate refugee meet on the Shiloh battlefield to compete for the title of Best Female Reenactor of the Year. With their young trainees trying to out-do each other in “authenticity,” and a concessionaire egging both sides on, their competition leads them into real conflict with Ranger Wilson, an African-American female park ranger who would rather be anywhere than the year 1862, imaginary or not. As the re-enactment rages out of control, all six women discover that some conflicts of the Civil War weren’t left behind in 1862.

Get the play here.

10. Picnic by William Inge (4m 7w)

The play takes place on Labor day Weekend in the joint backyards of two middle-aged widows. The one house belongs to Flo Owens, who lives there with her two maturing daughters, Madge and Millie, and a boarder who is a spinster school teacher. The other house belongs to Helen Potts, who lives with her elderly and invalid mother. Into this female atmosphere comes a young man named Hal Carter, whose animal vitality seriously upsets the entire group. Hal is a most interesting character, a child of parents who ignored him, self-conscious of his failings and his position behind the eight ball. Flo is sensitively wary of temptations for her daughters. Madge, bored with being only a beauty, sacrifices her chances for a wealthy marriage for the excitement Hal promises. Her sister, Millie, finds her balance for the first time through the stranger’s brief attention. And the spinster is stirred to make an issue out of the dangling courtship that has brightened her life in a dreary, minor way.

Get the play here.

Interested in theatre history? Check out our other features below!

Tiffany Weagly-Wilkie is the Director of Theatricals for She also serves as the Casting Director for The Imagination House.
Thumbnail: Photo by Clarke Sanders on Unsplash