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Main Street Musicals


MainStreet Evaluations

Mourning Becomes Ridiculous (1158)

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This show has been submitted ONLY to determine whether it qualifies as a semi-finalist in the Mainstreet Award competition.  The Nomination Form - which is linked to the email you received - provides the “yes” or “no” option.


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  • SELECT ONE: adapted from a work in the public domain
  • SOURCE: ELECTRA by Sophocles
  • MUSICAL STYLE: Standard Broadway
  • NATURE: comedy or satireINTENDED AUDIENCE: general
  • STRUCTURE: spoken dialog with songs
  • APPROXIMATE DURATION (Hrs/Min): 80 min.
  • BRIEFLY STATE THE THEME or MESSAGE: MOURNING BECOMES RIDICULOUS is an offbeat take on Sophocles'"Electra".  The Fates have given up, and Electra, Orestes, and the citizens of Mycenae take on new comic life as they are forced to take responsibility for their own crazy actions.  Winner, Best Book and Lyrics, Best Actor and Actress, Manhattan Theatre Mission's 2nd Annual Musical Showcase  (of four finalists - out of 35 entries - "Eddie and the Palaceades" was one of the other four).

Cast Description

CLYTEMNESTRA: Queen of Mycenae, alto

AEGISTHUS: her present husband, baritone

ELECTRA: daughter to Clytemnestra and the late Agamemnon, mezzo/belt

CHRYSOTHEMIS: her sister, alto belt

ORESTES: her brother, tenor

PEDAGOGUS:  their tutor, baritone/character singer

the women of Mycenae (Chorus)

CHLOE: the youngest, soprano/mezzo

PHOEBE: the most mature, soprano

LAVERNE: the quirkiest, mezzo

the Victims of History
(a non-singing chorus of ghosts - doubled by rest of cast when possible) -helpful if these actors can sing-

OEDIPUS:  King of Thebes, killed his father, married his mother,gouged out his eyes

CASSANDRA: Cursed by Apollo, seen as mad, but could foretell the future

ACHILLES: Killed by Paris in the Trojan War with an arrow to his heel

PANDORA: Opened a box releasing all the evils of humanity


During sunrise lamentations, the Victims of History (VOH) are scattered by Phoebe, Chloe, and LaVerne; each dreamt similarly (IN A DREAM): the Fates have given up, and they’re to spread news of new freedom. They confront the most miserable Mycenaen: Electra. She’s longing for brother Orestes to return, avenging their father’s murder (WAITING FOR HIM). She’ll believe things really have changed if they return Orestes.

At tutor Pedagogus’ hovel (both in hiding sixteen years): The Chorus appears, and (I’M GONNA BE A STAR) whisks Orestes away, leaving Pedagogus.

The palace breakfast: Electra and sister Chrysothemis serve mother Clytemnestra and present husband Aegisthus. The murder-couple sing (FAMILY) and plan that evening’s anniversary party. Electra challenges Chrysothemis, who explains how she survives (GO WITH THE FLOW), suggesting Electra comply.

At the hovel, Pedagogus faces the VOH, who invite him to Mycenae. He is reluctant (DON’T ASK ME), then relents.

Orestes finds “his” hill overlooking Mycenae: it’s barren, no birds or flowers (HOME AGAIN). He flees; the Chorus handles Chrysothemis, at her father’s grave.

Electra has Clytemnestra maniacal: she “go(es) with the flow,” faking happiness, scrubbing the palace steps. They stop her, so leaving the steps unrinsed.  Electra, lamenting, is joined by the dumped-off  Pedagogus. First confused, they discover each’s identities and unravel .  Chrysothemis and Orestes arrive; all agree they’re miserable as before the Fates gave up (STOP SIGN). The Chorus also despairs, when a lone bird flies overhead, giving them hope (BIRDS OF THE AIR).

Clytemnestra and Aegisthus prepare the party (FAMILY); Pedagogus narrates; the lovers slip on the unrinsed palace steps and, well, die.  Siblings and tutor teeter on the brink; the Chorus guides them shakily forward. The VOH (adding Clytemnestra and Aegisthus) commence evening lamentations, now chased out of town by newly happy Myceneans. (MOURNING BECOMES RIDICULOUS).

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