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Welcome To The Hard Luck Café (1175)

| script | score | snap shot | cast description | synopsis |

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  • TITLE OF WORK: Welcome to the Hard Luck Café
  • SELECT ONE: Original
  • MUSICAL STYLE: rock, R and B
  • NATURE: Drama
  • STRUCTURE: Spoken dialogue with occasional songs
  • APPROXIMATE DURATION (Hrs/Min): 120 min
  • DESIRED INSTRUMENTATION: piano, guitar, drums
  • BRIEFLY STATE THE THEME or MESSAGE: With a strong social support network behind them, people can overcome just about anything.

Cast Description


(in order of appearance)

Cast size 11, 6 women and 5 men. Actors may serve as customers during Café and bar scenes. Characters can be of unspecified age, except Cynthia and Anne, about 40 and Katie, 18. Casting can be color-blind except for Alexis and Marcus, an African American couple. All actors have at least one solo. Numbers of songs are ensemble works (although on the CD they may be sung by an individual) All female roles can be sung by an alto; all male roles by a baritone or bari-tenor.

1. JOE, (m) a recovering alcoholic, former bar owner, and no-nonsense co-proprietor of the Hard Luck Café, with a soft spot for his second wife, Mimi

2. MIMI, (f) Joe’s kind, but preoccupied wife, also in recovery, and yearning for connection with her estranged children.

3. DAN, (m) a nice-guy, gun-shy waiter in recovery, studying to be a financial planner.

4. HAZEL, (f) a lively, street-wise waiter, finishing college and volunteering at the detox unit.

5. ALEXIS, (f) waiter/nurse in recovery, at the end of her rope with long-term boyfriend Marcus.

6. MARCUS, (m) recovering addict and commitment-phobic boyfriend of Alexis. 

7. GREG, friend of Marcus and Dan’s from rehab, mourning the loss of his partner, Tom.

8. ANNE, (f) a disenchanted single clinical psychologist and Cynthia’s lifelong friend.

9. KATIE, (f) Cynthia’s angry teenaged daughter, about to go to college.

10. RICHARD, (m) a self-absorbed “drying drunk”, periodically in recovery.

11. CYNTHIA, (f) a care-worn, alcoholic divorced woman, mother of 18 year old Katie. 



The story of a friendship between two women intertwines with those of the colorful staff and patrons of the Hard Luck Café, owned by recovering alcoholics, Joe and Mimi. The Café, known for its friendly atmosphere and all-day breakfasts, provides employment and an opportunity for those recently out of rehab to reintegrate. Together Joe and Mimi have helped many lost souls get back on their feet. The Café is a favorite breakfast place for Anne, a therapist, and her lifelong friend Cynthia, a divorced mother on a downward spiral and estranged from her teenaged daughter, Katie. After Cynthia bottoms out, the Hard Luck Café welcomes her as a fragile new recruit aiming to get her life back on track. The staff of the Hard Luck, - the charmingly naïve Dan, the street-wise Hazel, and the frustrated Alexis, - support one another and shore up their patrons in recovery, even as they seek to restore love and connection to their own fractured lives. Patrons, including Greg, grieving for his partner, Tom, Alexis’s commitment-phobic boyfriend, Marcus, and the drying drunk Richard, hang out in the Café as they used to hang in bars, knowing that at the Hard Luck Café they will find support for the struggle, or, if need be, a figurative swift slap upside the head. Through shared experiences, friendship and the Café’s own “griddle” therapy, Cindy and her coworkers find community, learn to overcome regret and live day by day, even as they must gather to grieve the loss of their friend Greg. In an epilogue, colleagues gather to celebrate Cindy’s long delayed graduation from college. Katie reemerges, cautiously acknowledging her mother’s transformation.

Time: Present time, over the course of a year.

Setting: Unidentified urban area

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