The Very Strange Story of


A New Musical

Book and Lyrics

Dennis Tracy Quinn


Bill Parsley

Dramatis Personae

The cast of characters
(listed in speaking order)
with photographs of the members
of the legendary
Paradise Theatre

S. George Davis, Jr.



Early to mid 20s

Jakob is an African-American, graduate film student at N.Y.U., in search of an idea for a screenplay. A champion of film preservation and a walking encyclopedia of film facts and history, he may discover he has a lot more in common with a fellow passenger than he expected. The story Jakob narrates, "The Fifty-Dollar Porsche," is tellingly filled with allusions to a certain famous film noir classic. This serious, no-nonsense kind of guy, armed with his ubiquitous laptop, presents a curious question: is he writing the story we are watching, or is he merely writing it down?

Also Plays: Calypso Trio Member, The Devil, Bob, Mr. Impresario, John Thomas Bell, etc.

Ethel Agnes Zimmermann




Late 30s to Mid 50s

A salty female of indeterminate age (her name is Terry although it is never mentioned), she is a professional bus driver operating out of a private charter company in Passaic, New Jersey. Married to a truck driver, she prides herself on never having had an accident... until tonight. She tells the most familiar of the several "Vanishing Hitchhiker" stories that are scattered throughout the evening—the one about three teenage boys and their spooky encounter with a mysterious young girl.

Also Plays: Carol (Ashley’s Mom), Sister Joseph Regina, Jane Ennui, etc.

Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha



Mid 20's

A paralegal of Puerto Rican heritage, Graciela is proud of her psychic abilities, although sometimes they tend to be as much a curse as they are a blessing. In search of romance, Graciela finds herself at odds with fellow passenger Matthew, while also being hopelessly attracted to him. Her vacation plans were decided by the toss of a coin when Vermont won out over the balmy breezes of Puerto Rico. Graciela can't shake the nagging feeling the spirits are trying to warn her about something. Her tale of "The Killer In The Back Seat" is rendered in frenetic song.

Also Plays: Nurse #1, Margaret-Mary, Phyllis Dietrichson, Lila-Louise Dill, etc.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne



Mid 20’s

Lynette is an ultra-chic, style-conscious, African-American designer at an trendy Seventh Avenue fashion house. Through connections at work, Lynette was offered—gratis—a fabulous ski wardrobe she just couldn't pass up. When her best friend Graciela suggested a joint vacation, Lynette naturally pushed for Vermont. The toss of a coin and the suggestion that some of the designer clothes would look divine on Graciela sealed their fate. Lynette's story of "The Bridesmaid From Hell" reflects her fashion concerns and the lengths to which people will go to look good.

Also Plays: Nurse #2, Mary-Margaret, Chenille Curry, Doctor Katz, etc.

Judith Tuvim



Early to mid 20s

A good-natured, Jewish-American princess from New Rochelle, NY, Sydney works in leather goods at Bloomingdales on Lexington & 59th Street. Guccio Gucci and Louis Vuitton—the only two men in her life of whom her mother entirely approves—were responsible for Sydney winning a vacation in Vermont. In a brazen move, she invited a handsome fellow employee she assumed would say no, only to be stunned by his eager acceptance. Sydney knows she's in over her head, but maybe, just maybe, this time her mother will prove to be wrong. Her insecurities are reflected in the story she tells of a schoolteacher—on a vacation in Tijuana—who has an encounter with "A Mexican Pet."

Also Plays: Tanning Salon Lady, Virginia, Miss Freeney, Secretary (VO), Nora Megredy (must dance well), etc.

Charles Johnson



Mid 20s

Handsome, aspiring actor David Sellwin has a 'day-job' in the display department of Bloomingdales. David has appeared in two Off-off Broadway plays and is slowly climbing the ladder of success. He accepted Sydney's invitation for a trip to Vermont because he is attracted to her, but in a purely platonic way. David's story, "A Spider in a Beehive," tells of the singing group "The Bayonnets"––whatever became of them?––and is presented in typical Hollywood bio-pic fashion.

Also Plays: Perky Salon Man, James, Cody, Joe McKeon, Gangster, Tom Megredy (must dance well), etc.

Julius Garfinkle



Early to mid 20s

Matthew is law student—a rugged out-door type—who, underneath, is guilt-ridden over his cavalier academic habits. A swaggering, know-it-all kind of guy, Mathew meets his match in Graciela. Oil & water, night & day, these two opposites are attracted to one another with all the power of nuclear fusion. Matthew insists the story he tells of "The Hooked Hand" actually happened to students at his high school many, many years ago.

Also Plays: Calypso Trio Member, Radio Announcer, Walter Neff, Al, Doctor Grimm, etc.

J. Maitland Stewart



Late 20’s

Charles Dodgson is an engaging grammar school teacher with a passion for folk tales and folk songs. Charles is never far from his guitar, which he uses to underscore his and the other Passenger's stories. A natural-born leader, organizer and pacifist, Charles is engaged to MaryAnne who, much to his consternation, is determined to challenge every story being told. His own grab-bag of stories (some told in song) are many and varied. The actor may choose from several stories and songs in his grab-bag which have been written to be interchangeable from performance to performance.

Also Plays: Doctor Burns, Pianist, Kenton Faust, Reporter (Walter Winchell), MC (at Picnic), etc.

Ruth Elizabeth Davis



Mid to late 20s

MaryAnne is an obsessive, fact-checking copywriter for a trade magazine—and world-champion skeptic—who is engaged to Charles. As frozen inside as the snowbound landscape in which she finds herself trapped, MaryAnne is in for a night of soul searching as she begins to thaw and warm to her fellow passengers. The story she finally tells, of her great-great aunt Peggy's encounter with "A Premonition Revealed In A Dream," becomes a cathartic release for MaryAnne.

Also Plays: Ashley, Melissa Parsley, Peggy, etc.

Charles Levison



Late 40s to early 60s

Wilson Bentley is a mysterious, old Vermont character on a mission. Although for all intents and purposes Mr. Bentley appears to be the proverbial Good Samaritan, there is something about him that leads MaryAnne to suspect he is not quite who or what he claims to be. The intense interest he takes in her, and the fact that he appears to know who she is, gives MaryAnne an unsettling feeling she can't quite shake. Bentley gets the ball rolling when, at Charles' insistence, he tells a variation on "The Vanishing Hitchhiker" story about a little girl who struggled through a blizzard to save the life of her gravely ill mother.

Also Plays: Seedy Salon Man, The Girl's Father, Ed Sullivan (VO), Ernesto Hidalgo, Mr. Megredy & Wagon Driver, etc.

various and sundry men & women,
doctors, teachers, students,
con-artists, psychopathic killers,

talent agents, animals,
Ghosts and spirits

who populate the tales
told by the passengers
on the bus.