Cowgirl Cookie and the Case of the Missing Chocolate Chips is an old-fashioned Western melodrama set in the Wild West. It tells the story of Cowgirl Cookie who loves to read, has a sidekick named Snickerdoodle, and is dying to solve a real mystery. Lucky for her, one comes along when her Grandma Sugar can’t find one chocolate chip in town to make her prize-winnin’, blue ribbon chocolate chip cookies for the town’s cookie contest
Unfortunately, Cowgirl Cookie’s six sisters (Oatmeal Raisin, Gingersnap, Molasses Spice, Macaroon Meringue, Peanut, and Butter) know about the chocolate chip crisis but aren’t much help. Meanwhile, Sheriff Nutter Butter and his son, Shortbread, are searching for the members of the notorious Mustache Gang (Greasy, Mushy, Crummy, Soggy, Yucky, and Burnt) who just happen to appear right under their noses. Three grannies (Miz Snappy, Miz Sticky, and Miz Chewy) sit side stage and constantly interrupt the narrator with their own comments as well as shameless plugs for the local library, while a sign holder (Chocolate) encourages audience participation throughout the play. In the end, Cowgirl Cookie solves the case of the missing chocolate chips, Grandma Sugar wins the cookie contest, and the town librarian, Miss Butterscotch, makes an appearance to settle accounts.
A little town out in the middle of nowhere in the Wild West
23 performers, but flexible (see Production Notes)
13 Females, 3 Male, and 7 Female or Male
Approximately 45 minutes without an intermission
Production Notes (included with the playscript)
All of the characters in Cowgirl Cookie and the Case of the Missing Chocolate Chips are fun roles with a wide variety of sizes. This script was written for a cast of 23, but there are several possibilities for adding or deleting characters if you need to. If you have a smaller group, then you might consider dropping a few of the villains off. If you keep Greasy and Burnt, but remove a few of the villains sandwiched in the middle, the story line will not suffer. Another possibility is to remove one or two of the Cookie girls. Again, with a few tweaks of the script, the plot would not be disturbed. If you happen to have a few extra cast members who need parts in the play, then you could certainly add villains or Cookie girls and give them a line or two each. So long as you have the stage space, why not? You could also certainly have more than one sign holder with names like Chocolate, Vanilla, or Marshmallow. They could all come on with Miss Butterscotch in the final scene. The more, the merrier!
I’ll give you fair warning. If you cast three confident females in the roles of Miz Snappy, Miz Sticky, and Miz Chewy, they will steal the show. In all three of the Cowgirl Cookie plays, the audience has routinely fallen in love with the Granny Gallery when they ham it up. The same will apply to Grandma Sugar who should be equally sassy and using that megaphone for all its worth.
When the Granny Gallery first begins keeping their tally, the audience will naturally be a bit confused. That’s okay. The question in their minds as to why the Grannies are keeping track of their advertisements will be answered, to their great amusement, in the final scene. And in my experience, the fact that this is a mystery for most of the play has never prevented the audience from laughing at the announcements along the way.
There’s a different narrator character for each of the three Cowgirl Cookie plays, and in this first one, the narrator is someone who starts out confident but grows increasingly less so as the play goes on. It’s a fun role for an actor/actress who is comfortable speaking to the audience directly and can act both confused and frustrated as to why they’re constantly being interrupted by three grannies sitting stage left.
When it comes to the Mustache Gang and the Cookie Girl group, it’s always helpful to pick a strong actor/actress for the characters of Greasy and Oatmeal Raisin since they are the first to talk. If they start off the scene with confidence, the rest of the group will feed off of that and be encouraged to follow their lead. For these groups, I often have characters talking in order. Crummy follows Mushy, Soggy follows Crummy, Yucky follows Soggy, and so on. A similar method is used with the Cookie Girl group. They introduce themselves in order and comment in order. This makes these roles ideal for actors or actresses who are a little less confident and working on their dramatic skills. They have a natural cue in the script, and without being worried about when to say their line, they can focus more on expression and volume.
I want to mention one other thing I did in the script that was very purposeful—entering and exiting the stage. Every character always enters stage right and exits stage left. With so many characters, I felt like this was just easier for the cast members to remember, especially when working with a small stage. And it just makes for a nice flow, especially in scene five of the play in which, slowly but surely, everyone comes on stage from the left until the stage is fit to burst. And then, slowly but surely, everyone exits the stage on the right until it’s just the Granny Gallery on stage.
Encourage your cast members to sink into a deep country western accent for their characters. The script as written will help with this. Notice that I wrote “goin’” instead of “going” and “ya” instead of “you.” Any twang or slow-poke talking is going to add to the humor, and I suspect your cast members will have a lot of fun developing a convincing drawl.
The stage backdrop can be a set of Wild West storefronts that include a town jail, library, general store, grange hall, saloon, etc. If they’re made from cardboard and stand separately, they’re something you can easily lift, stack, and store away for any of the Cowgirl Cookie plays in the trilogy. One thing to keep in mind: one of the buildings needs to be sturdy enough for Shortbread to be able to tack Wanted Posters to it without knocking it down. Tiny velcro strips on the back of laminated posters might be the best way to achieve this task. They make it easy for the posters to be put up and taken back down quickly, which happens several times during the play.
You could also simply go with a plain curtain backdrop with some sort of corkboard set up for the Wanted Posters to be tacked to. The emphasis in the Cowgirl Cookie plays is squarely on the characters, so the stage does not have to be elaborate and can simply be whatever you’re inspired to create!
As far as items on stage, there will need to be three chairs set up stage left for the Granny Gallery. Position them in such a way that they are easily visible to the audience at all times but not distracting from the action happening center stage. Have an easel set up near Miz Snappy’s chair with a chalkboard, large dry-erase board, or giant poster ready for her to keep her tally on. And finally, a long wooden bench should be upstage center.
For Grandma Sugar’s megaphone/earphone, a plastic megaphone like the ones being used by fans at sports games would be a great choice. Anything she can alternately hold to her lips and to her ear will work. You could even make a simple cone out of paper or go all the way with a real bullhorn. But maybe not turn it on. We don’t want Grandma Sugar to blow out any eardrums, and she’s just the type of character that would if she could.
Everyone should be in western wear for the Cowgirl Cookie plays: cowboy hats, boots, plaid shirts, granny dresses, etc. No one has to look too gussied up, but it should be clear that you are in cowgirl country. I’ll also note that any investment you make in costumes will pay off if you plan to perform either of the other two Cowgirl Cookie plays in the trilogy. The characters stay relatively the same, so hold onto the costumes and props. You’ll use them again!
Well, I think this play calls for the most classic of refreshments: cookies and milk. There’s certainly plenty of cookies mentioned in the script, and who wouldn’t enjoy a prize-winnin’, blue-ribbon chocolate chip cookie after the show?
This play is written in the spirit of an old-fashioned Western melodrama which calls for audience participation. The crowd is prompted to clap, cheer, sigh, etc., with the use of large signs held up at key moments throughout the play. You’ll discover that this ends up being an awful lot of fun for the audience. Make the signs large enough to be read easily from the back row of the audience, and if made from sturdy stuff, you can recycle them year after year since all three Cowgirl Cookie plays require the same set of signs. The signs you’ll need for this play are as follows:
BOO AND HISS
You should definitely cast someone as “Chocolate” and have them be your sign holder. They’ll cross the stage with the sign held high for the audience to see each time a sign is noted in the script. This is a terrific role for anyone who suffers from stage fright as far as saying lines but still really wants to be a part of the play. Make sure they know their role is just as critical as the speaking roles. They need to be following the play closely, be on time with their sign, and stay organized. The rest of the cast depends on them! And if you’re finding yourself short on cast members, then you could certainly recruit a teacher, a parent volunteer, a sibling of one of the cast members, a willing friend, your mother-in-law, or some other loyal person for the job.
You can also save some material expense and make the signs two-sided. APPLAUSE and HURRAH can be on opposite sides, BOO and HISS can be on opposite sides, and so on. Inevitably, your sign holder will have to practice holding the sign so that it’s always right-side up for the audience. Not as easy as it sounds!
Regardless of what option you choose, it’s always fun to have a practice session with the audience just before the Cowgirl Cookie show begins. Line up your sign holder(s) on stage and have them, one at a time, hold up their signs and prompt the audience to do what the sign says. Believe me, the audience eats this up, especially when they are praised for enthusiastic participation.
There are many references to Cowgirl Cookie’s local library in this play, but feel free to change the announcements of the Granny Gallery to match the specifics of your own local library. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind the marketing! They might even want to support your production in some way, so let them know about your show. Ask them to come…and to bring cookies.
You have an intermission option between scenes four and five, if you would like to take one. This will be handy if you choose to transform this Cowgirl Cookie play into a fundraiser. See my “Cowgirl Cookie to the Rescue! Fundraiser Options” on my website for some advice and suggestions.
Each playscript comes as a downloadable PDF document, and includes an extensive Production Notes section to help with all aspects of the production, as well as an invaluable Organizational Grid with each character’s costume suggestion and any props needed.
With purchase, you are granted the right to copy this script as needed for amateur performances for a period of one year from the date of purchase. More information on the Copyright page.