Cowgirl Cookie and the Ghost of the Grange is an old-fashioned Western melodrama which wraps up the story of Cowgirl Cookie, a girl in love with her local library and solving a real mystery. Cowgirl Cookie finds herself trying to find out the truth behind a ghostly presence at the local grange hall. However, she’s fairly distracted by an argument she’s had with her faithful sidekick, Snickerdoodle, and the disappearance of her beloved pet chicken, Miss Petunia. In the meantime, a very mysterious New Narrator has appeared, the overly confident Sheriff Thumbprint is chasing crazy rumors, and members of the villainous Mustache Gang (Mushy, Crummy, and Soggy) have just been released from jail…much to their dismay.
The Granny Gallery (Miz Snappy, Miz Sticky, and Miz Chewy) has taken comfortable seats on stage to interrupt the show whenever possible with advertisements for the local grange hall. As it turns out, they’ve hired on a disgruntled personal assistant this year, Mac, who once called himself the mayor of town. All is well in the end as the mystery of the Ghost of the Grange is solved, Miss Petunia reappears, Cowgirl Cookie and Snickerdoodle reunite, and the mysterious New Narrator is revealed for who they really are.
A little town out in the middle of nowhere in the Wild West
11 performers, but flexible (see Production Notes)
5 Females, 3 Males, and 3 Female or Male
Approximately 45 minutes without an intermission
Production Notes (included with the playscript)
Cowgirl Cookie and the Ghost of the Grange can stand on its own, but it’s also a satisfying wrap-up to the Cowgirl Cookie trilogy with several returning characters from the previous two plays (Cowgirl Cookie and the Case of the Missing Chocolate Chips and Cowgirl Cookie and The Mysterious Disappearance of Grandma Sugar). The script is written for a cast of 11, but as with all the Cowgirl Cookie plays, there are several possibilities for adding or deleting characters. If you need to add a few roles, a great place to start would be with the Mustache Gang. You could certainly add in the other villains that make appearances in the other two plays: Yucky, Bland, and Burnt all being possibilities. Add a line or two for each of them, and have Mushy mention that all the other jail inmates (who were not members of the Mustache gang) escaped, and the dialogue will still work. A final option for adding roles, albeit small ones, would be to have some of the Cookie Girls (Oatmeal Raisin, Gingersnap, Molasses Spice, Macaroon Meringue, Peanut, and Butter) come back and make an appearance in scene five when the Granny Gallery starts to ask about them. They could show up one by one, cross the stage from right to left, saying why they’re too busy to help Cowgirl Cookie. If by chance, you have an even smaller cast than what’s called for, again the Mustache Gang is an easy place to drop a character or two. You could just have Mushy appear and give him all the lines, making mention that he’s the one villain out of the whole gang that decided to stay in jail for the food.
Miz Snappy, Miz Sticky, and Miz Chewy are three very entertaining characters for the audience to watch. Have these three grannies really ham it up and give that New Narrator a hard time from the beginning. They will get all kinds of laughs from the crowd. If you performed the second play in the trilogy, Cowgirl Cookie and the Mysterious Disappearance of Grandma Sugar, you’ll recognize Mac. He was the narrator and “Mayor Macaroon” in the second play, but now has been demoted to personal assistant, much to his disappointment. Audience members who saw the second play will delight in his disgruntlement and relentless attempts to take center stage in this third play.
The New Narrator in this play should try to sustain a very nerdy voice throughout the play and then completely change to a deep, flirtatious voice for his very last line. That will get a huge laugh!
As in all the Cowgirl Cookie plays, I always have characters entering stage right and exiting stage left. This just eases things—especially if you are working with a small stage. No one ever has to remember which way they enter or exit, and they can even sit in the first row of the audience if you’re working without a curtain or backstage area.
Encourage your cast members to sink into a deep country western accent for their characters. The script is your guide for most of this—dropping off hard consonants at the end of words, etc. The deeper their drawl or twang, the more fun they will have and the more authentic they will sound for the setting of the Wild West. Given some encouragement, they’re bound to come up with an entertaining voice for their character.
If you saved the stage backdrop you used in either of the other two Cowgirl Cookie plays, then you’re all set. If you’re starting fresh, you have several options. The stage backdrop could 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. The background can simply be whatever you’re inspired to create: a wooden fence, a giant Grange Hall building, etc. There are a number of things that would work, and if you’re in a pinch, a plain curtain would even be fine. The audience’s focus will be entirely on the characters, not the background.
On stage, you will need to have three chairs set up stage left for the Granny Gallery along with one small stool for Mac. 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. Other than the chairs and the stool, there are no other items that are needed on stage.
At one point, Mac appears to turn on and off the lights with a remote control. Just have someone manning the light switch for the stage lights about this time.
When Cowgirl Cookie reveals Miss Petunia in the final scene, you can certainly use a stuffed chicken in a cage for this moment. However, this has also been successfully pulled off with a real chicken in a cage covered by a bedsheet. If you decide to go for the real thing, you could send a chicken into super stardom!
For this particular play, you might also consider printing off some actual business cards for the Granny Gallery and Mac to pass around at intermission. They’re easy enough to create using a business card template, and they can be very simple with just “The Granny Gallery” in large letters and the website noted: www.thegrannygallerycommaincorporated.com. The crowd loves this extra touch.
If you performed the first Cowgirl Cookie play, recycle those costumes! But if you’re new to the trilogy, 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 dressed up, but it should be clear that you are in cowgirl country. If you think you may perform all three Cowgirl Cookie plays, keep those costumes. The characters stay relatively the same, and you’ll be glad you held onto them!
Cookies and milk. I can’t think of an easier, more appropriate refreshment than that.
Again, if you performed either of the other two Cowgirl Cookie plays, then hopefully you saved your signs, and you know the drill. Otherwise, you’ll notice that this script 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. 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
Note: you can 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.
In this particular play, instead of having a separate sign holder, the character of Mac is in charge of all the melodrama signs. He’ll have to stay organized, and the signs should be within easy reach of his stool.
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. Since the entrance of Mac is a bit of a surprise, I would suggest you recruit someone else entirely to hold the signs up for this practice session. One at a time, they’ll hold up a sign and prompt the audience to do what it says. The audience will love getting in on the act, I promise.
There are many references to the local Grange in this play, which is an organization that has made its home in rural areas across the country for many years now. They are a community-service society and open to all. If you don’t have a local grange, then consider this play just a bit of education for the crowd. And if you are lucky enough to have a local grange, then let them know about your show! You might even want to tailor the Granny announcements to the specifics of what your local Grange actually offers. And they just may want to support your show in some way! Suggest they bring cookies, and lots of them.
You have an intermission option between scenes six and seven, 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.