Cowgirl Cookie and the Mysterious Disappearance of Grandma Sugar is an old-fashioned Western melodrama which continues the story of Cowgirl Cookie, a girl in love with her local library and solving a real mystery. Coincidentally, her Grandma Sugar has mysteriously disappeared without leaving any clues as to her whereabouts. But Cowgirl Cookie and her many sisters (Oatmeal Raisin, Molasses Spice, Peanut, and Butter) seem more concerned about who is now in charge of the family, all of them naturally hungry for the position. Cowgirl Cookie’s sidekick, Snickerdoodle, is appalled that the Cookie Girls are not more focused on finding their Grandma Sugar and rallies them to begin a search. In the meantime, the members of the Mustache Gang (Mushy, Crummy, Soggy, Yucky, Bland, and Burnt) are also arguing about who is in charge now that Greasy, their previous leader, has left.
They are also introduced to the new law in town, Sheriff Thumbprint, who believes them all to be too inept to be of much concern. Meanwhile, members of the Granny Gallery (Miz Snappy, Miz Sticky, and Miz Chewy) are suspicious of the flirtatious, politicking new narrator who calls himself “Mayor Macaroon” and considers himself the town’s head honcho and hero. When they aren’t interrogating the Mayor, the Grannies are shamelessly plugging the local library, having been asked to “up the ante” by the librarian, Miss Butterscotch, and the library’s director, Madam Director Fudge. In the end, Cowgirl Cookie, in one insightful moment, discovers where Grandma Sugar has disappeared to, the Mustache Gang is marched off to jail for cookie crimes, and the library’s accountant settles a debt with the Granny Gallery.
A little town out in the middle of nowhere in the Wild West
21 performers, but flexible (see Production Notes)
11 Females, 3 Male, and 7 Female or Male
Approximately 45 minutes without an intermission
Production Notes (included with the playscript)
Cowgirl Cookie and the Mysterious Disappearance of Grandma Sugar is chock full of fun characters, and if you performed the first Cowgirl Cookie play in the trilogy (Cowgirl Cookie and the Case of the Missing Chocolate Chips) then there will be plenty of familiar characters, too. The script is written for a cast of 21, but like the other Cowgirl Cookie plays, there are ways to grow or shrink the cast number. If you need to add a few roles, then you can simply bring back the characters of Gingersnap and Macaroon Meringue, give them a line or two each, and drop any references to them being gone. You could also add a few more villains—the Mustache Gang can be about as big as you want it. Just come up with some clever names for the extra characters like Grody, Rotten, or Raw. And one final way you could add characters would be to have more than one sign holder. Vanilla, Caramel, Chocolate—these are all possible options for names. If you find yourself needing to drop a few characters, then the Mustache Gang is a great place to start. Keep Mushy and Burnt, and remove any of the villains in the middle of the line-up. Even with their lines dropped, it won’t change the scene dramatically.
Miz Snappy, Miz Sticky, and Miz Chewy are the characters that the audience is bound to fall in love with if played with sass and enthusiasm. In all three of the Cowgirl Cookie plays, the Granny Gallery has proven to win hearts and influence people. Cast these three roles carefully, and they’re bound to steal the show.
But speaking of stealing the show, Mayor Macaroon also has the potential to do that as well with his smarmy, hilarious ways. A confident fellow who can really ham it up as a schmoozing politician will get a lot of laughs from the audience. His character returns in the third Cowgirl Cookie play…but not in the role of narrator, to his deep disgruntlment. So here is his moment to hog center stage!
The heroine, Cowgirl Cookie, has a lengthy speech towards the end of the play—make sure your actress is up to some memorizing!
When it comes to the Mustache Gang and the Cookie Girl group, the characters will feed off the confidence of one another. If Mushy starts off strong, the rest of the villains will likely follow suit. Both groups will need to practice the dramatic technique of arguing convincingly on stage with one another in a cacophony of noise for a few seconds. This moment of indistinguishable arguing appears a couple of times in the script. You also may notice that the characters in the Mustache Gang and the Cookie Girl group are oftentimes talking in order. This is to everyone’s advantage—especially actors/actresses still working on their volume and expression. Their cue is going to be obvious, so they can really concentrate on the delivery of their line.
As in all the Cowgirl Cookie plays, I always have characters entering stage right and exiting stage left. Again this is for the ease of the cast members. They never have to try to remember which direction they enter and which direction they exit. And not only that, when working in close quarters and possibly a small stage, a flow across stage like this can be really helpful.
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. But I would hope that every actor and actress would have some fun developing their own particular twang or deep drawl for their character.
If you saved the stage backdrop you used in the first Cowgirl Cookie play, then you’re all set. If you’re starting fresh, you have lots of 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. You could also just simply go with whatever inspires you! A picket fence, a giant library, etc. Even if you chose to use a plain curtain, nothing is compromised. There’s no reference to the background in the play, and the emphasis is definitely on the dialogue.
On stage, you will need to have 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. A bench will also need to be placed upstage center.
There are quite a few props in this play, but they should be very easy to track down or find at your local thrift store. A large basket with the following props needs to be available to the Grannies:
- three small party horns (or kazoos!)
- three maracas (or noisemakers)
- three small pom poms (like the ones fans use at sports games)
- three small American flags
- one doll hanging in a short noose
- three long, colorful ribbons
- one whip (authentic or the instrument used in the percussion section of a band)
Each of the members of the Granny Gallery will also need a large two-sided poster. One side should look like a fan poster for John Dewey, father of the Dewey Decimal system. The other side should have one of the following words in the phrase: Got Baked Goods? Miz Snappy will hold up “Got.” Miz Sticky will hold up “Baked.” And Miz Chewy will naturally hold up “Goods?” These posters need to be within easy reach of the Grannies—possibly beside their chairs. Each of the grannies will also need a white handkerchief they can easily pull out of a pocket, their brassiere, or some other handy place.
One last thought on the props for the Grannies. As they use them during the play, instead of putting them back in the basket, they can nonchalantly pitch them over their shoulders and let the prop clatter onto the stage space behind them. The audience loves this, and it has been known to get a laugh every time!
If you performed the first Cowgirl Cookie play, pull those costumes out! 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 fancy, but it should be clear that you are in cowgirl country. If you think you may perform all three Cowgirl Cookie plays, hold onto those costumes. The characters stay relatively the same, and you’ll need them!
For your refreshments, they definitely, positively, absolutely need to be cookies and milk. But what could be easier?
Again, if you performed the first Cowgirl Cookie play, then hopefully you saved your signs! If this is your first go around, then know 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. 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
- THE END
You should definitely cast someone as “Vanilla” 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 is scared of speaking on stage but desperately wants to be a part of the play. Their role is just as critical as the speaking roles, and they should know that. The rest of the cast is depending on their focus, organization, and promptness! And if you don’t have a cast member to spare for a sign holder, then consider recruiting a teacher’s aide, a family member, a parent volunteer, a sibling of one of the cast members, a willing friend, or some other dedicated person for the job.
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. Just make sure your sign holder gets very savvy at holding the sign right-side up for the audience to read.
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. The audience loves it when they feel a part of things.
There are many references to the library in this play, so 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 positive press. They might even want to support your production in some way, so let them know about your show. If you’re lucky, maybe they’ll want to provide the cookies!
You have an intermission option between scenes five and six, if you would like to take one. This will be handy if you choose to transform this Cowgirl Cookie play into a fundraiser. See the “Cowgirl Cookie to the Rescue! Fundraiser Options” on the Fundraiser Play Ideas page 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.