With a cast of six women and one man (which can be expanded if desired), the fun-loving musical BINGO is about a group of die-hard bingo players who stop at nothing to miss their weekly game. In between the number calling, strange rituals and fierce competitions, love blossoms and long lost friends reunite - AND the audience gets to play along!
BINGO enjoyed a very successful Off-Broadway Run in which Janet Metz won a Drama League Award for her performance as Patsy, and it is now available through Samuel French for licensing in YOUR Theatre. BINGO has been produced to great acclaim all around the world - from America to Japan - from Canada to Australia! With a fun, universal story of friendship that appeals to audiences and performers young and old, this could be just the show your theatre company is looking for!
Best friends and Bingo pals Vern, Honey and Patsy stare out the window of Honey’s house. A terrible storm has descended upon Hamerin County and the local radio announcer warns residents to stay indoors (OVERTURE).
Not one to ever miss a night of Bingo, Vern is especially excited about tonight – the yearly celebration of the birth of Bingo and tribute to its founder, Edwin S. Lowe. Vern convinces Honey and Patsy that they must go - (GIRLS NIGHT OUT).
Meanwhile, as the storm knocks out power at the Bingo Hall, its manager, Minnie, reassures the crowd that they’ll be fine – they have enough Bingo supplies “to play for four solid days if we have to!” (ANYONE CAN PLAY BINGO).
Sam, the Bingo caller leads the crowd in the “early bird” game until one lucky audience member wins the cash prize.
Vern, Honey and Patsy enter. As they make their way through the crowd they are outraged that they missed the early bird and are even more horrified when they realize that an audience member has taken their “lucky” seats.
Patsy and Honey remind each other of the ominous night fifteen years ago that began in the same way. In flashback, Honey begins to tell us about the night Vern and her best friend, Bernice, had their falling out. Before she can finish, a clap of thunder brings us back to the present.
As the girls settle into their new table and begin to play, Patsy defends her usual routine of waving troll dolls, casting good luck spells and spewing incantations (I STILL BELIEVE IN YOU).
The ladies, forced to take a break when Sam must tend to a flood in the basement, leave the room. From the back of the hall, Bernice’s sweet, yet headstrong daughter, Alison, enters in disguise. She has weathered the storm because she is running out of time. Bernice’s health is failing, and Alison is determined to reunite her mother with her long-lost best friend. Alison bolsters her confidence during (I’VE MADE UP MY MIND).
When the women return, Alison, using a pseudonym, takes the empty seat at their table. Vern reluctantly agrees to teach this rookie how to play Bingo (UNDER MY WING).
Vern encourages her new protégée to increase her odds by getting another card. This sparks Patsy’s flashback where we learn that Vern, wanting to increase her chances of winning, decided to buy an extra card, but Bernice beat her to the punch and bought her card first. Vern was outraged! Before Patsy can tell us more, a clap of thunder snaps her back into the present.
Alison reveals that she lives in New York City, where she is a struggling actress. She has come home to visit her ailing mother. The focus shifts when Sam accidentally calls the same number twice - a major Bingo faux pas! Vern is irate. Honey defends the man she loves. (GENTLEMAN CALLER).
As the ladies play the game they learn that Alison is a struggling actress who lives in New York City. She tells them that she is the understudy to Nurse Ratched in the new off-off-off-Broadway production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Musical, called “Cuckoo!” The ladies beg her to sing a little something form the show. (RATCHED’S LAMENT).
At the end of the number the generator supplying the power to the hall sputters and dies launching the hall into darkness and Vern’s flashback.
Vern tells us that she and Bernice began to play the blackout when suddenly they realized they each only needed one number to win. She recounts her horror as the caller called Bernice’s winning number, B4! The winning card should have been Vern’s card - it was her idea. This was the end of their friendship. Vern bullied Patsy and Honey into turning on Bernice as well – from that moment on, the three women would never see her again. A crash of thunder snaps Vern back into the present and the failing lights flicker and go back on.
Sam announces the door-prize winner and it just so happens to be the same unfortunate audience member who took Vern’s “lucky seat”. Vern decides it’s time to settle this once and for all. While another real Bingo game with the audience is being played, she goes directly into the audience and heckles the door prize winner until someone wins the game. ANYONE CAN PLAY BINGO (REPRISE).
Caught up in the fun, Alison accidentally blurts out that her mother used to play Bingo with them. The women interrogate her until she is forced to come clean and reveal her identity. Alison removes her disguise and the three women gasp - immediately recognizing her as Bernice Boutelle’s daughter, Alison.
Alison begs Vern to consider reconciling, since her mother is dying. During their argument, Patsy and Honey find the strength to finally stand up to Vern. They band together with Alison and exit, leaving Vern all alone. (SWELL) At the end of the number she exits the hall into the raging storm
Sam consoles Honey after her falling out with Vern. It’s in this moment that he finally summons the courage to profess his love and propose to her (GENTLEMAN CALLER REPRISE).
While the other women congratulate Honey, Vern bursts in from outside ravaged from the storm, and explains that her near-death experience has given her a new outlook on life. She and her friends patch up their differences just as Sam announces the Speed Round!
Sam rattles off the numbers and to everyone’s surprise, Patsy finally wins! The prize - a trip for two to sunny Miami! Patsy and company sing a chorus of I STILL BELIEVE IN YOU (REPRISE).
Sam announces the “The Big Birthday Blackout!” which immediately monopolizes the women’s attention. Frustrated and disappointed, Alison is about to leave when a vision of her mother appears encouraging her to keep playing. With a new resolve Alison goes back to the table to play the blackout.
Minnie announces the last chance to buy an extra card and Alison innocently hops up to buy one. Just like that night 15 years ago, Vern sees this as a deliberate act of aggression - it’s war!
Of course it turns out that Alison and Vern each need one number to win - B4 and N42 – just like fifteen years ago. The game continues in slow motion until Sam calls B4 and Alison screams “Bingo!”. Vern is beside herself. Alison announces, “You can have the money! Someday you’ll realize I don’t give a damn about Bingo!” (B4).
At the end of the song, Vern is moved. She’s wasted all this time. Heartened, Alison begins to talk of her mother’s condition when Bernice appears (I’VE MADE UP MY MIND REPRSIE).
Bernice and Vern reconcile and we learn that they share the same rare blood type. Vern will save Bernice’s life!
As the girls hug for the first time in 15 years, Sam enters with news that the storm has passed and the roads are clear. They can all go home! (GIRLS NIGHT OUT REPRISE).