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NEW Harriet Tubman: Take My Hand and Follow Me
Large Cast Musical for Kids to Perform

Sound Cues

Script Sample

Running Time: About 45-50 minutes
Flexible Cast of 23-32, 7-8 M, 6-13 F, 10-11 M/F
Easily adapted for larger or smaller cast

STORYTELLERS (M/F, 19 lines together, plus songs)
(Any/all can be M or F, change names in dialogue if appropriate)
ELWOOD (17 lines)
ELIZABETH (16 lines)
ISABELLA (20 lines)
MARIAH (18 lines)
NELSON (18 lines)
ROSA (19 lines)
MARTIN (16 lines)
SAMUEL (18 lines)

HARRIET (F, 51 lines)
HARRIET #1 (7 lines)
HARRIET #2 (10 lines, enter page 22)
HARRIET #3 (6 lines, enter page 30)
HARRIET #4 (18 lines, enter page 33)
HARRIET #5 (10 lines, enter page 39)

PREACHER (M/F, 21 lines, plus songs)
PREACHER #1 (9 lines)
PREACHER #2 (12 lines, enter page 23)

MINTY, Younger Harriet (F, 24 lines)
MINTY #1, young child (5 lines)
MINTY #2, adolescent (8 lines, enter page 17)
MINTY #3 (MINTY/HARRIET), young adult (11 lines, enter page 19)

OLD RIT, Harriet’s mother (F, 25 lines, plus song)
OLD RIT #1 (18 lines, plus song)
OLD RIT #2, much older (7 lines, enter page 38)

BEN, Harriet’s father (M, 24 lines, plus song)
BEN #1 (13 lines, plus song)
BEN #2, much older (11 lines, enter page 33)

MASTER BRODESS, slave owner (M, 13 lines)
JOHN, Harriet’s brother (M, 9 lines)
ROBERT, Harriet’s brother (M, 4 lines)
MARY, Harriet’s sister-in-law (F, 8 lines)

MRS. FRANCIS GARRETT (F, 4 lines, plus song)
MR. THOMAS GARRETT (M, 3 lines, plus song)
WILLIAM STILL (M/F, 9 lines)
FREDERICK DOUGLASS (M, 1 line, speech)
WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON (M, 1 line, speech)
SOJOURNER TRUTH (F, 2 lines, speech)


Written especially for young people to perform.
While you may find large cast plays from other publishers, most of those were originally written for adults or professional actors to perform. They often contain difficult dialogue, unfamiliar or complex language, and speeches too long for young people to memorize. They may even contain jokes, innuendos and subject matter that may not be appropriate for children.

Easy to understand and memorize.
Dialogue is simple, lively and fresh, keeping the action flowing without stops and starts between scenes.

Everyone participates!
All students/performers are involved throughout the performance. This builds confidence, promotes team spirit and keeps everyone involved during rehearsal. The audience is often asked to join in, and action often spills into the aisles! All of our SCHOOL PLAYS give suggestions on how to divide up the large parts (like Harriet) among several performers so that no one child is the "star".

Familiar stories with upbeat endings.
The story line stays as close as possible to the familiar story the kids already know.  While some authors feel the need to "improve" the story, our SCHOOL PLAYS stay as close to the familiar narrative as possible, making it easier for young people - and your audience - to understand.

Feel free to edit!  Go ahead and tape it!
Most publishers insist that no changes may be made to their scripts.  We know that your goal is to engage every child in the most meaningful way and that your needs are unique.  Cut, eliminate, re-assign lines, or add as much as you like!  Also, there are no restrictions on videos/CDs.  Parents want a tape or DVD to remember their child's big moment.  Go ahead and tape away!

"It was a wonderful experience getting to direct your play. It's a complete history lesson told in a fast-paced entertaining way. Can't wait to do another ArtReach play.  We have gotten so many compliments from teachers on this show. Thank you for working with us!"
Jack Cannon, UAB Department of Theatre


I have long wanted to write a play based on my hero Harriet Tubman.  But the problem always presented itself: how do you truthfully present slavery to a child audience without breaking their hearts?  After reading everything I could about Harriet I knew that certain scenes had to be included; they were essential to understanding how she developed her almost unimaginable courage.  How could I bear to write them, much less share them with young people?

I found my way in Harriet's music, the heart, soul and instrument of enslaved and freed Americans.  Spirituals are the memoirs of Harriet's people.  These are their letters to us.  Although they were forbidden to read and write, they somehow found a way leave us with a library of work that tells us exactly who they were.   In the most poignant, beautiful music and lyrics ever written, we understand their strength, struggles and even joy.

It is fitting that we stop from time to time during the performance to sing songs of the Underground Railroad as we navigate our way through the landscape of American slavery.  When we lift our voices with those of our brothers and sisters, we are letting them guide us.  Harriet says "Take my hand and follow me."  In this way, we put ourselves in her hands and let her tell us how she endured and triumphed.


Cues, sound effects, songs accompaniment (spirituals & folk songs)

The CD Soundtrack contains special sound effects and simple music to accompany the performers as they sing the songs in the play. Cues have 10 seconds of silence at the end - times shown below include silence.
[ Click on [sample] to hear a short sample of the indicated cues. ]

 1. MUSIC, HORSES, BLOODHOUNDS  (1:37) [sample]

 2. ALL THE PRETTY LITTLE HORSES  (0:53) [sample]

 3. SWING LOW, SWEET CHARIOT  (1:17) [sample]

 4. FOLLOW THE DRINKIN' GOURD  (2:13) [sample]

 5. BOUND FOR THE PROMISED LAND  (1:58) [sample]

 6. 'TIS A GIFT TO BE SIMPLE  (1:06) [sample]

 7. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN  (1:27) [sample]

 8. WADE IN THE WATER  (2:18) [sample]

 9. AMAZING GRACE  (2:06) [sample]



Ben tells Minty (young Harriet) about the North Star and the Big Dipper, the "Drinkin' Gourd."
(Script pages 16-20)

(OLD RIT, BEN, MINTY move to exit down the aisle together.  STORYTELLERS slowly rise one by one, crouching or squatting around the perimeter of the playing area.  Each one makes a different animal or woods sound or movement, setting the woods/swamp scene quietly and slowly.)

ELWOOD: (Frogs.)  Cheer-lip.  Cheer-lip.

ELIZABETH: (Water/shore.)  Shushhh. Shushhh.

ISABELLA:  (Owl.)  Hah-hoo!  Ha-hoo!

(MARIAH as shakes gourd with seeds which may represent snake or rustling leaves. NELSON swoops a streamer on stick above as bird flying.  Others make quiet stealthy movements as shadows in the forest.  All of this happens with a sleepy slow nighttime atmosphere. MINTY enters.)

MINTY: (Pointing up.)  Look at that, Daddy.  Stars so big like to pop in my hand. 

(STORYTELLERS swoosh away, scattering to the edges of the playing area, unseen by MINTY and BEN.  Minty holds out her hand to catch the stars.)

BEN: (Pointing up.)  See the drinking gourd, Minty?  White folks call it the big dipper.

See the cup, the handle, follow that to the little dipper and...

MINTY:  The North Star.

(The STORYTELLERS make a bustle of sounds together and the bird swooshes over them.  When they have settled in new positions&ldots;)

Daddy? I got to tell you something.  I can’t take being owned no more.  

BEN:  There’s no helping that.

MINTY:  I can’t stop thinking on it day and night.  Daddy...

BEN:  Don’t tell me, child.  I don’t want to know.

MINTY:  Daddy, I got to live free or die.

BEN:  Don’t forget the things I taught you, baby girl.

 (BEN cups hands and makes the sound of the owl.) 


(ISABELLA as owl echoes back.)

Moss grows green on the north side of tree.

MINTY:  It sure does, Daddy.

BEN:  River runs north, it runs wild and true.

MINTY:  It runs wild and true. 

BEN:  Bloodhounds can pick up a slave scent from a full mile away...

MINTY:  A full mile away.

BEN:  But they can’t smell nothing in the water. 

MINTY:  They can’t smell nothing in the water!

BEN:  Keep your eye on the stars, child.  Keep your eye on the stars...

(As BEN and MINTY look at the stars the STORYTELLERS swoosh around them, in front of them, the bird flies above their heads. STORYTELLERS move upstage, clapping.)

STORYTELLERS:  Keep your eyes on the stars, keep your eyes on the stars...

(PREACHER enters. MINTY and BEN exit.)

PREACHER: (To audience.) All rise.

(SOUND CUE #4:  Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd; short intro.  [sample]

During song, JOHN, ROBERT and MARY, HARRIET’S brothers and sister-in-law enter.  They pass rakes and bushel baskets, as a chain, to each other in rhythm to the music as they sing.  STORYTELLERS may echo the same movements, standing up stage behind these new actors. Imagine they are working in the field and singing as they work.)

ALL: (Singing, Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd.) 

When the sun comes back, and the first quail calls
Follow the drinkin' gourd
For the old man’s awaiting for to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinkin' gourd

Follow, the drinkin' gourd 
Follow, the drinkin' gourd
For the old man’s awaiting for to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinkin' gourd

The river bank, makes a mighty good road
Dead trees, will show you the way
Left foot, peg foot, travelin' on
Follow the drinkin' gourd  (Song continues, three more verses.)

(SOUND CUE ENDS. PREACHER gestures for audience to sit, he sits.

As song ends JOHN, MARY and ROBERT work bent over with rakes. BRODESS enters.)

MARIAH:  But Minty’s life was changed in an instant.

NELSON:  One of her brothers was working in the field.

(BRODESS calls out.)


(MINTY enters and watches from the background.


JOHN: (Looks up, terrified.)  Yes, sir?

BRODESS:  Trader man here.  You’re to join him down at the wagons.

                (ROBERT and others gasp. JOHN keeps head down, working furiously.)

JOHN:  No sir, no sir.  I got work to do.  So much work to do.

BRODESS:  Did you hear what I said?

JOHN:  Master, I been working as hard as I can.  You see how hard I work!

MARY: (Running in front of JOHN.)  Master, you can’t take John!  You can’t sell my husband!

BRODESS:  I can do what I please with my property!

(BRODESS lifts a rake to throw at her and JOHN.)

Out of my way!

ROSA:  When Minty saw that rake rising in the air...

MARTIN:  She couldn’t let Master take John.

SAMUEL:  And she couldn’t let Master hit Mary.

MINTY:  Noooooo!

Note: This is a sample from the actual script.  To review the entire play, order the PERUSAL SCRIPT (online instant download). Or to save 20% on the full production kit and royalty for one performance, order the SCHOOL PLAY PACKAGE and start rehearsals today!

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Sound Cues

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