Taking photos at state lines.

Singing too loudly to guilty-pleasure songs.

Playing punch buggy until your brother has a bruise on his arm.

There’s no denying that road trips rock. But perhaps even better are when you go on a road trip, but never leave the stage. Check out the below for the best plays and musicals about road trips.

  1. Petty Theft Pretty Theft is a play about ballerinas, boxes and the dangers of beauty. After losing her father, Allegra falls under the wing of bad girl Suzy, only to find an unexpected friendship with Joe, an autistic savant. When things take a violent turn, Allegra and Suzy escape cross country and befriend Marco, a mysterious thief who claims he cannot be caught.
  2. California Odyssey – A romantic comedy (with a touch of fantasy and myth) about the hopes, struggles, and adventures of Corky, Tad, and Jinx, on a day-an-a-half trip from San Francisco to San Diego. Tad, a serious, practical “desert rat,” anxiously eager to get to his sister’s wedding on time, is traveling with his cousin and friend, Corky Saylors, a mischievous, slightly zany “beach bum” and talented photographer. The trip is complicated when they encounter Jinx, a charmingly flirtatious young woman, who is eagerly seeking her father, a rodeo man, to write his story for a movie.
  3. Road Trip – Vernon, a drifter in his late twenties, visits his brother Ron after a long absence. Their older brother Alan is in a coma and Ron, who is about to get married, wants to take Alan off life support equipment after a prolonged period of little or no improvement. Is this for Ron’s convenience or is it really time to let Alan go? Vernon questions the ethics of Ron’s decision and fiancee Lisa joins the fray to protect Ron’s interests in an emotionally charged confrontation that results in tentative steps toward unity and a sense of family.
  4. Cross Country: Seven More One Act Plays – Seven one-act plays, set in a variety of locales all over the world. The collection includes: Clara and the Gambler, Class of ’77, Life After Elvis, Money Talks, The Quality of Boiled Water, Road Trip, and Shore Leave.
  5. Sixty Miles to Silver Lake – A moving car. A father and son. The father drives. The son’s face is pressed against the rolled up window. A lifetime can pass in the sixty miles between a boy’s soccer practice and his father’s new apartment. In this moving play about family relationships, we see just how much time and space can exist between the pleather seats of a father’s used car.
  6. See Rock City and Other Destinations – A wanderer believes his destiny is written on rooftops along the North Carolina Interstate. A young man yearns to connect with intelligent life in Roswell, New Mexico. A woman at the Alamo steps out of the shadow of her grandparents’ idealized romance to take a chance on love. Three estranged sisters cruise to Glacier Bay to scatter their father’s ashes. Two high school boys face unexpected fears in the Coney Island Spook House. A terrified bride-to-be ponders taking the leap… over Niagara Falls. With a score that incorporates pop, rock, folk and more, each story builds on the last to create a vivid travelogue of Americans learning to overcome their fears and expectations in order to connect.
  7. Battle Hymn – Award-winning playwright Jim Leonard’s latest, Battle Hymn, is the story of 16-year-old Martha’s epic pregnancy and her incredible search for motherhood, meaning, and love in a war-torn American landscape. After being abandoned by her father, losing her true love and witnessing the horrors of the Civil War firsthand, Martha settles on one incontrovertible fact: She will not raise her baby in a blood-soaked, violent country. And so, Martha keeps traveling in search of a better world and a safe place to bring forth her child… this is easier said than done. From the mud and the blood of Fort Sumter to singing cows, San Francisco and the summer of love, Martha’s journey embodies the tragedy, humor and hope that have helped shape the last 150 years of U.S. history.
  8. Passengers – Four actors play eighteen characters in eight short scenes that take place in a small mid-western bus station. The scenes vary from comedic to poignant with a story tie-in revealed at the end.
  9. The Taxi CabaretThe Taxi Cabaret follows six people in their twenties during their first year in New York City. Scott, an aspiring novelist, discovers that you do not have to suffer to write. Mark and Sara test their relationship when they move in together. Zach lives an E-ZPass lifestyle, staying safely in the closet, while the eternally unlucky but relentlessly optimistic Karen falls for him, only to have her heart broken. C.C. is an actress/temp who longs for something in her life that will last more than sixteen bars.
  10. Havana is Waiting – This comedy-drama takes a strong political stand on the divisive issue of the United States embargo with Cuba. The play begins with flamboyant writer, Federico making his first trip back to Cuba 30-some years after immigrating to the States as a child. Federico is joined on his journey by his friend, Fred and together in Cuba they meet Ernesto, a car driver and lifelong resident of Havana. The three men get to know each other better and learn where the real boundaries of the world lie. The play examines of the complex relationships that exist not only between men, but between the countries in which they live.

Honorable mentions: Approaching Zanzibar and On the 20th Century.


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